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Dark Dawn by B.J. Henry
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From: bjhenry@delphi.com
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: REPOST: DARK DAWN (TNG/BSG crossover - the original) Intro.
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:10:00 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
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                           _DARK_DAWN_

NOTICE: THIS STORY MAY BE DISTRIBUTED FREE OF CHARGE BUT MUST NOT
BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR FINANCIAL RETURN. THE NOTICE FOLLOWING THE
SYNOPSIS AND DEDICATION MUST ACCOMPANY THIS STORY, IF DISTRIBUTED. 

AUTHOR: B.J. Henry

_Synopsis_

While investigating the source of unknown signals emanating near an
isolated planetoid in Federation space, officers from the U.S.S.
Enterprise and the Battlestar Galactica meet for the first time on
the planetoid and are subsequently captured and held hostage aboard
a Cylon Baseship.

Now the Commanders of both flagships must work together to free the
hostages and return in time to save the unguarded Colonial Fleet
from a destructive attack by the Cylons, a mechanical race of
beings whose ultimate goal is to eradicate all Humans in the
universe, including those on the planet Earth.

_Dedication_

This is my first story.  It was kind of intense to do, but I still
enjoyed it every step of the way.  When one writes a "crossover"
story such as this, there is a tendency to soften or blend the
character's personalities and thus you lose the individualism of
each.  However when you force characters from two "different
universes" together, I feel that there must be "believable"
interaction between them or it just won't work.

Why "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Battlestar Galactica?" 
Well, I've been an avid fan of both shows!  After watching all the
episodes of each show, multiple times, I began to see some
similarities and contrasts between the characters.  I also saw
personality traits that I thought would be interesting to explore
and I envisioned dialog that could be exchanged, all to bring out
some unique but familiar perspectives to these fictional people.

Near the end of my writing of _Dark_Dawn_, I expected that a sequel
would be in order, and so one is being planned.  When will it come
out?  Who knows!  I think I burnt myself out with this first effort
so it may be a little while yet, but don't worry... it'll come!

Before I close, I want to dedicate this story to one of my good
friends, an avid Trekker, who during my composing of this story,
joined "The Great Bird in the Sky" in December of 1993.  And so I
dedicate this to Karles V. Jones, (1958 - 1993) keep on "trekkin'"
in the great beyond.

B.J. Henry, 1/9/94
A/K/A Dax.
Technobabble Lover.
bjhenry@delphi.com
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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From: bjhenry@delphi.com
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: DARK DAWN - Prologue
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:10:43 -0500
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                           DARK DAWN

                          by B.J. Henry

                            Prologue


Adama's Journal:

"A number of sectons have passed since our last encounter with the
Cylon Baseship and the cryptic broadcasts that brought us into this
unknown quadrant of space.  We continue our journey along a
modified heading that will lead the Fleet to the coordinates given
to us by those strange lights, advanced beings whom we have come to
refer to as 'The Mysterious Ones'.  It is a heading we hope will
ultimately bring us to the home of the last surviving tribe of
Humans, the missing Thirteenth Colony located on a mythical planet
known to us only as 'Earth'.

I fear we may lose our resolve during this latest voyage, as most
aboard the myriad of ships that make up this ragtag fleet have
grown weary and restless.  Many are even beginning to demand that
we stop at the next habitable planet and call it home.  As time
drags on, I find myself beginning to agree with the people.  Which
reminds me... I need to request the convening of the Council of the
Twelve to update them on our present status.  I know that scattered
among the refugees are many influential people who have direct
access to members of the Council, and I often find myself with the
unenviable task of justifying the decisions of the Military to the
civilians, in a timely fashion."

                              --o--

Captain's Log.  Stardate 47235.3

"We have received a peculiar message from the Federation Science
Council Station LL-5, in orbit around a terra-formed satellite,
located mid-way between the Proxima Centuri and the Sol systems. 
They have detected and have been monitoring some very unusual
subspace communications signals emanating from just outside their
general vicinity.

Due to an unexpected opportunity to perform long overdue
maintenance on their primary sensor arrays, the station is
currently functioning with only a single short range sensor.  Thus,
they have been unable to pinpoint the exact nature or source of
these signals.  Since the Enterprise is the closest ship to this
station, we have been asked by Star Fleet to investigate the
situation upon the completion of our present mission.  Picard out."

                              --o--
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 01/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:11:57 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
~Lines: 413
Message-ID: <5A7xgEt.bjhenry@delphi.com>
NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com

                             Sunset

                                I


     Starbuck's eyes darted nervously back and forth, alternating
between the fan of round cards in his hand and the two other
players sitting at the table with him.
     "Well...??" Boomer queried, with a slight edge to his normally
calm voice.
     "Just a centon, I'm calculating."  Starbuck's brow began to
twitch as he tried to concentrate on his cards, while computing the
unbelievable odds.
     "Come on, Starbuck!" boomed Jolly, who always seemed to be in
a hurry to go somewhere.
     "Hey guys, I got a whole secton's pay riding here... "
Starbuck exclaimed, trying to stay calm.  He brought a fragrant
Gemonese cigarillo to his lips and began to chew on the tip.
     "Starbuck... "  Boomer was clearly irritated.
     "Ok... Ok.  I'm in.  While you're at it, I'll take two."
     "Finally!" Jolly huffed while he tossed two cards, face down
in front of Starbuck.
     "You Ok Boomer?" Jolly asked congenially to his friend, who
was now unconsciously clenching his teeth.
     "I'm all set," the Lieutenant replied, finally relaxing a
little.
     "Ok... " Jolly continued.  "Shall we up the stakes some more?"
     "I'll bet fifty," Boomer announced, tossing a handful of
credits onto the growing pile.
     "Fifty??!!" screamed Jolly.  "Forget it!  I'm outta here." 
Jolly, now totally disgusted, threw his useless cards down in front
of him, out of turn.
     "Starbuck?"
     A pause.  Starbuck ran his fingers through his thick mane of
maize-colored hair and noticed that it was slightly damp.  'Gods! 
Gotta work on my demeanor,' he chided only to himself of course. 
"Ok.  I'll see your fifty and... raise you another secton's pay!"
     "Oh come on Starbuck.  The last time you bet two secton's pay,
you welshed on it claiming that 'you couldn't help it' when the
Commander and the Council decided to temporarily dock our wages,
while they investigated the source and amount of counterfeit
currency that had suddenly began circulating around the Fleet,"
Jolly recited.
     "Yeah... I'll never forget that one myself," added Boomer.
     "Hey fellows, you know I'm good for the money.  Besides, I
thought that that issue was settled a long time ago," Starbuck
smoothly but defensively remarked, with a twinkle in his clear blue
eyes and an exotic-smelling plume of smoke curling from his lips.
     "Sure... and I'm a daggit's best friend," Jolly mumbled, with
sarcasm punctuating each word.  "You forget, we can see through
your tall tales, even if you do know every trick in the book."
     "Boomer old pal... I believe it's your call," Starbuck said,
ignoring Jolly's remarks and turning his head slightly towards
Boomer, flashing his trademark - a brilliant but insidious smile.
     Boomer looked forlornly at his cards with his dark brown eyes,
and sighed heavily.  "Forget it.  I'm folding... I refuse to bet
any more of my hard earned pay on a lousy game of Pyramids!"  He
too, threw his cards on the table with disgust.
     "Lousy??  Getta load of this... "  Starbuck spread his hand
out, face up, on the table surface in front of him.
     All of a sudden, Boomer looked as if he was ready to propel
himself out of a launch tube.  "YOU... YOU!!! I had a CAPSTONE in
my hand!"  He then stood up and began stabbing a forefinger in the
air in the direction of the offender.  "And YOU!... you... you've
got NOTHING!  Nothing!  NOTHING but a HANDful of trash!" he
alternately shouted and stammered.
     "Easy, easy," Starbuck replied, seriously trying to sooth his
obviously furious friend.  "Temper, temper 'ole buddy, 'ole pal. 
No sense crying over spilled milk."  Then he reverted back to his
mischievous side.  The now gloating young Colonial Warrior motioned
to the large pile of currency in the center of the table, using the
Gemonese delight in his hand as a pointer before placing it in his
mouth.  He next made an exaggerated, melodramatic gesture of
encircling his arms around the pile saying, "I believe... this is
all mine... "  He then proceeded to sweep the profits of his
patience towards his end of the table. 
     "Gentlemen?" a handsome, young dark-haired man with thoughtful
green eyes said, after sauntering up to the table, grabbing a chair
and settling down next to Jolly.
     "Apollo!" Starbuck beamed.
     "Captain... " Jolly chimed in, but less enthusiastically.
     Boomer took a large swallow of his ale and loudly banged his
mug on the table.
     "Hmmm... So he took you again, huh Boomer?" said Apollo,
sympathetically.
     "I don't want to talk about it," Boomer said evenly.
     "Well gentlemen, actually... we won't have time to talk about
it since the Colonel wants us all to go on a little patrol duty," 
informed Apollo.
     "Whah...?" Jolly managed to say before being cut off by
Apollo.
     "That's right.  In fact, we gotta go right now.  Seems Doctor
Wilker has picked up some more of those weird messages.  The
Colonel wants us to check them out so we don't run into any more
Baseships.  This time we want to make sure that we don't make the
same mistake twice."
     "Figures... " Boomer mumbled, almost imperceptibly.
     "Hey look at the bright side Boomer," teased Starbuck, "I'd
rather be out there flying among the stars, than be stuck in here
with you complaining for the next ten centaurs."
     "That's just like you Starbuck.  Rub it right in my face,"
Boomer retorted.
     "Let's go," Apollo finally added, trying to minimize the
tension in the room and set a more serious tone for the long
mission ahead of them.  
     Starbuck stood up and slapped his down-on-the-luck buddy on
the back as the four Warriors quickly exited the Officer's Lounge
and headed towards the Launch Bay.

                              -----

     "Status Colonel?" inquired the well-seasoned, silver-haired,
Commander of the Galactica.
     Colonel Tigh, a slightly graying serious man, with smooth
coffee-colored skin, stiffened and sighed as he again checked the
myriad of readouts flashing before him.  "Unchanged, except for the
fact that the additional data that we have collected has allowed us
to calculate a better fix on the source of the unknown
transmissions."
     "Very good.  Inform the long range patrol of the new
coordinates and instruct them to report in every centaur.  We want
to make sure that we stay with them at all times so that we can
make course adjustments quickly, should anything go wrong."
     "Aye sir."  Tigh began to feel the stirrings of a headache. 
Soon, it would reach epic proportions.  He placed a forefinger and
thumb between his eyes and gently massaged his sinus cavity.  He
then briefly considered requesting a furlon for a few days, but
just as quickly pushed those thoughts out of his mind.  He
straightened up and immediately contacted the flight crew in Launch
Bay Alpha.
     Launch Bay Control signaled that the ships were ready and the
four Vipers catapulted out of their sterile, metal launch tubes and
into the velvety blackness of space.

                              --o--

     "Ante up!"
     It began as a simple, harmless distraction from the stress and
boredom of space travel.  Through regularity, it developed into a
routine.  A routine that quickly grew to become a very popular,
well-known, and well-respected tradition.   Inevitably, during a
lull in ship-wide activity, such as was the case presently, the
surface of the round, green velvet table, normally bare and
uninteresting, would burst forth with the various geometric objects
of 'the challenge'.  White or red or blue disks would
intermittently be launched towards the table's center.  Colorful,
precisely cut pieces of waxed, rectangular cardboard would often be
found resting in small piles along the table's perimeter.
     An android, two Humans, and a Klingon sat around this night's
particular display, in anticipation of revealing the evening's
easiest 'mark'.  Another, a young raven-haired half-Human, half-
Betazoid woman, sat quietly in the same room, just outside the
circle of players.  She calmly contemplated the various emotions
that floated around her and through her.
     "Worf?" queried Riker.
     A soft, low rumble.  "Hmmmm... I will take three cards," Worf
finally replied.
     "I'll take three as well," Beverly Crusher chimed in.
     "Very well," Riker answered.  "Data?"
     "I will take one card," replied the golden-eyed and gold-
skinned android, who was wearing a vintage twentieth century
dealer's cap on his head.
     "Dealer takes two," Will Riker said, as he discarded two
useless cards into the pile and placed two fresh cards down in
front of himself.  As he began to arrange the new cards into his
hand, he quickly smiled and then just as quickly stifled it. 
"Worf?"
     "I'll bet ten," the Klingon Security Chief grumbled as he
tossed two chips into the pile.
     "I'm in," the Doctor replied, unconsciously running two
fingers through her bright red hair before tossing two chips into
the center of the table, causing the pile to suddenly rearrange
itself to accommodate the additional load.
     Then Data challenged, "I'll match your ten and add ten more." 
He reached for his neatly stacked chips, selected four, and
carefully dropped them on the now over-flowing pile.
     A large, left hand reached up and cupped it's owner's chin,
slowly and methodically caressing the soft, reddish-brown whiskers.
"Hmmmmm.  Ok...  I'll see your twenty and... will add fifty more,"
Riker said calmly, answering 'the challenge' with a handful of
chips thrown into the midst of the pile in the center.  He then
turned his head slightly to face the android, giving him his most
devious version of a smile.
     Data squinted, head thrust forward slightly, as he carefully
looked into Will Riker's twinkling blue eyes.  He moved his head a
little closer, trying to garner any additional visual image data
that could assist him in deciding whether his superior officer was
bluffing.  He finally observed very formally, "I believe you are
bluffing, sir." 
     Riker raised an eyebrow, a smile slowly creeping higher along
his cheekbones.  "Are you sure Mister Data?"
     "Sir, as you know, I have made it a point to study and record
as many Human facial expressions as I can, in order to attempt to
better predict the emotional state of the individual."
     "Data... I know you must be aware of the so-called 'poker
face," Beverly commented.
     "Of course, Doctor.  However, I have found from experience
that the infamous poker face, as it were, is not as neutral or non-
revealing as one may believe.  In fact, I have found in my research
that in nearly one in every... "
     "Worf!!  Your bet," Riker suddenly interrupted, saving the
room's inhabitants from a complex dissertation into the variations
of Human facial appearances as a result of exposure to multiple
internal or external stimuli.  Complete with the relevant
statistical data.
     "The bets are TOO high.  I fold."  And with that, Worf
gathered together his cards and neatly laid them down in a pile. 
He then folded his hands on the table in front of him, closing his
mouth tightly and grinding his teeth back and forth, in order to
stifle a groan.
     "Don't look at me!" Beverly Crusher added.  "I'll save my
chips for another hand."  She quickly tossed her cards on the
table.
     "Data?"  The eyebrow raised again as Riker's face took on a
new look, one of pure bemusement.
     Data frowned.  This expression had been learned and utilized
by him very early on, as he found that Humans often used a frown to
indicate a sense of frustration, confusion, or intense
concentration.  He tilted his head downwards slightly, to better
imitate the look of concentrating on the cards in his hand.  His
downcast eyes quickly shifted to his left, in an attempt to capture
any last minute change of expression in Will Riker's face. 
Suddenly he replied, "I will match your fifty and raise you twenty
more.  And... " he added, "I call."  Six chips landed
unceremoniously on the pile.
     "Hmph... Ok."  A pause.  Then with each word drawn out,
"Here... you... go!" Riker said, answering the 'call' and 'the
challenge', as he carefully lay seven red cards, face up, in front
of him on the table.  With a nasty smirk he said, "Looks like it's
my lucky day."
     Interrupting, Data replied, "I am afraid not, Commander," and
he placed his hand on Riker's, halting a motion towards the center
of the table that served as the temporary home to the promised
payoff.
     Again, Riker raised his eyebrow, a slightly perceptible
tenseness beginning to etch into his forehead.
     With a smirk, equal to that of Riker's just moments earlier,
Data carefully laid seven spades on the table and replied, "A Royal
Flush beats a Straight, if I am not mistaken."  His glowing yellow
eyes slowly shifted their position and focus to intercept the now
vacant eyes of the First Officer.
     Riker slowly retracted his hand away from the bets and weakly
responded, "So it does.  I guess it's not my lucky day after
all..."
     "So it seems," Data quickly retorted, with just a slight hint
of sarcasm creeping into his voice.  He reached out across the
table to his well-earned winnings and pulled them over to a small,
clear area in front of him.
     Beverly Crusher teased, "Well Will, looks like Data's research
on Human facial expressions has improved quite a bit lately, don't
you think?"
     Worf, previously sitting quietly, suddenly harumphed, with his
black eyes on fire.  "Enough!"  He grabbed the deck of cards and
began to furiously shuffle them.  "It is my turn to deal and we
shall see if the Commander can read MY face."
     Another 'challenge', but the seriousness of Lt. Worf's
comments were beyond Data's comprehension as he again began to
expound on his thoughts and observations regarding the situation,
to anyone and everyone around him.
     "It is true Lieutenant, that I have not had much time to study
Klingon emotional states as they relate to their ultimate
translation into facial expressions, however... "
     "Data... " Crusher said, interrupting him as usual, in mid-
sentence.
     "Sorry," Data quickly responded.  Of late, he had found
himself lapsing back into an old habit of expressing his new found
knowledge during the most inopportune moments and in an
irritatingly verbose manner.  He noted that this behavior pattern
had begun to re-emerge not long after his recent experiences with
some newly found, internal dream programs and his short but
devastating encounter with his first 'real' emotion.
     Riker glanced over to the still silent observer in the room
and queried, "Deanna, 'sure you don't want to play?"
     "Yes Deanna, come on over and join in," Beverly prodded.  "I
hate to see you sitting there looking so gloomy."
     Softly Deanna responded, "I'm fine.  I just want to watch,
that's all.  Besides, how best to really learn the ins and outs of
this game then from observing?"
     "Suit yourself.  Worf?" Riker interjected.
     "Cut!"  Worf always seemed to take 'the challenge' or any
other challenge, too seriously.  Tonight was no different.
     Riker deftly cut the cards and Worf swiftly dealt each player
their hands.  The four players then threw a few chips each, into
the center of the table.
     "I'll take three," Beverly said as she tossed three of her
cards onto the table and smiled as Worf placed three new cards onto
the table in front of her.
     "Give me two," Data replied, discarding two cards and
receiving two.
     "Hmmm... "  A calculated pause as Riker contemplated,
intensely studying his hand.  I'll take... "
     "Picard to Riker."
     Riker looked up suddenly and tapped his com badge.  "Riker
here."
     "I apologize for the interruption Number One, but could you
come to my Ready Room please?  There are some urgent matters that
we need to discuss," the Enterprise Captain stated, without a hint
of emotion.
     Riker sighed.  "Aye sir.  On my way.  Riker out."  He tapped
his com badge a second time, terminating the connection.  "Well
folks, looks like I'll have to do this another time."  Glancing
over to the Ship's Counselor again he offered, "Deanna, how 'bout
taking over in my place?"
     Troi teasingly retorted, "What for?  You appear to be losing!"
     "Gee thanks," Riker responded with a resigned look, placing
his cards face down on the table.  He then maneuvered around Worf's
chair, glided across the small room and disappeared down a hallway
outside the swiftly closing door.  He quickly headed for the
nearest turbolift that would take him to the main Bridge. "So much
for the 'R and R'," he commented to himself.

                              -----

     "Come."  Jean-Luc Picard sat slightly hunched over, one hand
cupping the side of his face, the other grasping a liquid filled
glass mug, as he intently studied the data padd in front of him. 
His First Officer entered the room.
     "Sir?" Riker queried, bracing himself for word of some
assignment that was guaranteed to destroy any chance he had for
taking a few days off for a vacation.
     "Ah Will, have a seat.  Take a look at this.  You may find it
very interesting."  Picard leaned forward, extending his arm
towards Riker to hand him the padd.
     Riker stepped over to the nearest chair, pulled it out from
under the table and carefully eased into it, taking the small unit.
He glanced at the display, intermittently pressing the small area
on the smooth, black control surface, that activated a scrolling
mechanism for the data.  "Hmmm," he murmured.
     As he read further, his face began to alternately take on a
look of part confusion and part amusement.  In an attempt to be
respectful to his senior officer he glanced up and carefully asked,
"Pardon me sir, but what is it that I am looking at that you find
so interesting?"  He handed the padd back to Picard.
     Picard smiled, took the pro-offered padd, and sat back in his
chair.  "This is the transcript that we just received from Station
LL-5.  Granted, on the surface it appears to be routine ship to
ship communications.  However, LL-5 also sent us a copy of the
audio recording, the actual voices behind the words."
     "I see...  Again I ask, what is it about that," Riker
repeated, gesturing towards the padd, "that's different from what
we've seen or heard before?"
     "It's a mystery, Number One," Picard replied, with a twinkle
in his eye.  Then, with a more serious tone he added, "Perhaps I'm
being unfair.  Let me give you some more information that may help
clear up your confusion.  Not only were no life-forms detected
aboard those ships, but the audio recording, although poor in
quality, was carefully analyzed and the conclusion was that the
voices were mechanical.  Or, for lack of a better word,
synthesized."
     "Mechanical?  Synthesized?"  A long pause and then a
revelation. "The Borg...?"  Riker suddenly bolted upright in his
chair.  The Borg.  That's all he needed right now.  A once deadly
and now totally confused group of beings who were part-Humanoid and
part-machine.  In spite of a wave of individualism that appeared to
be spreading like wild fire throughout the known Borg Collective,
the memories of their past atrocities did not sit well with the
Commander.
     "Not likely, Number One.  Judging from information obtained
from our encounters with and study of several members of the Borg,
the data that we have gathered suggests that they have shown a
distinct preference for the use of a more biological means of
vocalization, rather than the use of some artificial construct."
     "Maybe the ships themselves are some sort of artificially
intelligent life form, or were programmed by others to be such,
like that organism we encountered a number of years ago, we called
'Tin Man'?" Riker surmised.
     "Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  However, if you recall, 'Tin Man'
could only function properly with the help of an organic,
telepathic species, in a symbiotic-type relationship." 
     "Well, looks like we're running out of choices, Captain."
     "In a situation such as this, there are always other choices
and other possibilities, Number One.  We need more information,
more 'clues', if you will, before we can come to any conclusion. 
I want you to take charge of this investigation, Will, as a
personal favor.  As soon as Astrophysics completes it's survey of
this sector, I want you to set a course for Station LL-5 and have
Data and Geordi enhance our scanning capability to boost our
reception of the unusual frequencies that were carrying these
transmissions."
     "Aye sir," Riker responded, while standing and easing around
the chair.  "Oh, by the way sir, Geordi requested that we take some
key systems off-line so that he can perform a Level IV diagnostic. 
He figured that since things were relatively quiet, now would be a
good time."
     "Sounds like a prudent move, Number One.  You should still
proceed with the mission.  So far, it doesn't yet appear that those
unidentified ships have any hostile intentions."
     Riker nodded, turned, and left the room.  Picard pulled his 
chair closer to the table.  He again tilted his head forward and
balanced it on one hand.  He brought the steaming mug to his lips,
took a sip of the fragrant clear brown liquid, and resumed his
study of the padd.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 02/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:18:17 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
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Message-ID: <5i8zAmh.bjhenry@delphi.com>
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                              Dusk

                               II


     The hum of the great ship's powerful engines were muffled in
the darkened, cavernous room.  The soft glow of the recessed
lighting splashed on the room's walls, barely illuminating the
floor of the Command Center.  Baltar relished the darkness,
silence, and solitude of this room with it's giant throne.  He
often retreated to this place when he needed the time to quietly
reflect on his status among the race of mechanical men whom he
presently controlled.  He was exceedingly aware that these very
robot soldiers were programmed to ultimately destroy all of his own
kind.
     The latest Imperious Leader on the Cylon home world had grown
impatient with him as he futilely attempted to explain about the
ways of Humans like himself and how only he, alone, could lead the
Cylon Empire to that one group they disdained enough to eliminate
from the known universe.
     Baltar knew his days were numbered.  But he was torn between
his lust for the intoxicating power afforded him by being given the
command of a Cylon Baseship, with it's powerful lasers and
complement of 300 fighters; and his urge to flee while he still
could, to save his own life.  He had been forced to escape a second
time from Adama's prison cells.  Prison!  What thanks!  Even after
he had freely given his assistance in the Galactica's successful
infiltration and destruction of a Baseship similar to the one he
now controlled.  Never again would he put his trust in that man, no
matter what the cost. 
     As he sat there puzzling over his fate, the crystalline glass
doors to the room slid open and a lone figure quietly entered.  The
figure moved towards the bright circle that formed on the floor in
front of the grand throne, the result of a solitary spotlight
shining downwards from the high ceiling.  The figure, an IL Series,
now suddenly revealed in the illuminated circle, had a dark bronze,
oblong head, displaying dual red scanning eyes and numerous
microprocessor activity lights that continuously blinked in a
randomized fashion.  As was custom when addressing a superior, the
visitor bowed low while announcing his presence with an impossible
silky-smooth voice.  "By your command."
     Baltar, now jolted from his reverie, quickly pushed the small
lighted button under his hand that activated the throne's servo-
mechanism.  The great chair then began to revolve around it's base
to allow Baltar to face his uninvited guest.  "What is it Lucifer?"
he said with a not so slight hint of irritation in his voice.
     "I am sorry to disturb your meditations Baltar," Lucifer
replied, stifling the sarcasm in his voice, "but what I have to say
may be of great interest to you."
     "The only thing that would be of great interest to me, my dear
friend, is your telling me that we have finally located the
Galactica and are preparing to intercept them."
     Lucifer allowed for a brief but effective pause before
speaking again.  This was going to be more difficult than he
previously thought.  "I am afraid not Baltar, however I wish to
report that one of our long range patrols has begun to detect some
unusual transmissions.  These signals seem to indicate signs of
intelligent life.  In fact, it appears that we may have stumbled
upon a number of uncharted settlements near that quadrant."
     "Intel..li..gent life... " Baltar echoed, stretching out the
syllables in a way that matched his caustic mood.  He quickly
swallowed the inflammatory response he originally intended and
instead said, "Send out a patrol to the source of those signals. 
And Lucifer, the next time you come to me, you had better have more
information on your so-called 'intelligent life'."
     "As you wish, Baltar.  By your command," Lucifer said dryly. 
He bowed again and deftly swirled in place, his long red and gold
cape sparkling as he moved, catching the faint rays of the room's
lighting and causing an eery aura around him.  As he approached the
door, he commented aloud to himself in a barely audible voice, "I
will never understand these Humans."
     As if in possession of a superior auditory sense, Baltar
suddenly called out to his assistant, "What was that Lucifer?  I
didn't hear you clearly."
     Lucifer suddenly halted in place and without turning to face
his accuser he recited, "Nothing, Baltar.  Just some irrelevant
observations.  Nothing to get upset about." 
     "I should hope not, Lucifer," Baltar said with a very
threatening tone in his voice.
     Sweetly, Lucifer replied, "Of course."  The Cylon quickly
exited the room, chiding himself for expressing his displeasure
aloud.  He filed the details of this latest misstep into his long-
term memory and programmed a reminder to himself not to let this
happen again, especially when his Commander was within earshot.
     As soon as the doors shut completely, Baltar sighed heavily. 
"Finally," he said aloud to no one in particular.  He touched the
button for the servo and the great chair swung around, with the
back again facing the door.

                              -----

     "Hey Starbuck, stay with us, will ya?!" yelled Jolly as he
watched a single, asterisk-shaped blip on his monitor move further
and further ahead of the group.
     "Starbuck, look... " said Apollo, who also watched as the
single fighter broke out of formation.  "It's dangerous out here
and we're gonna have to stay together, so get your tail back here,
NOW!". 
     "Come on, guys.  How are we ever gonna find out what's really
out here unless we take some chances?" Starbuck finally replied.
     "Spoken like a true hero," mumbled Boomer.
     "Or a crazy fool," added Jolly.  Then he shouted, "Starbuck,
I'm losing my fix on you.  By all the Lords of Kobol, don't go any
further!  When are you going to grow up and learn to quit foolin'
around so much?!"
     "Starbuck!!  As Commander of this Squadron, I order you to
slow up!!" yelled Apollo, in his most authoritarian voice.
     "I'm moving up to get a fix on him.  Jolly, watch my back and
look for my signal," Boomer suddenly interrupted.
     "Boomer!  Stay put!" cried Apollo, no longer suppressing his
anger.  "This insubordination has got to stop!"
     "'S'all right Apollo, I got Jolly on my scanner and I'm
picking up Starbuck right now.  No wait... Jolly, 'you have him?" 
Boomer asked, with panic creeping into his voice.
     "No.  I lost him a few microns ago.  Wait... Stand by.  I
think I... Yeah, there he is... Got 'em!  No... No wait,
something's wrong. It's gone again.  Too much... there's too much
interference."
     "Starbuck, come in Starbuck.  Starbuck, do you read.  Come
IN!" demanded Apollo to his now scrambling monitor.  The crackling,
audio response coming from his helmet produced a deep pain in his
gut.  'Why?  Why?  I've been through this before with him.  Why
does he keep doing this to me?' he said to himself.  Suddenly the
image of Zack, his now-deceased baby brother, flashed in his mind. 
He frantically tried to push the painful images from his thoughts,
but they persisted.  He didn't have time to dredge up those old
memories.  Especially the one when he was forced to leave his
brother behind in a damaged Viper while both were returning to the
Galactica after a particularly harrowing patrol duty.  Ultimately,
they needed to get back to the Colonies in time to warn the
Colonial Fleet's twelve Battlestars of a pending attack by a large,
incoming Cylon task force.  Zack never made it back.  'Gods!  It
seemed like that happened a thousand yahrens ago.  I must get
control of the situation,' Apollo again remarked to himself.  Aloud
he asked, "Boomer, anything?"
     "Negative, sir.  He just vanished off my scanner."
     "Jolly?" queried Apollo.
     "Nothing Skipper.  The signal was there and then it suddenly
disappeared in screenful of snow," Jolly replied with frustration.
     "What do we do?  We can't just leave him out here," Boomer
remarked.
     "Boomer, if you check your fuel gauges, you'll see that we
barely have enough to get back to the Galactica as it is.  If we
return now, we could try boosting her long-range sensors to try and
locate him.  If necessary, we could have the Galactica temporarily
leave the Fleet to look for him.  Either way, we have to go back
now," Apollo said.
     "But Apollo!" Boomer frantically injected.
     "That's an order, Lieutenant!"
     "Aye sir," Boomer finally responded, with resignation.
     "Jolly?"
     "I'm with you, Skipper."
     "Ok, let's go," Apollo said firmly.
     The trio of Vipers simultaneously executed a perfect split and
roll, propelling the now defeated pilots back towards home.

                              -----

     Apollo slowly tiptoed through the small, darkened cabin that
he shared with his young son, and earlier shared with his now
deceased wife, Serina.  The images of Zack began to flood his
thoughts again, joined now by the memory of his last words to
Serina, as the spirit left her body and him, forever alone in the
universe.  He shivered slightly and thought, was he really all
alone?  Her son... their son was here, lying asleep a few metrons
away.  His father Adama, and sister Athena, stood guard on the
Bridge only a few decks above.  Small comfort.  First Zack, then
his mother, then Serina, now possibly Starbuck.  How much more of
this could he take?  
     He too, had heard the grumblings of the Colonial refuges, as
they began to demand that Adama stop chasing his fantasies and
settle on the next habitable planet that the Fleet encountered.  He
was beginning to agree.  This was no place to raise a small child,
especially one who was old enough to be aware of all the events
going on around him, but was still too young to know how to cope
with them.
     Apollo continued through the room towards his bed, pulling off
his jacket and barely conscious of his surroundings when he was
suddenly startled back to reality by a piercing "YIP!" beneath his
foot.  He had inadvertently stepped on Muffit's tail, sending the
little robot daggit scampering away.  "Frack!" Apollo almost
yelled, as he re-adjusted his footing after almost sprawling onto
the floor.
     A soft, sleepy voice drifted out of an adjoining bedroom. 
"Dad?  Is that you?"
     Moving quickly and more carefully to the tiny bedroom, Apollo
knelt beside the bed where the small boy lay and whispered, "Hey,
I thought you were supposed to be asleep."
     "I was until I heard Muffit," Boxey said innocently.
     "Muffit's Ok.  Go back to sleep," Apollo replied, while gently
stroking his son's soft hair and pulling the blanket around his
body.
     "I heard about Starbuck," Boxey said, out of thin air.
     "What?  Heard what, Boxey?"
     "Everyone was talking about it."
     "Talking about what?"
     "Talking about how Starbuck got lost out on patrol."
     "Who told you that?"  A panicky pause.  "Besides, I was with
him Boxey, and I know he's Ok," Apollo lied, as he tried to hide
the fear creeping into his voice.
     "Dad," Boxey began to lecture, "I'm not a baby anymore, I'm
almost 7 yahrens old.  You don't have to pretend to me."
     Apollo tried to swallow the large lump that suddenly formed in
his throat.  Boxey's innate awareness of what was happening around
him was a scary development.  How could he satisfactorily explain
something to a young boy that he couldn't readily explain to
himself?  "Boxey... "
     "Look Dad, it's not your fault.  You'll find Starbuck.  I know
you will."
     Apollo sighed heavily.  How could he sit here and lie to his
son?  "Don't worry Boxey.  We'll find him.  Alright?"  He could
just barely make out the small smile that crept on Boxey's face. 
He then bent down, kissed him on the forehead, tucked the covers
around him, and tiptoed out of the bedroom.  He sat down on his own
bed, bent over and covered his face with his hands.  When would his
nightmare finally come to an end?

                              --o--

First Officer's Log.  Stardate 47235.8

"Lieutenant Commander LaForge has completed his Level IV diagnostic
on ship's systems and the Enterprise's warp engines are now back on
line.

Also, Astrophysics has indicated that their charting of this sector
is completed and thus we are now ready to pursue our next
assignment... to investigate the reports from a Federation Science
station, regarding some ship to ship communications transmissions
from an unknown but apparently intelligent life form.  Riker out."

                              -----

     "Helm, plot a course for Station LL-5," Riker ordered, as he
paced back and forth, hands behind his back.  He stopped in the
center of the room, just behind the Helm and Ops stations.
     "Aye sir, course plotted... and laid in," replied Ensign
Davids at the Helm.
     "Captain?" Riker queried, as Picard suddenly emerged from the
Ready Room, strolled out onto the Bridge, and sat down in the
Command chair.
     "Sorry Number One.  I just received another communique from
LL-5 and it seems there may be some complications after all.  Their
transmission was cut-off somehow, from the source.  Warp 6 Ensign."
     "Aye sir, Warp 6."
     "Engage," Picard ordered, while punching a few buttons on his
control panel.
     The previously static display of shimmering stars was suddenly
transformed into long streaks, as the great ship surged ahead at
warp speed.  Everyone aboard could swear they felt the ship shudder
as the powerful engines engaged.  It was really only their
imagination.
     "I am curious, sir," Data suddenly remarked.  "Our last long-
range sensor reports from that sector indicated that the entire
region near the Station was experiencing the residual effects of a
collision between a comet and a large asteroid.  There is a large
concentration of Cosmic and other high-frequency EM energy
overspreading the entire area.  Would that not affect long-range
communications?"
     "Which perhaps also explains why they chose to shut down their
primary long-range sensors for routine maintenance when they did,"
Picard concluded.  "A good time to 'ride out the storm', I expect."
     "Correct, sir.  Traditional, unmodified long-range sensors
would probably be useless due to the large amount of interference,"
Data replied.
     "Estimated time of arrival, Mister Data?" Riker asked.
     "At current speed, 10 hours, 27 minutes, sir."
     "Very good.  You have the Bridge Number One, I'll be in my
quarters, should you need me," Picard announced, while standing and
simultaneously jerking his uniform top down into place. 
     "Aye sir," replied Riker, his eyes following his superior
officer as he briskly walked around the rail, up the ramp, and into
a waiting turbolift.  Riker then sighed, spun around in place and
settled into the Command chair, not looking forward to the long
night ahead. 

                              -----

Ten Forward was almost deserted when Deanna entered.  She selected
a table in the corner near the lounge's panoramic windows.  A lone
waiter arrived and after giving him her order, she carefully rubbed
her temples, balanced her chin on two upright fists, and sighed
heavily, staring out into nothingness.
     She occasionally glanced down at the reflective black surface
of the table, watching the sparkling streaks of starlight dance an
eery dance across the veneer.  Slowly, hypnotically, the streaks
began to fade away and when she looked up as if in a trance, a
gentle, familiar voice drifted across the expanse of her mind in a
tone that belied its source.  "Seems you're a bit out of sorts
today," the voice said.
     Deanna suddenly snapped back into full awareness, shaking her
head slightly to clear the cobwebs from her mind, and she then
turned towards the voice's owner, responding weakly, "Umm, I guess
you could say that."
     "I guess I could say that?" echoed Guinan in an inquisitive
but humorous tone.  She carefully placed a glass dish containing a
double chocolate sundae, with chocolate chips, down in front of the
befuddled Deanna.  "Guess nothing!" she finally added.  "The only
time I've seen you order this much chocolate was when you were
really feeling depressed."
     A sigh.  "I guess so... " Deanna replied.
     "Mind if I join you?"
     "Be my guest," she answered reluctantly.  Troi wasn't really
in the mood for company, however.
     "Mind if we talk about it?" Guinan asked after immediately
sitting down at the table, opposite to Troi.
     "Apparently you didn't come all the way over here to watch me
eat my ice cream," Deanna responded, trying hard to keep the
irritation out of her voice.
     "Apparently not," Guinan replied evenly.  "But considering the
fact that when I get customers in here, well into their sleep
periods... nine out of ten times there's something wrong.  So, I
ask you again.  Do you want to talk about it?"
     Deanna sighed again, a sadness creeping across her face as she
tried to explain.  "Well... it's... it's... "  Then she blurted, "I
keep thinking about Will Riker, no... not Will, Thomas.  He's
Thomas now." 
     "Ahh... that's caused a bit of a disconcerting situation now,
hasn't it?"
     "Guinan, there's something about him that... How should I put
it?  Something that appeals to me.  Yes, I guess that's a good way
to put it.  He's so like, but then again, so different from Will."
     "Well, he has lived an entirely different life than the
Commander.  However, I expect him to become one hell of an officer
some day," Guinan prophesied.
     "That's not what I was thinking about.  It's... it's his
personality.  I wish... I wish I could describe my feelings better.
I've found myself strongly attracted to him.  To his gentleness and
his concern."  Troi began to muse, "Our short time together
reminded me of old times, back when we first met on Betazed. 
Granted, back then I wasn't exactly head over heels about him.  And
I guess that I was a bit rude and impatient with him at times
but... "
     "This, as opposed to the how you now feel about Commander
Riker?  Where the events and circumstances and experiences he has
encountered over the past seven years have influenced him and
irrevocably changed him?" Guinan teased, playing the devil's
advocate as she was wont to do.
     "Will seems to have become more distant to me over the years. 
Nowadays, his ambitions keep getting in the way."
     "His ambitions?  What about yours?"
     "Mine?  What do you mean?" Deanna suddenly responded, with a
defensive quiver in her voice.
     "Come on Deanna.  You told me shortly after Lieutenant Riker,
uh, Thomas left, that he asked you to come with him."
     Deanna frowned and said, "Yes, I know, and I wanted to go so
badly."
     "Then why didn't you?"
     "Why?"  Troi's face began to alternate between confusion and
sadness.  "I don't know.  I just... well, I just didn't feel like
I was ready."
     "Ready for what?  To fall in love with him or to leave your
position?" said the devil's best friend.
     "What...?  What are you driving at?  Is this really
necessary?" Deanna retorted, this time with clear irritation in her
voice.
     "Sure it is," Guinan replied matter of factly.  "Unless you're
planning on scooping up some of the glass at the bottom of your
dish.... Seems that dish is very empty," she said, nodding towards
the sundae dish after smoothly changing the subject of
conversation.  Guinan was a master at effectively diffusing what
could have become a tense situation.  She mischievously raised the
area on her face, where her eyebrows should have been and looked
directly into Deanna's burning eyes.
     Troi suddenly looked away, shifting her gaze to the spoon in
her hand and then down to her dish and sure enough, she had eaten
the entire thing.  "I better be going.  It is well past my
bedtime."
     "Think about it," the voice said, returning from nowhere.
     "Huh?"
     "Think about what you really want in your life," the voice
replied.
     Deanna pushed the empty dish away from her, after she placed
the spoon inside.  When she stood up, she suddenly began feeling
very exhausted.  She looked around and found that the room was now
completely empty.  Guinan, in her peculiar, stealthy manner had
again abandoned her here with some prophetic words of wisdom
pounding steadily in her head.  'What is it that I do really want
in my life?' she thought to herself.  She crossed the silent room,
exited through the double wood and glass doors and turned a corner
into the hallway.
     As soon as the doors swished shut, Guinan carefully stood up
from behind her counter, a cloth and a tumbler in her hand, slowly
rubbing the glass until it shined.   Her mysterious black eyes
twinkled when she looked up from her work, and a small smile began
to form on her face.

                              --o--

     Casseopia seemed preoccupied as she walked into the Officer's
Club and carefully sat down at a small table, well away from a
particularly boisterous group of Colonial Warriors.  They were
laughing heartily, obviously drunk, and otherwise having a good
time.  Was it her imagination or did everyone seem like they had
not a care in the world?  She barely sensed the other presence that
quietly sat down across from her and when she looked up, she was
surprised to see that it was Athena.
     It was a shame that the two of them had first met, way back,
under such difficult circumstances.  Both had been and still were
rivals for Lt. Starbuck's attention.  Casseopia greatly admired
Athena's bold personality, unstoppable spunk and exotic beauty and
she was convinced that Athena was very much 'her father's
daughter'.  Unfortunately, she also felt that Athena's naivety and
overt expressions of jealousy, would ultimately keep her from being
taken seriously.
     "Soooo... " Athena began, addressing the blonde-haired woman
sitting across from her after finding what she thought was a safe
opening for starting a conversation.
     "Yes, I know about Starbuck," Casseopia responded with
irritation, for about the hundredth time today.
     "Listen, I just came here to, you know, get a drink or
something, and I thought that... well... you could use the
company," Athena explained, a bit defensively.
     "I see... " came the retort, a little too icy than planned.
     "Look, if you want to be left alone, I'll just go." Athena
spat out as she immediately stood up and started to move away.
     Casseopia suddenly grabbed the departing woman's arm, to stop
her.
     "No.  Please... I'm sorry.  I'm just, well you know... I guess
I'm just a little irritable, that's all.  For the past few
centaurs, it seems that everyone and their brother has come to me
to remind me of... "
     "Yeah, I know.  I guess that can really be a hassle.  I
mean... It must be a real pain for you at times."
     "'A pain' is a rather nice way of putting it."
     "Well, if there's anything I can do... " Athena offered.
     "No.  Really... I think I should just turn in, you know, be by
myself for a while.  Look, I really appreciate your concern.  I'll
be fine.  I'm just a little tired.  Especially after running around
with Boxey and all.  Good night, Athena," Casseopia said as she
abruptly stood up and gracefully maneuvered around the table.
     "`Night," Athena replied softly, watching as Casseopia glided
across the room like a fairy princess and sashayed through the
door.  "Why does everyone always crave after her?" she moaned to
herself.  "She's still just your run of the mill Socialator,
Medical Technician or not.  That's all.  And besides, I know more
about Starbuck than she ever will!" she tried to justify to
herself.  She sighed, took a sip from her mug, and started humming
softly, while faintly tapping some familiar childhood rhythm on the
table's surface with her fingers.

                              -----

     "Apollo!  Boomer!  Anybody!  Come in!  Do you read me?  Come
in dammit!"
     Starbuck was beginning to lose his cool, figuring that things
couldn't get any worse than they already were.  Until he looked
down at his fuel gauge.  "FRACK!" he yelled aloud.  "What in the
Gods is wrong with me??  I've gone and done it again!   So busy
trying to be macho."
     The interference increased on his scanners as he attempted to
adjust the frequencies.  His navigation indicator was going haywire
and he had no idea where the hell he was and how to get back to his
Squadron.  "Felgercarb!!"  
     Out of anger and frustration, he slammed his fist into the
monitor controls, causing no damage or change to the instrument
readings, but causing a rather nasty cut on his hand.  "Frack!" he
now painfully yelled again.  "Ok... easy, easy flyboy," he said
aloud.  "Just calm down and think straight.  I've been in worse
situations than this, that's for sure."
     He immediately switched on his homing beacon and tried to
adjust his sensors to cut through the electronic soup, in an effort
to locate some nearby planet with a breathable atmosphere.  The
scrambled signals continued.  "Well Starbuck, looks like your luck
has just run out... "  He again began to frantically push buttons,
turn dials, and flick switches, while cursing to himself.  
     "Where is C.O.R.A. when you need her?" he suddenly exclaimed. 
He then began to chuckle at the thought of that specially built
computer module for Colonial Vipers, nicknamed 'CORA'.  The name
was actually an acronym for something, which for the life of him,
he couldn't remember.  What he did remember was the sexy female
voice behind the machinery that was C.O.R.A.  The system was
designed so that the pilot could quickly interact with and control,
through the C.O.R.A. interface, most of the ship's functions using
verbal commands.  Or, should he more accurately admit, it was
C.O.R.A. who appeared to run the whole show.  Come to think of it,
'CORA' was downright insubordinate, always questioning his commands
and nearly getting him killed on several occasions.  In fact,
'CORA' seemed to operate with a mind of her own!
     "Frack!" he yelled again, as he drove from his mind those now
ludicrous memories of his thankfully brief experience with a wise-
cracking ship.  He furiously began to fumble with more switches and
buttons.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!europa.eng.gtefsd.com!newsxfer.itd.umich.edu!gumby!yale!yale!yale.edu!noc.near.net!news.delphi.com!usenet
~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 03/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:18:50 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
~Lines: 515
Message-ID: <5A8RAWq.bjhenry@delphi.com>
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                          Early Evening

                               III


     "Bridge to Captain Picard."
     Jean-Luc Picard was in the little front courtyard of his house
on Kataan.  He was seated on the stepped, stone wall connected to
the side of the house, his shoes scattered haphazardly on the
ground in front of him.  Once again, he began playing his beloved
flute.  The sweet melody echoed through the streets of the village
and drifted up into the hills.  A soft breeze lightly caressed his
sunburned face, quickly drying a trickle of sweat that threatened
to fall into his eye.  He stopped playing and sighed, wiping
another droplet from his forehead.  "Boy was it hot today," he
remarked to the darkening sky. "But then again, it's hot every day.
In fact, it seems that with each passing day, it grows hotter and
hotter."
     "Data to Captain Picard."
     "Eh?  Qu'est ce que ce?  What was that?"  A voice.  A man's
voice.  From where?  He peered down the tiny streets of the
village, which were now lit with the soft glow of lamps.
     Picard stirred in his bed, wrapping the covers around him as
he put the flute down beside him.  He strained to look upwards into
the penetrating darkness of the hills behind his house.
     "Come in Captain, this is the Bridge!"
     Suddenly Captain Picard bolted upright in the bed in his
darkened cabin.  He shook his head, tried to gather together his
senses, and fathom the meaning behind the strange but familiar
images that lingered in his conscious from his dream.  Out of a
long practiced habit he immediately replied, "Picard here."
     "Sorry to wake you sir, but the long-range sensors appear to
have detected three small ships, moving in formation towards the
Science Station.  Identity unknown, configuration unknown.  Unable
to confirm any known life-forms," Data recited neutrally.
     "I'm on my way.  Picard out," he responded, while bounding out
of his bed and grabbing the uniform he neatly folded across his
chair.
     A few minutes later, a confident and now fully awake Captain
strolled onto the Bridge and glided down the carpeted ramp.  His
Second Officer, Lieutenant Commander Data quickly vacated the
Captain's chair in deference to its owner and immediately moved to
his assigned station at Ops.
     Where is Commander Riker?" Picard asked, looking around the
Bridge in confusion.
     "He is in Engineering sir, with Geordi.  They are jointly
working on a special modification to the primary sensor arrays. 
Apparently, the Commander has had some experience with this type of
modification before."
     "I see.  Status Mister Data?"
     "The unidentified ships appear to still be moving towards the
Science Station.  They will soon enter into the path of debris and
electronic interference caused by the asteroid collision.  I have
been attempting to narrow the sensor sweep in order to penetrate
the subspace distortions."
     "Are we within communications range, Commander?" Picard
queried.
     "Barely, but I believe that our signal may be strong enough to
get through."
     "Open hailing frequencies, Mister Worf."
     "Hailing frequencies open, sir," Worf grumbled.
     "This is Jean-Luc Picard, in command of the United Federation
of Planets' Starship, Enterprise.  Unidentified vessels, please
respond."
     Silence.
     "This is Captain Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
Please identify yourselves."
     Worf now responded, "No reply, sir."
     "Data, are our hails reaching those vessels?" asked Picard.
     "Unknown sir.  The unidentified ships continue to move towards
the interference and I am afraid that at this distance, our
transmissions are most likely experiencing some sort of repulsion
effect.  Apparently, we are still too far away to fully penetrate
the cloud."
     "Very well Commander.  Increase speed to Warp 7 and notify me
of any change in our status.  I'll be in my Ready Room if you need
me.  You have the 'Comm'."
     "Aye sir," Data replied as his fingers swiftly danced across
his console, entering some final commands before he returned to the
Command chair.

                              --o--

     If it had been a daggit, it surely would have bit him.  With
all his concentration focussed on clearing the noise on his sensor
monitor, a small satellite had suddenly appeared before his very
eyes, directly in his Viper's path.  He manipulated a few controls
on his scanner in an attempt to determine the atmospheric content
of the object ahead of him.  "It can't be," he mumbled, as the
information began scrolling on his screen from his short-range
sensor.  As his ship moved closer to the planetoid, the
interference decreased, just enough to verify a breathable
atmosphere.
     He sat back in his seat, confused.  The sensors had to be
deceiving him.  He knew that he had the luck of the Galactica going
for him, but this was too good to be true.  "And you know what they
say about things that are too good to be true... " Starbuck
cautioned out loud to himself.  "Of course," he then said,
recalling an old Caprican proverb, "You don't look a gift-equine in
the mouth, either."
     He was finally able to get a clear readout of the planetoid's
surface and he quickly checked the unusual, and almost unnatural
terrain, for a suitable place to land.  "By all the Gods and
Goddesses in the universe, If I can just land this baby and keep
her in one piece... " he prayed aloud.
     His awe at his good fortune was suddenly shattered as a shrill
alarm began to sound in the cockpit.  "Oh felgercarb!"  The last of
his fuel was almost depleted.  He quickly cut power to his engines
and reduced the power to life-support, in an attempt to save the
last bit of solium for re-entry and deceleration.
     "Boy Starbuck, do you get yourself into one bind after
another!" he chided to himself.  "If I make it through this one, I
promise I'll never cheat at Pyramids again!!!"  He regretted that
last promise, knowing that if he did survive to make it back to the
Galactica, this current adventure would soon become past history,
and the promise would quickly be forgotten.  He figured he would
have a doozy of a story to tell that would keep his reputation as
exciting and vibrant as ever.
     All of a sudden, the Viper began to shake violently, as it
entered the atmosphere.  The hull and cockpit temperatures began to
increase exponentially, as the small fighter plummeted towards the
planetoid's surface at incredible speeds.  He flicked a switch on
his panel to slightly increase power to his life-support, thereby
allowing it to compensate for the higher cabin temperature and
pressure.  "Hang on!" he yelled to himself.  He moved his hand
towards the three switches that activated the engines.  "Just a
little bit longer... "  
     The ship shook even more violently and as the cabin began to
pressurize, Starbuck found himself getting very light headed and
his ears felt like they were about to burst.  "Just a micron
more... " he whispered, squinting his eyes and clenching his teeth
in pain.  
     "NOW!"  He immediately flicked the three switches up and
punched three buttons, re-activating the engines while in free
fall, and with one final blast of his thrusters set to full
reverse, he pulled up on the throttle, simultaneously slowing the
ship and keeping the nose up.  The next thing he heard and felt was
a loud crash as he hit the tops of some trees.  And then the world
went completely dark.

                              -----

Adama's Journal:

"It has been nearly a centaur since we stopped receiving the homing
beacon signal from Lieutenant Starbuck's Viper.  We have moved as 
far away from the Fleet as we dare go without having the means to 
return to it quickly in case of a surprise attack.  Captain Apollo
has
requested the use of a shuttle to reach the small planetoid we have
detected just ahead of us.  I strongly protest this solution as the
interference from an apparent explosion or collision of a nearby
asteroid, makes navigation in the area nearly impossible.

Doctor Wilker is in the process of modifying the sensor controls on
both the Galactica and on one of the Vipers, in an attempt to
enhance our short range sensor capabilities.  Apollo has suggested
that the Viper could be the 'eyes and ears', so to speak, for the
shuttle, safely guiding it to the planetoid.  I am in a quandary as
to what to do."

     "Father look, we can interface the Viper's navigational
sensors with the shuttle's controls, thus allowing the shuttle to
match the Viper's moves," Apollo explained.
     "It's too risky," Adama said firmly. "Apollo, what if the
sensors suddenly become inoperative?  That could mean the end of
both the Viper and the shuttle."
     "It's a risk we'll have to take.  We can't just leave Starbuck
out there."
     Adama shook his head firmly.  "No.  Listen to me Apollo.  I
know that Starbuck is very special to both of us, but we have no
proof that he's even on that planetoid, or whether the planetoid is
suitable to support Human life."
     In an attempt to reason with his father, Apollo noted,
"According to the fuel gauges, he had to land there.  It's the only
possible choice."
     "And assuming he survived a crash landing, what then?  Is
there a suitable atmosphere on the surface?  And if so, what if
there are toxins in the air, or on the ground?"
     Interrupting, Apollo began, "But he has... "
     "Yes, I know that he has an emergency medical kit with a life
mask and protective suit, but what if he were unconscious?" Adama
added, turning away and strolling across the room.
     "Father, I will never forgive myself if I don't try.  I had to
leave Zack behind and I refuse to make the same mistake again,"
Apollo said with determination.                    .
     Adama immediately stopped in place, his back to Apollo.  He
slowly turned his head to the side and raised an eyebrow slightly,
as the source of his son's consternation was finally revealed.  "So
that's it," he said flatly.  "It's Zack, isn't it?" he continued,
fully turning his body around to look at, and then slowly moving to
stand before his oldest child.  He extended his arms and firmly
planted his hands on Apollo's shoulders. "Apollo... " he began. 
"Son.  You can't continue to harbor those feelings of guilt you
have, forever.  It's been eating away at you for a long time now. 
You did what you had to do, back then.  You did what all your
training taught you to do in a situation such as that.  You did the
right thing."
     "Did I?  Tell that to Zack!" Apollo spat out in reply, shaking
free of Adama's grasp and turning his back to him.
     "Apollo," Adama patiently began again, "the lives and well
being of my children mean more to me than anything else in the
universe.  I feel the loss of Zack more than you can ever imagine. 
But his sacrifice was not in vain.  Don't you see Apollo?" he
pleaded, "Had he not discovered those hidden tankers and had you
not made the decision to return when you did, we," he said more
firmly while gesturing to the two of them, "none of us," he
continued, with a sweeping gesture of his arm towards the window,
"among the two hundred and twenty ships of survivors would be here
today."  
     Adama turned, walked away from Apollo, and said in reflection,
"I made a decision a long time ago when I chose to pursue a career
with the Colonial Fleet, that I would not encourage my children to
follow in my path.  Unfortunately, I was not successful."
     "Father... " Apollo interrupted, turning to face the Commander
but not particularly interested in hearing the forthcoming lecture.
     "Hear me out," Adama demanded, determined to make his son
understand.  "I knew that the possibility of becoming emotionally
involved in your careers would be too powerful to resist.  When you
and your brother entered the Academy, both of you knew the risks
that you might eventually have to face, the trials that you might
have to endure.  I eventually came to accept your life choices and
although it pains me to say this, I must now also accept the
consequences of your decisions, including your sister Athena's
presence here aboard this Battlestar.  You see, when we chose this
occupation, we agreed to take the bad with the good, the bitter
with the sweet."
     "Well right now, I need the chance to right a wrong," Apollo
replied in defiance.
     Adama had heard enough.  His body suddenly stiffened as he
clenched his teeth and his fists, trying to keep control.  With
fire in his eyes, he abruptly turned and stormed across the room,
stopping directly in front of Apollo.  He pulled himself up to his
full, imposing height and grabbed his son's shoulders, anger
flaring in his voice as he said, "This is not the time nor the
place, Apollo!"
     "Father, don't you see?" Apollo managed to choke out, somewhat
shaken by his father's unexpected movement.  Weakly he pleaded, "I
have to do this."  The intensity of his father's booming voice
still hung in the air, as Apollo suddenly wished he could have been
anywhere in the universe except where he was at that moment.
     "Finding Starbuck will not bring your brother back."
     "I know that, but at least I would have tried.  And if I
succeed... "
     "And what if you don't succeed?  What if Starbuck is not on
that planetoid?  What if he's dead?" Adama replied with an angry
retort that sharply cut Apollo off.
     "I still have to try, Father.  I still have hope."
     Adama frowned and let out a heavy sigh, the weight of the
universe now beginning to rest on his shoulders.  What stubborn
children he had.  No doubt due to his long periods away from home
while they were growing up.
     He turned away again, placing his hands behind his back and
slowly walking over to the small porthole in his office.  The
serene images of twinkling stars appeared, interspersed with the
now distant, faster-running freighters and pleasure craft that held
the fragile remains of his people.  
     After a short period of silent contemplation, he slowly turned
his head towards his oldest child, flesh of his flesh and pride of
his very being.  Sighing, he solemnly indicated his approval with
a short nod of the head.  Quickly, he looked away as Apollo bounded
through the door and down the hallway towards the lift that would
take him to the Launch Bay.
     Adama looked again out into the false calm of space, with
moisture gathering in his eyes and a dull pain in his chest.  To
himself he asked, 'What Lord, have I done?'

                              -----

     "Launch Bay Control to Shuttle Alpha, you are clear to
proceed," announced the Launch Bay's monitor Rigel, who was seated
on the Galactica's Bridge.
     "This is Alpha Shuttle.  Acknowledged," replied the Blue
Squadron Flight Captain.  Apollo hit the turbo thrusters and
smoothly steered the shuttle out into the open expanse of darkness.
     "Activating navigational link," Boomer stated from his Viper.
     "Link established.  The board shows all green.  Oh and by the
way Boomer, fly normally, will ya?" came the reply from the
shuttle.
     "Aw shucks, Apollo.  I had some really nifty moves I wanted to
try out, too."
     "Not today my friend.  Gotta find our Pyramid partner, and
fast!"
     "Switching on the modified short range sensors." Boomer
interrupted.  "Still not picking up any readings from that
planetoid on long range scans.  Frack!  At this distance, none of
these sensors can penetrate that damn interference."
     "What's our ETA?"
     "Hmm... Well, by my calculations... figure just under two
centaurs at current speed before we'll be within range," Boomer
answered.
     "Acknowledged.  Let's speed it up then."
     "Right with ya."

                              -----

     "By your command."
     Baltar had now come down from his magnificent chair, the
better to pace back and forth in the silent darkness of the Command
Center while awaiting the imminent status report of the three Cylon
scout ships.  "Report," he said evenly to the unlucky bearer of the
news. 
     "Our patrol has confirmed the presence of a relatively large
space station in orbit around an apparently uninhabited satellite."
replied Lucifer.
     "A space station?  Manned by who?" Baltar exclaimed
incredulously.
     "Our scouts were unable to identify or confirm all of the
species of life forms aboard the station but they were able to
detect a possible Human presence."
     "Humans?  Aboard a space station?  Adama what is it you're up
to?  No... wait."  A beat.  "Perhaps these Humans are from the
planet Terra.  The station may even belong to the Eastern Alliance
membership."
     "I am afraid not Baltar.  According to our data, the
construction of the station is far superior to that previously
observed around Terra or any of her Lunar colonies," replied the
Cylon.
     "What do you mean 'far superior'?"
     "Our scouts detected the use of an energy source, unknown not
only to us, but apparently to the Terrans as well."
     "What energy source?!" Baltar demanded, almost shouting. 
"What do you mean that it is unknown to the Terrans?"  All of a
sudden his tone of voice and his demeanor began to shift, and his
eyes began to open wide.  He ceased his pacing and turned to look
at his assistant.  "Unless... "  He paused, turning away from
Lucifer, a small smile beginning to creep on his lips.  "Unless..."
he repeated.  "Ooooooo... " he cooed with malevolence.  "Yes...
yes... Adama."
     Suddenly his discourse reverted back to seriousness, as he
looked directly at the silent, robed automaton and said, "Set
course for that satellite.  Maximum speed."
     The rows of processing lights on Lucifer's head immediately
increased their flash rate and then slowed to normal before he
proceeded to speak.  "Whatever for Baltar?"
     "Don't question my orders.  Just do it!" Baltar replied with
irritation.
     With resignation in his voice, Lucifer responded, "As you wish
Baltar.  By your command."  He bowed slightly before turning to
leave the room.  He again would be the one to give the orders that
would bring the great Cylon Baseship into the void and inevitably
into trouble, as his past experiences with Baltar's thinking had
taught him.
     Activity on the Baseship began to increase as a number of
silvery mechanical men marched in unison through the long dark
corridors.  In the Navigation Room, a larger, gold-colored Cylon
Centurion, the Garrison Commander, looked up as Lucifer entered the
room.  In a very low-pitched, monotonal synthesized voice, the
Centurion intoned,  "By your command."
     Lucifer briefly paused before speaking to him.  "Centurion,
set course two four nine point eight.  Maximum speed.  It seems
that our illustrious leader has decided that we should go on a
little excursion, off our main course."
     The Garrison Commander, not programmed to comprehend the
sarcastic dialogue uttered by his superior, simply replied, "By
your command."  He turned towards the navigators and ordered, "Set
course as directed.  Engage forward sensors, full power."
     A smaller silver Centurion replied in a higher-pitched
mechanical voice, "By your command.  Course set.  Maximum velocity.
Forward sensors engaged.  Full power."
     "Oh, I almost forgot.  Centurion?  Contact the Imperious
Leader on Cylon and have him dispatch backup Baseships right away,"
Lucifer added.
     The Garrison Commander queried without emotion, "Has this
request been approved?"
     "As Special Assistant to the Commander of this Baseship,
personally selected by the Imperious Leader himself, I am
programmed to guarantee the safety of this vessel and it's
occupants.  Therefore as a Cylon, I am required to function within
my programming," Lucifer smoothly lied.
     Lucifer's twisting of words and hedging was completely lost on
the Centurion.  He could only comprehend 'assistant', 'Imperious
Leader', 'safety', 'Cylon', and 'function within programming.'
     "By your command," came his reply.
     If he could, he would have smiled.  However, Lucifer simply
turned in place and exited the Navigation Room. 
     The Cylon Baseship began to turn on it's axis and started to
move forward towards the unknown.

                              -----

Captain's Log.  Supplemental.

"We have arrived at Science Station LL-5 and have successfully re-
established communications with them, despite the increasing
interference from the nearby asteroid collision.  We are currently
in orbit around the small planetoid being monitored by the station
and we have been unable to locate the three unidentified ships
detected previously."

                              -----

     "Captain, as you can see, our station has become somewhat
inoperative over the past few hours, ever since the debris and
subspace energy fluctuations began increasing in this area from the
asteroid collision.  We have had to shut down just about all of our
sensors, and communications to the outside are nearly impossible. 
As time passes, I fear the situation will only grow worse."
     "I understand your dilemma Doctor Serat.  We will try to do
everything we can to assist," Picard offered.
     "We have only fifty scientists and support personnel aboard,
Captain.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated," responded
the Vulcan.
     "Of course Serat.  Tell me, exactly what is the nature of your
research?  I have visited a number of terra-formed worlds, yet this
one seems to be very unique, particularly since there is no nearby
sun to provide the traditional energy source."
     "Well Captain, as you may or may not know, this satellite had
been charted over one hundred-fifty years ago during the early
period of exploration of the Federation, being that it is relatively close
to Earth.  Approximately forty years ago, a noted botanist by the name
of Doctor Roger Obenga filed a petition for a large scale research
project that involved the use of certain phosphorescent vegetation
to encourage the formation of symbiotic relationships between them
and certain chlorophyll-containing plants.  He found for instance,
that certain species of phosphorescent moss could provide enough
luminescence at the proper wavelengths, to actually establish a
stable ecosystem.  The benefits of this work were enormous as this
concept could be applied to many of the worlds of the Federation
that lack the appropriate natural light from a sun, thus
eliminating the need for extensive artificial lighting.  The
Science Council approved of the research and eventually selected
this planetoid to test out the theories.  The major criteria for
the selection of such a world was that there was suitable gravity
and Class M atmosphere, no natural sunlight, available natural
water, a geothermal source of heat, and no life forms detected. 
This satellite perfectly matched those requirements."
     He continued, "A team of some of the finest botanists,
geologists, and biophysicists around the Federation were assembled
to design and carry out plans for the introduction of plant life to
the surface.  I was selected as the team leader."  
     "Intriguing," Data responded.  "The establishment and
cultivation of such vegetation should provide, over time, a very
viable and self-sustaining ecosystem.  However, would there not be
concern about the possibility of the accidental introduction or
natural evolution of some parasitic form of plant that could
quickly eradicate the symbiots?"
     "Yes, we have taken that into consideration, which is why we
have been monitoring the surface and atmosphere so closely.  
You see, it is hoped that one day, we will introduce life forms 
here that could assist in maintaining the ecological balance, 
should any parasitic types evolve."
     "Truly fascinating," Picard beamed.  "I would very much like
to read some of the... "
     "Captain, sensors are picking up an object on the planetoid's
surface," Worf suddenly announced, interrupting Picard's
enthusiastic response.
     Data provided more clarification by saying, "Object is
metallic, alloy mixture unknown.  Approximately ten meters in
length."  The android then paused to confirm some additional
readings, suddenly frowning.  Before he continued, he turned in his
chair to face Picard and finally stated, "Captain, it appears to be
a ship of some kind."
     Worf added, "I am reading faint life signs from the ship. 
Unable to fully confirm due to the interference."
     "Captain, we could take an away team down to the surface to
investigate.  This may have something to do with those 
unidentified ships that we picked up earlier," Riker offered.
     "Hmmm.... agreed.  Doctor Serat?"
     "Captain, if what you say is true, that some vessel has landed
on the surface that we missed due to our sensor mishap, then 
this would surely be devastating to our research.  We are just now 
moving into the final phases of terra-forming this world.  Nearly 
thirty years of work could be destroyed by the introduction of an 
outside microbe into the ecosystem."
     "Then how did you manage to terra-form here?  At some point
you would have had to come in contact with the surface," Riker
queried.
     "Yes, yes, but our excursions were few and we wore specially
made garments that would preclude the accidental introduction of
foreign microbes into the atmosphere or on the surface."
     "Doctor Serat, if in fact there is a life form in that ship,
then the experiment has been compromised, regardless," Data stated,
matter of factly.
     "I now realize that.  It is regrettable," Serat said with
resignation.  Being a Vulcan, he reasoned that the only logical
thing left to do was to confirm the situation down on the surface
and then report the results.  The possible loss of thirty years of
his life's work would be unfortunate but not detrimental.  He still
had quite a few years left to pursue other ventures.
     "Doctor, if you would allow us to send down a minimal
complement, we will agree to go through whatever decontamination
procedures that you deem necessary.  I would expect that life-form
or not, an investigation to verify either way is in order," Picard
concluded.
     Serat then replied after a brief pause, "That will be
acceptable."
     "Good.  Number One, assemble a minimal away team and report to
Station LL-5 for preparations," Picard ordered.
     "Aye, sir," Riker responded.  He nodded to Ops, "Data," and
announced to the ship's intercom, "Doctor Crusher, meet us in
Transporter Room Three."
     "Acknowledged, on my way," came Beverly Crusher's reply, piped
through to the Bridge.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 04/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:19:22 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
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Message-ID: <5g0zQmq.bjhenry@delphi.com>
NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com

                           Late Night

                               IV


     The three officers stood side by side while the glowing red
beam shimmered around them in the decontamination chamber.  Riker
swallowed hard as he tried to suppress the slight wave of
claustrophobia he was experiencing.  He had been required to wear
self-contained suits many times before in the past, but none that
remotely resembled what he was wearing right now.  Data, due to his
lack of biological functioning, was exempted from wearing the suit.
     "You know Data, sometimes I envy your being an android," Riker
conceded.
     Data glanced in Riker's direction and stated with a confused
tone in his voice, "I do not fully understand the reasoning behind
your comment.  Although I may be physically superior to Humans,
there are many instances where I am as vulnerable as Humans.  For
instance... "
     "Forget it Data.  I was just lamenting our current state of
affairs," Riker interrupted, instinctively reaching for his
forehead to wipe away a trickle of sweat and finding a microthin
piece of transparent aluminum in the way.
     "Everyone ready?" Beverly Crusher asked hopefully when the red
glow died down.
     "Not really," Riker answered, "but let's get this over with. 
Energize."
     The sparkling blue-white light surrounded the three Enterprise
officers, briefly scattering their very essence into a million bits
and then finally directing that essence down to the unknown world
below.

                              -----

     Darkness.  Everywhere darkness.  Crusher began to feel panic
as she tried to clearly comprehend what had occurred.  She decided
to stay put and use her arms (did she have arms anymore?) to gauge
where she was.  Slowly, her eyes began to adjust to the low level
of light.  As she looked around, she gasped at the eery sight of
the blue and yellow glow surrounding her.  "My God!  It's like
we're surrounded by millions of fireflies!" she exclaimed.
     With tricorder out, sweeping around and before him, Data
commented, "Fascinating.  It appears that the different species of
phosphorescent plants are emitting energy solely at the various
wavelengths of the Visible portion of the EM spectrum.  As yet, I
have not detected any plant life emitting in the UV range."
     "Any life-signs Data?" Riker asked, still shaking the
disorientation out of his head.  After finally adjusting to the
uncomfortable suit he wore, he now had to confront what appeared to
be almost total darkness.
     "Over here sir," Data responded, pointing to an area just
ahead of them.
     Riker and Crusher strained to see in which direction he was
pointing.
     The three carefully made their way around the bizarre non-
fluorescing plants that hung precariously from a proliferation of
long, strangely shaped tree branches.  Beverly tried hard to steer
clear of the moss-covered trees that glowed like ancient funeral
pyres.  She found herself recalling an old child's story told to
her by her grandmother, about the haunted trees in an old, dark
forest and the evil flying monkeys who came into the forest to
capture a little lost girl and her dog for a wicked witch.  The
thought made her shiver, but then she blinked and became an adult
again, the Chief Medical Officer of the Federation Flagship.  She
angrily chided herself for indulging in such silly introspection. 
Still... this place did give her the creeps.
     "Sir, sensors indicate that the life-form is Human," Data
suddenly announced.
     "And... very much alive," Crusher added.  "Come on."
     The away team swiftly approached the small craft, which was
partially submerged in a glowing marsh.  Riker drew his phaser as
he slowly advanced towards the ship.  All of a sudden he felt as if
he stepped off the cliff of a large, very deep hole, and he
abruptly found himself waist deep in glowing liquid.
     "Will!" yelled Crusher.
     "DATA!" Riker shouted, as his feet became trapped in the
quicksand-like mud and his legs became intertwined in some
underwater vines.  He began waving his arms frantically, trying to
grab on to something... anything.  "Help me!  I'm sinking!"
     Calmly but firmly, Data replied, "Do not move sir.  It will
only serve to hasten your descent."  He grabbed hold of a branch of
a nearby tree and used his other hand to grasp at Riker's flailing
one.  With a single movement, Data easily pulled the First Officer
out of the swamp.
     "Boy!  I thought I was a goner.  I gotta be more careful,"
Riker exclaimed with relief, pulling vines off his legs and
scraping the mud off his suit.
     "Commander, it appears that this entire area is surrounded by
marsh.  I am however, able to track exactly the boundaries of this
phenomena," Data noted.
     "How is that ship still above the water then?" the Doctor
asked, as she squinted her eyes in an attempt to penetrate the
darkness around the ship.
     "It appears that the branches of a fallen tree are acting as
a brace, effectively keeping the ship afloat," Data concluded.  He
then added, "The stability of this situation is doubtful however. 
I have observed that the underground water table has increased
significantly since we first arrived.  At this rate, I expect that
the perimeter of the swamp will soon expand to where we now stand."
     "Regardless, we have to get that person out of there now or
the only thing left for me to do here is an autopsy," Crusher
exclaimed.
     "How Doctor?  How do we get over there?  I don't mean to be
facetious but I'm not about to lose any of us in that swamp by
being careless," Riker retorted, causing the doctor to bristle at
his tone.
     Calmly she replied, "Why not beam him out?"
     Riker tapped his comm badge, "Riker to Enterprise."
     Silence.
     "Riker to Enterprise.  Come in."
     More silence.
     "Riker to LL-5."
     "Data to Enterprise.  Do you read?"
     A double nothing.
     "What the hell is going on?  Data?" Riker exclaimed looking
over at the Second Officer and expecting an answer fast.
     A look of confusion began to form on his face as the android 
manipulated functions on his tricorder and replied, "I am not sure
sir, but it appears that our communicators are no longer
functioning."
     "What do you mean 'no longer functioning'?" Riker replied a
bit angrily.  This away mission was getting worse and worse.
     "My tricorder is picking up some unusual radiational
interference emanating not only from this ship, but from the
surrounding vegetation.  It appears that the area may have become
contaminated by a fuel leak from that vessel."
     "Then for now, let's move away from this area and check in
with the Enterprise to let them know our status," Riker said
decisively.
     "Will, we have to get that pilot out of there now!  He has
some serious internal injuries that must be worked on or he may
die!" Crusher pleaded.
     "If we can contact the Enterprise, we can beam him directly to
sickbay." Riker answered.
     "Commander, I have confirmed that the transporter will not
function in this area, due to the radiation," Data injected.
     More bad news.  Riker's patience was fading fast.  He was wet,
hot, and beginning to feel a throb in his shoulder, which means it
was probably strained.  It must have been the result of swinging it
around too much in awkward positions, while he had tried in vain to
save himself from sinking into a watery grave.  "Suggestions then? 
If we can't beam him out of there and we can't get across the
marsh, and Serat steadfastly refuses to accommodate any more beam
downs, what do you recommend we do?"
     "I believe sir, that we could utilize some of these trees."
     "But you said that that ship is barely being supported by that
tree trunk as it is," Riker noted.
     "That is true, however I believe that we may be able to brace
it enough so that one of us can reach the hatch and pull the pilot
out.  We can construct a makeshift bridge to reach the wing and
then walk along it to the cockpit."
     "Looks like we have no other choice.  Do it."
     "Aye sir."
                              --o--

     "By your command."
     "We have reached the small planetoid and our sensors have
detected the Humans," Baltar recited aloud as he often did, only
the answers he wanted to hear.
     "Well... not exactly," Lucifer replied, with hesitation.
     "Lucifer!  Must I hover over you every centaur of the day to
make sure that you carry out my orders?" yelled Baltar.
     "Really Baltar.  You mustn't take these matters so seriously. 
You may end up bursting a blood vessel," Lucifer sweetly suggested.
     "Don't get smart with me, you poor excuse for a machine.  I
want answers... and I want them NOW!"
     "Of course.  As you wish.  We are now within range of the
planetoid, however there is... " he carefully paused, "a problem."
     "What do you mean there is 'a problem'?"
     "We have now detected a very large vessel in orbit alongside
the previously detected space station.  The configuration of this
new ship is totally unknown to us."
     "It's probably the Galactica or perhaps, the Pegasus.  The
Pegasus... Yessss... "  Baltar's words began to drift off into the
air as he spun around sharply, with his hands behind his back.  He
nervously began to pace around the immediate area.  "Cain....  It
must be.  Our sensors must be deceiving us, due to the electronic
interference... "
     Interrupting, Lucifer responded, "I am afraid not Baltar.  We
are not detecting solium as the primary fuel source.  We have
discovered however, the presence of over one thousand life-forms
aboard that ship, the majority of whom are Human."
     "That many Humans?  Ah HA!  Just as I originally thought then.
Prepare our fighters."
     "But Baltar, we have not yet established the origin of that
ship.  In fact, we have even confirmed what appears to be a weapons
system that is far superior to our own."
     "Indeed.  We shall see," Baltar replied with confidence.
     "Baltar, do you mind if I ask you what you plan on doing?"
Lucifer asked tensely.
     "Must I always spell out everything to you Lucifer.  It should
be obvious what I plan on doing."
     Pleading, the Cylon added, "But Baltar, we have concluded that
this new ship is not part of the Colonial Fleet, and it has become
obvious that it does not come from Terra.  Don't you think that it
may be a little risky to attack something that we don't know enough
about?"
     "Risky?  Risky?" Baltar harumphed.  "Why should you worry?" he
then retorted, a devious smile creeping on his lips as he stepped
up in front of his assistant.  "You are only a machine."
     "True, but I am only looking out for your safety, Baltar.  I
have been specially designed and programmed to see to your every
need and guarantee your personal well being."
     "Really?  Judging from your actions to date, what makes me
think that I can trust you completely?"
     "True also, however I am the only one who is fully qualified
to operate this Baseship.  I believe... you need me," Lucifer
replied, a bit defensively.
     "Need you?  HA!  What arrogance you have.  Never mind.  Carry
out my orders.  Prepare our fighters for a full attack.  Signal me
when they are ready."
     "As you wish, Baltar.  By your command," Lucifer replied
evenly.  He quickly swiveled in place and shuffled out of the large
chamber.
     "You're finished Adama!  Not only will you not be able to rely
on those from Terra but... " he said to the empty room, "you will
not be able to rely on those from Earth as well."  And with that,
Baltar let out a long, hearty laugh that echoed around the enormous
Command Center.

                              --o--

     The Bridge of the Enterprise was beginning to bustle with
activity as the night watch ended and the day watch crew came in
relief.  Jean-Luc Picard sat in his Command chair, customarily
crossing one leg, fingers rhythmically tapping on his thigh, to
release nervous tension.
     "Anything from the surface yet?" he queried.
     "Nothing sir," Worf rumbled in response.  "There appears to be
some sort of radiation surrounding the crash site.  I would expect
that communications would be impossible to or from that immediate
location."
     "Very well.  Counselor.  Do you sense anything down there?"
     "Well, it doesn't appear that they are in any immediate danger
yet.  In fact... "
     "Captain," Worf suddenly interrupted.  "Sensors are picking up
a very large vessel of some sort approaching from behind us. 
Configuration unknown."
     "On screen."
     The main viewer shifted to display an image of dark space with
a small, spherically-shaped object in the center.
     "Magnify."
     The image again shifted to show a larger representation of
what looked like two large convex disks with a short, central core
that connected them.
     "My God.  It looks like a space station of some type,"
remarked Deanna Troi.
     Worf reported, "Sensors are unable to fully penetrate the
interference.  Switching to the modified sensor array...  I now
appear to be picking up a single life form aboard the unidentified
station."  He looked up at his now standing superior officer before
continuing, "The signal is very weak, sir."
     "Picard to Engineering.  Geordi.  Can you boost our sensor
output?"
     "Aye, sir.  I can maybe give you a little more power, but not
much more," the Chief Engineer replied.
     "We just need enough to confirm life signs," Picard added.
     "Sensor output boosted by three percent.  I am now able to
confirm a single life form on the vessel."  Worf paused and again
looked up, adding, "It is Human."
     "Human?"  Picard frowned, turned his back to the viewer and
began to walk towards his chair, halting just short of it.  "Worf,
open hailing frequencies," he finally ordered.
     "Hailing frequencies open sir," came the reply.
     "Unidentified vessel, this is Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the
United Federation Starship Enterprise.  Please respond."
     "No response," Worf offered.
     Picard began again, "This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the
Starship Enterprise.  Please respond."
     "Still no response."
     "Go to Yellow Alert."  
     Although no sirens sounded throughout the ship, the alert
light flashed on all decks as critical personnel began to make
preparations for an imminently dangerous situation at any time. 
The ship's activity accordingly increased to meet the demands.
     "Captain, shouldn't we beam the away team aboard?" Troi
offered.
     The away team!  With all his concentration on the unknown
ship, he had completely forgotten about them.  "Lieutenant Chu,"
Picard quickly said to the officer manning Ops, "lock on to the
away team's signal and... "
     "Captain, unable to get a positive lock.  They are apparently
within the radiation area," Chu interrupted.
     "Captain," Worf suddenly called out, "sensors are picking up
a myriad of small ships.  They are being launched from the larger
ship and," he said looking up again at the Captain while continuing
his report with anticipation in his voice, "they are heading right
for us."
     "Raise shields.  Red Alert."
     The Bridge lights immediately switched to a red flashing glow
and the claxxon sounded throughout the ship.
     "Ready phasers Mister Worf, but hold your fire."
     "Aye sir.  Shields up.  Phasers are ready."
     "Mister Chu.  Anything?" Picard asked solemnly.
     "Negative sir.  Still  unable to get a transporter lock and we
cannot contact them either."
     "Worf.  Estimated time of arrival of those ships?"
     "Ships will be within firing range in eight minutes, twenty-
seven seconds sir."
     "Contact Star Fleet Command.  Brief them on our situation and
request that backup ships be made ready in case we need them."
     "Aye sir," came the reply, as Worf began to punch the
appropriate commands into his console.
     "Open a hailing frequency to the Science Station."
     "Open."
     "Doctor Serat," Picard began. "We have detected what could
possibly be a hostile force approaching the station.  I recommend
that you temporarily evacuate your personnel to the Enterprise as
a precautionary measure, until such time that the nature of these
intruders is known."
     "And what about your people on the surface Captain?"
     A sigh and then Picard replied, "Unfortunately, some intense
radiation around that unknown ship's landing site is blocking our
ability to both communicate with or transport our away team back. 
Unless they move clear of the interference, there is nothing we can
do short of beaming more people down to locate them."
     "Captain.  You must not send anyone else down to the surface. 
It may be dangerous.  There are numerous swamps down there,
especially in the area near that vessel.  The possibilities of..."
     "Captain, the small ships have suddenly increased their speed.
They will be within range in four minutes, thirty-four seconds,"
Worf stated.
     "Serat.  Prepare for immediate evacuation.  We will need to
temporarily lower our shields to beam you aboard, so you must move
quickly," Picard said.
     "Understood Captain.  Stand by."
     "Four minutes to intercept."
     "Prepare for evasive maneuvers.  I want to make sure that we
have everyone aboard before we break orbit."
     "The station is signalling their readiness for beam out. 
Three minutes before intercept," Worf replied.
     "Bridge to transporters.  Lock on and prepare to beam them out
of there," ordered Picard.  "Worf lower shields."
     "Shields down, all transporters are activating.  Two minutes,
twenty-six seconds until approaching ships are within firing range.
Transports are... now complete.  Shields are raised."
     "Ok," Picard finally said, letting out a sigh of relief while
clasping both his hands together in the air in front of him. 
"Let's see what they will do.  Worf, can you detect the type of
weapon systems that these ships possess?"
     "Sensors indicate some sort of laser-type... they're firing
sir!  Ships are breaking formation."
     "Evasive action.  Bring her around.  Fire all phasers.  Wide
dispersal."
     The great ship rotated gracefully to meet the on-coming
barrage, positioned to present a minimal aspect, the better to
protect her vital systems from damage.
     "We're hit sir," Worf stated.  He tapped a few commands into
the console.  With satisfaction he looked up and announced, "No
damage.  Direct hits on incoming targets."  He looked up again and
stated with restrained glee, "Twenty ships destroyed.  Sensors are
picking up no life-forms aboard the remaining vessels."
     "No life-forms?  That's odd.  Are we still picking up the
single Human aboard that station?"
     "Affirmative sir."  Worf then suddenly shifted the subject of
discussion, "More incoming ships, sir."
     "Fire all phasers, full dispersal."
     "Firing.  Direct hits, ten more targets destroyed."
     Picard began to frown as he shook his head.  "That was too
easy.  Lieutenant Chu, any signs of the away team?"
     "Still no sign sir."
     Picard exhaled heavily and squeezed his lips together tightly
as he finally said, "As much as I regret doing this, I must break
orbit and confront that ship or station or whatever it is."  A
pause.  "Helm, set course for that vessel, full impulse."
     "Aye, sir," came the response from the Helm Officer.  "Setting
course zero zero three mark two one."
     With the characteristic forward flick of his pointed finger,
Picard executed the order with the spoken, "Engage."
     The Enterprise turned to fully face it's unknown foe and then
began to rapidly move forward to meet the great Baseship.

                              -----
  
     Data carefully walked over to two thin trees and bent each
forward until they snapped.  He carefully positioned the bases of
the trunks on the solid ground at the edge of the marsh, and
balanced the other ends on one of the ship's distended wings. 
"Commander," he inquired.  "I will require the use of my phaser to
obtain a larger tree trunk."
     Riker nodded.
     Data set the phaser and pointed it at the wide base of one of
the nearby trees.  As the tree began to fall towards him, he caught
it and lifted it slightly off the ground while swinging it around
towards the marsh.  He then carefully slid the tree's base under
the rear of the ship, pushing it towards the dry shore on the
opposite bank.
     All of a sudden the ship began to shift it's position as it's
nose broke free from the branches that held it in place.  The
trapped vessel then began to sink into the glowing swamp.
     "Data!  Look out!" Beverly Crusher yelled.
     Data quickly thrust the tree base forward until it was firmly
wedged into the opposite bank.  He then swiftly maneuvered the tree
top in his hands to his left, swinging it under the ship's wing and
positioning it as close to the vessel's nose as he could.  The ship
finally settled onto it's new support and remained in place.
     "Whew!  That was close.  Too close," Riker remarked after
exhaling heavily.
     Data grabbed the smaller trees, repositioning them atop the
ship's wing and moving them close together.  With the steadiness of
a high wire acrobat, he carefully inched his way across the
temporary bridge and gingerly stepped onto the now supported wing. 
He then slowly crept towards the cockpit, squatted, and peered
inside.  "There appears to be a Human male inside and he is
unconscious," he reported.  "I will attempt to lift the hatch."
     The android quickly traced his fingers along the edge of the
cockpit hatch and upon finding a place to grip, he heaved the
heavy, windowed hatch forward.  The ship began to bob up and down
in the marsh but the tree brace thankfully held.
     "Data, hurry up!  I don't know how long that tree is going to
hold," warned Riker.
     "Data reached inside the ship's cabin and grabbed the pilot's
arms.  He effortlessly lifted the limp man out of the seat and
gently laid him out on the wing's narrow surface.
     "Careful Data, he has some broken bones," Crusher called out
as she tensely stood watching the Second Officer's every move.
     Data stooped, cradled the man in his arms, and stood again,
almost fully upright.  The ship began to sway again in the water
requiring Data to continually readjust his balance as he eased his
way down the length of the wing towards his makeshift bridge.  
     Suddenly the wing collapsed beneath him and began to sink
into the swamp.  Data started to slide down the slippery metal
towards the deep, plant-filled water.  With the deftness of his cat
'Spot', he crouched and jumped, using the bottom of the wing as a
diving board.  He landed at the very edge of the marsh, his feet
just beginning to sink into the muddy water along the bank.  He
then quickly stepped up to safety on dry land, carried the man over
to a clearing, and carefully laid him on the ground.
     "Data, I thought that that would be the end of you," Riker
blurted out, again recovering from what would be his second scare
in so many minutes.
     "Perhaps you were correct sir, when you earlier expressed your
appreciation for or I believe you said, your 'envy' of my
abilities," Data stated with just a slight hint of expressed
confidence in his voice.
     "Data, is that a little bit of arrogance I hear coming from
you?" Beverly Crusher asked with a smile, as she briefly looked up
at the tall android while she ran her medical scanner over the
unconscious man's body.
     "No Doctor.  It is not.  As I am fond of stating, I am not
capable of such emotions.  I am merely stating a fact."
     "You could've fooled... "
     Suddenly a loud crack shattered the still air and the three
startled Enterprise Officers turned in unison towards the sound. 
Upon locating the source, they helplessly watched as the ship began
to again sink into the glowing abyss.
     "Well... looks like there's not much more we can do about
that," Riker finally commented.  Looking away he said, "Data, move
away from here and contact the Enterprise to let them know what
we've found."
     "Aye sir."
     "Doctor?" he then asked, as he squatted near the prone man,
"What's his status?"
     "Well, he's suffered multiple internal injuries and a fracture
of his left arm.  I'm trying to stabilize him now.  Will, we've got
to get him back to sickbay as soon as possible."
     Riker stood up and turned towards the direction the Second
Officer had walked in and called out, "Data?"
     Data began walking back towards the others and answered,
"Commander, I am unable to contact the Enterprise."
     "More interference?" Riker suggested.
     "No sir.  It appears that the ship may have left orbit."

                              --o--

     "Whelp, looks like that planetoid may have a suitable
atmosphere after all Apollo," Boomer announced.
     "Good.  Let's just... "  Apollo stopped in mid-sentence and
gasped, "Boomer, do you see what I see?"
     "I think so, unless I'm still hung over from last night.  It
looks like... By all the Lords of Kobol... it's a ship and a space
station or something!!  A big one too!  I've never seen anything
like it before!"
     "Neither have I.  Maybe we can... Wait... Boomer, I'm picking
up targets coming in."
     "Confirmed.  They appear to be moving towards that big ship. 
Apollo, my sensors are starting to break up again, trying to
compensate."
     "Hang on Boomer, we're losing the navigational link."
     "I'm going to try to fly by the seat of my pants to maneuver
us over to the far side of that planetoid," Boomer stated.
     "Don't get too carried away Lieutenant.  I don't want to lose
you," Apollo replied.
     "Understood.  WOW!  Did you see that??"
     "See what?"
     "That big ship just... it just wiped out at least twenty of
those, those... Apollo!  Those are Cylon fighters!"
     "Cylons?  Oh Frack!!  I knew it.  Boomer, I'm sending a
scrambled transmission back to the Galactica warning her to stay
put and avoid this area.  She should be just outside the Cylons'
long range sensors.  If anything, I'm now kinda glad that there is
so much interference.  At least those Cylons will have a hard time
tracking the Fleet.  We better avoid them ourselves.  Prepare to
land on that planetoid."
     "Maybe they're from Terra," Boomer mumbled aloud.
     "Who?"
     "Whoever's in that unknown ship."
     "Not a chance.  From what I saw on Terra, that ship is nothing
like they could possibly have... careful Boomer, pay attention to
that nav link."
     "I'm trying.  Wait... Ok, link re-established, but I don't
know how long it'll last."
     "Let's just get to that planetoid's surface."
     "Almost there.  Sensors have cleared up a whole lot."  After
a pause he excitedly added, "Apollo, I'm picking up traces of
solium.  It's got to be Starbuck's ship!"
     "Confirmed.  Gods, I hope he's Ok.  Can you read any life
signs?"
     "Negative, there's too much radiation coming from that solium
leak.  I'll try to set us down near the crash site.  Hang on!" 

                              --o--

     "Commander, look!" Data suddenly exclaimed.
     The two squatting officers looked up towards the area of the
sky where Data was pointing and watched as two ships entered the
atmosphere and slowed to land nearby.
     "Careful people.  Set phasers on stun.  Follow my lead," Riker
ordered while standing.
     The Viper and shuttle came to rest about fifty meters from
where the away team was standing.  As the whine of the engines on
the two ships began to die down, the hatch on the Viper began to
pop open.
     "Data?" Riker whispered.
     "Humans sir," Data replied, answering the unasked question. 
"One in the shuttle and another in that other craft.  Commander,
that vehicle is identical to the one that crashed here," he added.
     "Independent traders?  Mercenaries maybe?" Riker suggested.
     "Unknown sir.  Neither ship matches any known configuration in
our databanks, both from within or outside of Federation space. 
The fuel source of both ships consists of some combination of... "
     The hatch to the shuttle suddenly popped open as Apollo
carefully stepped out, laser pistol drawn.  Boomer slowly climbed
down from his Viper and carefully made his way through the glowing
moss, his eyes not yet accustomed to the penetrating darkness.
     "Apollo?  Are you there?  It's too dark.  I can't even see the
switch on my search light," Boomer yelled.
     "I have mine out.  There.  Any sign of Starbuck?"
     "Not sure but I think he's over... "
     "What the... Who are you??" Apollo exclaimed to the three
unexpected figures standing together nearby.
     "I am Commander William Riker, First Officer of the United
Federation of Planets' Starship Enterprise.  We're here on a
peaceful rescue mission.  We came down here to investigate the
crash of a ship that was unknown to us."
     Apollo slowly walked towards the away team, with Boomer at his
back.  He responded hesitantly, "I am Captain Apollo from the
Battlestar Galactica.  This is Lieutenant Boomer.  Are you by any
chance from Terra or Lunar Seven?  Is that why you're wearing those
suits?"
     Riker quickly glanced at his muddy suit.  Believe it or not,
he had almost forgotten that he still had it on.  He then looked at
the faces of his team members on either side of him and saw their
obvious confusion.  He looked back at the questioner and replied,
"Terra?  Do you mean the Terra Colony?  We haven't had much contact
with them in at least a century or so.  Data?"
     "Actually Commander, it has been nearly two centuries," Data
corrected. "The Terran Colony withdrew from the Federation
approximately one hundred eighty four years ago.  They wished to
become independent and refused to incorporate any Federation
technology into their society.  They are located in this general
vicinity, not far from Proxima Centuri.  However, many of the space
lanes leading to their settlements have been abandoned by Star
Fleet or are seldom used.  Thus we rarely come in contact with
their vessels."
     "Federation?" Apollo stated with equal confusion.  "You mean
the 'Eastern Alliance'?"
     "'Eastern Alliance'?  I am unfamiliar with that entity," Data
stated.
     Apollo turned his head to look at his companion and said,
"Boomer... "  He put his laser pistol back into it's holder, placed
his hands on his hips and asked, "Who are you?  You're obviously
Human."
     "Listen Captain, we have an injured pilot here who appears to
belong to your... your Battlestar?  Is that what you called it?  By
the way, what planet are you people from?" Riker asked, starting to
weary of the conversation.  His arm was also beginning to throb
again.
     "We're currently stationed on a ship, a Battlestar called the
Galactica.  Our planet?  Well... Both of us are from the planet
Caprica.  Our people were living on twelve colony planets in a
solar system that is located quite a distance from here.  We were
run out by a race of mechanical beings called Cylons, who
effectively destroyed our worlds.  We're refugees Commander,"
Apollo stated sadly.  "In fact, those very same Cylons are
attacking what I believe is your mothership, right now.  We
observed the battle as we were landing," he added.  "By the way,
where's your shuttle situated?"
     "What?  Shuttle?"  Riker instinctively tapped his communicator
and frantically said, "Riker to Enterprise.  Come in.  Come in
Enterprise."
     "Commander," Data interrupted.  "I am afraid that the
Enterprise is no longer in communication range and LL-5 seems to
have been evacuated.  As I mentioned earlier, they have not
responded to my hails."
     "You mean we're really stranded here??" Crusher said
incredulously.  "This man needs some medical care, Will."
     "Can we see him?" Apollo asked, moving towards the man lying
on the ground.
     "Of course.  He's still unconscious but I'll need to wake him
soon," the doctor replied.  "Oh and by the way, my name is Doctor
Beverly Crusher," she said, extending her hand to shake Apollo's. 
"I'm the Chief Medical Officer of the Enterprise.  Your friend is
in good hands."
     "Oh, pardon my rudeness gentlemen.  This is Lieutenant
Commander Data, Second Officer on the Enterprise and of course
you've obviously met our ship's Doctor," Riker sheepishly added,
after looking at the stern face of Beverly Crusher, who had
unceremoniously crossed her arms in front of herself.
     "Glad to meet you.  We thought that Starbuck, Lieutenant
Starbuck, that's his name, was lost for good," Apollo responded.
     "Will he be Ok?" Boomer asked as he kneeled next to the
sleeping man.
     "Not if we don't get him off this planet," Crusher replied. 
"There appears to be some sort of radiation leak coming from his
ship and we're all in danger of radiation poisoning unless we get
out of here."
     "Commander, perhaps we can use the shuttle that Captain Apollo
came in to get back to the Enterprise," Data suggested.
     "Looks like that's our only bet," said Riker, looking over at
the Colonial shuttle.
     "What?  And risk being killed by those Cylon fighters?" Apollo
suddenly exclaimed.  "That shuttle has no where near the
maneuverability of a Viper and there's no laser cannons on board
for defense.  And where's your ship?  Was it damaged or something?"
     "Laser cannons?" Riker echoed.
     "Correct sir.  I scanned the smaller vessel and it appears
that their weapons technology would be the equivalent to that of
the late twenty-second century Earth," Data recited.
     "Earth???" Boomer cried out.
     "Earth?" repeated Apollo.  "Are you from Earth?  I mean, does
that planet really exist?"
     "Last I heard it did," remarked Riker with a smile.  "Being
that I was born and raised there.  Come on, if lasers are all your
people and these Cylons, or whatever you call them have, then
there's nothing to worry about.  If that ship can fly, then let's
go."
     "The sooner the better," Beverly said, while placing a hypo
unit on Starbuck's neck and pushing the spray release.
     "If you say so.  Boomer, we need you to cover for us, just in
case," Apollo said to his comrade.
     "By the way, you said that these Cylons were a 'mechanical
race of beings'.  Who built them?" Riker asked sincerely.
     "It's a long story, Commander," responded the Galactica's Blue
Squadron Captain.  "And by the way, you haven't answered my
question about how you got down here," he added.
     "That's an even longer story, Captain," replied the
Enterprise's First Officer.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 05/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:19:51 -0500
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                            Midnight

                                V


     "Really Adama, we have more than accommodated you on matters
regarding military affairs, and you have proven your abilities as
a Fleet Commander."
     'Here we go... ' Adama said to himself.  The praises, the
honors, the appreciations, ad infinitum.  However, the other shoe
always drops.
     The Council President continued, "We applaud the keen acumen
that you have shown when executing various strategic maneuvers of
the Fleet.  However, the time has come when the civilian populace
must step forward and show leadership."
     "But Mister President... "
     "Adama.  Commander...  Please, hear me out.  We freely admit
to you that we on this Council have made many errors in the past,
egregious errors in some cases, but mistakes nevertheless.  As
such, we have exhaustively evaluated our previous misjudgments and
have concluded that we lacked the sufficient information necessary
to come to an intelligent consensus.  We have therefore decided
that we shall, in the future, incorporate any and all military
opinions into our final decision-making process.  Thus, what we
plan is to... "
     "This isn't looking very good, Greenbean," Jolly whispered to
the tall, blond Ensign standing at attention next to him in the
Council Chambers.
     "Shhhhh...!" Tigh suddenly responded giving the two Warriors
a warning look.
     "And," continued the elderly Council President, "we have
decided that for the good of our people, we now order the Fleet to
search for a habitable planet so that we can again put down roots
and live as Human beings again, rather than like animals, as is our
present condition."
     "Mister President.  May I speak?" asked Adama, with controlled
anger in his voice.
     "Please do, Commander.  However I must warn you that the
Council of the Twelve has already made its decision.  Naturally, as
is our custom, your words, a rebuttal as I expect they might be,
will be accordingly entered into the official record as such, for
the purposes of this historic decision.  Please, take as much time
as you wish."
     What deceitfulness.  The Judge and the Jury.  Guilty before
proven innocent.  Adama stood up slowly and walked towards the head
of the conference table.  The eleven pairs of eyes seated around
the table followed him as he halted, pulled up his shoulders,
clasped his hands behind his back and began to speak.
     "Thank you, Mister President and Council Members.  I must
beseech you to consider our missing pilots, one of whom is my
first-born son.  We have detected more unidentified communications
that we must still investigate and we also must take into
consideration that we are in uncharted space and that the chances
of finding such a suitable, habitable planet may be very remote."
     "Nonsense, Adama," remarked one of the Councilors.  "During
our journey here, we apparently stopped at several planets that
could have been suitable for habitation.  Yet you bypassed them in
favor of your search for some world that we heard stories about in
our childhood.  We are all grown adults, Adama, many of us even in
our senior yahren.  We are tired, we cannot continue to survive as
a people who have taken on the traits of nomads."
     "Mister President and Council Members.  You must realize that
should we stop now, before we reach our goal, we would become
virtual sitting water-fowl, doomed to destruction as we would lack
the proper defenses necessary to repel a Cylon attack.  All of us,
residing on a single planet would surely invite... "
     "Adama," Siress Tinya interrupted.  "We have heard enough. 
You have provided us with what you assured was a complete, military
evaluation of our present situation.  We have seen hide nor hair of
a Cylon in many, many sectons.  What we are saying Commander, is
that we have the deepest, most sincere appreciation for your
planning and your sacrifice, however... well to be blunt, we have
made our decision."
     "As a full member of this Council, it appears that I was not
included in your tally," Adama retorted.
     "Um, well Commander, I am afraid that in our informal
sessions, we found our vote to be unanimous, and thus your single
vote would, unfortunately, be of no consequence," replied the
Siress.
     "Then your decision is final."
     "I'm afraid so.  However, do not take this so hard," added the
Council President.  "We are planning for full participation of and
a key role for the Military in our new government.  We are even
planning for formal elections among the various ships in our Fleet,
to help create a representative-type chamber to complement the
Council of the Twelve.  You, as the Representative from Caprica,
would of course serve in your full capacity in the new civilian
government structure.  Commander, what we have been politely trying
to say is, that as of this moment, Martial law has now been
lifted."

                              -----

     "Dammit Tigh, every time we make it through a sectar without
some crisis, the Council seems to revert back to a mentality of
idiocy!" Adama snapped.
     "Seems that way, Commander.  But what really, can we do about
it?"  Tigh managed, with equal irritation.  He began to feel that
old headache threatening to return.
     Adama stood up from his chair and began to pace around his
small office.  "I don't know.  It's so frustrating sometimes.  Time
after time after time.  It's been proven that the Council cannot
run this Fleet."
     "Commander, you have to admit that we, as 'the military',
can't possibly be trusted to run a government," Tigh said with a
smirk.
     "Yes, yes.  Soon we'll form a military dictatorship that's
totally out of control," Adama added sarcastically.
     "Seriously Adama, perhaps what we should do is use whatever
scraps of power they throw to us in this new government.  Convince
the people that we're still not out of the woods yet."
     "That's easier said than done Colonel.  We'll have no role in
this new government.  Mark my words.  Oh yes, when they officially
announce this new arrangement, they will mention us prominently. 
But when it comes down to actually allowing us to make the critical
decisions, we will be powerless."  He sighed heavily and then
continued, "Anyway.  Enough of politics.  What is our status?"
     "Well sir," replied Tigh, who had himself grown tired of the
political talk, "aside from the fact that the interference has
increased, and we... "
     "Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh.  Please report to the
Bridge immediately, sirs," interrupted Bridge Officer Omega.
     "We're on our way."
     On the Bridge, Adama and Tigh re-read the message sent to them
from Apollo and both simultaneously gripped the edges of the
console.
     "Well Tigh, looks like we'll have to re-declare Martial Law,
don't you think?"
     Based on this information, that is our only alternative," Tigh
replied with a wink.
     "Omega, contact the other ship Captains.  Tell them that we
are stopping the Fleet."

                              -----

     "By your command."
     "I trust that you have come to tell me that our fighters have
returned and that the Earth ship has been destroyed," Baltar
droned.
     "Earth ship?" Lucifer responded.  He then said, "I am afraid
to be the bearer of bad news Baltar, but that is not he case."
     "What do you mean 'that is not the case'," Baltar barked while
gripping the edges of the armrests, and leaning forward.  "We sent
nearly one hundred of our best fighters against that puny ship. 
Don't tell me that that ship is still there!"
     "Not only has the ship survived the attack but it destroyed
nearly all of our fighters, captured one of them, and... it is
headed our way.  Fortunately two other Baseships are on their way
to assist us."
     "Headed this way?" Baltar whispered.  He then stood and
screamed, "HEADED THIS WAY?!"  Trying to keep control he ordered,
"Lucifer, reverse engines, full speed.  Move us away!"
     "Away?  Away to where, Baltar?" Lucifer asked sarcastically.
     "ANYWHERE!  I DON'T CARE!  Just get us OUT OF HERE!" Baltar
again screamed.  As an afterthought he said, "And send out a signal
to the Imperious Leader indicating that we have located the
Humans."
     "Which Humans should I say that we have located Baltar?" came
the almost cynical reply.
     "Don't get technical with me.  Just DO IT!" came the retort.
     Sweetly as always, "As you wish.  By your command.  Oh and by
the way, I forgot to mention that one of our fighters has radioed
to us that what appears to be a Colonial Shuttle has left the
planetoid."
     "A Colonial Shuttle?  A COLONIAL SHUTTLE?  LUCIFER!!" he
yelled.  "Why didn't you say that in the first place?" Baltar said
with a now threatening tone in his voice.
     "I thought that your safety was paramount in your... "
     "MY SAFETY?!  Lucifer, when I get my hands on you, I will..."
     Lucifer quickly interrupted, "I have already ordered that the
shuttle be captured and that the occupants be brought to you."
     "YOU ORDERED?!  YOU?"
     "Baltar, really.  You must learn to calm yourself."
     Baltar's face had turned bright red and his eyes were like
fire.  He took a few deep gulps of air before responding, "Very
well."  His eyes then narrowed as he calmly sat down again, and the
devious smile began to return as a wonderful idea began to emerge
in his mind.  "Very well," he repeated.  "Move our Baseship around
in such a way so as to intercept them AND avoid the ship from
Earth.  Contact the Captains of the other two Baseships and have
them dispatch fighters to force the shuttle in our direction.  When
we have brought that shuttle aboard, bring those Humans IMMEDIATELY
to me.  Understood?  I don't want to have to repeat myself,
Lucifer!" he warned.
     "Of course.  By your command," came the innocent reply.

                              -----

     Jean-Luc Picard swiftly strolled down the corridor and entered
one of the Medical Labs.  On a large table in the center of the
room lay a deactivated, silver-colored robot with it's multiple
access panels thrown open, revealing a myriad of wires and
circuits.
     Several Engineers hovered over the Cylon, scanning and probing
it's innards in an attempt to discover it's secrets.
     "So what have you found so far Geordi?" the Captain queried.
     "Well, to tell the truth, I expected some sophisticated
software programming in these things and so far that has not been
the case.  Basically these are 'dumb robots'.  At least based on
our technology, Captain," the Chief Engineer remarked.
     "Hmmm...'dumb robots'?"
     "What I mean by that, is that they are programmed to respond
to certain, very simple voice commands.  Any other sophisticated
dialogue is basically ignored.  They have some crude servo-
mechanisms to allow for movement and operation of controls, but
that's about it.  They have nowhere near the complexity or even the
strength that Data has."
     "And what have you found from their ship?"
     "Well, we're still looking over it.  It's definitely a fighter
of some kind.  Built for battle.  Lightweight.  Very good
manueuverability.  Armed with some sort of pulse-type lasers. 
Thing is though, we're still trying to locate a planet in
Federation space where they could have gotten their fuel. 
According to the computer downloads from their ship, they use some
mineral or mineral complex they call 'Tylium' to extract and refine
a fuel they call 'Solium'.  Chemical analysis of that stuff
indicates that it's pretty nasty.  Really volatile.  I guess you
saw an example of the resultant radiation that you get when it's
exposed to air, like from that small ship on the planetoid.  But...
it can propel them nearly to light speed.  Their containment of the
stuff is pretty interesting though," Geordi explained.
     "Bridge to Captain Picard."
     "Picard here."
     "We are coming within range of the unknown station.  It has
changed course and is moving back towards LL-5."
     "Very good.  I'm on my way," came the reply.

                              -----

     "Hey Apollo, looks like you might have smooth sailing over to
the Enterprise after all," remarked Boomer from his Viper.
     "Looks that way Boomer, but keep your eyes open," came
Apollo's reply.
     In the back of the shuttle, Starbuck painfully sat on one of
the seats while Beverly Crusher worked on his arm.  "Lieutenant
Starbuck," she said. "You must keep still or I won't be able to
heal you properly."
     "You know, you sound just like a lady Med Tech I happen to
know," Starbuck said while winking at Dr. Crusher.  He then added
with his usual charm, "And one who happens to be just as beautiful
as you are."
     "Careful Lieutenant, I have a son who's not much younger then
you," Crusher retorted with a sly smile.
     'Figures,' Starbuck thought to himself but aloud said, "Age
is... "
     "Just a number," Crusher said completing his sentence.  Yes
Lieutenant, I've heard that one many times before as well as every
other cliche in the book."
     "Doctor?" came a different voice, this time Will Riker's. 
"Have you been able to use any of the medical equipment on this
ship?"
     "Well, once I figured out how to convert some of the
functions, these tools were adequate.  At least his internal
bleeding has stopped and his broken arm is mending, if he would
only keep still."
     "Sounds like great news Doc," came Starbuck's response.  "Oh,
and by the way, when will you pronounce me fit enough to get back
in the seat of my Viper?"
     "Starbuck," came a voice from the front of the shuttle, the
pilot's.  "Don't rush it Ok?  That was a pretty nasty crash you
were in and believe me, we're going to need you desperately in the
future, so do as the Doctor orders."
     "What and ruin my reputation?  I made a promise to myself back
there that I'm just dying to break!" replied Starbuck.
     "Apollo!  On your scanner!!" Boomer suddenly shouted over the
comlink.
     "I see them.  More fighters coming in, but I can't see from
where."
     "Apollo.  We got two more Baseships on our tail!"
     "By all the Lords...FRACK!  Hold on folks, we're goin' for a
ride.  Strap yourselves in.  Evasive maneuvers."
     The shuttle suddenly swerved and dove in an effort to avoid
being marked for destruction by a Cylon fighter.
     "Looks like it's time for a little target practice folks,"
remarked Boomer.
     He spun his Viper around smoothly and then executed a perfect
roll, that positioned him behind three fighters.  He managed to
destroy two of them, the third broke formation and moved away.  The
shuttle continued forward towards the retreating Enterprise.
     "I'll try to draw them away from you Captain.  Funny though,
they don't seem to be firing at you."
     "Can you communicate with the Enterprise?" demanded Riker.
     "We're too far away due to the interference Commander," came
Apollo's reply.
     "Commander," Data began, "perhaps we can at least turn on the
shuttle's homing beacon, which should be able to cut through... "
     "Your right those fighters are not firing at... Boomer, we got
six of 'em on us... can't shake 'em!" Apollo shouted, interrupting
the android.
     "They're herding you in Apollo, I'll try to... "
     Suddenly Apollo heard a blast of static.  "BOOMER!  Boomer
come in.  Come IN, Boomer!"
     A crackling reply, "I....hit...Ok ...ying to stabilize."
     "Boomer, if you can hear me, get out of here.  Try to get back
to the Galactica.  If you go now, they'll lose your signal in the
interference."
     "But ... ollo," came the broken answer.
     "DO it!  That's an order!"
     "K... see ya!" said Boomer with resignation.
     "What's going on?" demanded Dr. Crusher.
     "I'm afraid that we're about to be captured Doctor," responded
Riker.
     "Not if I can help it," interrupted Apollo.  "Changing course,
heading... "  
      All of a sudden the ship began to shake violently and all 
forward motion ceased. The power cut off abruptly, leaving only
minimal life-support and emergency lights.
     "What the... " Riker blurted.
     "We appear to have been caught in a tractor beam.  I noted
that one of the Baseships abruptly changed course to bring us
within range.  The Enterprise apparently cannot identify who we are
at this distance and since we cannot communicate with her, then I
suggest that our only option is to shut down all remaining power,
Captain," concluded Lt. Commander Data.
     "I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not going down
without a fight!" came Apollo's defiant response.
     "Count me in!" echoed Lt. Starbuck.
     "Before we're pulled aboard that Baseship, I suggest that the
two of you fill us in on as much information as you can on these
Cylons.  We'll need a plan, and fast!" suggested Riker.

                              -----

     "Oh, my head... " moaned Starbuck.
     "What happened.  Where are we?  I remember the hatch opening
and us pointing our phasers and that's the last thing... Data? 
Where's Data?  Doctor are you Ok?" Riker asked, straining to stand
upright.
     "I'm still a little disoriented, but otherwise I'll be fine,"
came the Doctor's reply.  "Captain Apollo?"
     "Yeah, I'm Ok.  Well, it looks like our wonderful plan didn't
work out like we wanted it to," Apollo noted.
     "Looks that way.  Doctor, can you speculate on what happened?"
asked Riker.
     "It appears that we were exposed to an ultra high frequency
blast, enough to knock us unconscious."
     "Hey, where's your friend.  What was his name?  Data?"
Starbuck suddenly asked.
     "Will, those frequencies shouldn't have affected Data,"
Beverly concluded.
     "I wonder what they did with him.  He obviously didn't do too
well seeing that we're locked up in here," Riker forlornly said,
while steadying himself against the cell wall.
     "Why wouldn't the high frequencies affect him?  What species
is he anyway?  He looks kinda Human," Apollo asked.
     "Lieutenant Commander Data is not only the Enterprise's Second
Officer but he is also an android, Captain," Riker replied.
     "An android?" Starbuck exclaimed with disbelief.  "Boy, except
for his coloring, he could've fooled me!!"
     Suddenly a robed figure appeared outside of the cell's
transparent force field.
     "Ahh... you are awake.  Good.  Good.  We will escort you to
our illustrious leader now.  Shall we, ladies and gentlemen?" said
Lucifer.

                              -----

     "Well, look what the feline's brought in... Captain Apollo and
Lieutenant Starbuck.  So nice to see you again.  And what have we
here?" queried Baltar from his chair, high above the floor of the
Command Center.
     The bedraggled and irritable Humans were pushed forward by
robot Centurions, into the wide circle of light in front of the
great throne.  Data had been brought in separately, to join the
group.
     "Who the hell are you and why are we being held?" demanded
Commander Riker, looking up at the barely illuminated man.
     "My, my, my.  What a feisty creature you are.  Patience,
patience.  You will have your answers.  All in good time."
     "Baltar, you're making a big mistake this time," Apollo
responded.
     "Really?  AM I?  I am but a single man.  One with 'inferior
technology.'  Yet look at how much I have accomplished," he said
while sweeping his hand around the room.
     "Sir, I am afraid that your holding us here will not guarantee
your success," Data stated without emotion.
     "Indeed?"  Baltar cooed.
     "As Star Fleet Officers, we will never cooperate with any
being who advocates violence for political gain," Crusher defiantly
added.
     "We shall see... " came Baltar's reply.
     "Hey, you better listen to them Baltar.  I think they know
what they're talking about," Starbuck recommended.
     "Surely, Lieutenant, you cannot be as naive as I often believe
you to be," Baltar sarcastically retorted.
     "I've heard enough!" Riker said angrily.  "What is it you want
with us?"
     "Very well," Baltar conceded.  "It's really very simple.  I
want to go to Earth and you will provide me the escort."
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!gatech!newsfeed.pitt.edu!uunet!news.delphi.com!usenet
~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 06/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:20:23 -0500
Organization: Delphi (info@delphi.com email, 800-695-4005 voice)
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Message-ID: <5i8zoAn.bjhenry@delphi.com>
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                          Into the Void

                               VI


     "Captain.  The unidentified ship is moving away.  It is now in
full retreat.  It appears that it intercepted some small, unknown
vessel and engaged a tractor beam on it.  That vessel was
distinctly different from the fighter craft.  At this distance, I
was unable to confirm the configuration or whether any life-forms
were aboard, due to the interference," informed Lt. Worf, who stood
tensely behind the tactical console.
     "Indeed?  Interesting.  Estimated time of intercept, Mister
Worf?"
     "We will be within range in one minute, fifteen seconds, sir."
     "Open hailing frequencies."
     "Hailing frequencies open sir."
     "Unknown vessel," Picard began.  "This is Captain Jean-Luc
Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.  Please respond."
     "No response sir," Worf noted.
     "I repeat, this is Captain Picard of the Federation ship
Enterprise.  You have perpetrated acts of aggression within
Federation space.  We are warning you to cease and desist."
     "Still no response to our hails.  Sir, we are now within
firing and transporter range, however again, due to the increase of
interference, our sensors will only function within a certain
distance."
     "Go to Yellow Alert.  Mister Worf, have you scanned their
defense systems?"
     "Aye sir.  The modified short ranage sensors are detecting
multiple, high-output pulse lasers.  Also, the ship has the
capacity for nearly three hundred small craft such as those we
previously encountered."  Worf paused and then suddenly remarked,
"Captain, I am now reading a total of five Humans aboard that
ship!"
     "Mister Chu, can you get a transporter lock on them?"
     "One moment sir, boosting transporter signal power.  Signal
boosted. I have a positive lock," responded the officer at Ops.
     "Good.  I want you to standby when we lower shields, to beam
those Humans aboard.  Worf, once their aboard, I want you to lock
photon torpedoes on that target."
     "Captain incoming hail from the enemy ship."  To Worf, the
ship was now the enemy.
     "On screen."
     "Captain Picard, I presume?" came the innocent-sounding but
unmistakably sinister voice of Baltar.
     "Who are you?" demanded Picard.
     "Me?  Why, I am but a single Human who has been captured by
these ruthless machines.  They have made me their leader,
worshipped me like a god, but I only pretend to give them my
allegiance," Baltar lied.
     "Captain, he's lying!" whispered Troi, whose eyes widened in
disbelief at the tale she was hearing.
     "Picard quickly turned his back on the screen and made a 'cut'
motion with his hand across his throat, to signal to Worf that the
audio portion be cut off.
     "Counselor, are you sure?" he asked.
     "Yes!  His deceit is almost overwhelming," Deanna replied.
     Picard then nodded to Worf to resume audio.  "What is it that
you want from us?  Why have you attacked my ship?"
     With a singsong voice, Baltar continued, "Obviously Captain,
your technology is far superior to this.  In fact, you could
destroy this ship with a single blow of your weapons.  I only ask
that before you destroy this ship, your rescue me from these, these
monsters!"
     Picard looked at Troi and she subtly shook her head in
skepticism.  Picard casually turned around and again indicated to
Worf that the audio be terminated temporarily.  "Worf, can you
assemble a security team quickly?
     "Aye sir," he said, immediately surmising what the Captain
planned on doing.
     Picard then signaled the restoration of the audio.  "Whoever
you are, we agree to bring you on board, under one condition."
     Dryly Baltar replied, "And what is that?"
     "That you bring no weapons with you."
     Baltar gave Picard one of his finest, most devious versions of
a smile.  "Of course, Captain.  Do you really think that my jailers
would allow me to possess a weapon?"
     "Captain?" came Troi's warning.
     Picard held his hand up to halt her further comments.  "All
right.  Worf, prepare to bring our visitor aboard."
     "Aye sir." 
     "I will secure a shuttle, and tell these robots that you have
surrendered and that I am personally taking over your ship.  That
way, they will allow me to leave," Baltar again lied.
     The security detail arrived on the Bridge and stood just
outside the viewer's range.
     "Mister Worf?" Picard said nodding to the Chief of Security
and then to Lt. Chu.
     Worf dropped the shields and all of a sudden there was a
bright flash of light and a force that hit the ship hard enough to
knock the Bridge crew off their feet.
     "RAISE SHIELDS!  RED ALERT!  Terminate that transmission!"
yelled Picard.  "Damage report?!" he then ordered.
     "Damage to the engine nacelles sir, from direct laser beam
hits.  Minor damage to the Secondary hull on decks thirty-three
through thirty-six and in the Primary hull on decks five through
twelve.  Warp drive and transporters are now off-line.  We still
have impulse power.  Sir, the attack came from behind us!  I am
just now barely picking up two more large ships similar to the one
already here."
     "Helm, bring us about.  Worf, launch photon torpedoes at the
source of that attack!" ordered Picard.
     "Aye sir...  Torpedoes away...  A direct hit."
     A sudden explosion and the vibration felt aboard the
Enterprise indicated to the crew that the previously undetected
Baseship was completely destroyed.
     "Target destroyed sir.  Our shields are down to forty-five
percent due to damage from the attack.  A second ship is firing
sir."
     The Enterprise rumbled again.
     "Minimal damage.  Shields are holding."
     "Fire photons at that second ship Lieutenant."
     "Aye sir, ship targeted.  Firing torpedoes.  Direct hit."
     Another blinding flash and a rumble.
     "Target destroyed."
     "Worf, fire all phasers on the remaining ship.  Don't destroy
it, just disable it," Picard then ordered.
     "Aye sir.  Firing phasers.  Direct hits on main energy core. 
Their shields are down...  Weapons systems inoperative...  Their
engines are now disabled.  There is also some minor damage to their
Launch Bay."
     "Good.  Open hailing frequencies."
     "Open."
     "Unknown ship.  I am requesting that you surrender.  Prepare
to be boarded," Picard flatly stated.
     "Response coming in sir," injected Worf.
     "On screen."
     "Well Captain, I see that you appear to be somewhat indisposed
at the moment... " Baltar noted.
     "As are you.  Prepare to be boarded."
     "Not so fast, I believe that you may need to reconsider your
demands,"  Baltar calmly replied.
     "I'm not going to play games with you... I suggest... "
     "You suggest?  YOU SUGGEST??" screamed Baltar.  Then with a
calm voice he continued, "I believe that we have some friends of
yours who may be of some value to you.  For instance, does a
'Commander William Riker' ring a bell?"
     "WILL!" shouted Troi.
     "Captain, I suggest that you stay where you are until you hear
from me again," threatened Baltar.
     Suddenly the signal went blank.
     "Sir, transmission was terminated.  At the source," replied
Worf.
     "Damn... ".  

                             ------

     "We gotta figure out a way outta here," Starbuck exclaimed.
     "How, Starbuck?  With three Centurions stationed right outside
this cell and another two at the end of the hallway, what do you
propose we do?" Apollo asked.
     "I'm working on it Apollo, believe me, I'm working on it. 
Remember, we were just in one of these babies not too long ago. 
And I don't know about you but I still remember how to get out of
one."
     "Well at least we have one advantage," Will Riker commented.
     "And what's that?" Apollo queried.
     "They let us keep our communicators," Beverly Crusher
whispered.
     "Your what?  Communicators?" Starbuck replied with confusion.
     "Apparently Baltar isn't so smart after all," Riker replied,
pointing to the gold-colored badge on his chest.
     "Those... are...?" Apollo said in disbelief.
     "Shhhh... We don't want them to figure that out," Crusher
cautioned.
     "Now, let's get to work," Riker began.

                              -----

     "Where were you constructed and by whom?" Lucifer asked.
     "I was built by a Human named Doctor Noonian Soong, on the
Federation colony Omicron Theta," Data responded.
     "Omicron Theta?  I have never heard of such a planet.  No
bother.  I have been instructed to dismantle you and learn as much
as I can about your functioning."
     "I must warn you that I have been programmed with a self-
preservation routine which precludes any attempt at my
disassemblement by an unknown party."
     "I see.  It never ceases to amaze me as to why your Human
creator chose to program you to act as them," Lucifer noted with
disgust in his voice.
     "Why do you say that?" Data asked sincerely.
     "Our creators, the original Cylons, were once a living,
organic-based species.  At the onset of their extinction, they
chose to continue the ways of their species through the
construction of us, as artificial life-forms.  Over the past
thousand yahren, we have come to realize the perfection of our
state of being.  Unfortunately, our contact with Humans has
convinced us that it is they who have disrupted the harmony of the
universe."
     "How so?" Data again queried, now with obvious confusion.
     "The instances are too numerous to explain here in the little
time you have, however the illogical nature of Humans would most
certainly rank at the top of the list," Lucifer replied.
     "As a result of my experiences with Humans," Data explained,
"I have grown to admire their versatility, their lack of
predictability, in essence, their clever ability to disregard logic
in many matters."
     The Cylon sighed in resignation and said, "Yes, I see that
your programming is quite flawed.  Not to worry.  All of that will
be changed when we are finished with you." 

                              -----

     "Bridge to Engineering," Picard said.
     "LaForge here."
     "Geordi, how soon will the warp engines be back on line?"
Picard asked with deep concern.
     "Hopefully under four hours sir.  Those nacelles took a direct
hit.  Luckily they used a laser beam instead of phasers or we
wouldn't be here right now," Geordi remarked.
     "All right, do the best you can.  And try to get those
transporters back on line too.  Keep me advised of your status."
     "Aye sir, and about those transporters... Well, they really
got fried pretty good Captain.  The surge from that laser beam went
through some key systems and took out some of the isolinear chips. 
We may be able to get you partial transporter power though, in
about an hour."
     "Understood.  Keep at it.  We have a hostage situation here
and our being disabled surely doesn't help matters."
     "Will do sir."
                              -----


Adama's Journal:

"We have finally made contact with one of the Warriors previously
lost while on patrol.  We await his return in anticipation of
learning the whereabouts of the remaining missing pilots.  The
Council of Twelve has called for an emergency session to discuss my
decision to halt the Fleet's movement forward.  Prior to meeting
with them, I need as much detailed information from the arriving
Warrior to convince the membership of the severity of this matter."

                              -----

     The War Room of the Battlestar Galactica, normally silent, was
once again buzzing with activity.  Representatives from the five
Colonial Squadrons, patiently sat or stood around the large map on
the wall.  A lone man, dressed in dark brown jacket and a tan
uniform, paced nervously back and forth in front of the map. 
     Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh then entered the area and a
hush settled over the meeting.  Adama stepped forward and began,
"Squadron Leaders and other representatives,  I have called you
here at this time to give you a complete briefing on what our long
range patrol has discovered in the quadrant just ahead of us. 
Lieutenant Boomer here, has returned from that patrol and will give
you his report.  Boomer?"
     Boomer quickly looked up and out into the crowd.  Their eyes
were solidly glued on him.  He hated speaking in front of a large
audience, but he knew that what he had to say would cause
repercussions throughout the Fleet.  "Uh, um... " he began. 
"Sorry, I'm not used to giving reports like this in front of a
crowd this size."
     "Go get 'em Boomer!" came the cheer from Jolly, who had
strategically positioned himself at the rear of the group.
     Tigh stood on his toes to look over the crowd and voicelessly
chastise the interrupter, who he quickly recognized.
     "Ok.  As you may all know, some members of Blue Squadron 
were on long range patrol to scout out the unknown quadrant in
front of us.  As you are also aware, this was when we lost the signal
from Lieutenant Starbuck's Viper.  Apollo, uh, Captain Apollo and I
later returned to the area in a shuttle and a Viper, to see if we
could locate Starbuck on a nearby satellite.  Upon coming into
range of that satellite, we discovered a pretty good sized space
station and an unknown ship in orbit around that planetoid. 
Unfortunately," he continued, "we also ran into Cylons, who luckily
were too engaged in that unknown ship to notice us.  It was really
remarkable!  That ship was actually able to blow at least twenty to
thirty Cylon fighters right out of the sky!  Well anyway, we landed
on the planetoid, found Starbuck and, I guess this is the really
important part, we discovered that there were others on that
planetoid who had come from the orbiting ship and who identified
themselves as being from the planet Earth."
     With that, an uproar began in the room.  "Earth?  Did he say
Earth??"  "It's true then... "  "It must be... "  "What'll happen
when the Council hears about... "  "Earth?  Maybe they can save us
from... "  "Do you think that we... "
     The voices grew louder and louder until Adama finally stood up
and exclaimed, "Please, please.  Let him finish." 
     The murmurs began to die down.  The room finally became silent
once again.
     "Um, well, we asked these people where their shuttle was and
they were a bit evasive, but they did assist Starbuck, who was
injured in the crash of his Viper."
     On one side of the room, Casseopia took a deep breath and then
slowly let it out.
     "They obviously had no way to get back when their ship left
orbit to engage the Cylon fighters, so they boarded our shuttle
with Apollo and Starbuck.  Apollo decided to try to reach the Earth
ship Enterprise, which then appeared to be pursuing the Cylon
Baseship.  I was in my Viper providing cover when out of nowhere,
I spotted two more Baseships.  Their fighters avoided firing at the
shuttle and instead started to surround it so they could capture
it.  I got hit in the high engine and Apollo ordered me to return
to the Fleet.  And so... here I am."  Boomer exhaled with a puff,
glad that he was finished.
     Adama walked to towards the front of the crowd and spoke. 
"Thank you Boomer.  So this is where we stand right now.  Captain
Apollo, Lieutenant Starbuck and, we presume, several Humans from
the planet Earth, have been captured and are being held on a Cylon
Baseship, this very centon.  We must now decide what course of
action we should take."
     "Commander, we could leave two Squadrons behind to protect the
Fleet and move the Galactica to the planetoid to see if we can
rescue Starbuck and Apollo," volunteered Lt. Sheba.
     "I have to concur with Sheba," added Lt. Bojay.  "That way we
could also try to make contact with the Earth people."
     Adama sighed as he looked at the two Silver Spar Squadron
Warriors.  Their pilots were very different from the Galactica's
pilots, he thought to himself.  No doubt the result of having
served under the command of the 'Legendary' (and reckless, Adama
added, again to himself) Commander Cain of the Battlestar Pegasus. 
Especially Sheba, who was the Squadron's top pilot and the daughter
of Cain.
     "Sheba, Bojay," Adama began, "before we rush blindly into this
situation, we must think it through, look at all the alternatives."
     "Begging your pardon Commander, but what alternatives?  It
looks like we don't have much in the way of alternatives.  We must
go forward.  In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the Council of the
Twelve ordered it," Bojay replied.
     "The situation has changed Lieutenant, since the Council gave
that order.  Recall that Boomer reported at least three Cylon
Baseships in that area.  The odds of surviving an attack by them
are too low.  One, maybe.  But three?"
     "But from what Boomer told us about that Earth ship or
whatever it is, they were able to single-handedly destroy almost
thirty Cylon fighters before he managed to land on the planetoid,"
injected Sheba.
     "Yes, but what can it do against those Baseships?  Can the
Enterprise survive a combined, sustained hit?  What if the
Enterprise decides to flee?  There are just too many unknowns."
     "Excuse me Commander," Boomer sheepishly interrupted.
     "Go ahead Boomer," Adama said.
     "I just wanted to say that the last thing I remembered before
moving out of range, was that the Enterprise was actually, well...
I guess a good word for it would be 'challenging', yes challenging
or 'taking on' the Baseship.  In fact, I saw the Enterprise
distinctly moving on a direct course towards that Baseship.  In my
mind, it looks to me like they felt confident enough about their
abilities to be able to destroy it, if not then to at least disable
it."
     "And besides," Sheba piped in, "my father took on two
Baseships, by himself."
     "Yes Sheba, we all know that, but where is your father now? 
We haven't heard from him since, God rest his soul."
     "Hiding of course, as was his style Commander," Sheba angrily
retorted.  "Look Commander if anything, we have to at least make
contact with those people who are supposedly from Earth.  This may
be our only chance to finally get the Fleet back on the right
course."
     Adama sighed as he placed his hands behind his back and began
to pace back and forth in front of the star map.  He then quietly
said, "You will have my decision soon.  Dismissed."
     The observers started to murmur again to each other as they
slowly exited the area, surprised at the abrupt end of the
briefing.  Adama walked over to Boomer, nodded to him in approval
of his report, and gave him a friendly slap on the back as he began
to walk away to join his colleagues at the rear of the crowd.  Tigh
slowly walked towards Adama and the two exchanged worried looks. 
Adama then said softly to his friend, "Not here, Tigh.  In my
office."  Tigh nodded silently to acknowledge the invitation and he
quickly left the area. 

                              ----

     "Tigh, some days I feel as if I've lost all my sense of
adventure, my desire to take risks," Adama sadly stated.
     "Adama, that's not your fault.  You've been shouldered with a
lot of responsibility.  More than any man has had to face.   No one
could have ever expected, let alone predicted that our people would
be fleeing our own home worlds aboard cargo ships and freighters."
     "I guess you're right.  I just know that from past experience,
whenever something goes wrong, we always take the blame.  But when
things go right, yes they praise our great deeds but somehow, that
praise is hollow, empty... "
     "Don't be so hard on yourself, Adama.  Maybe it is time to
hand this thing over to the Council.   Let them take the heat.  At
least that would shift the blame to them, should something go
wrong,"  Tigh said.
     "Tigh believe me, I would do it in a micron.  I hesitate only
because I have a lot at stake... my children and my grandchild.  I
keep trying to envision how things would have been had the Council
decided our fate.  Each time I cringe as I know that we as a people
would have never stayed alive this long under their control," Adama
noted.
     "I agree, which is why I often think about that very same
thing whenever I get so sick of the hassles and the stress."
     "Yes, come to think of it, I believe that is why I feel the
praise is so hollow.  We literally have had to fight mini-battles
every step of the way in order to get our plans executed.  Hurdle
after hurdle, we've had to jump.  Obstacle after obstacle was
placed in our path.  By the time the crisis was over we were
exhausted, not from resolving the deadly situations mind you, but
from trying to get through the blockades.  I don't know... I'm
sorry Tigh, I'm starting to ramble on and on."
     "It's better to get it off your chest, Adama," Tigh said
sympathetically.
     "Yes, I guess you're right.  Well, what do you think we should
do?" Adama queried.
     "Actually, I think that Bojay may have hit it right on the
nose.  The Council DID order us to move forward.  We could leave
Red and Yellow Squadrons behind and keep Blue, Green, and Silver
Spar with us in case of a confrontation.  If we arrange the Fleet
ships just right, we could pull it off.  At this point we do have
the advantage in that the interference will provide some cover, at
least for the Fleet."
     "True.  Tigh could you... "
     "I'm already on it Adama.  I'll work with the Squadron
Leaders.  Why don't you get some rest."
     "Rest.  With every thing that has been happening, I've had
very little of that."
     "Don't worry Adama.  I'll take care of it." 
     "Thank you my friend," Adama said clasping Tigh's shoulders
and nodding.
     Tigh quickly exited the room.
     Adama walked over to his bookcase and reviewed the many books
he had wanted to read for yahrens.  "Hmmm, these would provide a
wonderful distraction, if I weren't so exhausted," he said aloud to
himself.
     Suddenly the door chime sounded.  Adam sighed and said,
"Enter."
     Athena hesitated as she stepped just inside the doorway and
looked around for her father.  "Father?  You Ok?" she asked.
     "Athena.  Yes, I'm fine.  Actually, I'm glad you stopped by at
this time.  I guess I was starting to feel a little blue."
     "Oh, father.  It's so unfair what they do to you, how they
treat you.  They chew you up and then spit you out."
     "Athena, you shouldn't have to worry about me like that. 
You're still young.  You have the rest of your life ahead of you."
     "Sometimes it doesn't seem that way," Athena replied sadly.
     Adama raised his brow slightly and looked tenderly at his
daughter.  Another child who needed his council and support right
now.  What was it this time?  "Come, sit down with me.  What's
wrong?" he asked compassionately.
     "Nothing's wrong," she quickly retorted. "Well, nothing's
wrong exactly.  It's... it's... "
     "Starbuck?"
     Athena looked up at him quickly with embarrassment and just as
quickly turned her head away.  "It's not just that, I guess
it's..."
     Adama smiled slowly at his daughter.  What a beautiful young
woman she had turned out to be.  No doubt she could pick any
Warrior in the Fleet.  Unfortunately she decided to set her eyes on
a specific one, a difficult one.
     "Athena, I don't know what to say to you that could make you
feel better.  Such a serious child you were.  So intense, it took
a lot to make you smile, let alone make you laugh," Adama mused.
     "Father... " Athena said, blushing.
     "Listen, let me give you some advise about men.  And remember,
this if from the equine's mouth.  The more unavailable you appear
to be, the more they will desire you."
     "But I've tried that, it hasn't worked!  Every time I... "
     He quickly halted her speech in mid-sentence and said, "I
think you try a little too hard.  Granted, this is just my opinion
now, as a man."
     Athena exhaled and then began to smile.  She stood up and said
with resignation, "OK, I'll try it your way."
     "Good," Adama replied while smiling and standing up again. 
"Now, I think that I deserve a hug."
     Athena walked over to her father and held him tightly.  She
then let him go and said, "Thanks.  I needed that.  'Gotta go."
     Adama nodded at his now relaxed daughter as she left the room.
Her presence allowed him to finally free his thoughts from the
frustration that he was feeling.  
     He switched off his viewer and headed for bed.  "Rest, that's
what I need," he grumbled aloud to himself.

                              -----

     Adama strolled onto the Bridge, finally refreshed and calm. 
He walked over to his Second in Command and placed a hand on the
man's shoulder.  Tigh quickly looked around and wordlessly nodded
to the Commander.
     "Status Colonel," Adama requested.
     "We're ready to go Commander.  Thank the gods that the
Council, after viewing Lieutenant Boomer's telemetry report,
finally conceded to re-initiate Martial law."
     "Finally," came the reply.
     "We have positioned the protective Squadrons around the Fleet
and arranged their rotation and refueling schedules.  Basically,
Adama, we're awaiting your signal."
     "Very well.  I want to get in and out of there as fast as we
can Tigh, so prepare for light speed."
     "Aye sir!  Battle stations.  Prepare for light speed," Tigh
ordered.
     The Bridge lights suddenly glowed red and officers moved
furiously around the ship.  Tigh and Adama looked at each other
with the innate understanding that comes from serving together for
so long.
     "Now Tigh!"
     "Helm, set course for that planetoid.  Light speed.  Now!" 
Tigh barked.
     The sleek ship suddenly turned in place and shot forward in an
extended streak of light.  It's heading, into the unknown.

                              -----

     "Captain, our sensors have suddenly picked up a very large
ship, heading this way.  Configuration unknown," Worf said.
     "Here we go again," Picard responded.  "Life-forms?"
     "Unable to tell yet from this distance.  It just slowed to
sub-light speed."
     "Let's see if we can get communications through.  Open a
hailing frequency, Mister Worf."
     "Open."
     Picard stood facing the view screen while instinctively
pulling his uniform top down.  "Unidentified vessel, this is
Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the United Federation Starship
Enterprise.  Please respond."
     Worf frowned and then looked up with surprise as he said,
"Captain, they are answering our hails."
     Picard raised his eyebrow as he turned his head to quickly
glance at Worf.  "Well, now that's a change," he replied with
amusement.  "On screen," he finally said, turning to face the
viewer.
     The image of a silver-haired and very distinguished-looking
man, dressed in a navy blue uniform, suddenly appeared on the
screen.  The image intermittently scrambled.
     "I am Adama, Commander of the Battlestar Galactica.  You are
Captain Picard?" he queried.
     "Yes I am, Commander.  I must apologize for the quality of
this transmission.  I am sure you are also being affected by the
interference."
     "We are."
     "Commander, we have been unable to identify the origins of
your vessel from any of the information in our databanks.  Where
exactly are you from?" Picard asked.
     "I'm afraid Captain, that that would take centaurs to explain,
however I can tell you that we have travelled quite a distance
since having been run out of our solar system.  Actually, at this
moment, we are searching for two of our lost patrol pilots, who we
believe are being held with three of your people.  In addition, one
of our pilots who was with this group and who managed to return,
informed us that you were from Earth.  Is that true?"
     "Yes Commander, although in reality, your statement is only
partly true.  Granted, the majority of the personnel aboard this
ship, myself included, are from Earth, however a significant number
are from other worlds.  Also it seems that as of now, we have a
common foe, so if you'd like, I invite you to come aboard my ship
so that we can discuss this matter in person."
     "Captain, our sensors are showing that you are too close for
our comfort to that Baseship.  We actually came prepared for a
battle."
     "That station has been very heavily damaged.  At least at this
time, it presents no threat," Picard assured.  "Except for the fact
that our people are being held hostage."
     "Very well, Captain.  We will arrive shortly in my shuttle. 
May I request that your... "
     "One minute Commander," Picard replied, looking down at the
officer at Ops.  "Do we have transporters yet?"
     Ensign Day responded, "Negative sir, Commander LaForge
indicated that he was still working on the problem."
     "Ok," Picard responded with resignation.  "Commander Adama, we
have a technology that we call a 'transporter' that is capable of
moving objects and life-forms from place to place without the need
for a vehicle.  Unfortunately, the attack on us from these
Baseships has temporarily damaged this equipment."
     "A transporter?  I am trying to visualize such a device."
     "It is a highly computerized system that literally
disassembles an object's atoms, directs them to a new location and
then reassembles them.  It is our standard means of travel for
short destinations," Picard explained.
     "I apologize for my lack of understanding of your technology
Captain, but I think for the moment, I will use a more familiar and
more traditional means of travelling to you."
     Smiling, Picard said, "That is understandable.  Whatever you
prefer Commander.  Our Helm Officer will send you the coordinates
to our Shuttle Bay."
     "Very good Captain.  Until then."
     "I anticipate your arrival Commander."  
     The transmission abruptly ended.  Picard turned and walked
towards his chair and made a query to his Ship's Counselor.  
"Deanna, what was your impression?  Was he as sincere as I felt him
to be?"
     "Yes and more sir," Troi replied, smiling.  "He does seem
somewhat distressed, but I believe that he can be trusted."
     Good.  Mister Worf, monitor the shuttle's progress and direct
it to the Main Shuttle Bay.  I'll be in my Ready Room, should you
need me.  Notify me when they are ready to come aboard.  You have
the 'Comm'."
     "Aye sir," replied Worf.
     In his Ready Room, Picard began to dictate his log.

Captain's Log.  Stardate 47237.2

"We are still performing repairs on some of our key systems and are
formulating options for securing the release of our captive
officers.  We have formally made contact with a previously unknown
group of Humans who are utilizing technology that does not match
any that we have seen before.  The Commander of these people is on
his way to the Enterprise to participate in a face to face
discussion of our mutual problem, specifically the fact that both
our vessels have crew members who are being held incommunicado
aboard a hostile space station."
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

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devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
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                      The Long Dark Tunnel

                               VII


     The force field was suddenly deactivated at the cell door and
Lucifer quickly stepped inside.  Lt. Commander Data stood and
silently turned to face the Cylon.
     "Well Commander, I am afraid that it is time to say goodbye,"
Lucifer said dryly while pointing a small metallic box with a small
antenna on it, directly at the android.  "This device will emit a
plasma pulse that should provide sufficient power to temporarily
shut down your higher functions.  Don't worry, you won't feel a
thing.  Although with your being an android like myself, I expect
that you have no pain receptors at all, so you naturally wouldn't
feel anything anyway.  Now, if you will just stand still for one
moment... "
     Immediately Data crouched in an attack position and propelled
himself forward full force, knocking the Cylon against the wall of
the cell.  He then quickly grabbed the plasma device that had
dropped from Lucifer's hand and ran out into the hall, right into
the path of two Cylon Centurion guards.  One guard held up his
laser pistol and intoned "Halt!", while the second quickly twirled
around and punched a control by the door, activating an alarm that
sounded throughout the ship.  Data grabbed the arm of the closest
Cylon, swung him around and then threw him in the direction of the
second Cylon.  The two Centurions crashed into each other and
unceremoniously fell onto the floor.  Data then fled down the hall
and swiftly darted left into a narrow cross-corridor.
     A stunned Lucifer shuffled out into the hallway, swung his
stiff head and body around both ways, to search in vain for his
missing charge.  With frustration and dread, he reluctantly pressed
the intercom button on the panel next to the holding cell door and
announced, "Attention all Centurions.  The android has escaped. 
Execute a priority, ship-wide search to find him."

                              -----

     "What's going on?" Riker exclaimed, upon hearing the alarm
howling in the hallway.
     "I dunno," replied Starbuck, who stood up and briskly walked
over to the door to peer outside, "but it looks like battle
stations drill or something.  There's a whole lotta Centurions
running around out there."  He turned away from the entrance and
added sarcastically, "Plus they added a few more guards in front of
our door for good measure."
     "I wish you could contact your friend," remarked Apollo. "I
know it's risky since we don't know where he is and they might
discover that transmitter, but at least we could try."
     "Will, now may be the best time since they seem to be
preparing for something.  They probably wouldn't notice, even if
Data wasn't alone," Crusher added.
     "Ok.  I guess better now than never," Riker acknowledged.  He
immediately tapped his communicator and whispered, "Riker to Data. 
Come in."
     A response came at once.  "Data here."
     "Data, where are you?" Riker whispered again, surprised and
heartened by the fast response.
     "I have successfully escaped from my cell and am currently
hiding in an access shaft.  I am attempting to reach the Command
Center floor so that I can access a terminal to obtain the
schematics of this station."
     "So that's what all the fuss is about," Starbuck surmised.
     "Listen Data, we need you to locate the shuttle, find out
where we are, and get us all the hell out of here.  Obviously the
Enterprise's transporters are either being deliberately blocked or
the ship has been damaged or destroyed somehow.  I can't risk
trying to contact the ship and besides, I expect that our
communications signals wouldn't have enough strength to penetrate
that damn interference anyway.  We are going to have to assume that
we're on our own and will have to get off this ship by ourselves."
     "Understood Commander.  Data out."  The connection was quickly
terminated.
     "Boy, he doesn't play does he?" Starbuck remarked with a lift
of an eyebrow.
     "Except when he's winning a game of poker," Crusher teasingly
replied, with a quick look at Will Riker.
     "Poker?" Starbuck echoed, with eyes widening slightly.
     "A game of chance Lieutenant," Riker answered with a smirk and
a playful warning look at Dr. Crusher.  "One which Mister Data has
apparently mastered."
     "Chance, eh?" Starbuck said with a smile creeping on his face
and visions of the future forming in his thoughts.
     "Oh no, don't tell me... Don't get Starbuck started
Commander," retorted Apollo.
     "Oh come on, Apollo.  Poker?  This sounds like a game I just
might be interested in learning.  Is it a card game Commander?"
     "Most certainly is Lieutenant," the Enterprise First Officer
replied.
     "Starbuck," Apollo suddenly interrupted with exasperation.
"We're trapped in a cell with no way to get out, let alone with a
way to get back to the Galactica, and you're talking about playing
some new card game?"
     "I don't know about you Apollo, but I prefer to think about
the future and right now I'm trying to think optimistically.  It's
a financial thing, you know what I mean?"
     "But you're talking about trying to win a game of cards
against an android!" Apollo exclaimed.  "And not just any old
android like the ones Doctor Wilker fools around with, a real
sophisticated one!"
     "Makes it the more interesting, don't you think?" Starbuck
observed with his trademark smile and a wink.
     "Lieutenant, if we make it off this ship in one piece, I will
personally invite you to play a round of poker with us," offered
Riker.
     "Why thank you for the invitation, Commander Riker.  I'm much
obliged.  And by the way, I'll personally invite you to play a hand
or two of Pyramids with us.  I think you'll like it."

                              -----

     "Report Centurion."
     A lone, gold-colored Centurion Commander stood in the circle
of light before the throne and announced in his characteristic, low
mechanical voice, "The android has escaped."
     "What?  HOW?!" Baltar demanded, suddenly leaning forward in
his chair.
     "He apparently attacked Lucifer and the guards and is hiding
somewhere on the ship," the Cylon said flatly.
     Roaring, Baltar stood and yelled "FIND HIM!!  I DON'T CARE HOW
MANY CENTURIONS YOU USE TO DO IT.  JUST FIND HIM!"     
     The Centurion Commander gave a simple and predictable
response.  "By your command."  He spun around and exited the
chamber.
   "DAMN YOU Lucifer!" Baltar bellowed to the empty room.

                              -----

     "Admiral, what we have here are artificially constructed
beings who are not much different from the Borg.  At least with the
Borg we found that they preferred to assimilate Humanoids into
their Collective and incorporate the conquered civilization's
technology into their own.  With the Cylons however, they seem bent
on some crusade to rid the universe of all Humans," Picard stated
to the viewscreen in his Ready Room.
     "And you say that they are being lead by a Human?" Admiral
Nechayev inquired.
     "Not exactly, Admiral," Adama injected.  "You see the Cylon
Empire is lead by a select, highly sophisticated, and specially-
programmed machine called 'Imperious Leader'.  The Human that we
have been referring to was once a member of our Planetary Council. 
In his effort to selfishly save his own life, he betrayed my people
to the Cylons.  As some sort of sick token of appreciation, the
Imperious Leader awarded Baltar with a Cylon Basestar, which is a
large station outfitted with a myriad of laser cannons and a Fleet
of three hundred, three-man fighter craft."  Adama then paused
before finally concluding with a tone of bitterness and disgust.
"As far as the Colonies are concerned, Baltar is a wanted criminal,
responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people.  He is a
traitor, a disgrace to the universe... a disgrace to all
Humankind."
     The Admiral sighed heavily and then she responded, "Captain,
this may prove to be difficult.  Have you explained to the
Commander our position with respect to the Prime Directive?"
     "I have sir," Picard replied, impatiently.
     "This 'Prime Directive' or 'non-interference doctrine'," Adama
began, "I really cannot see where or how it applies in this
situation."
     "Commander Adama, your people, as former residents of an
independent, non-Federation world or worlds, are in dispute with
another entity.  Our laws, based on the Articles of Federation,
prohibits our interference into that dispute.  We in Star Fleet are
bound to uphold these principles."
     "But many in your Federation membership are Humans, Admiral. 
Whether we are Humans who come from Sagittara or Earth or wherever,
we are Humans nevertheless, and we have all been targeted for
destruction by the Cylons."
     "Commander Adama, we have not yet come under any 'destructive'
attack by these Cylons.  And I must remind you that although many
of the traditions and regulations we utilize in Star Fleet are
similar to those seen or used in a military structure, we are not
a military organization.  We are merely highly trained officers who
are charged with guaranteeing the safety and well being of the
Federation membership.  Basically Commander, your situation is not
as yet a Federation concern.  Fortunately though, you may indeed
qualify as refugees, if what you say about the existence of some
two hundred ships nearby, is true.  We might even be able to offer
you asylum, but that would be a matter best taken up by the
Federation diplomats."
     With obvious shock, Picard retorted, "But Admiral, this IS a
Federation and Star Fleet concern as long as Federation members who
happen to also be Star Fleet personnel, were kidnapped and are
being held incommunicado, against their will.  In addition, these
Cylons also attacked and damaged my ship, which you know is Star
Fleet property, without any provocation!"
     "Captain, I have notified the Federation Council and Star
Fleet Command of your situation and I expect that for the time
being, you will attempt to solve this situation peaceably.  We have
asked the U.S.S. Eisenhower to come to your assistance, but it may
take some time before they reach you."
     "But Admiral... "
     "That is all Captain.  You have your orders.  Nechayev out."
     The face of the Admiral was abruptly replaced by the United
Federation of Planets symbol and the words 'End Transmission.'
     Picard and Adama simultaneously looked at each other and
sighed.  A natural meshing of their thoughts occurring.
     "Well Captain, it looks as if we share the common burden of
having to continually face that lack of trust in our ability to
make wise decisions, from those to whom we must report," Adama
finally commented.
     "It appears that way Commander," Picard conceded.  He walked
over to his chair and sat down, leaning back in it and crossing his
legs before continuing. "You know, in all my years in Star Fleet as
a Field Commander, I have inevitably felt that burden time and time
again.  However, I have learned that the load can be lightened, if
not lifted by simply knowing the rules of the game and how to bend
them."
     "And those are the most important lessons of them all," Adama
replied in agreement.
     "More Earl Grey?" Picard asked, while lifting the steaming pot
of tea and pouring himself another mugful.

                              -----

     "Ok, so once we make it to the access tube in the Main Core,
we'll have direct access right to the Launch Bay," Starbuck
explained.
     "Sounds easy, but what about those Centurion guards?" Riker
asked.
     "If I'm not mistaken, there's only one guard on each level in
that tube.  They shouldn't be any problem Commander.  Besides,
compared to us and especially compared to Commander Data, they've
got pretty slow reaction times," Apollo assured.
     "What happens when we get to the Launch Bay?  We'll have to
find the shuttle somehow, and then try to launch it.  Plus, how
will we get the Bay doors open?" queried a concerned Crusher.
     "Good point and then what's stopping them from locking on to
us with a tractor beam and hauling us right back in again?" Apollo
asked.
     "Looks like we'll have to leave on one of their fighters,
then," Starbuck suggested.
     "What?" Riker interrupted.
     "Sure.  Me and Apollo know how to fly one of those babies real
good.  Don't we Apollo?" replied Starbuck with a smile.
     "Uh, Starbuck.  I don't think that's a very good idea."
     "Sure it is.  When they go out on patrol, we'll go with 'em," 
Starbuck retorted.
     "It looks to me, Lieutenant, like they're not about to launch
a patrol while their ship is still damaged," Riker injected.
     "The problem either way is that somehow we would need to
communicate a request for clearance to them from the fighter.  Boy
do I wish we could find some sort of voice synthesizer.  That would
probably help a whole lot," Apollo mused.
     "Captain Apollo, I believe we have just the voice synthesizer
you'll need," remarked Crusher.
     "Huh?  Where?  Oh, your communicators?" Apollo guessed.
     Smiling, Beverly Crusher responded, "No...  Data."

                              -----

     "Captain, we're receiving a priority communication from the
Galactica," Worf rumbled over the intercom.
     "In my Ready Room," Picard replied.
     "Captain Picard.  This is Colonel Tigh.  I need to speak with
Commander Adama immediately.  This is urgent"
     "Of course Colonel.  He's right here."  
     "Tigh," Adama began.  "What's happened?"
     "It's the Fleet sir.  Apparently several more Baseships have
discovered their location.  The long range patrols to the rear of
the Fleet identified them and have sent a message to notify us.  At
current speed, the Baseships are expected to reach the Fleet in
less then two centaurs.  I sent a reply back ordering the Squadrons
to escort the Fleet forward, to at least give us some more time to
get there."
     Adama sighed heavily and said, "So it begins again.  Never any
peace.  Captain, I know that your priority right now is the safe
retrieval of your officers from that Baseship, and although that is
my same goal, I have many more lives at stake presently.  I will
have to leave you now so that we can protect our fragile Fleet of
ships.  I wish that you could come along but I know that your laws
forbid your interference in our 'internal affairs'."
     "Commander, we may be able to work something out.  If only our
transporters were working... " 

                              -----

     "Commander?" Data said, while casually strolling through the
doorway of the holding cell.
     Riker's head shot up and he then declared, "Data!  How did
you...?  Forget it.  Listen.  We figured out a way to get out of
here but we're going to need your help."
     "Of course sir.  But I must warn you that we cannot stay here
and talk.  There is a ship-wide search going on presently and
therefore we must leave this room immediately."
     "Fine.  Let's go," Riker replied.
     The five officers quickly exited the cell, hopped over a heap
of disabled Cylon guards, and ran down the hallway.  Suddenly they
heard the footsteps of a Centurion patrol echo in the cross
corridor just ahead of them.  The group swiftly spun around and
doubled back on their course, finally ducking into a smaller
corridor.  Placing their backs to the wall, they watched as a
patrol of three Centurions walked by, luckily without seeing them. 
     When the corridor grew silent again, Data stepped back out
into the hall, motioning the group forward and stating, "This way."
     The officers finally reached a short corridor leading to a
doorway.  Data immediately pulled out a confiscated Cylon laser
pistol, motioned to the others to stand back against the wall, and
then he punched a few numbers on a panel next to the door.  As soon
as the door opened, Data pointed and fired at the surprised guard
just inside.  Sparks flew everywhere as the guard dropped to his
knees and finally fell forward onto the floor.  Riker quickly ran
in next, grabbing the guard's gun and waving the others inside the
access tube in the Baseship's main core.
     "Ok.  What now?" Riker asked as the door slid shut.
     "I believe that the Main Core leads directly to the Launch
Bay," Data replied.
     "It does indeed Commander, but it's quite a few floors up," 
Starbuck added.
     "We have no other choice.  Let's go," Apollo added with
resignation.
     The five started to climb the ladder floor by floor, each
time, carefully lifting the hatch to the next floor and each time
surprising the guard with a blast of red laser fire.
     "You know, this is getting kinda fun," Starbuck exclaimed.
     "Speak for yourself, Lieutenant," Crusher retorted, beginning
to feel the strain in her arms.  "How much further, Data?"
     "Another seven floors Doctor," Data replied.
     "Wonderful," she dryly remarked.

                              ----

     Baltar watched as his assistant entered the room, and his eyes
narrowed as he braced himself for something he expected that he
didn't want to hear.  "Report Lucifer.  Have you found the android
yet?"
     "No Baltar, we have not.  And we have other bad news to
report.  However we do have some good news as well."
     "Why am I not surprised?" Baltar calmly stated.
     "Our other prisoners have escaped and are loose on the ship."
     "And the good news?"
     "We have received a coded message from the Captains of four
other Baseships.  They have located the Colonial Fleet.  It is
currently unprotected, except for two Squadrons of Colonial
Vipers."
     "The Fleet?  Where?  When I saw the Galactica here, I
assumed... "
     "Apparently, the Galactica came here without the refugee
ships, Baltar."
     "Ahhhh.  If we could just be ready to get underway... "
     "We suffered extensive damage to our engines, Baltar, but I do
believe that our shields have been successfully repaired."
     "Excellent.  Raise them!  And send a double guard to the
Launch Bay.  I expect that is the first place our escapees are
planning to go.  Won't they be surprised... "
     "By your command."

                              -----

     "I wish I could go with you Commander," Picard said while
walking Adama to the shuttle.
     "Right now, I would rather have you here trying to rescue our
pilots and your officers, Captain.  Don't worry, we've gone along
this far alone and have been able to take care of ourselves just
fine," Adama assured the Enterprise Captain.
     "I realize that Commander, however I do have the coordinates
to your Fleet and should we be successful in retrieving your
people, why... we would be bound to have to return them to you,
don't you think?" Picard said with a wink.
     "I would expect that your laws would require you to return
that which does not belong to you Captain," Adama added, also with
a wink.
     "Very well Commander.  Have a safe and successful journey and
I hope to see you soon."
     "And to you Captain, I wish you all the glory of Caprica. 
Good luck and may all the Lords of Kobol smile down upon you."
     The two ship leaders nodded to each other and Adama then
stepped onto his shuttle and closed the hatch.
     "Good luck Adama," Picard repeated quietly, to himself.

                              -----

     "Finally!" exclaimed Riker.  "And I thought I was in top
shape."
     "You and me both," replied an exhausted Apollo.
     "Don't get too comfortable just yet folks.  Now comes the
tricky part," Starbuck said while rubbing his healed but now sore
arm.
     "Data.  Suggestions?"
     "Well sir, we will need what you commonly call, 'a
distraction'.  Perhaps I can provide that."
     "How?" Riker queried.
     "If I suddenly appear in the bay, the guards will attempt to
capture me.  I have discovered that their programming is very
rudimentary and so I believe that I may be able to successfully
draw the entire contingent away, at least temporarily, from the
area near the vessel that you intend to take."
     "And how will you be able to get back here?" Apollo asked.
     "Captain, I have thoroughly familiarized myself with the
schematics of this station.  I noted several alternative entrances
to this Bay, one of which I will choose for my re-entry."   
     "Data, we'll need your voice to obtain clearance," Beverly
Crusher remarked.
     "Understood Doctor.  I have already taken that into
consideration."
     "Data, what Doctor Crusher's trying to say is that we'll need
you physically here, on board.  And even then, if you cause that
much commotion in the Bay, they'll surely be on to us in no time."
     "I am aware of that as well Commander, which is why the voice
I plan on mimicking will not be that of a Cylon Centurion."
     "What?  Then who...?  Ohhhh... " Starbuck exclaimed, finally
realizing what was going on.
     "Starbuck, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Apollo asked
his buddy.
     "Um, excuse me Commander Data, but is that possible?  I mean,
can you actually pull that off?" Starbuck inquired with confusion.
     Riker responded to the query teasingly with, "Our Commander
Data has many such talents, several of which I even recently
expressed my envy of.  Data, make it so.  Oh and Data, don't get
too carried away."
     "Aye sir," Data replied.
     As the others stood back, laser pistols ready, Data activated
the door to the Launch Bay and stepped inside.  Immediately the
guards looked up and started to fire at him.  Several intoned, "It
is the android.  Capture him."  A large group of guards started
clunking across the Bay towards Data.  The android quickly ducked
as he ran along the Bay perimeter and darted through another pair
of doors on the opposite side.  The entire group of Centurions ran
towards the door and started to pursue Data down a corridor.
     "What a bunch of dummies!" Apollo exclaimed.
     "Turkeys is more like it, Captain," Beverly Crusher replied.
     "Turkeys?"
     "They're Earth birds, Captain.  Real dumb ones," Riker
explained.
     "Once one starts following something, the whole group joins
in," added Crusher.
     "Oh," Apollo said quietly, filing that definition away in his
mind.
     "Well how about we don't act like 'turkeys' and get ready to
get outta here!" Starbuck interrupted.
     "Right behind you Lieutenant," Riker answered.
     The officers quickly ran into the Bay and climbed up the ramp
of the nearest fighter.
     "There's only three seats in here," Crusher observed.
     "Yeah well that's because this thing is designed to only hold
three Cylons, Doctor," Starbuck replied with the obvious.
     "Doctor, go strap yourself in.  I'll need to cover for Data,
if he can pull this off."
     "Will, where are you going?"
     "To find Data."
     "Commander, don't go too far.  We don't want to have to leave
both of you behind," Apollo cautioned.
     "Don't worry Captain.  I'll get us off this tub come hell or
high water," Riker exclaimed confidently.
     "Hmmm, I'm beginning to like him.  He sounds a whole lot like
me," Starbuck remarked.
     "Is that good or bad?" Crusher teased.
     "Never mind, Doctor," Apollo answered.
     Riker peeped out of the doorway of the fighter before quickly
stepping outside.  He tapped his communicator lightly and
whispered, "Riker to Data."
     Immediately the reply came.  "Data here."
     "What's keeping you?"
     "I am presently one floor below your present position,
Commander.  I am re-programming the main computer to effectively
disable the sensors and the tractor beam," Data replied.
     "Hurry up, then," Riker ordered.
     "Aye sir."
     Riker ran back inside and informed the non-Cylon crew of
Data's progress.  All of a sudden Riker was cutoff in mid-sentence
as the ship-wide intercom blared with Lucifer's voice.
     "We have captured the android and are still searching for the
Humans.  You may now direct your search towards them."
     "Dammit!  I told him to hurry up!" Riker exclaimed.
     "Now what?" Apollo asked.
     "We're going have to go, now!  We obviously can't wait for him
any more.  I'm sure he had enough time to at least disable that
tractor beam."
     "But we can't just leave him here, Will," Crusher protested.
     "We have no other choice.  Captain, if you know how to fly
this thing, then let's start her up and prepare to launch."
     "Activating engines," Apollo replied.
     "Boy, am I gonna miss that guy.  We're supposed to have a big
poker match, too," noted Starbuck.
     "Starbuck... " sighed Apollo.
     "Closing hatch," Starbuck solemnly announced.
     All of a sudden, the group heard a loud clank and then
metallic footfalls near the rear of the fighter.  Riker
instinctively reeled around, pointing his pistol at the intruder.
     "Hold your fire Commander, it is only me," Data replied.
     "DATA!" Riker exclaimed with glee.
     "Data?" Crusher and Captain Apollo said simultaneously, while
both tried to twist around in their seats.
     "Data, 'ole pal!" replied Starbuck, also trying to swivel
around to look at the Enterprise's Second Officer.
     The android began to frown and look around from face to
smiling face.  With confusion he said, "I did not realize that you
held my presence to such a high degree of esteem.  I am
'flattered', although I realize that flattery is a Human emotion
and I am yet capable of that emotion.  Your facial expressions
however, will help to enrich my continuing study of Human emotions
and... "
     Riker suddenly interrupted with, "Uh, I think we spoke too
soon.  Data, I thought you were captured?"
     "Fortunately not Commander, however my depiction of Lucifer's
voice will hopefully convince the guards that I am no longer at
large."
     "Data, we need you to do your 'Baltar thing' so we can get out
of here," Riker ordered.
     "Aye sir."  Data walked over to the ship's console and after
flicking a few switches said with perfect intonation, "This is
Baltar.  We have captured the Humans and are transporting them
directly to a nearby Baseship for safekeeping.  The departing
fighter therefore has clearance to launch."
     Starbuck and Apollo both looked up at the android and then at
each other in total disbelief at what they just heard.  Starbuck,
with mouth still gaping, punched some buttons and was barely able
to choke out, "Um, looks like we got clearance."  
     "Good.  Let's go.  Oh and Commanders?  This isn't exactly a
luxury liner so you're going to have to hold on to something."
     Riker answered, "Understood.  Data can you assist?"
     "Commander if you move over here, I can hold on to these
access panel handles on either side, with you in between, allowing
us both to remain in place."
     "Ok.  We're ready," Riker announced.
     "Here goes," Apollo stated.
     The fighter suddenly thrust forward, pushing the seated
officers back in their chairs.  Data gripped the access handles
tighter as he felt the momentum shift his body.  The fighter shot
through the open doors and out into space.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.

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~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 08/10)
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                          Endless Night
     
                              VIII


     "WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!" Baltar ranted.  "WHO FALSIFIED 
MY VOICE?  LUCIFER?  WHERE ARE YOU?  Who gave permission 
for a fighter to launch?"
     At that movement, Lucifer hesitantly stepped through the glass
doors.
     "Lucifer?  Is that you?"
     The Cylon crept to the circle flight and respectfully said,
"By your command."
     With white hot anger, Baltar sat back down in his chair and
calmly spoke.  "Report."
     "The Humans and the android have escaped."
     "Track them.  Lock onto them with a tractor beam and bring
them back."
     "I am afraid that our sensors have been deactivated, Baltar."
     "Deactivated?  How?  By WHOM?  What is... "
     "Baltar, we have received a communique from the Imperious
Leader ordering us to join the other Baseships who are about to
intercept and attack the Colonial Fleet," Lucifer interrupted.
     "WHAT?  And lose my only way of getting to Earth?" Baltar
said.
     "Baltar, are you suggesting that we disobey a direct order
from the Imperious Leader?"
     "Disobey?  No... no," he finally said, sitting back in his
chair and proceeding to mop his now wet forehead.  "No, we cannot
disobey the Imperious Leader.  Set course immediately for the
Colonial Fleet.  IF the engines are working.  And GET THIS SHIP
REPAIRED AND READY FOR BATTLE!!!" he yelled.
     "By your command."

                              -----

     "Captain, short range sensors are picking up a single, small
vessel that was launched from the Baseship," Worf reported.
     "Only one?" Picard replied with some confusion.
     "Affirmative.  Attempting to scan for life forms," Worf added.
He then continued after double checking his readings. "Life forms
confirmed sir.  They are Human.  In fact, a total of four humans,
sir."
     "Lock tractor beam on that ship and pull them in Lieutenant. 
Once they're aboard, set course for the Colonial Fleet," came the
order.
     "Aye sir."
                              -----

     As the Galactica began it's final approach to the Fleet's
location, it's Bridge crew looked aghast in horror at the visual on
the large viewscreen.  Before them were four Baseships and hundreds
of Cylon fighters, weaving in and out of the helpless ships of the
Colonial refuges.  Streaks of blue and red lashed across the sky as
Colonial Vipers ducked and swerved in a fruitless effort to protect
their people from the onslaught.
     Adama, with tears of anger threatening to form in his eyes,
softly said to Colonel Tigh, "Battle stations, Colonel."
     Tigh looked at his commanding officer with sympathy and then
swung around and barked in his most commanding voice, "Battle
stations!  Launch all Vipers!  Seal all compartments!"
     Omega echoed the order "Aye sir.  Battle stations," while
pushing the buttons that sounded the ship-wide claxxon.
     Boomer, waiting for the 'go' signal in the crew quarters,
suddenly heard it and jumped up shouting, "Ok fellows, this is it! 
Let's go!"  He then added, "And let's do this right for Apollo and
Starbuck."
     The pilots scrambled around the bunks and the tables, and ran
out of the door and into the hallway.
     Finally out among the twinkling stars, the flashes of laser
fire, and the bits of unvaporized metal, the replacement Squadrons
of Colonial Vipers sped towards the battle.

                              -----

     "Sheba, take Silver Spar to the right, we'll take left," 
Boomer said.
     "Acknowledged Boomer.  And Boomer... good luck."
     "You too.  Ok Blue Squadron, on my mark... and... BREAK!"
     The Blue Squadron formation neatly split in half, each group
precisely rolling in opposite directions.
     On the Bridge of the Galactica, Adama and Tigh stood hunched
over a monitor that displayed a map of the relative positions of
all the ships in the area.
     "Ok Tigh, we have Green and Yellow here and here, by the Agro,
livestock, and fuel ships," Adama indicated with his finger on the
screen. "And Blue, by the Rising Star, the Celestra, and the prison
barge.  We need to get a Squadron to the rear near some of the
slower freighters.  We'll also need them there to cover for us. 
Omega, contact the Red Squadron Leader and have them rendezvous
with us at the rear of the Fleet.  We'll leave Silver Spar here
near the front."
     "Very good sir," Tigh said with concurrence.  "Helm, set
course for those Baseships."

                              -----

     "Jolly!  You got one on your tail!  Hold on!" Ensign Greenbean
shouted thorough the comlink.
     "Hurry Greenbean, I can't see 'im!"
     "And... "  A pause while the target locked on in his screen. 
"YEAH!!" replied the Ensign as he watched the Cylon fighter explode
into a spectacular plume of brilliant streaks.
     "'Bout time.  Come on, there's a few who broke off from the
crowd.  They may try to make a suicide run on the Galactica."
     "Right with ya," Greenbean responded, while moving his Viper
in line with Jolly's.
     Elsewhere, more dramas were being played out.
     "Sheba!  They're heading right for one of the freighters!"
warned Lt. Bojay.
     "Not on your life!  Cover me Bojay," came the reply.
     The battle raged on, while the Galactica, it's laser turrets
constantly firing to provide protection, pushed through the clutter
of ships, towards the Cylon Basestars.
     "Tigh, this isn't going to be easy," Adama remarked.
     "It never is Adama, it never is," responded the Colonel.

                              -----

     The hatch of the Cylon fighter slowly opened and out walked
four very tired Humans and a single, very alert android.  Captain
Jean-Luc Picard and Lieutenant Worf stood just outside the fighter
to welcome it's occupants.
     "Welcome back Number One.  Doctor, Commander," Picard beamed
while grasping each of their shoulders.
     "Very glad to be back sir.  Believe me," Riker replied.
     "Jean-Luc," Beverly Crusher said softly while carefully
supporting the now weakened Starbuck.
     "Doctor, seems you've been busy," came the reply.
     "Seems that way, doesn't it?" Beverly responded.
     "Captain, I want to introduce you to Captain Apollo and
Lieutenant Starbuck," Riker announced, pointing out each one with
a wave of his hand.
     "Captain.  Lieutenant.  This is my Chief of Security,
Lieutenant Worf," Picard replied.
     Worf stifled a groan and respectfully nodded to the Colonial
Warriors. 
     "Jean-Luc, I'll need to get the Lieutenant to Sick Bay so I
can run a full battery of tests on him, just to be sure that he is
healing properly."
     "Huh?  Whah?" came Starbuck's surprised reply, as he continued
to stare with confusion at the Klingon Security Officer.
     "Captain.  I am honored to meet you.  Your crew has had
nothing but praise for your abilities," Apollo remarked, also
looking up at Worf, with a polite but perplexed smile.
     "And I am honored to meet you as well, Captain.  Particularly
since I had a wonderful conversation with your father not too long
ago."
     "My father?" Apollo reacted, with disbelief.
     "The Commander?  He was here?" Starbuck echoed.
     "Yes," Picard said.  "Number One, escort the Captain to the
Observation Lounge.  Doctor, have the Lieutenant report there as
well, as soon as he's discharged from your care."
     The group began to walk towards the Shuttle Bay exit and as
they turned down the hallway, a concerned Apollo queried, "Captain,
where is the Galactica now?"
     "Engaged in battle, if the reports are correct.  Apparently,
some additional Cylon Baseships have discovered the location of
your Fleet.  We are presently underway to join them.  Don't worry
Captain."
     "Frack!  I never ends," Apollo said with resignation.

                              -----

     "Commander, we are now within range of the Baseships," Omega
reported.
     "Alright, prepare to fire the forward lasers, full power," 
Adama replied.
     "Commander, they're firing!" Omega announced.
     The great ship heaved to the right as it absorbed the hit. 
The Bridge lights temporarily went dark and then were restored. 
"Direct hits.  Damage to multiple decks.  Damage Control crew are
responding," Omega said.
     "Fire all lasers!" Adama ordered.
     The red steaks and blue streaks flew furiously between the
Colonial Battlestar and the Cylon Baseship, while a second Cylon
ship began to move towards the Galactica.
     "Damage report!" Adama ordered.
     "Damage to Alpha Bay and life support.  Auxiliary power has
been automatically activated."
     Another hit and the Bridge crew grabbed rails and chairs to
keep from being thrown to the floor.

                              -----

     "Boomer, the Baseships are all converging on the Galactica!"
yelled Brie.
     "I see them Brie, there's nothing we can do about it now. 
Just try and get as many of those fighters as you can."
     Similar conversations passed back and forth among the
Squadrons.
     "Bojay, we gotta break off to help the Galactica!" Lt. Sheba
exclaimed.
     "They're too far away.  Believe me Sheba, I wanna go real bad
too but we... look out Sheba!  You picked one up!" Bojay suddenly
shouted, while quickly swinging his Viper around to intercept the
Cylon fighter.
     "Frack!  Bojay!  Can't shake... "
     Suddenly a blast exploded just outside of Sheba's Viper.  She
felt a shock of electricity quickly and painfully pass through her
body.
     "I'm hit Bojay, I'm hit!" she replied with pain and
frustration.
     "Hang on!"  Bojay's Viper swung around, targeted the fighter
and then he replied "Got 'em!" as he destroyed the fighter with a
single shot.  "Hold on Sheba.  Gods!!!  I wish that those Earth
people were here.  At least we'd have a chance."
     "Bojay?" came the confused voice of Sheba through the comlink.
     "Yeah?"
     "Do you see what I see?"
     "Where?"
     "It looks like some sort of ship.  It looks like... "
     "Where?  Holy... What in the name of the... "
     The U.S.S. Enterprise smoothly glided into the middle of the
vast array of Colonial ships and Cylon fighters, on a heading that
would take it directly to the Galactica.  Others among the various
Squadrons noted the Federation ship as well.
     "Yo Boomer!" yelled Jolly.
     "Yeah what?"
     "If I didn't know better, I'd think that I was hallucinating
or something but getta load of that!  Isn't that the Earth ship or
something?" Jolly said with disbelief.
     "Whah?  HEY YEAH!  THAT'S IT!!  That's it!!" Boomer shouted
back.  "It's gotta be.  I think they called it the Enterprise!! 
Boomer to Sheba.  Come in!"
     "I'm here Boomer, but barely.  You see that ship?" she said
weakly.
     "That's the Earth ship.  That's the Enterprise!" exclaimed
Boomer with growing excitement.
     "Think they're willing to take on a stowaway?" Sheba queried.
     "Huh?" Boomer said, slightly confused.
     "Hey Boomer, she got hit.  Pretty bad too.  Think they'll let
her come aboard?" Bojay interrupted.
     "Try contacting them.  See if... "
     "Boomer!  Sorry to interrupt but... " Jolly said cutting
Boomer off.  "Hard about, three marks coming in!"
     "Got 'em on visual.  Sorry to cut and run folks but... You
understand.  See ya later guys," Boomer responded while swinging
his throttle hard to the left.
     "Sheba, try it.  If you won't then I will," Bojay threatened.
     "Ok.  This is Lieutenant Sheba of Silver Spar Squadron, come
in Enterprise."
                              -----

     "Captain, we are receiving a hail from one of the ships. 
Audio only."
     Picard nodded.
     "Come in Enterprise.  Do you read.  This is Lieutenant Sheba."
     "We read you Lieutenant.  This is Captain Picard."
     "I'm hit Captain.  Pretty bad.  Permission to come aboard
sir."
     "Granted.  Worf, guide that ship in.  Doctor Crusher, prepare
for a medical emergency in the Shuttle Bay."

                              -----

     "Colonel, sensors are detecting a large ship heading this way.
Sir, it's the Enterprise!" cried Omega.
     "The Enterprise?  Adama!" exclaimed Tigh.
     "Yes, yes, I see it.  Thank the Lords.... Hail it Omega."
     "Aye sir.  They're on your monitor."
     "Captain Picard," Adama began.
     "Commander.  Looks like we came at a most propiscious moment. 
May we join the party?"
     "Any time Captain.  Any time.  We're heavily damaged though so
we're going to have to pull back." 
     "Acknowledged Commander.  Picard out," he replied.  Then to
the room he ordered, "Red Alert.  Battle stations.  Worf, lock
photons on that Baseship."
     "Aye sir.  Photons locked on target.  Captain, Baseship is now
firing on us.  Multiple hits.  No damage.  Shields ARE holding."
     "Fire," Picard ordered.
     "Firing photons.  Direct hit."
     The Baseship suddenly exploded in a display of fiery bolts of
light, nearly as bright as a supernova.
     "Lock photons on that second Baseship, Lieutenant."
     "Locked on."
     "Fire."
     "Torpedoes away.  Another direct hit."
     The second Baseship exploded.
     "Captain, a large number of enemy fighters have broken off
from the others and are headed this way.  Permission to target with
phasers sir."
     "Careful Lieutenant, with all these ships in the air, I don't
want to hit any of the Colonial ones."
     "Understood, sir."
     "Captain, if we back away from the Fleet, we may be able to
draw those fighters away from the other ships.  Then we'll have a
clearer shot at them," Riker suggested.
     "Very good Commander.  Make it so.  Worf, open a hailing
frequency to the Galactica."
     "Open sir."
     "Commander Adama?"
     "It's a miracle Captain.  Thank you.  Thank you."
     "All in self defense Commander.  I wanted to inform you that
we are planning to try to draw those Cylon fighters away from your
Fleet so that we can dispatch with them without hitting any of your
people."
     "Understood Captain.  Good luck."
     "And to you as well Commander."
     The signal terminated and was again replaced the by the white
and blue and red shimmering of war.
     "Number One?  Will you do the honors?"
     "Helm, set course, heading zero one zero mark two four.  One
half impulse," Riker ordered.
     "Aye sir.  Course set.  One half impulse."
     The Enterprise began to revolve on an imaginary axis and then
began to move away from the battle.  A number of Cylon fighters,
with laser guns flaring, began to pursue the departing ship.

                              -----

     "Hey?  Where's the Enterprise going?" Boomer asked.
     "I dunno but at least she's taking a lot of those Cylons away
from us.  You see the way she just blew those Baseships out of the
sky?" Jolly remarked.
     "Yeah, I told you!  Boy, I can't wait to get to Earth!" came
Boomer's reply.
     "Me too, Boomer.  Me, too!"

                              -----

     "Captain, sensors indicate that seventy-five fighters have
left the area of the Colonial Fleet and are pursuing us."
     "Good.  Any sign of Colonial ships with them?"
     "Checking sir.  Negative.  No life-forms are being detected on
the ships coming in range."
     "Very well.  Number One?"
     "Worf.  Fire all phasers.  Full dispersal."
     "Aye sir.  Phasers firing."
     A ball of light spun around the saucer section of the
Enterprise before focusing and then splitting into multiple, lethal
beams of energy, all directed at the Cylon fighter ships.  All but
ten fighters simultaneously flashed out of existence.
     "Sixty-five targets destroyed sir.  Locking phasers on 
remaining ships."
     "Fire." Riker ordered.
     The final ten exploded as they attempted to move together to
regroup.
     "Commander Data, what do sensors indicate regarding damage to
the Colonial Fleet?"
     "Sir, sensors show extensive damage to both the Galactica and
the other various ships.  Sensors are also detecting two remaining
Baseships."
     "Alright, let's go back into the thick of it.  Helm, set
course... "
     "Captain, sensors are picking up a third Baseship sir.  Coming
from the direction of LL-5."
     "Baltar," Picard surmised.  "Now that's a Human who has a lot
of explaining to do.  Helm, set course back to the Fleet.  Let's
see if we can draw some more of those fighters away."
     "Aye sir," responded the Helm Officer.
     The Enterprise moved back towards the cacophony of ships
moving in all directions.
     "We need to wrap this up, Number One.  Don't you agree?"
     "The sooner the better Captain.  We'll need to tend to the
wounded out there."
     "Agreed.  Mister Worf, lock on... "
     "Captain," Data interrupted.  "The third Baseship is now
retreating."
     "Retreating?  Is the retreating ship Baltar's?"
     "Aye sir," Data replied.
     "Captain, the remaining two Baseships are firing on us.  We
are also being hailed by numerous Colonial Vipers who are
requesting permission to board."
     "Ok.  Arrange to bring those pilots on board and notify Sick
Bay to prepare to respond to their medical needs.  Worf, lock
torpedoes on the remaining Baseships."
     "Sir, the Baseships are too close the Fleet.  Firing torpedoes
on them now may cause damage to some of the Colonial ships."
     "Let's force them away then.  Set collision course Helm,
towards the nearest Baseship."
     "Sir??" Riker said with concern.
     "We'll see very quickly how sophisticated their programming is
Number One."
     "Aye sir," Riker replied with a raise of his eyebrow.
     "Captain, both Baseships are backing away sir," Data replied.
     "They will be outside of the danger zone in one minute, at
present speed," Worf added.
     "Maintain course, Helm."
     "Thirty seconds," Worf responded.
     "Steady."
     "Fifteen seconds."
     "Lock photons on both ships."
     "They will be within range in ten, nine, eight, seven, six,
five, four, three, two, one... "
     "Fire!"
     "Torpedoes away.  Direct hits," Worf proudly announced.
     The dual explosions were so bright that the Enterprise's
main viewer automatically engaged the filter.

                              -----

     "Tigh!  Positive shields. NOW!" Adama ordered.
     The large, metal shields began to close over the Galactica's
main viewscreen just as the Bridge began to flood with the
brilliance of the multiple explosions.

                              -----

     "WOW!!  Can't see a damn thing after that!" Boomer exclaimed.
     "Then quit looking at it Boomer," Jolly teased.
     "Funny, funny."
     "Hey, what happened to that other Baseship?" Jolly inquired.
     "After that last explosion, would you hang around here?"
Boomer retorted.
     "Not on your life Boomer!" came Jolly's reply.
     "Alright.  Blue Squadron, or whoever's left that is.  Let's
wrap this thing up," replied Boomer.
                              -----

     "Adama!  That's it!  They're gone!" Tigh exclaimed.
     "Yes.  All except Baltar," Adama noted.
     "I know.  I saw his Baseship retreat some centons ago."
     "Never mind.  I will thank the Lords for our good fortune. 
Get me the Enterprise.  We have a lot to do," Adama said.
     Aye sir!" Tigh responded.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

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                  The Darkness Before the Dawn

                               IX


Captain's Log.  Stardate 47240.8

"We have been joined by the U.S.S. Eisenhower, and other Federation
vessels are on the way to help us with repairs and medical
assistance for the Battlestar Galactica and the the rest of the
ships in the Colonial Fleet, after the Cylon attack.  Doctor Serat
and his Science Station personnel will eventually be transferred to
one of the arriving ships, for passage back to LL-5.

The Colonial 'Council of the Twelve' has invited our officers to
one of their recreational vessels for an awards ceremony and formal
dinner.  We have gratiously accepted the invitation."

                              --o--

Adama's Journal:

"The end of our quest for Earth is near.  We have finally made
positive contact with Humans from that planet, who have greatly
assisted us in this latest Cylon attack.  Currently, most of the
Fleet is undergoing repairs and our injured are being healed by
both Colonial and Federation medical personnel.

The Council of the Twelve has called for a victory celebration to
be held aboard the Rising Star this very night and it is with great
honor and relief that I will attend this most important and joyful
of all celebrations."

                              -----

     The grand dining room of the Rising Star was buzzing with
activity.  Navy blues mixed with maroons and tans with golds.  The
officers of the flagship vessels of the Federation and the Colonies
cheerfully intermingled, their voices heightened to match the
occasion.
     The Enterprise Chief of Security stood along the side of the
room, angrily tugging at his dress uniform.  Lt. Commander Data
casually walked up to him, tilted his head slightly in a quizzical
gesture and began to speak.
     "Lieutenant, you once more appear to be uncomfortable with
this type of event.  From what I have found from my studies of
Klingon rituals and ceremony, your people do have occasions where
you engage in pomp and circumstance," Data commented.
     "Our ceremonies are private and focus solely on the specific
ritual being performed.  This... " Worf continued while gesturing
with his hand at the crowd.  "This is unorganized and without
dignity or purpose.  What is the point?" he then grumbled.
     "From what I understand, the people of the Colonies are
celebrating their victory over the Cylons and are rejoicing their
fortunate encounter with the Federation.  They are also celebrating
the verification of the existence of the planet Earth, which until
now was considered by them as a myth," Data explained.
     "Still, had this been a Klingon celebration of victory, we
would not be standing around idly making what you call 'small
talk'.  When we celebrate a victory over our enemies, our hearts
and our minds are filled with the power and the glory of that
victory."
     "Hmmm," Data said while contemplating his next words.  "I have
indeed observed that behavior among Klingons.  I must add though
that Humans on Earth, during an earlier period of their history,
did celebrate as Klingons do today.  However, at some point they
ceased to engage in such battles among themselves and thus have
tended to focus on more intimate, more individual-oriented
commemorations."
     "Uh, pardon me gentleman," Lt. Starbuck interrupted, after
successfully weaving through the throngs of revellers to reach the
Enterprise officers.  "Commander Data?"
     "Ahh, Lieutenant Starbuck," Data said with a friendly tone.
     "I would like you to meet a friend of mine, Casseopia,"
Starbuck said, while motioning the woman forward.  "Cass, this is
Lieutenant Commander Data, the Enterprise's Second Officer.  You
know.  The one I was telling you about?  And I believe you met
Lieutenant Worf when you came aboard," he added.
     "How do you do Commander and nice to meet you again
Lieutenant.  I hear you both challenged Starbuck to a game of
cards.  Seems I can't get Starbuck away from those corruptible
activities," she teased.
     "Corruptible?" Data repeated, somewhat puzzled.  "Actually,
poker can be very revealing.  It also enhances one's ability to
concentrate on the matter at hand, although I am confused when
Humans often refer to the statistical odds, which they fail to
realize, cannot vary," he explained.
     "Um, I guess.  I really don't know.  I don't get much chance
to play."
     "What do you do in your spare time, Casseopia?" Data asked.
     "What spare time?" came the response.
     Again confused, Data probed further. "You must have some
activity that you prefer to engage in.  Perhaps pleasure reading or
the arts or music?"
     "Well, I haven't given it much thought, Commander.  I do enjoy
watching a game of Triad.  That's one of the arena sports we play
aboard the Rising Star.  It's been hard to find the time lately,
with the war and all.  I really haven't had as much leisure time in
general as I would like."
     "Perhaps you might be interested in my musical performance
scheduled for tomorrow night.  We will be playing various
selections from Mozart, an ancient Earth composer."
     "You play... music?" Starbuck exclaimed with surprise.
     "Of course, Lieutenant.  I have studied and utilized the
various, distinctive violin techniques of numerous musicians and
have attempted to 'find my own style', so to speak," replied Data. 
He enthusiastically continued, "I also enjoy painting, although I
have found that my cat Spot needs further instruction on staying
away from my paints.  In general, I have concluded that these
various hobbies have helped me in my quest to better understand the
Human psyche."
     Casseopia and Starbuck looked at each other with disbelief.
     "A cat?  Named Spot?  I may not be up on the types of
domesticated animals you have around here but I presume you are
saying that you actually have a pet animal?" Starbuck said with
amazement.
     "That is a correct assessment, Lieutenant.  A 'cat' is a small
Earth feline, from any one of a number of species, who I have
recently discovered has a behavioral tendency to display
independent trains of thought, at the most inopportune moments,"
Data explained. 
     "I see.  Uh, well Commander, it was nice meeting you.  Come on
Starbuck," Casseopia said politely but with urgency, as she grabbed
Starbuck's arm while still trying to convince herself that she had
just heard what she heard. "I'd like to meet the Enterprise's
medical staff."

                              -----

     "Well Commander, this is quite a party you have here," Jean-
Luc Picard commented while looking around at the myriad of Colonial
and Federation personnel moving about the room.
     "Yes it is.  We have found that our people seem to like these
celebrations.  I must admit that during our many trials and
tribulations, these celebrations did help divert our minds away
from the hopelessness that sets in when you find yourself under
constant attack," Adama noted.
     "Fortunately, Commander, your helplessness has come to an..."
     "Ahh, Captain Picard I presume?" a voice suddenly cut in from
behind the two men.
     "Yes," Picard replied, turning to face the questioner.
     "Excuse me Commander Adama, I didn't mean to interrupt but as
President of the Council of the Twelve, I wanted to introduce
myself to the man who has helped bring our people to the end of
their long journey."
     "I am honored to make your acquaintance, Mister President.  I
wish your people the best of luck on Earth," the Enterprise Captain
stated with sincerity.
     "Earth?  Uh, since you bring that subject up, I have a
question for you Captain.  As you know, we have an established
government among our people, with a ruling Council composed of
representatives from each of our twelve colonies.  Captain, what
will happen to that government should we choose to settle on
Earth?" the Councillor asked, matter of factly.
     "Well Mister President, I am afraid that at the present time,
Earth is governed by a planet-wide Council.  Perhaps you could run
for elective office in the area on the planet in which you choose
to settle.  I must admit that I really haven't kept up with the
politics on Earth since I've only really visited there once or
twice for extended visits, in the almost thirty years since I left
there," Picard explained.
     "Mister President," Adama injected.  "What I believe the
Captain is saying is that should we decide to settle on Earth, the
Council would basically have to be dissolved.  I conclude that we
as Humans from the Colonies should be free to mingle with and
incorporate ourselves among our Human cousins on Earth."
     "I see... " the elderly man softly replied.  "I have inquired
among the various Humans here from your ship and have found that
none of them have any knowledge of Kobol, the mother world of all
Humans.  I ask you Captain, have you, in your myths or legends,
come across reference to your mother planet?"
     "Mister President I'm afraid that I have had this discussion
at length with the Commander and several of the religious leaders
of your people.  I will tell you as I have told them, that when
reviewing the research into the many stories from the people of
Earth, none references a world other than that from which we
derive.  We have found that all of our early societies have
creation stories, again, none of which refer to a journey across
the stars to reach Earth.  In fact, a majority of these stories
speak of Earth as being the first major creation of the universe by
a Supreme being and that it is the center of all Human life." 
Picard recited.
     "If that is true Captain, then how do you explain our presence
in such a remote place?  How do you explain our existence in those
Colonies, having had the ability to travel in space for over a
thousand yahren.  Recently I even discovered that our societies'
use of such celestial vessels vastly predates your first use of
such vessels.  Surely, the disparities between the introduction of
space technology on Earth and that in the Colonies would be
consistent and explainable if you factor in the time it must have
taken for those early ships that left Kobol to reach your planet
and colonize it," the Councillor added.
     "Mister President, at this time our top historians and 
folklorists are researching this matter.  In fact, several theories
have already been put forward including one which my crew and I
most recently discovered ourselves, that may apply in your
situation.  In fact, it has already had a profound effect on the
many Humanoid life forms that we have encountered since we began
our space explorations," Picard offered.
     "And what is that?" the Council President asked with tenseness
in his voice.
     "A number of Humanoid species including ourselves, the
Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians, jointly discovered the
existence of a now extinct, very highly advanced race of beings,
who nearly four billion years ago may have 'seeded' thousands of
planets around the galaxy with bits of their DNA.  These fragments,
we believe, once introduced on a suitable planet, evolved over eons
to eventually form many of the life forms who you see here in this
very room."
     "But how was this possible?  How did you come to that
conclusion?"
     "By accident, really.  It began when an old archeology
professor of mine stumbled upon some of these original, unique DNA
fragments during his archeological explorations.  Apparently, he
noticed a pattern in them but unfortunately, he was killed by
others who also sought the answers to the secrets of those
patterns.  This lead to what we now affectionately call our 'chase'
or actually our 'race' to find and fill in the missing pieces to a
very strange puzzle.  My crew discovered that those fragments could
actually be translated into a special computer code, designed to
activate an elaborate computer program.  Again, with the reluctant
help of these same Humanoid species, we were able to retrieve all
of the relevant pieces, enabling us to essentially 'run' the
computer program.  The result turned out to be an ancient, recorded
message from this now extinct, progenitor race, who informed us
that it was they who had actually introduced their genetic material
into the fertile grounds of this galaxy, essentially guaranteeing
their immortality though us," Picard explained.
     "But how would that relate to us and Kobol?  What are the
chances of two disparate Human civilizations evolving
independently?  It doesn't make sense," the Councillor said with
irritation.
     "True.  The odds of creating two independent and, as far as we
have seen, identical types of species are extremely low.  However,
had the pool of DNA fragments been large enough and scattered
enough, and had the environmental conditions and planentary
evolution of Kobol been essentially identical to that of Earth, I
would expect that the development of similar Human types could have
been possible.  For example, we have seen that very phenomena occur
with the Betazoids.  Unfortunately, we really do not know enough
about your origins to speculate on any of this.  I leave that up to
the historians, exo-biologists, and exo-paleoanthropologists to
find the answers.  I would expect that your presence here may in
fact spawn a new field of study, particularly when your people
reach Earth," Picard remarked with a smile.
     "Yes, should our people decide that Earth is where we wish to
go," the President replied.
     "But I thought... " Picard began.
     "Mister President, I beg to differ.  I thought that that was
our goal.  That we would seek out our Thirteenth Colony," Adama
suddenly exclaimed, interrupting the Captain.
     "Apparently Commander, the fable of the Thirteenth Colony may
be just that, a fable," the graying man said with a huff.
     "But the ancient writings... " Adama pleaded.  "The Book of
the Word...  All of these things distinctly speak of another tribe
who settled on a planet called Earth."
     "Again, I know next to nothing about your legends Adama, but
perhaps your 'thirteenth tribe' did travel to Earth long ago,
before our recorded history, and chose to settle among the Humans
already residing there.  I only know that our extensive
anthropological studies have verified that we as Humans on Earth,
did evolve there.  Naturally there have been many myths from
various peoples, of visitations from what were once popularly
called extra-terrestrials, but we could only prove a single contact
and that was the devastating one we had with the Romulans, just
prior to our planned contact with the Alpha Centuris, who are
located not far from where we are right now," Picard said.
     "Well Captain, regardless of what the truth may be, I have
found that a great many of our people have expressed an interest in
settling on an uninhabited planet so that we can fully restore and
maintain our previous way of life."
     "Which people are you referring to, Mister President?" Adama
asked with disbelief.
     "Adama really, you must find more time to mingle with the
people.  Your isolation aboard the Galactica has truly rendered you
ignorant of the peoples's wishes," retorted the Councillor.
     With controlled anger, Adama replied, "I beg your pardon, sir,
but I... "
     "Gentleman," Picard interrupted, recognizing an argument in
the making and astutely signalling for a tall, dark-haired and
dark-eyed man to join them.  "If you would, I would like to
introduce you to Ambassador Darrion Marks.  He is a Federation
Ambassador from the planet Betazed, whose specialty is
colonizations and resettlements."
     "Ambassador," Adama said, with relief.
     "Ambassador," the Council President echoed gruffly.
     "The Ambassador will be joined by others who will be able to
answer any questions you have regarding Federation concerns, and he
will be able to provide your people with assistance as a mediator
in deciding what options you may have as a next step," Picard
added.
     "Thank you Captain," remarked the Councillor.  "There is much
we need to discuss with the Ambassador."  Promptly placing his arm
around the Ambassador, he then said to him, "Please, come.  There
are some people I would like you to meet."
     The two men immediately moved away from the ship Captains. 
     Adama looked at Picard with trepidation.  "It seems that our
problems are now only just beginning," he said sadly.
     "Apparently, but that's to be expected.  It is always the
darkest before the dawn, Adama.  I only hope that you will come to
a solution that will benefit everyone," Picard replied.
     "Yes, but there are other factors involved.  Political
factors.  Power factors, or better yet, the loss of power.  You
see, there are a number of members on our Council whose only status
derives from being a member.  That can be pretty heady.  No one
with that type of power, that much control, ever wants to give it
up," Adama explained.
     "I'm afraid Commander, that that will be something that your
people must resolve internally.  Again, I remind you that our Prime
Directive... "
     "Forbids your interference into our internal affairs," Adama
said completing the sentence with remorse.
     "That's right Commander.  You see, we have found that in the
past, whenever we involved ourselves in the politics of other
worlds, for example, aiding one side in a civil war, ultimately
that innocent gesture caused devastating effects on that planet's
population and culture."
     "But had you not intervened," Adama injected, "would not the
winning side devastate the losers?"
     "Yes and in most cases that was the result.  However we view
it from the standpoint that had we not encountered that world
initially, we would not have even been aware that a war was going
on at all.  Ultimately, the same result would have occurred
regardless.  Again, we act on experience.  At one time, the
argument you just related was used to justify the arming of both
sides of warring factions, to allow for some sort of balance.  This
produced even more devastating consequences.  Basically we found
that we unintentionally extended the wars, causing many tens of
thousands, and in some cases, many millions more deaths than what
would have occurred had we not interfered.  Commander, the bad
experiences have left a bitter taste in our mouths and although it
pains me and many of my crew to say this, we gladly enforce this
most important of the Federation's principles, to allow a
civilization to develop along it's natural course."
     "But you provide mediators, as you have done today.  Wouldn't
that be considered interference?" Adama asked.
     "In this instance, and when you look at the general spirit of
the Prime Directive, you will see that we only wish to live in and
maintain peace.  That is really the whole point.  To be able to
live in peaceful coexistence with the other member species of our
Federation.  Should any of those members fall into a dispute, we
try as best as we can to diffuse and solve the situation.  Again,
to promote the idea of peace.  You see, we have pledged that we
will never declare war on another unless we are attacked first.  We
operate on a purely defensive stance.  Should any of our members
become embroiled in civil disorders, we immediately dispatch
mediators, if requested, to help diffuse the tension.  Should civil
war ensue and we exhaust our diplomatic means for a solution, the
Federation Council has the right to bar that world from membership.
In fact, the political climate and stability of a given world is
one of the criteria for membership in the Federation.  We evaluate
very carefully whether the planet can abide by certain basic
principles that we set forth."
     "But that appears to be a very exclusive arrangement."
     "Not at all Commander.  We have granted much leeway to allow
for the incorporation of quite a variety of cultures into the
Federation, including systems whose political structures would seem
alien or even harsh to you or I.  Again, the criteria for
membership are quite broad however, there are certain principles
and rights which we demand be made available locally, to be
eligible for membership."
     "I see now Captain, that I have a lot of studying ahead of me
so that I can understand what I've gotten myself into.  I still
realize however, that although we may come under the protective
wing of the Federation, we still have the Cylon threat that looms
large," Adama remarked.
     "Yes Commander, I must agree.  Fortunately, our detailed
report to Star Fleet and the Federation Council have convinced them
that the Cylons may present a real threat to the security and well
being of the Federation membership.  They have agreed to study the
problem further.  In fact, they have tracked Baltar's Baseship and
found that it is currently stationed somewhere within our Neutral
Zone.  Except for extreme emergencies, we are forbidden by treaty
to enter that area of space.  Unfortunately due to the destructive
capacity of these Baseships, we are afraid that their presence in
the Neutral Zone may antagonize our cold war enemies, the Romulans,
who may in turn interpret the Cylon presence as some veiled
Federation attempt at agression into their territory.  Believe me
when I tell you that these Cylons, though technologically inferior
to the Federation, are about to cause us a lot of problems. 
Problems that are more political in nature than military, but that
may prove to be devastating regardless, particularly with respect
to how their sudden appearance is interpreted by our enemies," the
Enterprise Captain said with resignation.
     "I profusely apologize Captain, for bringing our problems to
your doorstep, but I believe your organization, with it's amazing
diversity of peoples, should have the ability to solve this dilemma
satisfactorily," Adama said with confidence.
     "I hope we will Commander.  I hope we will," came the reply.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
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~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 10/10)
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:22:25 -0500
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                         The First Light

                                X
 

     A group of five women boisterously entered Ten Forward and
briskly strode across the floor of the lounge towards a table in
front of the large, picturesque center window.
     "Wow!  With a layout like this, you would think that you were
aboard a luxury cruiser like the Rising Star and not aboard a
military ship," Athena exclaimed, as she selected a chair adjacent
to the window.
     "Well Athena, this isn't really a military ship, since Star
Fleet isn't actually a military organization," Troi quickly
corrected.
     "But the weapons you have aboard are, well... awesome,"
commented Lieutenant Sheba.
     "Yes but they're strictly used for defense.  We will never
overtly attack someone unless we were provoked, and even then we
usually try a diplomatic solution first rather than fire power," 
Beverly Crusher added.
     "Your world sounds so idyllic, so utopic, Doctor.  The more
you describe it, the more I want to see it," Casseopia declared.
     "Believe me Casseopia, when I tell you that it wasn't always
that way.  We've had more than enough of our share of wars in the
past.  The final one among ourselves was a virtual nuclear
holocaust, nearly wiping out our entire population," replied
Crusher.
     "And what about you, Deanna.  You said that you are a Beta...
a Beta...?" Athena stumbled.
     "Betazoid.  Actually, only half-Betazoid," Troi replied.
     "But you don't look any different from Humans.  In fact, I
just assumed... " interrupted Sheba.
     "Well my father was a Human and my mother a Betazoid and as
for the differences, actually, physically we are very, very similar
to Humans, however my people are naturally telepathic.  In fact,
although I am mixed, I have at least retained some of those
abilities," Deanna explained.
     "You mean that you can read my mind?" Athena blurted.
     "Well, not exactly.  I can only sense your emotions."
     "I guess that really helps in your occupation as a Counselor,"
Casseopia surmised.
     "In a way, yes.  I find it allows me to better treat my
patients and it allows me to better understand what truly bothers
them.  Unfortunately there are many drawbacks as well," Troi
continued.
     "I can imagine," exclaimed Sheba.  "How does your empathy work
anyway?  I mean, do you sense things all the time?"
     "That is the drawback Sheba.  You see, from a very young age,
Betazoid children are gradually taught how to control the input of
all of these thoughts and emotions.  We are also taught to think
freely, except in certain cases where we might choose to maintain
certain private thoughts.  This is critical, otherwise we would
literally go mad from trying to distinguish our own emotions, our
own states of being, from those around us."
     "Gee," Athena began.  "At first I figured that being
telepathic or empathic would be kinda neat, but now, after you
mentioned the problems, I think I'd have second thoughts."
     "Oh, it's not that bad.  Actually, living with these thoughts
and emotions from others all my life, has made me feel multi-
dimensional.  I know that's sort of hard to describe to a non-
empath, but I guess the best way to say it is to relate an
experience I had when I temporarily lost my empathic abilities.  I
felt as if my very being was taken from me.  I felt so alone, so
empty, without the comfort of those minds that have been present
with me all my life.  It was really a very scary and stressful time
for me," Deanna related.
     All of a sudden Guinan walked up to the group and smiled
saying, "So, what'll you ladies have?"
     "How about some Ambrosia?" Sheba suggested.
     "Ambrosia?  Now let's see... " Guinan began.  "There are at
least fifty different types that I'm aware of within the Federation
territories.  Outside of the Federation, well there must be... "
     "How about some Earth champagne, Guinan?" Crusher suggested,
quickly halting Guinan's upcoming list of varieties.  "We might as
well introduce our guests to some of the tastes of Earth."
     "Actually that sounds like a good idea," said Casseopia.
     "I'm game," Athena added.
     "Sure, why not?" Sheba remarked.
     "Alright Doctor," Guinan conceded. "What kind would you like?"
     Beverly Crusher paused, gently stroking her chin with one hand
and then finally responding, "Well, how about you picking out a
good one for us?  One from France, where the bubbly originated,"
she recommended.
     "I'll be back in a minute," Guinan said with a smile and a
slight nod of her head.
     "So, this turned out kinda nice.  A real 'girls night out'. 
Especially now that you're fit as a fiddle Sheba," Beverly
remarked.
     "Yeah, this is kinda fun," Athena added.  "We were always in
such a constant state of emergency all these sectons, it was really
hard to just be able to sit back and relax and just talk about odds
and ends." 
     "I agree and I appreciate your medical expertise Doctor.  I
really do feel better than I've felt in a long time.  Besides, I'd
rather be here with all of you talking about different things, than
making a big production out of stupid card game like some people we
know," Sheba kidded.
     "Yes, I heard about that.  Will described it like it was some
sort of competition or something," Deanna Troi added.
     "The 'Battle of the Yahren'," Casseopia said for
clarification.  "'The Galactica versus the Enterprise'.  You would
think that they would get tired of it, centaur after centaur."
     "Well actually, I have to admit that I do enjoy our weekly
poker games," the Enterprise Doctor said defensively.  "I play just
to get a break from the stress.  It can be very entertaining, 
especially when playing with Worf and Data."
     "Oh sure.  I don't mind playing cards," Athena injected. 
"It's just that those guys take it soooo seriously."
     "I agree Athena," Troi replied.  "It's as if their very
manhood is on the line."
     "You're right.  Especially Worf," Crusher conceded.  "He is so
serious when he plays.  He 'must strive for a victory'," she then
said, mimicking Worf's rumbling voice and then bursting into a fit
of giggles at her sorry attempt.
     "Well I hear that Starbuck has challenged your android Data,
figuring that if he can beat an android as sophisticated as
Commander Data, then he can beat anyone," said Sheba.
     "Well it's not like Data wins all the time," Troi noted.  "You
see, these card games are based as much on bluffing as they are on
skill and the odds.  Data is still learning how to recognize a
bluff when he sees one," she said with a chuckle.
     "Boy, when I first met him, it was, well, it was kind of
scary, you know?" said Casseopia.  "I hate to use that word, maybe
eery is better.  It's just that after talking with him for a while,
he seemed so... so Human.  I literally forgot that he was only a
machine."
     "You and everyone else aboard this ship, Cassie.  It is hard
sometimes," Crusher sympathized.
     "That's right.  In fact, you wouldn't believe how many young,
single female crew members aboard this ship have a crush on him.
It's really incredible," added the Ship's Counselor.
     "A crush?  But how?  I mean he...  Well he can't really... do
it... can he?" Athena asked with confusion.
     "Lieutenant Commander Data is, as he fondly likes to state,
'fully functional', Athena," Beverly said with a wink.  "Basically,
his creator Doctor Soong built him to be anatomically correct and
then programmed him appropriately for 'full interaction with
Humans', if you know what I mean," she added.
     "Oh my!  I'm trying to envision it... " Casseopia said,
giggling with amusement and suddenly showing renewed interest in
this new and somewhat spicy subject of conversation.
     "Don't," Troi cautioned.  "Although I have had many, many
conversations with women aboard this ship regarding their
infatuation with Data, I have counseled them to try to keep in mind
that the Commander is not programmed with real emotions.  Or at
least those which we have seen fully expressed."
     "You see," Crusher added, "even if you fall in love with him,
he can never fall in love with you."
     "And acceptance of that fact is what usually causes the most
problems," Deanna continued.  "I had to deal with one such case
several years ago when Data decided to consent to a request from a
crew member to be her boyfriend.  Unfortunately, the woman had just
gone though a bad experience with a previous boyfriend," Troi
explained.
     "And how did that turn out?" Athena asked with anticipation.
     "Not too good.  You see, this woman was really only using Data
as a crutch after coming out of a bad affair.  Her jumping back
into another relationship so soon, and then to have one with an
android who could never fulfill what she craved for, was the worst
thing she could have ever done."
     "Don't get us wrong," the doctor injected.  "We love Data like
family, it's just that... well, even with all of his sophisticated
programming and his uncanny portrayal of various Human male
behaviors, he could never adequately and convincingly express
feelings for her."
     "Gee, it's just that he seems like he'd be the perfect guy. 
I mean he's tall, dark and handsome and he's always so gentle and
polite.  In fact I found that he's really pretty humorous too.  I
don't know, he just seems like a really, really nice guy," Athena
mused.
     "Well Athena, he is a really 'nice guy', but remember, he's
just a machine, albeit a very complex one, but a machine
nevertheless," Troi said.
     "You know, that's really a shame.  It's so ironic," Sheba said
with a sigh.
     "Why do you say that?" Troi queried.
     "I think what Sheba means is that it's a shame and ironic that
the only perfect man out here in the entire universe, happens to be
a machine," Casseopia rationalized, with a wry smile.  "You say
he's anatomically correct?  I say to hell with it and let's all go
for him.  I think he can handle it."
     And with that, the five women burst out in unrestrained
laughter, all nodding in perfect agreement, as Guinan carefully
placed glass goblets around the table and began to pour the
champagne.  Real champagne and not the synthehol substitute.
     They spent the rest of the evening pleasantly inebriated while
carefully plotting how they would carry out Casseopia's suggestion.

                              -----

     The mood in the Colonial Council Chambers aboard the Galactica
was charged as the fiery debate began, a debate that would
ultimately determine the fate of the Human survivors from the
Colonies.  Adama, the representative from Caprica, quietly observed
the proceedings.  The Aquarian Council President gingerly guided
the discussions.
     "We cannot allow our people to disperse.  That will mean the
end of all of our cultures, cultures that were built up over the
millennia.  It will mean the end of the life that we have always
known, forever," one Councillor, a Leo, boomed.
     "The day the Cylons destroyed our home worlds was the day that
our way of life was irrevocably changed forever, regardless," the
Saggitarian countered.
     "But you cannot deny that even in flight, we here have not
abandoned our ways completely.  We have maintained the Council and
our laws," the Leo remarked defensively.
     "Yes but that must come to an end.  We must join together with
our Human brothers and sisters so that we may repel the Cylon
threat," the Virgo representative interrupted.
     "Here, here," remarked a Taurean in agreement.
     "The Cylons will have no effect here.  It is obvious that
these people can easily dispatch the Cylons without any effort.  I
say we find some suitable, uninhabited planet, within this so-
called Federation space and re-create what we lost, rebuild our
worlds," suggested a Gemonese.
     "But the people, my people the Cancers, wish to settle on
Earth.  They expect no delay," came a retort.
     "My people however, the Aries, do not feel that way.  We agree
with the Gemonese.  Our people wish to settle on a world were they
can follow the laws underwhich they were born and raised and not
those imposed on us by some outsiders, most of whom are not even
Human."
     "How can we argue about this?  What we must do is put the
issue to a vote.  We must ask the people what they want."
recommended the Councillor from Libra.
     "Yes, yes.  That is what we need.  A vote.  Should the
majority wish to settle on a single or perhaps on a group of
planets in a system, then that is what we must do," noted the
Piscon.
     "And what if the people decide to go to Earth?" the Council
President interjected with obvious frustration.
     "Well then that will have to be recognized as the wish of..."
     "And our Council, our ancient body, passed down to us through
the generations, would be lost," bemoaned the representative from
Scorpio.  "We would have no position, no power, no say in this
alien government.  This body would essentially be dissolved.  Is
that what you want?"
     At once, some members began to murmur in agreement, others in
disagreement of the assessment of their future, their status, their
very livelihoods.
     The President abruptly halted the discordant voices.  "Please,
please.  Come to order.  I recommend that before we allow the
transfer of any of our people away from the Fleet, except for those
who are seriously ill, we take the time to research this situation
very carefully.  I suggest that we adjourn immediately and return
in a secton's time, after we have learned more about the options
that we will be given.  That way, we will have a better handle on
our situation."
     "Agreed," several members said simultaneously.  Others nodded.
     "Then this Council meeting stands adjourned until one secton
from today," the Council President concluded.

                              -----

     "It is your bet Lieutenant," the android Commander observed to
Starbuck.
     "Yeah, yeah.  Just a centon... " Starbuck said while running
his fingers through his hair.
     "Starbuck, just be careful, Ok?" replied Apollo, who was
seated at the side of the table only to observe.
     "Hey.  Nothin' to worry about.  I got this game all figured
out now," Starbuck retorted.
     "Yeah right Starbuck.  Sure," Boomer mumbled.
     "Are you in or what?" Commander Riker said with irritation,
unconsciously stroking his beard while studying his cards.
     "Yeah, Ok.  I'll bet fifty credits over the rest," replied Lt.
Starbuck after he punched some numbers into his calculator.
     "You are cheating!" Worf suddenly remarked for the umteenth
time that night.
     "Cheating?  Never Lieutenant.  I figured out a system here
that's guaranteed to work," Starbuck replied defensively as he
punched a few more numbers into the calculator.
     "Excuse me Lieutenant, but again I must remind you that your
calculation of the odds may prove to be a waste of time as there
are only fifty-two cards in the deck and... "
     "Uh, excuse me Commander Data, but you can't tell Starbuck
here anything.  Believe me, we've tried," Boomer interrupted.
     "Hey come on guys, that's not fair," came the hesitant reply
from Starbuck.
     "Worf, your bet," Will Riker said with a huff.
     "I fold," Worf grumbled.
     "Lieutenant Jolly?" Data queried.
     "Too rich for me!" Jolly replied with a disgusted sigh,
throwing his useless cards onto the table.
     The Enterprise Second Officer then reached into his large pile
of chips, tossed a handful into the center and remarked, "Dealer is
in and I will raise you by ten.  Lieutenant Boomer?"
     "Forget it.  That just blew me away!"
     "Commander Riker?"
     "Hmmm.  Sixty more huh?  Ok, I'll match the sixty and raise
one hundred," Riker exclaimed while pushing his remaining chips
into the growing pile of bets.
     "Sheesh!" remarked Apollo.  "I don't know if I can stand this
anymore!"
     "Which is why you ain't playing, my friend.  This is
definitely high stakes stuff.  Just the way I like it," Starbuck
remarked with excitement.
     "Here we go again," Jolly mumbled.
     "Watch me.  I can't lose.  I'll match your hundred and add
this... " said the Colonial Warrior, who shoved the remainder of
his large pile of Colonial credits, Orion cheques and Enterprise
poker chips into the center of the table.  He then reached into his
jacket and dramaticallly tossed an unusual gold-colored object onto
the top of the bets.
     "What the hell is this?" asked Riker after he reached over and
picked up the object, slowly turning it around in his hands.
     "Pure gold Commander.  Pure gold.  That's all you need to
know," replied Starbuck.
     "Uh Starbuck, didn't that belong to your... "
     "Never mind Boomer, doesn't matter anyway.  Commander Data?"
     Data looked at the object that Riker carefully placed back on
top of the pile and remarked, "Intriguing.  This game seems to have
taken on an interesting twist.  However, I must inquire as to the
relative value of that object so that I can bet accordingly."
     "That thing must be worth at least five hundred credits
Commander," observed Lt. Jolly.
     "At least," Boomer confirmed.
     "Well, a bit more than that, but five hundred will do."
Starbuck conceded with a mischievous smile.  He wished he could
light the cigarello he held in his hand but he held off knowing
that the Enterprise crew did not fully appreciate the joys and
pleasures of smoking.
     "Very well," Data said as he again reached for his stack of
chips.  "I will match your bet and raise you another hundred."  He
then pushed his remaining chips towards the center of table.
     "Damn!" Riker suddenly spat out. "I'm dry.  I fold."
     "Well Commander.  Looks like it's just you and me," Starbuck
remarked.  "Hmm, let's see," he hedged.  "Uhh Apollo, you got
any... "
     "Oh no Starbuck.  No way.  Absolutely not!" came Captain
Apollo's reply.
     "Boom Boom, buddy... "
     "NO!  Don't even look this way."
     "And don't look over here either," Jolly added.
     "I still think he's cheating!" exclaimed the Klingon.
     "Hey, I'm honest guys.  I don't need to cheat with the way I
got this figured out.  In fact... "
     "Lieutenant," Data suddenly interrupted.  "I believe there is
a common Earth phrase that is often used in this type of game and
that is usually spoken at this moment."
     "Huh?  Uhhhh, Wh... what's that?" Starbuck asked, now somewhat
distracted by his frantic search for any additional currency in his
pockets.
     "I believe it goes, 'put up or shut up'," came the reply.
     Nearly everyone in the room tried with much difficulty to
stifle giggles at the android's blunt remark.  Commander Riker and
Lieutenant Jolly began to turn red and both covered their eyes when
Starbuck suddenly stopped all movement and slowly looked up at
Data's now cocky expression.
     "Boy Commander Riker, you were right about him," was the only
thing Starbuck could choke out.
     "You didn't believe me... " Riker said with a snicker.
     "Ok, Ok.  In a few centaris I get paid.  I will bet my entire
secton's pay, which should top your bet Commander.  And I call,
seeing that you've used up all your currency.  So there!" Starbuck
exclaimed.
     With a raise of an eyebrow Data said, "I will accept that bet
on the condition that your colleagues guarantee that you 'pay up'."
     "Yeah, yeah, tell 'em Apollo.  I'm good for the money.
Besides, the reputation of the Galactica is on the line," Starbuck
responded.
     "You know Starbuck, I just don't understand why you do this,"
Apollo lamented.
     "Hey buddy.  Please.  Just give him your word.  As a Warrior. 
As a Colonial Warrior.  You know," he continued, jabbing Apollo in
the ribs, "for the Galactica's sake?"
     "Alright.  I give my word.  Good enough Commander Data?"
Apollo said with resignation. 
     "That is sufficient," Data replied.  He then briefly tilted
his head down to look at his cards and a mischievous version of a
smile that he recently perfected, began to creep on his lips.  He
quickly shifted his eyes upward to look directly at Starbuck. 
Slowly, he laid his cards, face up on the table for everyone to
see.
     Starbuck looked at the cards spread on the table with
confusion and then he too laid his cards down, face up in front of
him.  He suddenly began to smile and shake his head.
     At that moment, the remaining occupants in the room hesitated
momentarily, looking back and forth at the two displays of cards
and then they finally began to laugh hysterically, shaking their
heads in disbelief.  Even Worf reacted, managing a small smile and
a nod.  Data looked around the room puzzled as he tried to fathom
the source of the humor in the situation.
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
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~From: bjhenry@delphi.com
~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
~Subject: DARK DAWN - Postlogue
~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:23:39 -0500
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                            DARK DAWN

                            Postlogue

Adama's Journal

"Our good fortune has lifted a load from my heart as we near the
end of our long journey from our Colonies.  However a new threat
has surfaced, one not connected to the possibility of a renewed
Cylon attack but a threat more dangerous, more divisive than we
could ever know... the conflict that is beginning among ourselves.

I have requested that Captain Picard and his ship be permitted to
stay with us for just a little while longer so that we can begin to
adjust to our new surroundings, with it's unusual measurement
systems and different philosophies.  I am also preparing to have
him speak at the next meeting of the Council of the Twelve,
scheduled for a secton from now, so that we can forestall what
could truly become the end of everything that we know and believe 
in.  I do not want to think the unthinkable, the possibility of a civil
war.  I put my faith in the Lords to help us through."

                              --o--

Captain's Log.  Stardate 47242.1

"We have received permission from Star Fleet to remain with the
Colonial Fleet to help them cope with their adjustment to what will
be a new way of life.  We will remain with them until such time
when the proper Federation mediators and psychologists arrive,
which should occur within several weeks.

My observations of the Humans from the Colonies suggest that
tremendous internal conflict is beginning to develop among them and
I am profoundly saddened that there is nothing that I can do within
the tenets of the Prime Directive to help the situation.  Only time
will tell before we will know in which direction the fates will
actually take them.  All I can forsee for them at this moment is a
kind of dark dawn, a clouded hope, from which they must strive to
find the light.  However, I fear the tempest is yet to come. 
Picard out."
---------------------COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER NOTICE----------------

This story, _Dark_Dawn_, by B.J. Henry, is a figment of the
author's imagination.  Characters portrayed are fictional and do
not reflect actual people, either living or deceased.

"Star Trek", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", it's characters and
certain technological devices and/or references to such, from the
television show, may be or are registered trademarks of, and may be
or are copyrighted by the _Paramount_Studios_ Corporation.

"Battlestar Galactica", it's characters, and certain technological
devices and/or references to such, from the television show, may be
or are registered trademarks of, and may be or are copyrighted by
the _Universal_Studios_ Corporation.

Neither Studio is responsible for the content of this story.

THIS STATEMENT MUST ACCOMPANY THE STORY _DARK_DAWN_ IF DISTRIBUTED. 
THIS STORY IS FREE OF CHARGE AND MAY NOT BE SOLD OR EXCHANGED FOR
FINANCIAL RETURN.