|Dark Dawn||by B.J. Henry|
Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!usc!elroy.jpl.nasa.gov!lll-winken.llnl.gov!noc.near.net!news.delphi.com!usenet From: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) Lines: 76 Message-ID: <5g7xAMg.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com _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. firstname.lastname@example.org ---------------------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!pipex!uunet!news.delphi.com!usenet From: email@example.com Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative Subject: DARK DAWN - Prologue Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:10:43 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) Lines: 72 Message-ID: <5gzTQAr.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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. Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!pipex!uunet!news.delphi.com!usenet ~From: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 01/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:11:57 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 413 Message-ID: <5A7xgEt.firstname.lastname@example.org> 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. 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: email@example.com ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 02/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:18:17 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 504 Message-ID: <5i8zAmh.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 03/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:18:50 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 515 Message-ID: <5A8RAWq.firstname.lastname@example.org> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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. 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: email@example.com ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 04/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:19:22 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 669 Message-ID: <5g0zQmq.email@example.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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 05/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:19:51 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 410 Message-ID: <5A0zQSv.firstname.lastname@example.org> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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: email@example.com ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 06/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:20:23 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 617 Message-ID: <5i8zoAn.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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. "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: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 07/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:20:53 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 540 Message-ID: <5A0zgSt.firstname.lastname@example.org> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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. 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: email@example.com ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 08/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:21:24 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 438 Message-ID: <5g0Rwik.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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. "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: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 09/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:21:54 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 410 Message-ID: <5A8zwQi.firstname.lastname@example.org> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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 FINANCIAL RETURN. Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!agate!darkstar.UCSC.EDU!news.hal.COM!olivea!uunet!news.delphi.com!usenet ~From: email@example.com ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN (part 10/10) ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:22:25 -0500 Organization: Delphi (firstname.lastname@example.org email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 405 Message-ID: <5i9yIgp.email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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 FINANCIAL RETURN. Path: newserv.ksu.ksu.edu!moe.ksu.ksu.edu!vixen.cso.uiuc.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!agate!darkstar.UCSC.EDU!news.hal.COM!olivea!uunet!news.delphi.com!usenet ~From: firstname.lastname@example.org ~Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative ~Subject: DARK DAWN - Postlogue ~Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 12:23:39 -0500 Organization: Delphi (email@example.com email, 800-695-4005 voice) ~Lines: 62 Message-ID: <5C1yYkr.firstname.lastname@example.org> NNTP-Posting-Host: bos1a.delphi.com 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.