Chances of Survival
Author's Note: Holy shit, I'm so sorry. It's been 7 months, and I haven't posted jack shit. It was a lack of motivation, coupled with increased interest in World of Warships and an intensifying school schedule. And as it stands, I can't define a set date for when the next chapter'll come out, so I'm sorry in advance.
With practiced skill and precision, the ship carefully docked with the station. With a quiet hiss, the airlock was pressurized, and a man in a Colonial uniform walked out, briefcase and papers in hand. Turning a few more corners, he finally reached the central chamber. It was a simple affair, a relatively small room with two hallways branching off in opposite directions, separated by two sets of heavy metal doors, and a small wooden table with two wooden seats sitting in the center of the room. Grabbing one of the chairs, he plopped right down into it, opening his briefcase and taking out assorted items: framed photos of his wife and son, diagrams of the Cylon War Model #005 Centurion and its variants being among them. The final thing he pulled out of his briefcase was a copy of the entirety of the Cimtar Peace Accords, signed something like 40 years ago, roughly around the time he was in middle school, if he remembered correctly. He glanced at the photo of him and his wife and his child, all smiling while taking a picture in front of Caprica City Stadium, just an hour before the Buccaneers and the Panthers duked it out in the match of the decade. He sighed; it'd be another week before he'd see them again, another week before he could leave this shithole station out in the middle of nowhere, a place where no one dared nor wanted to travel to. His eyelids dropped lower and lower, and he dozed off.
He wasn't quite sure how long he had been asleep when the second set of doors opened with a gentle hiss.
With a sort of quiet finale that seemed anticlimactic after everything that happened previously, the first Cylon Centurions seen in almost 40 years trundled into view, motors whirring faintly in the background. The officer glanced down at the technical diagrams, back at the very real Centurions, then back at the papers again, looking from the papers to the machines in disbelief.
With a series of clicks, their hands flipped in and extended out, forming "fingers" with razor sharp tips; the officer realized that the hands could retract and extend machine guns; that would explain the conspicuous rod-shaped parts on their hands. They stood to attention, red eye constantly moving back and forth in its visor, as if sweeping the room. The officer looked on apprehensively.
A new noise caught his attention. The sound of footsteps; more specifically, the sound of a person with high heels walking down the corridor. The officer's curiosity was aroused, as he stared intently at the opposite entrance of the room. But he was caught by surprise by what he saw.
A woman walked around the corner, and directly towards the table. She was of slim build, with wavy blond hair that fell right to her shoulders, and pale blue eyes that seemed to be always watching, always looking, always analyzing. She was wearing a simplistic red dress, with minimal cuts and extra flair, with knee-high high heels. She extruded a sense of confidence that clearly showed as she walked into the room, and past the table to sit on the edge right next to the Colonial officer, who was looking quite pale and unsure of what was going on or what he was supposed to do.
She spent several moments looking at him, glancing at him from this angle, and from another, her veridian blue eyes observing, taking in every little detail of his face. The officer sat there, confused and slightly fearful, as she gazed at him for several seconds.
After those several seconds, she seemed satisfied with her analysis. Leaning ever so closer, she gave the faintest of smirks.
"Are you alive?" she said softly, the words seeming to barely float past her lips. The officer merely gazed, unsure of what kind of question she was asking. Shaking his head ever so noticeably, he simply said, "Yes."
She dropped her gaze, and seemed to give the answer some thought. After a few seconds of consideration, "Prove it," she almost whispered, as she leaned in for a kiss.
Their lips met, almost dispassionately, the woman pressing her lips to the officer's, who merely accepted it, before returning the kiss more passionately. The Centurions present gave a quick and inquisitive glance before resuming their guard.
Almost with uncanny stealth, the Cylon Basestar slowly made its way over the station, its sheer size blocking out the light from the nearby star. With barely a sound, a missile was launched, its warhead making not a sound as it traveled almost lazily through the air to hit the station's lower antenna array, blasting through it and throwing the station off-axis.
The officer pulled away as the station shook violently and klaxons began to blare out, signaling this and that, but all with the same message: something wrong was happening.
The woman smiled and grabbed the officer's head with both of her hands and smiled as he began to struggle, trying to escape to his ship before either the station was destroyed or something worse was about to happen.
"It has begun," she said poetically, before leaning in once more for a kiss as the officer could only struggle in vain as a second missile hit, detonating inside the station and for all intents and purposes obliterating it into a thousand small chunks and pieces of metal to be strewn about the cosmos.
And with that came the beginning of the end.
It was a bright spring day. The skies were a deep blue, sprinkled with only a tiny handful of small cirrus clouds streaking across the sky. Birds were chirping, flying about and going about their day as the people down below did the same, shuttlecraft coasting overhead. All in all, it was a normal, nice April day.
Kirk and Spock walked along the sidewalk in Starfleet headquarters, Kirk walking with the posture of an excited child, Spock like the annoyed parent in charge of the aforementioned child.
"Spock, I'm telling you," Kirk said, seeming to want to burst out into a run. Unlike Spock, his standard-issue cap was scrunched up in his hand. "This is why he called, I can feel it."
Spock gave him an inquisitive, yet skeptical look as he turned his head slightly. "Your feeling aside, I consider it highly unlikely that we will be selected for the new program." This time it was Kirk's turn to give him that same inquisitive-yet-skeptical look.
"B-but, why else would Pike wanna see us?" he asked. He stuttered some more, a symptom of his simultaneous excitement and surprise as Spock's lack of it. "Forget about seniority, they gave us the newest ship in the fleet. Who else are they gonna send?"
"I can think of numerous possibilities-" Spock began, before being cut off by Kirk.
"It's a 5-year mission, Spock!" Kirk enthusiastically gave Spock a playful punch to the chest. Spock continued walking without pausing. "That's deep space! That's uncharted territory." Kirk appeared to be physically on the brink of hopping up and down like a little kid. "You'd know how incredible that's gonna be." Kirk did a sort of spin as he gave his signature smirk to a small group of women walking by. "Hey, ladies. Jim Kirk," he said as he whirled around again to resume a normal walk with Spock, who rolled his eyes ever so discreetly.
"Uneventful," Pike said, reading off a paper report as Kirk and Spock stood at not quite attention, but still in a formal manner. Something about that singular word bothered Kirk. Pike was very good at disguising the meaning behind his words, but this, this was just dripping in sarcasm, something Kirk thought a tad bit out of character.
"Admiral?" he asked, putting on a confused expression. Not liking the way things are going…
"That's the way you described your survey of Nibiru in your Captain's Log."
"Ah, yes, Admiral," Kirk began right away. "I didn't wanna waste your time going over the little…" Kirk's words slowly trailed off just as Pike interrupted.
"Eh, tell me more about this volcano," he began, voice still cynically sarcastic. "Data shows that it was highly volatile, and that it was about to erupt and wipe out the planet."
"Let's hope it doesn't, sir," Kirk replied. Pike gave him a not-quite-skeptical look.
"Something tells me it won't," Pike said, a half smile on his face, which was practically bleeding with unspoken sarcasm and underlying understanding of what actually happened.
Alarm bells were going off like crazy in Kirk's head now, though he tried to keep it from showing on his face. Spock was even appearing to show emotion. His eyes slowly slid over to look at Kirk.
"Uh, well, sir, the term volatile is relative, so maybe our data was off." Kirk scrambled to find something to try to throw Pike off his tail, though at this point he suspected that it was too late, or it was too late the moment he came back to Earth and he handed in the Captain's Log…
Someone told Pike. A voice in the back of his mind told him that, and he realized that this was almost certainly true. There was no other reason for the Admiral to call the two of them here in the first place; his confidence in their being called for the 5-year mission was long gone, replaced with a sense of dread.
Pike absorbed the words for a moment, and pondered them. He nodded slightly.
"Or," Pike began, with the tone of someone giving advice or a helpful tidbit of information, "maybe it didn't erupt because Mr. Spock detonated a cold fusion device inside it." Pike's tone was changing, changing from one of sarcastically "helping" to stern and cold. "Right after a civilization that's barely invented the wheel, happens to see a starship rising out of the ocean!" His gaze shifted to Spock. "That is pretty much how you describe it, is it not?" He gestured towards Spock, indicating for him to answer. He took a deep breath.
"Admiral-" he started before being cut off by Kirk.
"You filed a report?" Kirk interrupted, his sense of betrayal all too clear in his eyes. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Spock's face remained as impassive as ever. "I incorrectly assumed that you would be truthful in your Captain's Log."
"Yeah, I would have if I didn't have to save your life," Kirk retorted.
"A fact for which I am immeasurably grateful and the very reason why I felt it necessary to take responsibility for the actions-"
"Responsibility," Kirk interjected. He chuckled. "Yeah. That'd be so noble, Pointy, if you weren't throwing me under the bus," Kirk finished, a clear edge in his voice. Spock gave him a questioning look.
"Pointy? Is that a derogatory reference to my species'-"
"Gentlemen," Pike interrupted. He grabbed his walking stick, and then pushed his way up and out of his chair, grunting slightly at the effort. "Starfleet's mandate is to explore and observe," he emphasized. "Not to interfere."
"Had the mission gone according to plan, Admiral," Spock began, "the indigenous species would never have been aware of our interference."
"That's a technicality," Pike retorted. Spock's head turned ever so slightly at an angle, a typical blank expression on his face.
"I am Vulcan, sir, we embrace technicality."
Pike stopped his pacing, and looked over at the Vulcan
"You giving me attitude, Spock?"
"I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously, sir," Spock replied, face impassive as usual, but with enough emotion in the tone that Kirk was getting the distinct impression that Spock was being… sarcastic? Kirk wasn't quite sure. "To which are you referring?"
"Out," Pike said. He gestured towards the door. "You're dismissed, Commander." Spock looked at Pike for several moments. He then turned to look at Kirk, who was glancing at him before quickly looking away to stare straight forward. Hat still in hand, Spock simply walked out the door.
Pike waited for a couple moments for Spock to leave the room and out of earshot. He took a few more paces, stopped, took a deep breath, and then gave Kirk a sideways glance.
"You have any idea of how much of a pain in the ass you are?" he asked Kirk.
Kirk nodded. "I think so, sir."
"So tell me what you did wrong, what's the lesson to be learned here?"
"Never trust a Vulcan-"
"See, you can't even answer the question, you lied!" Pike's voice, at first low and calm and quiet, was now rising. Gone was the calmly even-tempered voice of Admiral Christopher Pike, and in was the loud, full, and commanding voice and presence of Captain Christopher Pike. "On an official report, you lied!" He quickly closed the distance between him and Kirk. "You think the rules don't apply to you just because you disagree with them!"
"That's why you talked me into signing up in the first place, that's why you gave me your ship," Kirk retorted smoothly, without missing a beat.
"I gave you my ship because I saw a greatness in you, the potential to be something more," Pike shot back, eyes reproachfully glaring at Kirk. He chuckled a sarcastic chuckle, bitter smile on his face. "And now I see you don't even have an ounce of humility."
Kirk turned to face the Admiral, edge in his voice. "And what was I supposed to do? Let Spock die?"
"You're missing the point," Pike interjected, before being interrupted yet again by Kirk.
"I don't think I am, sir." Kirk slapped on the "sir" as an afterthought, with enough sarcasm for even Spock to tell in an instant it was. "What would you have done?"
"I wouldn't have risked my first officer's life in the first place!" Pike said, Kirk looking on with a bored expression on his face. "You were supposed to survey a planet, not alter its destiny! You violated a dozen Starfleet regulations, and almost got everyone killed-"
"Except I didn't!" Kirk retorted. "You know how many people I've lost since I became Captain, not one!"
"That's your problem, you think you're infallible! You think you can't make a mistake! It's a pattern with you! The rules are for other people!"
"Some should be," Kirk inserted before Pike managed to get another sentence off.
"And what's worse, is you're using blind luck to justify your playing God!"
Neither said anything for several moments, Kirk's gaze dropping from the Admiral's. Pike's tone softened somewhat.
"Given the circumstances, this has been brought to Admiral Marcus' attention. He convened a special tribunal, to which, I was not invited to. You understand what Starfleet regulations mandate be done at this point."
That last statement caught Kirk's attention. His gaze, formerly glued to Admiral Pike's sleek wood and glass table, snapped back to meet Pike's eyes.
"They've taken the Enterprise away from you," Pike said, with an air of finality. "They're sending you back to the academy."
Kirk was speechless. For several seconds, he stood there, absorbing the reality and magnitude of what Pike had just said, gears rapidly turning inside his head. After a good several moments, he seemed to make up his mind. Licking his lips, he began.
"Admiral, listen," he said softly, but Pike wouldn't have any of it.
"No, I'm not gonna listen," he began before Kirk continued.
"I can justify-"
"No, you don't listen to anybody-"
"You understand regulation, but every decision I've made-"
"Enough!" Pike practically shouted, stopping Kirk's words dead in their tracks. His voice dropped down a few levels, the Admiral taking back over for the Captain in Pike. "I can't listen. You don't comply with the rules, you don't take responsibility for anything, and you don't respect the chair." Pike took a deep breath before continuing.
"You know why?" he asked Kirk rhetorically. A few seconds later, he answered his own question. "Because you're not ready for it."
Kirk stood there, unspeaking for a moment.
"What about the crew?" he asked. Pike thought about it for a couple seconds, then moved away from Kirk and back into his chair, walking stick carefully placed off to the side. With a few quick taps, he opened up the registry and updated status of the Enterprise's crewmembers.
"Let's see…" Pike said, scrolling through the list. He looked up at Kirk, who was still standing in the same spot he was in before.
"Well, Spock's being transferred to the USS Bradbury, for starters. He'll be serving under Captain Abbott. A strict man, but a fair one." He scrolled down a bit more.
"Chekov and Sulu work well as a team, as you stated in your previous reports." He read through the list some more. "They're to stay on Enterprise in their current positions. Uhura, on the other hand, is being transferred to the USS Nagato under Admiral Halsey. He's a bit brash and upfront and can be a bit off-putting, but he knows what he's doing, and I think Uhura will be fine there." He scrolled through the rest of the lists. "Well, unless you want me to go on about the lower rank crewmembers, I could. Ensign Syl is being transferred to Starbase 15 over Axanar, Lieutenant Collins is being promoted to Lieutenant Commander and being transferred to the USS King George V, and Ensign Bradley is being transferred to Starbase One for a little stint to try out the command track. And I believe that's about it," Pike said as he finished scrolling through and closed out of the list. His gaze went up to meet Kirk's.
"Anything else you need?" he asked. Kirk didn't say anything.
"Well, alright, then. You're dismissed. Report to Starfleet Academy in 2 weeks to begin re-orientation. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to file some paperwork."
And with that, Kirk walked out of the room, all traces of his former enthusiasm and excitement completely obliterated by the realization that he was no longer Captain of the Enterprise, no longer Captain of his ship.
Tigh walked into CIC, uniform unbuttoned, flask in hand, and saluted the officer guarding CIC. The klaxons were blaring away, the area bathed in a dim red glow.
"What do we got?" Tigh asked as he walked over to the Command and Control station, where Adama was standing, reading reports. "Shipping accident?"
Adama didn't say a word, merely handing a report over to Tigh, who began to skim through it.
"Combat?" Gaeta said, as he talked with someone over the phone. "Understood," he said before hanging up. He hung up before walking over to the Command and Control table to report to Adama.
"Condition One is set, all decks report ready for action, sir," he said, standing at half-attention as the rest of CIC bustled with the frantic movings of other officers and crewmembers carrying out orders and delivering messages. Adama gave him an approving look.
"Very well," he said, as Tigh finished reading through the report he was given, expression of complete disbelief on his face.
"This is a joke," he said, grin starting to slip onto his face. "The fleet's playing a joke on you, it's a retirement prank, come on."
He glanced at Adama, who gave him a serious look.
"I don't think so," he told Tigh as he picked up the phone. Tigh gave Adama the very same look of pure disbelief as Adama opened up the line. A piercing and vaguely whistling noise filled CIC as the phone's static cleared itself up. He waited a few moments for the people in CIC to quiet down before starting.
"This is the Commander," he began. "Moments ago, this ship received word that a Cylon attack against our homeworlds is underway." He paused for a bit to let the gravity of what he was saying sink in. "We do not know the size, or the disposition, or the strength of the enemy forces. But all indications point…"
"To a massive assault on Colonial defenses." Adama's voice carried through clearly and precisely on the speakers. Throughout the ship, the crew stopped what they were doing to listen, at first with curiosity, but increasingly with horror as the reality of his words set in.
"Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the fleet, aboard the Battlestar Atlantia, following the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters, along with the Picon 1st Fleet, in the first wave of the attacks. Heavy fighting was reported, with forces from the Colonial Grand Fleet engaging Cylon warships over Virgon, Caprica, Tauron, Gemenon, and the other Colonies."
Adama looked around the CIC, taking in the stunned, speechless, shocked, horrified, and million other expressions the faces around him showed. He continued.
"How, or why? It doesn't really matter now. What's done is done."
"But what does matter, is that, as of this moment, we are at war."
P.S: Hey, so, again, I'm so sorry for keeping y'all waiting. It's been so long, and I know some people have actually really been anticipating this for a while. Work on Chapter 4, which right now is untitled, is now beginning, though I can't set a finish date, as school and other priorities take precedence over this. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this, and once again, I'm really sorry for those who were waiting this long. I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.