A Love Beyond the Stars

Author: Dax
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are registered trademarks of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Battlestar Galactica - The 2003 Mini-Series, written by Ronald D. Moore and Christopher Eric James. Based upon a teleplay written by Glen A. Larson. Copyright 2003 USA Cable Entertainment Inc.
Authors Note: Written above the chapter titles, are excerpts from the Battlestar Galactica Miniseries.
Summary: Life is good on the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. And onboard the Battlestar Galactica, Viper pilot Lieutenant Willow 'Red' Rosenberg looks forward to the forthcoming decommissioning ceremonies for the famous Battlestar and her upcoming next assignment, onboard another Battlestar. Little does Lt. Rosenberg know, that her life is about to be turned upside down. Not only by the return of humanity's most deadly of enemies, but also by the arrival of a beautiful blond stranger onboard Galactica.
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Cylons were created by man.
They were created to make life easer on the Twelve Colonies.
And then the day came, when the Cylons decided to kill their masters.
After a long and bloody struggle, an armistice was declared.
The Cylons left for another world to call their own.
A remote space station was built,
where human and Cylon could meet and maintain diplomatic relations.
Every year the Colonials send an officer. The Cylons send no one.
No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years.

Chapter One
Lieutenant Rosenberg Reporting for Duty!

“Viper 1701; this is Galactica. Approach port landing bay. Hands on. Speed 106. Checkers red. Call the ball," came the voice of Captain Campion, Glactica's flight officer into Lieutenant Willow Rosenberg's helm speaker, informing her that she was cleared to land her fighter.

“Copy that Galactica. Port landing bay. Hands on speed 106. Checkers red. I have the ball," she reported back and started her approach.

As she directed her Viper into Glactica's enormous landing bay, she was as usually, impressed by the shear size of Galactica's landing facilities. Of course she knew that this landing bay wasn't the biggest in the fleet and hadn't been for a long time. For example the landing facilities at the colonial fleets flagship, the only recently launched Battlestar Atlantia, where almost twice as large. Still a space of this size compelled you to pay some respect to this grand old Battlestar, or as an Admiral of the fleets medical department had ones said: “You have a fine ship and she got the right name. You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home." Wise words indeed, granted, he had been talking about the new Battlestar Enterprise, but that didn't mean that dose words wouldn't apply to a grand old lady like the Galactica too.

In the meantime, Willow had broad her Viper to a complete standstill, exactly over the landing position and all she needed to do was to give a little power on the thrusters to bring her to the ground, for yet another perfect landing, when suddenly:

“Viper 1701! There's an energy build-up within your main engine!" called Captain Campion right into Willow's Helm speaker and at the same time she heart the muffled sound of an explosion from right behind her. All kind of warning lights and signals flashed up on Willow's main control panel. “Cut all power and stand by for low pressure eject!" She was ordered

“Copy that!" Willow responded and instantaneously pulled the master breaker out of it's socket, while with the other hand, holding on to the release to her ejector seat and stood by to eject herself out of her Viper. Luckily all systems except life-support went dead immediately.

“Every thing's clear 'Red', stand down low pressure eject," Capt. Campion informed her, calling her by her call sign. Willow sighted relived, because to eject out of a fighter was dangerous enough. But doing so within the 'confines' of the landing bay was even more hazardous.

Now, on the plus side, there was no immediate danger that any remaining rest motion would carry her out of the Galactica again since she had been virtually standing still. Unfortunately, on the other hand, she was still hanging about 30cm's above ground, to far for the magnetic locks to “grab her bird" and pull her down.

“Ok 'Red' the chief is getting some of his people ready to bring you back to the ground. Won't take long, so don't go anywhere."

“Funny Campion. Very funny," Willow replied dryly and made herself comfortable.And that meant, that she kept on sitting exactly the way she was. After all the cockpit of a Viper wasn't designed too be comfy. There was at least no need to worry. She had enough oxygen to last for several hours. All she had left to do was to wait for Chief Tyrol to get some of his people suited up, get them out and then literally pull her down. She only hoped that it wouldn't take too long. She hated being forced into doing nothing when she could instead use her time doing something useful.

“Oh, frak me!" it suddenly burst out of Willow, for she just remembered that this would've been her fifth hundred hands on landing since graduating flight school. Five hundred times without accident or making a major mistake and now this! She would never come close to this number again. Not hands on, for Galactica was the last ship in the entire fleet with no automatic landing system. But then this Battlestar was still very much the way it had been, when it had been commissioned more then fifty years ago, during the early days of the Cylon Wars. And that meant things like phones on cords, no auto landing and most of all no networked computers. And as long as Commander William Adama was Galactica's commanding officer, there wouldn't be any changes to that rule.

Personally, even though she would never have thought it possible, when she had gotten her transfer order to report aboard Galactica as her next assignment, Willow would miss this more basic kind of work. Landing a Viper with the help of the auto landing system soon became so much of a routine; it was already close to being dull. She learned that already on her first assignment, after graduating from flight school, aboard the Battlestar Orion VII under Commander Cliff Allister McLane, and then another six months aboard the Battlestar Titan and Commander Benjamin Sisko.

“'Red?" Came Chief Tyrol's voice true the intercom.

“Yes chief?"

“Harris and Cally are in the airlock with a team right now. We have you down in no time."

“I really appreciate that chief," Willow assured him. So Xander would come to help her out. Good old Xander Harris. Both born and raised in Sunnydale, a suburb to Caprica's ever growing planetary capital of Caprica City, they had been friends since they where swollen infants. They went together from kindergarten until high school, where they met and soon became best friends with Buffy Summers.

But as life is, following graduation they parted ways, Willow and Buffy went to college, while Xander, without really having any particular plan, went from one odd job to another. And so Willow and Buffy where both very, very surprised when they reported aboard Galactica to find Xander working there as part of Chief Tyrol's deck gang. Of course Xander had been surprised too, for one, there are about one hundred and twenty Battlestars in the fleet and so the chances of all three of them being assigned to the same one where quiet slim. But he was even more surprised to see Willow being a fighter pilot. After all, the last time they had actually discussed Willow's plans, they had been slightly different.

Willow always had wanted to work with computers, as a programmer, software developer or something like that, to that effect she had chosen her courses at the University of Caprica - Sunnydale or U.C. Sunnydale. She had travelled twice to Caprica City to hear lectures of the famous Dr. Gaius Baltar. He was a genius when it came to computers and advanced computer networks and Willow found his work in this field extraordinary, however she did not agree on his promotion to drop the ban on further research into artificial intelligence. That went totally wrong the last time and especially since, even forty years later, they still didn't know why the Cylons had started to kill their masters, to try a new approach, in Willow's opinion was completely foolish.

As it turned out, the best opportunities to work with these kinds of sophisticated computer systems, was not so much in the private sector, but with the colonial forces. And so, following graduation from college, Buffy and Willow entered into military service together. Unlike Buffy who from the beginning had been aiming for a career as a Viper pilot, Willow had thought of becoming involved in flight operations. Imaging her surprise, when learning that according to her test results following basic training, she was of the right stuff to wear the wings of a Viper pilot. Willow and Buffy both entered flight school, where Willow became a good pilot in her own right. Even though if not as good as Buffy, who soon earned herself the call sign 'Slayer' and quickly was counted among the very best pilots in the fleet

It was during flight school that Willow fell in love with fellow pilot Oz - call sign 'Wolf'. They soon entered into a relationship that turned out rather sadly. Following flight school, they had been fortunate enough to be both assigned to serve aboard Battlestar Orion VII. 'Wolf' with the Gamma- and 'Red' with the Beta-Squadron, and things had been going well. Or at least that's what Willow had been believing, not seeing the little red warning flags going up left and right of her. So she one day found out the hard way that‚ Wolf' was more then just a call sign to Oz. When she found out that he was having an affair with the Raptor pilot to his squadron, call sign: 'Veruca'. He had put an end to this affair right away and had apologized many times, promised that it would never happen again, but it was too late. Feeling that she could never trust him again, Willow dumped him and put in request for a transfer. It was granted and Willow was send to serve aboard the Battlestar Titan. Here she was reunited with her best friend Buffy 'Slayer' Summers as her wingmen. When six months later the Titan was decommissioned, like the Galactica she was one of the original twelve Battlestars, instead of being transferred to the succeeding new Titan, Buffy and Willow where assigned to serve with Galactica's Alpha-squadron.

This was almost twelve months ago and soon this chapter in their military career would come to an end and their ways would part again. It was to lead Buffy to command the new Delta-squadron aboard the Atlantia and Willow would leave the Galactica for a seat in Pegasus' Alpha-squadron. Here she would be serving again under her old XO from her days aboard the Titan, Colonel Rupert Giles. And Xander? He didn't know yet whether he was to stay with the “Museum - Galactica" or be transferred to another Battlestar or planetary base. But that was life in the fleet, you never knew where you would end up and with whom you would be serving the next time.

Now the prospect of serving under Col. Giles again, was something Willow was actually looking forward to. Off all the XO's she knew (Executive Officer or First Officer if you like), Rupert Giles had been the most agreeable one to work with. On duty, Willow had found him to be an hard but fair superior and off duty fun to hang around, especially on a more intellectual level. He certainly would made a fine Commander as well. But unlike many officers for whom the post of XO was a mere step towards their own command, for Giles it was the right place to be, the place where he could do his best. To that end he had actually once turned down the promotion to Commander and the command of the Starquest, the prototype of the new Ripper Class heavy cruiser. With Col. Giles Willow knew there would be at least one familiar face with her new assignment. Who knew which other former comrade she might meet again. She also knew who would not be aboard the Pegasus: Oz, her ex. The last she'd heard from him, he'd switched the seat of a Viper with the one of a 'Galaxy Class' troop transporter and was stationed at the planetary base near Sunnydale. Of course Willow had forgiven him in the meantime, but the prospect of serving with him again still made her feel very uneasy.

“Hey 'Red', your still in there?" a familiar voice called Willow out of her memories.

“Yes Xander I'm still here", she assured her best friend.

“What is with you Willow? First you break your yellow crayon in kindergarten and now you break your Viper?"

Willow looked onto her Com display. Good, Xander was on the private frequency, only used by him, Buffy and Willow, so no one had heard his little comment. However, before Willow could think of a proper remark, Cally cut in on the open channel. “Ok Lieutenant lets bring your feet back to the ground."

From that moment, it didn't take long until Capt. Campion could finally report: “Skits down. Mag lock secured. Welcome back aboard Galactica 'Red'."

“Well. Looks like you completely burned out your main engine Lieutenant," explained specialist first class Xander Harris. He was standing on the starboard wing and continued to stare into the burned-out innards of Willow's Viper. He grinned, because he knew only to well how much Willow disliked it when he spoke “Official" with her.

“I realised that during the fifty minutes, I had been hanging dead in space, Xander!" Willow said, annoyed by the Lieutenant thingy. “Tell me, can you fix it?"

Xander jumped down to join Willow on the ground. “I'm afraid not. You see, your secondary flow regulator blew and that coursed the energy build up you experienced out there and to make it short, you need a completely new engine. Unfortunately, we no longer have a spare, for the Mark VII on board anymore. We've got tons of stuff for our museum collection of Mark II's but for the more current models…"

He hadn't to talk on. Willow understood how he felt. Like any other crewmember aboard, he didn't like the idea of the Galactica becoming a museum, parked in geostationary orbit right above Caprica City. At least there was a small comforting thought for him, that there where talks about the possibility of using the port landing and launch facilities for an onboard flight school. Training new pilots landing 'hands on' or even train future specialists here. But still, this all would only be but a poor substitute for the grant Battlestar Galactica remaining in active service.

“And that means what exactly?" Willow demanded to know.

“That you are properly going to lose your spot in the closing ceremonies," Xander concluded his explanations.

'Frak me,' Willow thought, of course she didn't say it out aloud, she didn't like coursing in front of her friends. Now she would be watching the others fly during the ceremony. She wouldn't be the only one though. She now would be joining Buffy, who because she only recently reconvert from the flu, had no flight status right now.

“Look at the bright side Will," said Xander and he smiled knowingly for his best friend.

“You mean there's actually a bright side?" Willow wondered.

“Yea! Well not if it comes to you flying. But I think you might be glad to know, that we got you down just in time. Otherwise you and you alone would've been responsible for delaying the arrival of our VIP's.“ He pointed to the sealing. And just in that moment a deep rumpling noise informed them, that a heavy passenger liner had just touched down in the landing pod above them. It would unload his passengers and then fly out again, to fly side by side with the Galactica.

“Well I better get to the CAG, debriefing. He won't be thrilled," Willow said worryingly.

“Could be worse," Xander assured her. “You could talk to the chief about it." He pointed towards the opposite bay, where Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, was arguing loudly with another Viper pilot.

“Perhaps you're right. See you later," Willow agreed and left to meet with the Commander Air Group (CAG) of her squadron, Captain William Jackson Spencer, call sign 'Spike'.

Following a not too unpleasant debriefing with 'Spike', which confirmed Xander's assumption about her not flying during the ceremony, Willow was on her way towards the washroom to freshen up. She was walking around a corner, when she spotted Alan Doral, the PR guy that had been driving them all nuts these last days. He was standing together with Commander Adama, who was just making himself very clear to the Secretary of Education, Laura Roslin, that he would not allow any network-computerised system aboard this ship, as long he was in command. With that, he excused himself and walked away. In doing so he revealed another person standing right next to the secretary. Willow stopped dead in her steps and stared towards the beautiful stranger.

5' 4", with a breathtaking figure, the most beautiful face, framed by long blond hair and deep, ocean blue eyes. Then their eyes met, and when that happened, Willow was so completely overwhelmed; she almost forgot to salute her commanding officer, as he walked past.

Continue to A Love Beyond the Stars: In The Beginning Chapter Two

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