"This is the Commander."
And The Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place!
Willow's mind ran on total automatic. Her military training taking over, she put on her flight suit and only moments later was on her way towards the pilots ready room.
Halfway she was joined by her wingman Buffy, who looked as puzzled and determent as herself. "Can you believe this?" 'Slayer' wanted to know from 'Red' and Willow only shook her head. No she couldn't believe this.
After all, no one had seen or heard from the Cylons in the last forty years. And even though a remote space station had been build, where human and Cylon could meet and maintain diplomatic relations, unlike the Colonials the Cylons had never send an representative.
But now the Cylons where back, back with a vengeance.
"And I have an even worse feeling about this", Buffy went on.
"Rightly so Buff", Willow said as they where about to enter the ready room, "after all, the last time we didn't exactly beat them. They only excepted our desperate offer for an armistice after they lost the advantage of infiltrating and disrupting even our most basic computer systems, when we brought the Galactica Class Battlestars into to the war. And they started to take the same losses as we."
Entering the ready room, pilot's 'Red' and 'Slayer' joined their fellow comrades. There where about twenty of them, all angry, ready and eager to fight.
There was however one slight problem - Fighters. They didn't have any, some of theirs where bust like Willow's and the others Vipers simply were no longer aboard. And they all felt rather frustrated, they where in a shooting war with the Cylons, aboard a Battlestar that had no ammunition and pilots without fighters.
While the others speculate about what was going on, Willow's mind went back again to the beautiful blond woman and how she made her feel. 'Could it be? Willow thought, that maybe, just maybe, I'm in...'
"OK Ladies! Let's kick some Cylon ass!" Lieutenant Kara Thrace - 'Starbuck' yelled, standing in the open ready room door.
'Damned - lost it again,' Willow though annoyed. 'And I was that close.'
She then turned her attention back to 'Starbuck', who was still standing in the door, challenging them with what she'd just said.
'Why was she no longer in the brig?' Willow wondered, after all 'Starbuck' had been thrown in there for striking Col. Tigh.
This really showed how serious the situation was, for 'Starbuck' was the best pilot in the fleet. Even better then 'Slayer' and weren't it for her lack of discipline, especially towards Col. Thigh, it would have been her not Buffy, to become the youngest Captain in fleet history.
"And how do you suggest we do that? We have no fighters!" 'Terra' shoot back, asking what every body else was thinking.
"The old fashioned way", 'Starbuck' said with a full-size smirk on her face. "With the old Mark II Viper's standing in the starboard landing bay. So come on girls!"
"Will they fly?" Willow asked Xander, as they both stood in front of one of the exhibition Viper's. "Well the reactor is still hot," Xander explained kindda proud - and rightfully so, after all he had helped to refurbish some of these grant (and really) old birds. "The only thing we got to do, is to pull the red buffers from the engine. Refuel it, load the ordnance and you're good to go. The only problem is to get them over to the port launch."
"Why can't we use the starboard launch?" Buffy wanted to know, she stood right behind them by the next Viper, together with Cally, a rather cute brunet specialist, who answered Buffy's question before Xander could. "It's a gift shop now."
Together they all took up the birds and moved them across the ship and into the port hangar bays.
Together with Xander Willow worked at the Viper assigned to her, while Cally helped Buffy getting her fighter ready to launch.
Then the voice of Commander Adama, coming over the P.A. speakers made them all stop.
"Preliminary reports indicate that, a thermo nuclear device in the fifty megaton range has been detonated over Caprica City thirty minutes ago. Nuclear detonations have been reported on planets Arilon, Picon, Sagitarion and Gemenon. No words on casualties, but they will be high."
"How many people on Caprica City alone?" Cally asked uneasily.
"Seven million", Willow answered, feeling completely numb.
"Mourn the dead later," Adama advised, "right now, the best that you can do is to get this ship into the fight."
Caprica City destroyed. And with an fifty megaton nuclear explosion the surrounding suburbs would be destroyed too. Suburbs like Sunnydale.
Her parents, her grandmother where dead, together with her schoolmates and old friends who still lived in Sunnydale.
But the old men was right, there was no time to mourn them right now and so they all silently went back to work, getting the old Vipers ready for action.
"Attention! Inbound Dradis contact, rated highly possible enemy fighters. All hands stand by for battle manoeuvres," echoed Col. Saul Tigh's voce all over the ship, followed shortly by the voice of Petty Officer Dualla ordering: "Vipers clear to launch!"
Only moments later, following 'Slayer', it was 'Red's' turn to prepare for immediate launch. Her Viper was moved into the launch tube and the door closed behind her.
"'Red' this is 'Shooter', I have control standby," Capt. Campion informed her and then went through the launch check list.
"Viper 1968 clear forward. Nav-con green. Interval check. Thrusters positive."
Willow checked her instruments and signalled with a 'thumps up' that every think was in order. "Mag-cap ready." This would propel her Viper out of the ship.
"Gap door open."
The door right in front of Willow opened and the rest of air that hadn't been pumped out before evaporated into space - only seconds left.
"Thrust positive and good luck."
With a force of almost three G's, Willow was pressed her into her seat as she was literally shoot out of the Battlestar. As soon as she had cleared the ship she activated her thrusters and next to Buffy joined the battle against two attacking Cylon Raiders.
Those weren't only very agile and hart to get into shooting range, but also didn't seam to have a cockpit. 'No one's flying these things,' Willow thought, as they moved their Vipers into attack positions again and again.
'They are an artificial intelligence after all,' she thought. 'Maybe they had found a way to directly transfer such an artificial consciousness directly into the machine.'
In that moment something in the front of the enemy fighter opened and a red flashing light started to emanate towards her. But nothing was happening.
"The Cylons are radiating some weapon at me, but it doesn't seem to have any effect," she reported to her comrades, as well as the Combat Information Center - the CIC.
'Maybe they trying to infiltrate the Viper's systems,' Willow pondered while she opened fire on the Cylon Raider, who didn't seam to anticipate any kind of resistance from her whatsoever.
The enemy fighter exploded into a small sun. "All Viper's systems are go!" she cried out. And now it was time for some payback.
Willow and the others went after the remaining Cylon fighter. But not without losses. 'Terra' and 'Shadow' had already been shoot down before Willow had joined the battle. Her comrades 'Bruiser' and 'Angel' too would never return.
Finally they where getting the upper hand, but before 'Starbuck' was able to destroy the last Cylon fighter, it launched three missiles armed with nuclear warheads towards the Galactica. Willow and the others turned their Viper's around and hurried after the missiles and their deadly freight. 'Slayer' and 'Red' destroyed the first one, 'Starbuck' got the second, the last one however - "Galactica, you've got an inbound nuke! All Vipers break, break, break!" - got through.
Unable to stop it, Willow horridly watched the missile impact and a nuclear sun rising over the Galactica.
"Galactica, 'Red', the forward section of the port flight section has sustained heavy damage. Galactica, you got violent decompressions all along the port flight pod. Do you read Galactica?" Willow reported the damage she could see from the nuclear explosion, not knowing anyone at the CIC would actually be able to hear her. She knew, fire was to worst thing that could ever happen aboard a spaceship. If it reached the port fuel cells, the fuel would ignite and blow the Galactica to peaces.
Minutes passed by, until Willow saw the flames burst into space and die, because of lack of oxygen. But the fire wasn't the only thing that had been vented into space. Floating away from the ship, Willow could make out some human bodies too.
There was a point, Willow knew, when saving the ship meant sacrificing some lives.
No doubt that was exactly what had just been happening aboard the Galactica. The chances to fighting such a big fire with the fire suppression systems where slime to none.
Maybe the system had been damaged itself and so the only way to get the fire out was to seal up the sections in question and vent the entire air out into space. Since it wasn't possible to get all of members of the damage control teams out in time, some of them had been sucked out into space - and to certain death.
Casualties of war.
Willow returned to the Galactica. Down in the hangar bay she found everybody working quietly on restoring the damaged Viper's. Some of the technicians weren't present though, Willow noticed, but then most of them also worked as part of the DC Teams.
Like Xander, who wasn't present ether
Willow spotted Buffy standing next to her Viper, together with Cally, who was weeping quietly while pulling some component out of the main engine. Buffy and Willow's eyes met and without having to say the word, 'Slayer' told her what she didn't dare ask.
Xander Harris, her best friend, whom she had known ever since they had been swollen infants, was dead. She would later learn that he had been among the eighty-six, that had not walked out of the fire again.
That he had been caught and killed in the fire.
More then ever, Willow wished she would be able to shed some tears over her best friend. Only yesterday, he had told her and Buffy, that he had put in a request to be transferred to the planetary base near Sunnydale, because he wanted to patch things up with his former fiancÚ Anya again. Now in death, they both where reunited again.
Willow made her way towards the CIC, to deliver her final report about the outside damage.
Before she had left the hangar bay, Buffy had brought her up to speed with the latest developments. Admiral Nagala was dead, Battlestar's Atlantia, Titan, Orion VII, Columbia, Enterprise and many more destroyed.
Commander Adama had personally taken command of the fleet and ordered all military units to regroup at Ragnar anchorage, for a regrouping and immediate counter attack.
To him the war wasn't over.
With all the reports of destroyed Battlestars and military basses, nuclear explosions over all of the Twelve Colonies, Willow didn't share his judgment. Maybe this war was already over and all left to do was to gather as much survivors as possible, run like hell and hope that they could find a save heaven to start all over again.
However, the commander was in charge and Lt. Willow Rosenberg would always follow his orders.
Arriving at the CIC, Willow overheard Lt. Gaeta reporting to Commander Adama and Col. Tigh: "Sir, we have a remote sensor reading on Captain 'Apollo's' location and two enemy's closing in on these coordinates."
Willow heart and mind turned to ice, as the information started to sink in. 'Apollo's' location! He was the escort to the ship of Laura Roslin - Tara! She too was aboard this ship!
Suddenly the last peace of the puzzle fell in place, and everything made sense.
Now Willow understood why she had kept thinking, dreaming of Tara, why she had been drawn towards her from the first time she had laid eyes on her.
She was in love, in love with this beautiful, soft-spoken woman - Tara.
Who was aboard a civilian ship about to be attacked - no, destroyed - by two Cylon fighters.
It was almost to much to bear, her parents, her family and friends, Xander, Galactica's entire Alpha Squadron and now Tara too. Just in the very moment that she realised that she was in love with Tara, Willow was about to lose her again.
Only her military training kept Willow from fainting, as she helplessly watched the Dradis telemetry screen, where the two dots marking the enemy, closed in on the location of 'Colonial One'. Only from the distance she heard Commander Adama yell into the COM link: "Apollo you have inbound enemy fighters coming towards you. Get out of there! Apollo! Apollo! Lee, get... Lee!"
The screen went black and moments later Lt. Gaeta reported: "Fifty megaton nuclear detonation. The Cylons moving off, sir."