|rap541 (rap541) wrote,|
@ 2008-06-04 06:00:00
Fic - "Going Native part 55"
Woo! Its part 55! Yay! We're close to the end! And I promise no one gets their legs cut off!
Going Native is a BSG/STNG crossover!
Bill Adama stepped into his quarters. He wasn’t surprised to find Cmdr. Riker there, and Captain Gaeta waiting. The new ship, the Romulan ship, was one of the Federation’s enemies and it was used to fighting ships that were armed like the Enterprise. Which meant the entire fleet was in danger if the Romulans decided to attack. “When is Captain Picard going to send Mr. Gaeta over?”
They were at the point where he was tired of dancing around it.
Riker nodded, his expression grim. “He intends to transport Cmdr. Gaeta and Major Adama here. To your quarters.”
Transport. That would certainly be less obvious than sending a shuttlecraft, and quicker, if he understood the process, but…”Can’t that be tracked? By the Romulans? And interfered with?”
“It can be, but it’s highly unlikely that the Romulans would find two crewmen transporting that interesting.” Riker said as he took a seat on the leather couch. “They’re more likely to listen to the chatter between the ships which is why Captain Picard is being very careful with what he says. We’ll be getting a quick update of the plan from Mr. Gaeta, I’m certain.”
“Then I’ll transport to my ship.” Sophia said easily. “The Romulans will be suspicious but frankly, that’s their natural setting. I’m surprised they didn’t show themselves sooner.”
It was unstated that Riker and Picard, and Bill himself for that matter, assumed the Romulans could listen in to their wireless broadcasts. Not that they would hear very much that was interesting. Emergency jump coordinates had been dispersed to the fleet several days ago, it was just a matter of telling them which set to use. Riker’s combadge chimed. Bill waited patiently as the man discussed the transport. He had seen a video example of transporting. He wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea yet.
There was a sudden flash of light, followed by colorful sparkling that slowly materialized into two forms, and then became Lee and Felix Gaeta. Lee looked surprised just for a moment and then grinned boyishly. “ Helo was right, that does feel great.” He drew himself up to a position of attention. “Admiral Adama, I respectfully suggest we ask for a transporter at some point.”
Riker smirked at that, but Adama ignored it. Lee seemed well. Worried looking but no worse for wear from having been deconstructed down to the atomic level and reassembled, if he understood the transporter technology correctly. In fact Lee looked… refreshed. Enlivened somehow. As if a heavy burden had been lifted and of course it had.
Which made Lee a startling contrast to Gaeta. It was jarring to see Gaeta in the uniform of a Starfleet officer. More jarring that the man looked physically ill. Worse, Gaeta looked like he expected to be yelled at. Of course he expected to be yelled at, Adama thought with more than a little regret. The last time you saw the man, you were ready to pound him bloody. Between the anger he’d shown, and the previous murder attempts by the crew, it was no wonder Gaeta looked terrified.
“Major Adama… Cmdr. Gaeta, it’s good to see you both. I assume you have a plan to advise me on?” He wasn’t surprised to see them both tense.
“I’m here to assist in fixing the FTL drive, sir” Gaeta said after a moment. “Unfortunately, I don’t know how long that will take, and Captain Picard is concerned that the longer we stay here the more likely that the Romulans will want to investigate the fleet.” He paused. “While it’s possible this Romulan ship is by itself… It’s very likely that there are other Romulan ships in the area.”
“They have stealth technology,” Lee added, and over his shoulder, Bill saw Riker and Sophia Gaeta nodding to that. “The plan is to have the Tom Dooley warp to the emergency jump coordinates that we’ve already distributed to the fleet. Once the Cylon basestar is able to jump, then it and the fleet will jump to the Tom Dooley’s position. That’s deeper within Federation space and there are other Federation ships moving to that position as well, so even if the Romulans were able to track the fleet, they are not likely to follow us deeper into Federation space.”
“Right now they can excuse their presence as curiosity,” Riker added. “Moving deeper into Federation space would be considered an act of war.”
“The Enterprise would stay here with the Galactica, until the Galactica is ready to jump. Captain Picard wants to time this so that we’re not sitting here for a lengthy amount of time.” Lee glanced at Gaeta. “For safety reasons, Captain Picard thinks the fleet should move as soon as possible. The condition of the civilian ships means that it would take very little for the Romulan ship to cause a lot of damage. The problem is the time between the fleet jumping and the Galactica jumping.”
“And how long will that be, Mr. Gaeta?” Adama asked.
“I don’t know,” Gaeta said. “It might be hours. It is certainly safer for the civilian fleet to jump ahead. Romulans can be very aggressive.”
“And sneaky,” Riker added, “ and the second the Romulans see the jump, they will understand that it has value. At the same time, there’s over fifty ships in this fleet and many of them are in poor condition. The Enterprise can handle one Romulan war bird easily. This is one of their older ships. However, it’s possible that there’s two or three more that we aren’t seeing.”
“Moving the civilian fleet removes targets,” Adama mused. “But the Romulans will become much more interested in the Galactica once they see the jump.” He saw the necessity though and Picard’s reasoning. He only wished the civilians on the Galactica could be moved without raising suspicion. It was unrealistic and impossible though. By the time the three hundred or so civilians were even organized to leave, the civilian fleet would already be jumping. “How likely is it that the Romulans will board us?
If they were aggressive and if they had the same transporters, then they would board. It was the obvious plan, the first thing he’d do himself if he had that sort of technology.
“That would be an act of war,” Riker said after a moment of thought. “They’re aggressive, but they don’t want a war with the Federation.”
“They wouldn’t get one by boarding the Galactica, sir.” Gaeta turned to Riker. “There’s no treaty with the people of the Twelve Colonies and even if President Roslin did sign it right now, it would be arguable how legal an action that is. If they’ve been monitoring transmissions then they know they aren’t dealing with Federation members. We’re close enough to the border that they could argue that it was a mistake later.” He looked back at Adama. “Under those circumstances, they might consider boarding. To see if the technology could be stolen. I doubt they have the personnel in an older war bird for an actual take over.”
“If there’s more than one war bird though,” Riker stood up and paced. “That’s a good thought Mr. Gaeta.” To Adama he said, ”Our people do have hand held phasers.”
“My people are armed as well.” Sophia added.
A nice offer, Bill thought, but he wasn’t going to risk the ship based on the notion that forty or so Starfleet officers with sidearms would save the ship. Particularly since most of them were medical personnel. Doctors and nurses weren’t by nature the best in a fight. “I’ve got plenty of men and women who can patrol the ship.” Still, it was rude to dismiss it. “I’d like your people to center their attention on the civilian population. I’d hate for us to be so close and have something happen to the civilians on board.” He’d also hate explaining how some Starfleet officer got killed on his ship. “Major Adama, I want you to get everyone organized. Anyone who has a sidearm needs to get it. I want roaming patrols of marines through out the ship, and I want the pilots to join them. They aren’t going to be needed to fly if there’s an attack. Mr. Gaeta, where will you need to go to… fix the FTL drive?”
Gaeta looked embarrassed. “ I don’t know… the CIC to start but I think I’ll need to see the actual drive.”
Which told Adama something that the Starfleet officers wouldn’t realize. Felix Gaeta had many duties on board the Galactica and none of them involved him working in the bowels of the ship. “A marine escort has been arranged.” He looked at the small group. “I think we all have things we need to do. Mr. Gaeta, I want a word with you. Privately.”
Riker looked annoyed but didn’t say anything. Sophia Gaeta patted Felix as she walked by but said nothing, and Lee managed to look stressed and worried. “We don’t have a lot of time, sir.”
“I’m aware of that, Major.” He waited until he heard the hatch door close to turn his attention back to Gaeta. He leaned against his desk. “So what did you do to my ship, Mr. Gaeta?”
“I… told it to stop. And not to jump again until I say it’s all right.” Gaeta crossed his arms and looked down at his feet. “It’s not easy to explain. The term scientists use is technopathy. It‘s an ability I have… because of my non human ancestry.”
“On New Caprica, it’s how you gained access to the communication codes.” He waited until Gaeta nodded. “You told President Roslin you were transmitting jump coordinates this way.”
“Yes. Not always but when the jumps needed to be done fast….” Gaeta continued to look down. “I didn’t mean for this to happen, sir. I thought… the ship always fought me on this command. I knew it would stop the jump process but I thought… that it would wear off. I know that’s made things more difficult to negotiate.”
Interesting. “Mr. Gaeta, are you apologizing for bringing us to Earth?” That was almost humorous.
Gaeta looked at him with surprise. “I’m apologizing because I created a problem that you can’t fix, sir. Because not telling you what I had done and what I had planned left you in an awkward position. I should have trusted you with my secret and my plan.”
Adama made a point of taking out two glasses from his desk and poured two drinks of ambrosia. “It has occurred to me lately, Mr. Gaeta, that I have neglected your education as an officer.” He handed one of the glasses to Gaeta and sipped his own. “Never apologize for making the right decision. You made the right decision.”
“Sir?” Gaeta eyed him nervously.
“You made the right decision. Going to President Roslin and playing on her religious beliefs… I would have locked you up in the brig if you told me you were some part alien from Earth, but not before I had Cottle give you a few electroshocks to the brain to make you see reason. And then where would we have all ended up?” He had thought about that, more than once after Roslin had explained what she had known.
“Romulan camps…” Gaeta suddenly gulped his drink down. “New Caprica would have been a picnic.”
“You were right about that too,” Adama said after a moment. “Not entirely right…but close enough that it doesn’t matter. If you had told me about the Circle… I would have made sure you were telling the truth, and everyone would have gotten a warning, and nothing more. I needed everyone working, and the president had already pardoned everyone.” He didn’t think he needed to be more blunt. Pilots had been needed more than junior bridge officers, and Gaeta had always made a point of stepping back when a truly ambitious officer would have stepped forward. “Why weren’t you a pilot? Seems like this gift you have would let you be a pretty good viper pilot.”
He had a suspicion why.
“I would have been too good,” Gaeta said after a moment. “People would have been curious. Medically there’s a number of things about my physiology that would be… anomalous and I couldn’t take the risk of exposing the Twelve Colonies to the reality that non human life forms exist. And it was never my intent to have a lengthy military career in the colonial military. I can hide my abilities but not if I attract attention. The best way to avoid attention is to be average, and there’s no way to mask ability in a Viper cockpit. Without getting killed.”
“ You don’t seem happy to not be hiding,” Adama observed. The only person he’d seen look less happy recently was Kara, and Kara was a whole different problem.
Gaeta shrugged. “ I doubt you would understand, sir.”
“Give it a try,” Adama said as he refreshed their drinks. He was aware of the time ticking by, but the situation wasn’t going to get dire until the civilian fleet jumped. He wanted to make sure he was about to make the right decision.
“Everyone knows my name,” Gaeta said softly. “Everyone knows *what* I am. If you don’t know me, you can read scientific papers about me, and about what I can do, and about my entire family. Admiral Kirk killing my grandfather is a fleet legend. Until I was twenty three, I can’t remember a week going by without someone wanting a demonstration of something. I’m different, I’m genetically superior to a human being, I have talents that don’t exist in the human race, and on Earth, it’s not necessarily a good thing to be.” He gulped down the second drink. “My parents always made being different a badge of honor, but the truth sir? Most people are interested in what I am, and not who I am. And then a wormhole opened up while I was doing an experiment in a runabout, and I ended up on the wrong side of the Beta Quadrant with people who had no idea what I was. I had to hide, and maybe… it was scary and hard, but living on Caprica, being a marine and then a deck officer on the Valkyrie and the Galactica… It was the first time I could ever be someone in the crowd. If I did or didn’t have friends, if I got promoted or not… it was because of me, and not because someone wanted my talents around. And then the Cylons attacked, and I had to make a choice, and I hesitated.” He look at Adama intently. “We shouldn’t have stopped at New Caprica, and if I had tried, I probably could have convinced you. But I didn’t, because I didn’t want to interfere, the Prime Directive may sound cruel but it’s there for a reason…. After New Caprica, I knew where we were going and I decided that enough people had died so I told President Roslin who I really was. Now everyone knows… I heard there’s a lot of religious upheaval already.” He shrugged. “ I really should get to work, sir…”
Guilt, Adama realized. Felix Gaeta felt guilty for not doing enough. “Dr. Baltar made an accusation against you. To the Betazed ambassador. That you gave him a notebook of jump coordinates and technical drawings.”
Gaeta’s eyes widened in surprise. “I did what?” Then he seemed to reach back for the memory. “I… thought… I was really out of it….But that could have happened.” If anything, Gaeta looked relieved. “He gave the notebook to the Federation ambassador?”
“No. He said it was in his papers in the research lab.” Adama looked at him. “I haven’t allowed any access to the lab. I can see to it that there’s nothing to find.” Roslin was right. Gaeta didn’t deserve a prison sentence for saving them.
“But…” Gaeta looked both surprised and touched. “They’ll know you’re hiding something if you’ve restricted access. I don’t know where it is, you’d have to tear the room apart.” He straightened up. “It’s my problem sir.”
“You don’t deserve prison for this, Felix.” As he said it, Adama made peace with the consequences. He had been about to retire five years ago anyway. Tigh could take over, at least until Kara or Helo were ready. He understood the consequences. The Federation would insist he step down if they thought he had been complicate in hiding a Prime Directive violation.
“I assure you sir, that unless things have changed a great deal, the Federation Penal Colony on New Zealand is more pleasant than living on the Galactica for the last few years has been.” Gaeta waited a moment. “More importantly, sir, you haven’t neglected my education as an officer at all. I did this. I knew the consequences. I violated my oath to Starfleet. The only reason I haven’t spelled out in detail exactly what I told President Roslin is because the people need her in office until the new colony is firmly established. They need you, too, and I won’t deprive them of you.” He took a deep breath. “Sometimes you have to roll a hard six, sir.”