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A Family Friend, Part II

Posted on Fri Jul 27th, 2018 @ 1:47pm by Captain Zachary Kovak & Major Catherine Wolf & Orson Moss

Mission: Flowering Judas
Location: Skyport, Dome 1, Colonial-Star Casino

“Mr. Orson has a strict no-guns policy in his suite.” Stan said, handing his own to one of his men. “I give you my word you will be safe if just you and I proceed together.”

Catherine looked at Stan and eventually relented, reaching down and removing the pistol from her holster, handing it back to one of her two guards. “No funny ideas Mr. Lista. I’d hate to embarass you in front of your boss,” she smirked as she flicked her hair and entered the lift.

Stan returned the smirk with an amused chuckle as he gestured an offer for her to enter the lift before him. Once they were in, he pressed his thumb on a reader and watched as the doors closed and the lift began to move. “The last military commander we ran into didn’t have much of a sense of humor. I’m glad you do.”

Her once perfect smile quickly dissipated at the mention of a military commander and was instead replaced with a look of utter seriousness. “You’ve come across other military types?” she quizzed, her whole body turned in the bald mans direction.

Stan paused, looking at the attractive woman with serious eyes. He pursed his lips. “Unfortunately yes. Thanks to Mr. Moss, we escaped with our lives.”

As he finished his sentence, the doors opened to a hallway with a white marble floor. He stepped out of the elevator and turned right, walking toward a dark wooden door which was large and heavy. Down the hallway in the opposite direction was the living area, but this was an office space. Opening the huge door, Stan lead Major Wolf into an administrative area where a woman sat behind a desk.

“Mr. Moss is expecting you.” she said, looking up with young eyes and flashing surprise at the sight of a colonial officer.

“Thanks.” Stan said without another look toward Catherine and then he stepped past a comfortable sitting area to push open an identical door. “Mr. Moss, this is Major Catherine Wolf of the Patrolstar Achilles.” he said, entering a large room with a dark wood theme and downlights shining from the white ceiling. The room was complete with a seating area with a beautiful coffee table and brown leather chairs, a long table with chairs, and a desk between the all-surrounding window-wall and the fireplace where a large man with a bald head sat in a white button up, black pants, black suspenders, and a deep blue tie. He looked up from his desk as he simultaneously lifted his large frame from the chair and rounded the surfaces to meet his guest.

“Welcome to Skyport, Major Wolf.” he said with a booming deep voice as he extended his meaty hand. His face was resting in a permanent serious expression and did not move toward a smile when he greeted her.

The slimlined female gently grasped the mans hand and shook it in greeting as she looked around the joint. It was very opulent and completely out of keeping with every vessel in her fleet right now, but that was the least of her worries at present. “May I?” she asked as she gestured to a seat at the mans desk, answering her own question by moving into position and sliding into her chair without waiting for permission. “I’ll be sure to pay a visit to your casino sometime soon,” she smiled.

“If you kept your money with Pennington Bank back when the world made sense, they would likely still have your account information.” he respond, seemingly unphased by her taking the seat without waiting for an answer. He was unaccustomed to such treatment, but he expected at least as much from her. “They could issue you a new credit card and you can gamble as much of it away as you like. Though I suspect you might have more fun in Dome 2.”

The man turned and walked to the sitting area where sat a tray with two short glasses and a tall and elegant bottle of dark purple liquid. “Have you ever enjoyed Marisetti Whiskey before, Major?”

“Please don’t take this personally but I don’t drink with people I have just met,” she shook her head slowly, opting to reject the drink and keep her faculties about her during this meeting. “Shall we cut to the chase, Mr. Moss?”

Orson let out a sound that resembled a cross between a chuckle and a scoff, but didn’t affect his face. Instead he turned and walked back around his desk, lowering himself into the seat beside the penthouse window providing a colorful view of the entire dome just as night was beginning to be simulated. “And here I thought I was greeting an old family friend.” he remarked, looking her in the eyes. “You would be Catherine Wolf of the Caprica Wolfs, is that right?”

Catherine let out a sigh and slowly nodded her head. She had recognised the name as soon as it was mentioned in conjunction to Skyport. The fact that he seemed to know her confirmed her suspicions. “You may have known my family Mr. Orson,” she began sternly, “but that doesn’t make us friends,” she chided.

“As far as I can see, Catherine, if anyone should be handled with suspicion, it should be you. You have the battleship, afterall.” he remarked, still looking at her evenly.

The Major found his comment intriguing and it led her nicely into her next line of questioning. “Your man Lista informed me that you had run into some other military types. Care to elaborate?” she questioned, relaxing her stance a little as she entered her comfort zone again.

The man looked away, angling his chair toward the window to his right and looking out at the artificial sky. The sound of wood crackling behind him accented the silence of his contemplation. Then he began.

“I was hosting a media tour on Skyport when the Cylons attacked; thank the Gods I was here and not back on Caprica. I marched to the bridge to confer with the Skyport’s captain at the time. Eventually we decided to set a random course away from the ruin of the colonies; we picked up several smaller ships along the way. Eventually our fleet had grown to an impressively large size, but we had no weapons. All we could do was run.” he looked to her, a flash of frustration crossing his face. “Imagine my joy when a Mercury-Class Battlestar jumps into the system. I thought we were saved.”

The mention of a Mercury class Battlestar certainly piqued the Major’s interest as she continued to listen to the mans recount.

Orson lifted himself out of the seat and silently rounded his desk again, retrieving the tray of glasses and the bottle of Marisetti down on the desk. He slowly poured two glasses of the purple drink and inched one toward her. Taking his own glass to his lips, he looked back out the window.

“That Battlestar wasn’t interested in saving civilian lives they didn’t deem “useful” to them. They decided to scuttle my fleet for parts and specialists. I had my Captain send jump coordinates to the ships I knew could get out quickly enough along with Skyport and we jumped away. Gods only know what happened to the rest of them.”

A look of disbelief would have been the usual emotion to display at such a tale, but the Major felt it necessary to keep her cool and her focus as she sought further answers, despite the feeling of disgust that radiated within her. “What was this Battlestar called? Who was the senior officer?” she had to have this information to divulge to the Commander if they were to investigate any further.

“I didn’t catch the commander’s name. She communicated through her XO, a man named Fisk. The ship was the Pegasus, though.”

At the mere mention of the ships name, the Major felt herself lower her head and whisper just two words; Helena Cain. The commander of the Pegasus was one of the youngest to be appointed to the fleet Admiralty and had a reputation for being somewhat… ruthless. It was also a name she had heard spoken in almost a state of reverence by only one person on the Solaria crew - Colonel Kendall. That told her everything she needed to know. “Admiral Helena Cain,” she remarked much louder this time. “It would be an understatement if I said she had a reputation for being quite… difficult.”

“I think I might use a stronger word.” he said, taking another sip and then placing the glass back on the wooden desk. He turned toward her. “So, we’ve been jumping when we need to, but the Cylons honestly don’t seem to care about us very much. I’ve used my time and energy to make Skyport...and the only other ships we have left, into a decent place for people to live….and now here comes another lone ship; I’m wondering who you’ve stepped on to survive.”

“Well, we’re perhaps not as alone as you might think…” she paused as she finally took a sip of the drink he had offered, raising the glass to the man in confirmation that the beverage was actually quite pleasant. “The Achilles is part of a small fleet itself, commanded by Commander Mitchell Hanson of the Battlestar Solaria. We detected an unidentified signal and were sent to investigate in the hopes that it might lead us to some friends,” the irony was not lost on her that just a short while ago she had declared they were not friends.

Whereas many would rejoice at this news, Orson’s brows furrowed in frustrated suspicion. Her inconsistency in considering him a friend were noticed. “To what end?” he asked dryly.

“To convince whoever it is to join up with us and salvage what we can of the human race,” the Major revealed, moving slightly to the edge of her seat. “I understand that your perception of the military is probably soured after your interactions with Admiral Cain, but I can assure you that Commander Hanson couldn’t be more different if he tried,” she revealed.

“To convince us?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Or do you mean force us at gunpoint? What if we refuse? Are you really going to let us go with all our resources, both luxury and mundane; with our economy and our manpower?”

“We have means at our disposal to get your compliance,” she nodded slowly, “but we would much rather have you join us of your own free will…” she trailed off. She really hoped she wouldn’t have to use those means that she had referred to.

“And if we refuse?” he asked, unflinchingly.

Catherine rose to her feet and glared directly into the man’s eyes. “Under the Colonial Articles of War, fleet commanders have the power to seize any civilian asset and put it into the service of the Colonial Fleet,” she informed before softening her stance. “Like you said, you have a variety of resources that would benefit the people of our fleet. Right now, we are the largest pocket of our species we know to exist. You are part of that species. Besides,” she then leant on the desk, thus moving closer to him, “think of all the new customers that could frequent your businesses,” she concluded.

“I’m probably already the richest man alive.” he said, taking another sip of the drink and watching the woman leaning on his desk. “What I want is much more complex than that.”

“I’m less concerned about what you want and more about what is good for the rest of humanity,” the Major countered, standing up right and folding her arms across her chest.

“Well, you’re going to have quite the fight on your hands if you don’t start to care about what I want, Catherine.” he said, clearing his throat from his seat. “You live in a world where one man gives the orders and so do I, except in my world, it’s me. Since the fall of the colonies, I’ve kept these people safe and I’ve called the shots; it’s worked. The only loss of life we experienced was because of people wearing your uniform.”

He lifted himself out of his chair, standing taller than her by a considerable margin. “Achilles is yours because someone gave it to you, but Skyport literally belongs to me. If you need my property, you better get used to needing me.” he said, a very small half grin crossing his face. “Don’t worry; I’m not as greedy or selfish as I seem.”

“Actually, you’re wrong,” the Major smiled as she relaxed her arms to her side. “I just have to find you and guide you to the fleet. Any dealings beyond that will be between you and Commander Hanson,” she told.

“Oh, now all of a sudden I’m dealing with a powerless lacky, is that it?” he asked, sipping his drink calmly. “Is that honestly what you expect me to believe?”

A powerless lacky? The cheek of the man! “When the Cylons find you, and you’re crying out for the Achilles, or our Vipers, to defend you, good luck defending your people. This ‘powerless lacky’ will be with her fleet and her people, finding their way to a new home.”

Despite himself, he was intrigued by the “new home” comment. His curiousity showed as he sucked at his toungue. “A new home?” he asked, changing his weight between his feet.

“The war is over and it is time for us to find a place for our civilization to rebuild,” Catherine told, at the risk of sounding like the Commander, but it was something she believed. “Whilst we search, you can either help your people or turn your back on them.”

“I have no intention of turning my back on them.” he responded, annoyed at the insinuation. No one ever seemed to trust eccentric billionaires or casino moguls, and he understood why. “But I’ll be damned if I’m trading the little security we have for tyranny and a bigger target on our backs. And considering you don’t even care what I want and don’t have any value for my right to choose what happens to my property, I can’t be blamed for suspecting that signing on to join your fleet might be the worst decision I ever make, both for me and my people. That is why I want assurances.” He finished, clearing his throat.

“I’m in no position to give you any assurances other than one,” she walked over to the window and looked out at the buildings and people below. “Everything and everyone out there, everything you have built, is at risk. The Cylons will find you eventually and when they do, they will kill you all. Now, with us you stand a much better chance of surviving. I won't lie to you, at crunch time you’ll be expected to tow the line and follow the Commander’s orders if you want our protection, but on a day to day basis, you and your business can continue to thrive.” She continued to stare out into the vast space below.

Orson listened to her carefully, not letting a single word go unnoticed. “I understand crunch time.” he said.

Catherine eventually turned away from the window and walked back to the man’s desk. “My father always said you were one of the most successful people he had met,” she revealed as she came to a halt in her original position. “But he once told me try not to become a person of success. Rather, become a person of value. We don’t need successful people anymore Mr. Orson. We need people who see the value in what we are trying to achieve…” she then whispered her final words on the matter, “...the continued survival of the human race.”

Orson considered her words for a long moment without saying a word, He looked at the false stars that formed in the false sky of the dome and found himself longing, not for the first time, for the genuine article. He lingered for a while on the idea of finding a new home; a new normal.

Reaching over, he pressed a button on his telephone and picked up the receiver. “Get me Captain Aaron on my screen.” he said heavily before hanging up.

After a few seconds the image of the sleek bridge of Skyport appeared on the screen behind his desk; on it, a slim brown-skinned man with thick glasses and black hair looked back at him, white coat and white hat indicating his position. “Mr. Moss..” he responded, clearly taking note of Major Wolf beside him.

“Bill, you’ll be getting coordinates from the Patrolstar. Send them to Medusa and Hyperion. Wait for my final approval before we jump.”

There was a long pause between Orson’s speech and the Captain’s. The other man looked disturbed and a bit squeamish. “Oh...I...may I ask where we’re going?”

“I’ll set up a video and television broadcast within the hour. It’ll tell you everything you need to know. For now, carry out my directive.”

“Yes, Mr. Moss.” the man said.

When the screen had gone blank again, he turned to Major Wolf. “I’m assuming you’ll be needing to borrow my phone.”

Catherine nodded. “If I may?”

Orson pulled out his chair for Catherine and picked up the phone, requesting a connection with Achilles.

“Achilles, Wolf,” the Major spoke into the handset that she held to her ear, waiting for the response from someone on the other end.

“This is Kovak.” Came a voice from the other end. “How are things going over there, Major? We were getting a bit worried.”

“Things are going to plan,” she began before adding, “Prepare to contact Captain Aaron of Skyport and give him the jump co-ordinates for the fleet.”

“Yes, ma’am.” her XO responded evenly, then followed by a brief pause. “Colonel Kendall is curious about their specs also, I told her I’d let you give her the briefing. You’re welcome.”

“Tell the Colonel that right now, the only thing I am worried about is getting these people to the safety of the fleet,” the Major informed before adding, “she can worry about the specs all she likes when we are reunited with Solaria.”

He spoke again, speaking lower in the phone so that no one else in CIC could hear him. “As much as I would love to avoid getting in the middle of this particular cat fight, I’m bound to follow your orders. I’ll let her know.”

“Good boy,” Catherine smirked down the phone, her tone lightening to reflect her slightly happier mood. “I’ll be returning to Achilles shortly.”

“I await your return, I’ve reached my limit of this woman’s disappointed glances. Safe travels, sir.”

Orson watched the Major from a respectful distance leaning on the back of one of his brown leather couch. She was certainly different than the offers they’d encountered before. They had been anxious, cold, and very cruel.

Catherine opted to avoid making any response and instead simply returned the handset to its resting place.

“You really should check out the shopping district. We secured some expert clothing designers for a fashion show just before the fall. They’ve got some creations that my wife tells me are pretty amazing.” Orson remarked as she hung up the phone.

“As soon as we are back with the fleet, I may take you up on that suggestion,” Wolf smiled, her whole demeanour clearly having changed since she had achieved her victory.

“Well, I hope there will be many opportunities for you to do so.” he said, crossing his arms. “But for now, let’s just hope your Commander is as altruistic as you made him out to be.”

“I’ll leave that for you to figure out,” the Major offered a hand, in confirmation of the offer and as a peace offering.

“Stan will be waiting in the lobby to guide you back to the bay where you landed.” he said, taking her hand and shaking it when offered. “I’ll be giving a broadcast before we’re ready to jump. People deserve to know what’s happening.”

With a silent farewell, the Major departed the man’s office, headed towards Stan and ready to be taken back to her Raptor.


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