Starbuck’s Viper

Kara “Starbuck” Thrace’s eyes snapped open, cautiously scanning her surroundings, her lungs inhaled deeply as she began to gain control of her largely unresponsive body. She gradually realized that she had been unconscious but not for how long. Wanting to find out, she reached down and pressed one of the control panel buttons, activating the mission timer on main multi-function display. The timer showed all zeroes, greatly puzzling her.

What the frak happened here? She pondered curiously as she stared at the mission timer in total disbelief. That was not possible in her opinion, unless she had truly died and gone to the afterlife.

A flood of memories hit her abruptly as the last thing she could remember was flying in the high atmosphere of an uninhabited alien world, chasing down a bogey that appeared to be a heavy raider, and telling Apollo that she would be okay before blacking out completely and finding herself in outer space with no fleet in sight. Her prospects were unpleasant, like many Viper pilots she feared dying in space slowly and alone from either starvation or lack of oxygen before the fleet could rescue her, a long and painful death was one of few things she truly feared. If she had a choice of her own fate, it definitely would be going out with a bang in middle of a battle.

“Frak me.” She muttered to herself angrily and quietly.

She activated the DRADIS, making a full scan sweep at maximum power, and then stared at surrounding space. All she saw was thousands of the stars dimly glittering in the vastness of black, nothing unusual that warranted her attention. Situation awareness was the most important asset that a pilot could have in any given situation including extraordinary ones.

Nothing showed up on the screen.

Kara knew the better than relying on a single sweep. She was fully familiar with strengths and weaknesses of the Viper Mark II. In this case, Viper Mark II’s sensors were restricted to forward coverage, which was a tactical flaw that the Cylons could exploit by getting behind it virtually undetected.

Let’s see what is behind me, Starbuck thought almost pessimistically as she reached out for the stick.

The RCS thrusters flared up very briefly, flipping the Viper into its opposite course. A barren moon and a distant verdant world of seas and continents in the distance came into her sight. She let out an excited grasp, completely swelled with exhilaration, at last she found Earth.

That was what her destiny was all about, foretold by a particular skinjob named Leobon, her entire lifetime from growing up to chasing down a bogey in some distant world, all lead her to the home of famed thirteen tribe. The descriptions of Earth in the sacred scroll of Pythia matched what she saw, her gut feeling was positive that this was same world as in the scroll, further validating that Earth was no longer a fabled legend or myth. It was real. As for her fellow colonials, she would love to see the look on their faces, especially Roslin when telling them of her greatest discovery, that is if she managed to find a way back to her home to the fleet.

In front of her, this blue and green world represented a new home and a great hope for the Colonials They had lost everything to Cylons few years ago in the great thermonuclear cleansing that swept through their star system, nearly driving humanity to complete extinction. Her people will start anew there on that world.

The ecstasy that filled her quickly vanished when multiple unidentified bogeys emerged on the edge of DRADIS, all approaching her location very rapidly. She counted three of them although she was uncertain if they were Cylons or not.

“Great, I am not alone.” Kara told herself as she instinctually toggled a weapon safely switch to ‘arm’ mode, arming the automatic cannons. She steeled her nerves, fully prepared to take on three unknown vessels if should they make a hostile move against her. Facing potential hostiles alone was last thing she wanted while stranded in an unknown region of space.

She glanced down to review DRADIS readout once more and observed something was very unusual about these bogeys. They were too fast to be raiders, literally traveling at a fraction of lightspeed.

Kara watched in disbelief as the bogeys decelerated a near full stop and in the blink of an eye they entered visual range. This defied everything she knew about the laws of physics, that kind of deceleration should have liquefied the biological components of the raider or a human pilot.

That is frakkin’ impossible, the thought popped in her head.

The unknown blue and gray-hued vessels were the most daunting and impressive spacecraft she had seen in her lifetime. The configuration didn’t match with typical Colonial and Cylon ship designs that she had observed. They were small spacecraft about twenty meters long with a flat ‘blade’ design coupled with a single massive long-barreled cannon mounted below its fuselage, two side-mounted external pods housing what appeared to be small cannons, and a missile launcher, which lent credibility to her notion that they were fighters. She wondered if they were capable of inflicting severe damage on an opponent several times larger with their formidable weapons. The visual evidence was irrefutable, they were the guardians of thirteenth tribe, a potential ally for the refugee fleet.

Then Kara felt her heart begin to race as they set an interception course for her, all three of them.

I need to talk with them before it gets out of hand, she thought.

Establishing a first contact had to be her top priority if she intended to go back to the fleet with discovery of Earth. She pressed the broadcast button on her joystick and chuckled nervously, “Hello…”

A dozen seconds had passed by, they had not responded to her contact attempt via wireless although they continued to advancing toward Kara’s Viper. She clicked the transmit button and rebroadcasted her message, “Hello, I am Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace and… umm… I am lost.”

Then she felt her body going numb, her own consciousness was slipping away fast. Mentally, she was screaming to herself to stay conscious but her struggle was hopeless.

The last thing she saw of the bogeys before her eyes closed was one of them pulling up right off to starboard of her bird, no more than ten meters apart and noticing the pilot looked human. Perhaps the pilot wanted to conduct a visual examination of her bird.

I hope they are friendly. Gods, please have mercy on me… Kara mused before she finally passed out.

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