Memoir: Untitled


By Sawyer Averies

It was a night of celebration, champagne flowed like bubbling rivers and glasses were raised to toast the success of the new pride and joy of the Colonial Fleet. There were pats on the backs of fine suits and strapless party gowns, laughter mixed with congratulatory words as they traipsed past fellow dignitaries and buffet tables. The gleaming Snow Petrel unit streamed across the starscape in one last show of prowess and finery, and the music swelled above the speeches so the good people could dance.

And then the world stopped.

When the heartbeats started their staccato rhythm again, and lungs remembered how to expand to breathe, the onlookers crushed against the viewports, trying to get a sense of what happened. Balls of fire lit up the dark, and the first thoughts turned to an Aero demonstration gone wrong. Wrong. Worry for the pilots soon turned into fear of person, and personnel was scrambled to their action stations, the civilians like lost calves amongst the heard. We were under attack.

Later, a pilot will have described the enemy as flying in crescent-shaped harbingers of death, their stare a red wink that scanned back and forth looking for the next target. Later, the whispers will be of Cylons or new Tauron technology. Later, there would be tears.

But at the time there was just the stampede of feet, the press of panicked bodies in tight corridors as Picon Anchorage was evacuated under the hail of fire and brimstone. Even in the midst of turmoil, identification was still checked at the airlock to the Battlestar Cerberus, until it became a mass of faces and a knot of tangled bodies. Picon Anchorage was losing its hold against the barrage, it was giving out and soon it would buckle against the vacuum of space. The Battlestar had to undock, or risk what lives they were able to save. Rats from a sinking ship is too strong a term, for these were people. Souls. Slapping their palms into the metal, crying out for salvation, and as a last ditch effort they tried to pry their way through the airlock that was closing them off, that was damning them to the agonizing chill of death. And that's when the marines opened fire.

A necessary evil. A fated atrocity.

The men and woman in the corridor that had to make and follow those orders are being recommended for the Colonial Medal of Bravery. But a pin on their sash is not going to appease their conscience. A pin on their sash will not erase those haunting faces that will forever flood their dreams. We survived, but others did not. Now, is when the costs are weighed and the result is heavy on the soul. And still we ask: what happened?

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