PHD #413: EVENT - The Blood-Dimmed Tide
The Blood-Dimmed Tide
Summary: "Their enemies will divide them. Their colonies broken in the fiery chasm of space. Their shining days renounced by a multitude of dark sacrifices. Yet still they will remain always together."
Date: 15 April 2042 AE
Related Logs: All 15 April logs.
Cora Magnus Sofia Rejn Riederer NPC Volans Polaris 
Combat Information Center — Deck 7 — Battlestar Cerberus
The central nexus of the ship, the fighting capability all stems from here. With entrances on both sides, an entire section of the wall will twist its armored glass and doorframes out of an air locked position and allow access. At the rear of the room is a standard hatch that allows access as well. Computer terminals sit in a semi-circle around the main plotting table in the center of the room. DRADIS and other essential readouts are displayed on screens that hang from the ceiling. Forward and aft are a set of glass plots that hang vertically from the ceiling and provide the crew with the ability to coordinate air traffic operations in the easiest way possible.
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

CIC is very rarely silent, but right now things are about the quietest they've ever been in the heart of Battlestar Cerberus. Near one of the glass plotting panels, a single corpsman is tending to Iris Stryer's wounds. A couple of techs are sitting at the computers tapping away, their fingers flying over keyboards as if their lives depended on it — as indeed their lives do. A few more engineers are tasked with monitoring the vitals of the one new addition to the room: the half-naked Cylon plugged into the ship's systems, his eyes locked open, blood seeping from the cuts on his body. They're under orders to keep the connection open at all costs: which means they're to cut harder and deeper every time the powerful signal thrumming through Cerberus' electronic warfare arrays begins to fade.

It's been thirty-three minutes since Allan Rejn opened up his veins in the well of CIC, and as the clock strikes 1626, the battle for control of the ship's nuclear arsenal rages on.

Down near one of the other plotting panels stands the acting Commanding Officer of Cerberus and by extension, de facto Commander of the Fleet… according to who you ask. Cora Nikephoros has not left this room since this all began, nor has she stopped working or, other than a few tense moments earlier, stopped smoking. There are multiple ashtrays scattered about the room full of cigarette butts, and one more gets added now, the next smoke lit and puffed before the first is disposed of. She paces, and turns to look back at the console where Rejn is plugged in, and the technical personnel nearby: "How is it looking? Any changes?"

Magnus sits on the console assigned to him and punches the keys as fast as possible, his eyes completely locked on the screen. "What the hell…." mutters the man "They are changing, something is up…." He leaves the keyboard for a moment to crack his knuckles and clears his throat "Gods damn it…" He looks up at Cora mainly and says "They are tyring to active a countdown on the nukes…" he looks back at the screen and nods without looking back at Cora "Working on it…." Fingers go back to the keys. While working, he adds "They just chaged, completely switched strategy, I'm working on it…."

This is a baffling and alarming turn of events. Sofia is monitoring Rejn, eyes watering. She doesn't like hurting her friend. "I'm sorry," She whispers. He's her friend. Or at least she'd like to /think/ so instead of being a good source of gossip and jellybeans. She takes a deep breath and wipes at her eyes between monitoring and watching the goings on. "Thank you for the help," She does offer, just low enough to be heard by the fellow - or so she hopes. "Totally owe you one," At least /Sofia/ thinks so. Cylon or not, favor's a favor right? She is otherwise quiet. Deep breaths. Calm breaths. Count to 10 like the doctor said. Right? Right. Totally going to get her backside kicked in if anyone hears the snipe calling a Cylon a friend.

"Changing?" Cora fixes her gaze on Magnus, flicks a look at Rejn, and then back to the computer scientist, "Changing how? Fix it. Everybody on that, they cannot get control of the missiles back. Petty Officer," she turns away to point at a communications tech at a desk nearby, "Updates on the situation in the hangar?"

Rejn doesn't seem to feel the pain. Or if he does — that is, presuming he can still be called a 'he' — he doesn't seem capable of responding. Blood pools under his not insubstantial body, sucked up by his (ungroomed) chest hair and his (very) hirsute knuckles that flex every so often under strain. A metallic tang suffuses the air, hanging over the room despite the air recirculator working at maximum speed.

The communications tech Cora points to tries to open her mouth — only to retch all over the black phone and papers at her station, her chest heaving as some mix of stomach acid and eighteen cups of coffee trickles down her screen to the floor.

"The look of their code changed, it looks…." Magnus says, narrowing his eyes "It looks Cylon, but not as neat as what he is doing" adds Magnus, nodding towards Rejn. "They are seeking to set the countdown. And what the frak do you think I'm trying to do here?" says Magnus, clearly annoyed by Captain Obvious. "I'm frakking working on it, damn it."

"Seriously?" Cora grimaces as the tech vomits instead of replying, "Are you kidding me? Next time, try speed instead of fourteen gallons of coffee. Somebody else," she turns away, searching out another communications technician, "Anybody, get me an update on the status of the incident in the hangar, please! Dekker, Wolfe, Spiros," she address a handful of the techs in the back again, "Is he," she points at Rejn, "Still effective against whatever they've changed? Does the connection need to be reinforced again?" This, the euphemism they've decided on (or she has, anyway) for cutting Rejn open deeper and shoving in more wire.

She takes a deep breath. "It - it does," Sofia's voice wavers. This is /her friend/, despite the references to her tits. One of the few who understood her enchantment with Eleven. "He's fading. We'll need to make more incisions to keep up the cur-current," Her voice cracks. She takes a deep breath. Sofia doesn't seem to like this much, but she awaits a response - likely another tech might beat her to it. She's at least still functioning at a good level and taking orders well.

"It's not looking good, the are gaining ground…." shouts Magnus as he keeps punching the keys, trying to stop them. "I need to clean these memory blocks and…." he stops, clearly working his ass off to stop this from happening. "No, no…it seems that he is not covering as much ground as he was. This code is Cylon based…gods damn it" He just shakes his head "They keep infecting our systems, I'm barely holding here…"

The already gruesome sight just gets worse and worse when the other techs go to work, though one of them waits only long enough to order Sofia to grab her scalpel. Rejn, of course, doesn't seem to notice the knives slipping through his skin, slashing away entire chunks of flesh — though when one blade hits his left humerus, his narrow blue eyes begin to water. Sweat beads on his moustache as his heartbeat slows, his flabby skin turning even whiter than usual under the harsh fluorescent lights shining above him.

Meanwhile, Magnus' panicked report is accented by hyperventilating gasps from poor aforementioned tech. Lucky for Cora, there's more than one of them in the room, and soon enough she gets an answer: "Still nothing," the man says, grinding his teeth together at the smell. "Coms to the hangar are still frakking — sorry, sir. Coms are still inoperative."

And from nearby another technician pipes up with slightly better news: "The away team is reporting in," he barks, finger in his earpiece. "Colonel Pewter is secure. Kepner is dead. The Raptors are returning to base."

"Do it," Cora doesn't hesitate to give the order at Sofia's response, gesturing at Rejn and shaking her head, "We can't afford to lose this, if they get the missiles back, we're done. Cut as deep as you have to to keep the current going. Without killing him, obviously." She makes an 'obviously' sort of gesture and then rakes the non-cigarette hand through her hair, turning away. She nods to the tech who replies about the hangar, returning, "Keep on it. I want that update the second they're up." She wheels around quickly as the other reports, and nods, "Finally, thank you, specialist." She lets out a deep breath and tilts her head up to the ceiling, eyes widening as she takes a deep, deep drag that lights up the end of her cigarette and then exhales the smoke at the ceiling in a long plume. "Good," she says again as she looks back down. "ETA?"

"They're jumping back as — hold up, sir," the tech reports, squinting at his screen to make sure he can correlate the speaker with the transponder. "Right. Should be about thirty seconds, give or take. If the microjumps go off."

Magnus is visibly sweating and working as fast as he can, he looks over at Rejn for a moment and says "Come on buddy…" He knows he is probaby suffering quite a lot and this, actually, pains Magnus. "This is getting really complicated without his help, I'm trying to do as much as I can here but without his help, I will lose control in a matter of minutes." He keeps punching the keys to the point of looking painful "The Cylon code is propagating, it's too damn fast…" He is not really complaining, he is informing.

"I'm sorry. Thank you," She murmurs. Sofia's not ungrateful for Rejn's help nor unaware of what he's doing for them. It's still painful. "He's dying," Sofia states, getting that bad feeling in her gut. There's a definite tone of guilt in her voice. Still… orders … but … the other techs … She takes a deep breath. Well, just - don't think about it. If Cerb goes up, they all go up. Orders are orders.

"Thirty seconds," Cora echoes with a nod. She turns back to look at Magnus and Sofia and Rejn and then turns and points at the corpsman tending Stryer, "You, go help him. Now! Yes I mean run across the room! Sorry, Stryer," she tacks on in a mumble to the abandoned LT, turning back to the techs once more, "How long can you hang onto it?" She heads over closer, stepping up to Rejn, "I need to know who the Two is," she says, "I need him up here, we need more time. Who is the Two, Rejn? How long has he got, corpsman?"

Run the corpsman does, covering the ground in seconds so long they seem to stretch into years. Allan Rejn doesn't notice. He doesn't even answer. If anything, a small, beatific smile seems to cross his lips as he moves his mouth, chewing on words that are impossible to hear.

As he struggles, Sofia's the only one to show any visible emotion. Yet those watching closely might glimpse her comrades' hands shaking as they make their unkind cuts. She knows these people: they're the same ones who carried on and on at Pete's about how they'd love to get their hands on a skinjob and THEN see how he squeals. But now, as CIC hums about them, as Cora smokes cigarette after cigarette, as Magnus and company fire invisible bullets at an invisible foe, they're strangely somber as they take the man apart bit by bit, piece by piece.

And Rejn? His fogged-up glasses hide his eyes from view, but there's no mistaking the slight twitch of his right hand as he grabs Sofia by her uniform with inhuman strength. His next words are for her and her alone — and then he slumps to the ground while the corpsman pumps dose after dose into his heart, trying with all her might to restart a heart that slows, slows —


"Frakking hell…" mutters Magnus, looking at the screen and at the horrible bit of information that he is seeing. "They have the nukes. Sixty-seven seconds to detonation and counting…" He tilts his head to look at Rejn and then takes a deep breath, moving back his head to the screen "On it…" that's the only thing the man says right now as he starts working once again.

"Frak," Cora mutters. She turns away quickly, stepping up to a wireless receiver. "All points, this is Cerberus Actual. Be aware: our…asset has failed. We no longer have control of our nuclear missiles; ETA to detonation sixty-seven seconds and counting. Initiating emergency evacuation protocols immediately. All ships are advised to — " Beat. "Get as far away from us as possible. Now. I say again, all ships get as far from Cerberus as possible NOW." She hangs up, and steps back, looking back up at the techs in the back. "Do what you can. Corpsman, please unplug Mr Rejn."

"There will be no need for that." A new voice — heretofore silent, and unfamiliar to most — is Cora's answer. It's a woman, whose cultured accent sounds surprisingly out of place amidst the sound of sparks and explosions making itself known wherever she's speaking. "I am Colonel Alke Riederer," she says, her alto thin and scratchy over the unstable line. "Commander Kepner is dead and I am assuming command of all Areion forces. Those who wish to surrender may do so, though I obviously cannot — " The message cuts off for a moment as the insane Raptor's missiles hit home, and it'll be some seconds yet before desperate engineers in CIC manage to repair the connection. " — are ordered to lay down your arms and return to base. This has gone on for long enough. To the rest of you, I can say only — " More static.

Right. She takes a deep breath. She doesn't seem to think less of those around her - maybe they feel just the same way. Sofia's just cracking a bit. The whole fiasco with the XO and fire really didn't help. She takes a deep breath. She pauses, looking startled as he grabs her uniform. Sofia's mouth falls. "I'm sorry-" The words spill with furtiveness and guilt like a bowl of water dropped on a temple floor. It cracks and splatters. pauses as he whispers his words. She takes a deep breath. "Thank … you." Hopefully he managed to hear that. But now her eyes are /really/ watering. She swallows hard. It is mercy. A certain story about a horse returns to her memory, pushing itself into place beside the horrors of a torch and - and - the fugue that clouds the night a deckie's head was cut open and - Huff. She just takes a deep breath. "Hah, sorry guys. Just a bit freaked out. I'm okay," She promises, shaking her head. "Wait, what?" They lost the nukes?

"Areion Actual, this is Cerberus Actual," Cora says into the wireless, "Return control of our nuclear missiles immediately. Say again, return control of our nukes immediately. Terminate the countdown sequence."

"Thirty-three seconds!" announces Magnus as he keeps writing lines and lines of code, as he keeps blocking fires, as he keeps trying to get them out of this mess. Still, things are not looking good. This does not stop the man, it is not a time to stop, not when they are still seconds left. He has multiple consoles open and switches from one to the other, working as fast as he has ever worked in his life, puching lines and lines of code, doing what he can.

At Magnus's update, she attempts to hail Areion yet again, "Areion Actual. Colonel Riederer! I say again TERMINATE THE COUNTDOWN SEQUENCE. All personnel be advised, detonantion in thirty-three seconds and counting."

"Wolfe," Cora asks, hand over the wireless receiver to mute it, speaking rapidly, "What did he say to you?" She points at Rejn, "He grabbed you, what'd he say?"

Sofia is definitely rattled, but trying to hold it together. "He said … This is mercy. I don't know if I was supposed to share someone's last words, but," Her eyes close. "I think it's okay."

The techs unplug the cables as Captain Nikephoros muzzles her phone, their blue-gloved hands stained a deep, angry red. They tread gingerly around the Cylon body, doing their damnedest not to disturb his repose while wrenching a bird's nest's worth of wire from his muscles. Nobody's quite sure what to do with the bloody ends, so of course they just leave them there while the clock counts down to their suddenly uncertain doom.

Then, above the sudden hush, Riederer's voice abruptly reappears, bearing not an answer but the lines of an old and time-honored hymn. "Their enemies will divide them," she murmurs, as behind her the thrumming of Areion's FTL engines — so familiar from all those times they've fired that Gun — grows louder and louder. "Their Colonies broken in the fiery chasm of space. Their shining days renounced by a multitude — " More sparks; more explosions. " — Sacrifices. Yet still they will remain — " But now the transmission dies completely when the carrier's running lights flash off, her engineers having diverted all available power to wildly-spinning reactors. With one last glorious hum, the escort carrier Areion disappears from DRADIS —

Leaving it to those who survive to fill in the last words of Riederer's dirgelike prayer while someone finally thinks to remove Rejn's glasses and close his shining eyes as the clock ticks past T plus one, two, three, four, five —

Always together.

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