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Friday, 15 May 2015

Atropos Station

Deep in the Erebos asteroid belt lies the Atropos Station. This small colony is an illegal mining operation, and more recently an archaeological expedition to find rumoured relics of Kobol.


Marcus Celik is one of the senior members on the station. The Engineer's workspace includes machining tools along with a mysterious relic from long ago. He wears a mismatch of clothes festooned with utility belts and pockets, even without the oil and dirt he would have a grim face but his eyes are clear.

Marcus made his name in the colony fixing the oxygen scrubbers after a catastrophic failure ten years ago. Pretty much everyone who was there that day accepts that he saved everyone's life.

The only obstacle which remains unfinished for Marcus is the ancient relics they've discovered below the colony. He struggles to admit that he just can't get hold of many of the concepts which underpin their workings.

*

Rhys Meirion leads the archaeological dig under Atropos. The Visionary professor leads a group of
about ten dedicated students (and a few locals), and who are rigorous and spiritual. They can be a little judgmental however. He prefers formal wear (even when on the dig site) and his charming face and kind eyes are belied by his restlessness.

Rhys is ashamed of the failure of his marriage. His ex-wife, Zoe, is a historian and while they met through work and had three children together. He's adamant that no one is to blame for the break-up.

Rhys fears that his students might abandon him if he cannot provide order and structure.

**

Helene Sulla (callsign 'Boxcar') is Meirion's daughter. The gifted Pilot runs her fast and responsive Raptor (old military surplus from the 1st Cylon War) on various oddjobs for the colony. With the amount of enhancements she's added in the last few years (stealth, atmospheric flight and reaction control) it's no wonder it's so cramped. She dons survival wear which hides her athletic body, but everyone is struck by her unyielding face and cold eyes.

Helene's co-pilot Paul Ong doesn't really come up to her exacting standards. She does everything by the book. In fact over the last few years, eight or nine others have washed out: they quit or she fired them.

Helene's piloting skills are almost entirely self-taught. No one really believes her, but when they ask if she's had many near misses she always replies that "there is no such thing as a near miss."

***

Rhys is having breakfast with (the exceptionally charming) Charlotte, who wonders how he managed to get what must be the grandest quarters in the colony. If most of the rest of the class hadn't already been in her position, they would be jealous of the nicely made and fresh eggs he's prepared for her. A disturbing thought passes through his mind that Charlotte is just a little bit older than Helene (but not quite as old as his other daughter, Cassandra (a marketing director in Vergis Corp).

Over the tannoy comes Fox: "Frak! Everyone better take a look at this" Fox runs the colony, so this must be important. They race out to the main common area where people are gathered around watching one of the feeds (currently picking up weak signals) from the news channel Caprica 5.
A reporter is on a hill overlooking a large urban area (identified as Caprica City) - she describes an ongoing fleet action in orbit but is unsure who is responsible, with several of her sources blaming Gemenon and others identifying the Cylons.

Suddenly, a gigantic explosion appears in the distance, obliterating the city and then as shock wave rushes towards the camera the feed goes dead.

Dread and panic fills the station, but Rhys starts to calm people down as he announces he'll be visiting Fox to come up with concrete plans for the colony, they'll find out what has happened, but everyone should get ready to evacuate on short notice.

**

Helene is on a recovery flight on the inner rim of the asteroid belt when the outlying drone cordon she set up to monitor Colonial activity near the asteroid belt are picking up a huge increase in military-grade communications coming from Caprica. The signals are strange but she sets them up to alert her to any capital ships in area. While the background radiation and mineral emissions from this area of the belt are enough to defeat normal scans, they mightn't be prof against a large scale incursion.

She calls back to base, where Marcus is working on something. His workspace doesn't have DRADIS or anything, so he wanders up to the control room where he can get eyes on everything. She sets up the drones to head further out to see if they can pick up some extra information.

Fox and Smith (her second in command) are huddled around the communications array, in the corner the earlier footage from Caprica 5 is paused right before the nuke goes off. Marcus asks them to play it and when they step back to take it all in, he sits down to get the long-range DRADIS online.
Marcus quickly fills in the blanks for Helene. He identifies that big capital-class ship she was vaguely looking out for as a Cylon Basestar. Thankfully it's skirting their area and looks like it's just establishing a cordon to prevent any escaping vessels reaching the asteroid belt from Caprica - just so long as nothing attracts its attention!

Frak! Helene quickly shuts down the drones along with her Raptor. She's floating in space for a long while before she thinks it's wise to fire up the life-support/engines and head back in.

*

Back at the colony Fox & Smith are coordinating with Rhys and Marcus to shut down everything that has a significant external signature along with grounding all flights immediately.
Marcus puts his mind to setting his relic to enhancing the natural interference of the asteroids to prevent any sort of detection from any reasonable distance. Problem is, it'll take a bit of time, and may be dangerous for those moving and placing the relic...

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