Prologue:


The Visitors are not our friends.

When the alien Visitors came to Earth, they seemed entirely human in form and motive. From their great Mother Ships, hovering over Earth's major cities, they offered friendship and technology in exchange for the raw materials they needed for their continuing war against an implacable interstellar enemy. They were welcomed gladly, until subtle changes appeared. More and more, it seemed the aliens were masters, and humans nothing but obedient slaves. Resistance groups sprang up, composed of humans who distrusted the Visitors and were concerned for the safety of their planet.

Dr. Juliet Parrish, a scientist, and Michael Donovan, a journalist, formed the core of the Los Angeles Resistance. They learned the Visitors were actually a reptilian species that had come to bleed Earth of its natural resources and population humans were, for them, just another meat animal. With this knowledge, others joined the Resistance, including Ham Tyler and Chris Farber, mercenaries by trade, whose experience was invaluable.

For teenaged Robin Maxwell, the Resistance meant sanity as well as help. Pregnant by one of the aliens, she delivered twins a human-looking girl named Elizabeth, and a reptilian boy who soon died. The surviving hybrid grew quickly, shedding her skin like a lizard until she had the appearance of an eight-year-old. In a second metamorphosis, she attained the physical maturity of an eighteen-year-old woman at an actual age of less than two years. She soon demonstrated awesome powers, including telekinesis and clairvoyance. However, it took the love of Kyle Bates, a human, to give her the emotional maturity to handle her powers and physical age.

Diana, a visitor scientist, took control of the invading fleet after assassinating her superiors. Uneasy Visitors formed a Fifth Column against her, working with the Resistance. Willie, a simple trooper, joined when he could no longer view the intelligent humans "like rats." Martin, an officer, befriended Mike Donovan and tried to save his son Sean, but the boy was irrevocably committed to his chosen alien mentor.

The L.A. Resistance wasn't idle. Donovan and Parrish sent a message into space, to the enemies of the Visitors, asking their help. Then, a bacterium toxic to the Visitors was discovered, and the surviving aliens were forced to flee the planet. Diana attempted to destroy Earth completely by exploding her Mother Ship, but Elizabeth, the Starchild, prevented it, and the vicious alien was captured. The Fifth Columnists were accepted in human society; they would have to take an antidote to the "Red Dust" every twelve hours for the rest of their lives, but they could survive on Earth.

It was soon discovered that the "Red Dust" required a cold, dormant period to reproduce. The bacteria remained active in Earth's colder regions, but it soon died in areas that never froze, leaving large parts of the planet open to a second invasion. Diana escaped, killed Martin, and returned to her waiting partisans to lead that invasion.

Her new Security Commander was Lydia. The power struggles and jealousies of the two females brought Charles, a nobleman of their planet, to Earth to take command. While having an affair with Lydia, he forced Diana to marry him and was poisoned on their wedding day. Each woman accused the other.

Inspector General Philip arrived to judge the case. Invoking ancient law, he forced Diana and Lydia to work together to preserve themselves, then remained to assume control of the fleet. Discovering it was actually Diana who had murdered his twin brother Martin, Philip actively joined the Fifth Column.

While Lydia attempted to win Philip's favor, Diana secretly sent troops into Los Angeles under the command of James, her personal favorite and paramour. Small groups of aliens, collaborators, and Resistance fighters skirmished almost constantly, and civilians fled whenever they had the opportunity.

* * * * *

Julie Parrish and Mike Donovan studied the stars, each wondering when, if ever, the enemies of the Visitors would pick up their signal, and if they would respond to the human distress call. The guerrilla war had already cost so many lives in the attempt to save their planet from the invaders. If there was no help from the stars, they might keep fighting for years, until there was nothing left on Earth worth possessing. The lizards might suck their planet dry as a stolen egg.

"They'll come," the blonde woman said, cradling her laser rifle, a weapon stolen from their vicious foe. "They have to come. If they hate the Visitors as much as it seems, to be fighting a war of extermination, they've got to come."

"They will. But until they do, we've got to keep fighting. It's our Earth! And we'll find a way to hold it," Donovan assured her. He put an arm around her waist. In the cool mountain air, she was shivering.

"How long do you think it'll be?" she persisted.

"I don't know. Could be years. Could be tomorrow. But we'll hang in there. We've got to."

"I wonder what they're like, the enemies of the Visitors...." Julie's eyes wandered across the lights in the sky. From one of them might come Earth's salvation, an ally in their desperate struggle. But when?

She clutched his hand. They made a heroic picture, the guerrilla warriors who fought incredible odds with inferior technology. The alien weapons they carried were at odds with the dark jeans and turtleneck sweaters of native manufacture. Silhouetted against the star-speckled ebony of the night, their faces turned upward as they clung together, they were nonetheless figures of hope, perhaps the only hope left for their shattered world.

* * * * *

There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans; that they may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria, or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who, even now, fight to survive, somewhere beyond the heavens.

* * * * *

The Twelve Colonies of Man had fought a devastating war against the Cylons for a thousand yahrens. The metallic Cylons had been created by an organic reptilian race millennia before, but those original Cylons were believed extinct, and their robot successors were determined to wipe out the life species known as "Man." A false armistice treaty was offered the humans; eager for peace, they accepted and began to celebrate. At the height of the celebration, the Cylons attacked the fleet and the Twelve Worlds, completely shattering Colonial military and civilian power. Count Baltar, the human traitor who arranged the armistice, rejoiced in the defeat of his worlds.

One battlestar survived the Destruction the Galactica, under Commander Adama, the sole surviving member of the Quorum of Twelve, the governing body of the Colonies. He gathered all the survivors he could, in any sort of ship that could still fly. He intended to lead them to Earth, a thirteenth colony, far away in time and space. Two hundred twenty vessels, crowded with humans of all ages, creeds, colors, and colonies, followed.

They fled to Carillon in search of food, fuel, and water. They also encountered a Cylon task force, but defeated it and escaped, destroying the planet in the process.

The next goal was Kobol, ancient mythical homeworld of Humanity. There Adama found clues that would lead to Earth, but the trip would be long and uncertain. They would discover small human settlements, friendly and otherwise; they would make contact with but lose another battlestar, the Pegasus, under Commander Cain, the "Living Legend"; and they would meet strange beings in a "Ship of Lights," who would both aid them against a diabolical enemy, and ask their help in saving another world.

Through it all, they persevered Commander Adama, (usually) acknowledged leader of the Fleet; Colonel Tigh, his Executive Officer and ever-loyal right hand; Captain Apollo, Adama's son and Flight Commander of Blue Squadron; Lieutenant Starbuck, brash and womanizing, who always counted on his luck; Lieutenant Boomer, a dependable, stabilizing influence on his friends; Lieutenant Sheba, Cain's daughter, left behind and always trying to live up to her father's reputation for "the day he returns"; Bojay, also from the Pegasus, close as a brother; Cassiopeia, socialator turned med tech; Athena, Adama's daughter, a bridge officer and Tigh's aide; Omega, the steadiest of Adama's bridge crew; Boxey, the rambunctious son of Apollo and Serina, and his mechanical pet Muffey; Doctor Wilker, whose electronic wizardry proved invaluable; and the rest of the warriors and civilians Giles, Jolly, Greenbean, Doctor Salik, Rigel, Councilman Uri, Siress Tinia, the scoundrel Chameleon....

But all the way, it seemed the Cylons were just behind them, waiting for a chance to strike the final blow. Baltar, the traitor, still served the Cylons. After several attempts to mislead Adama into a second trap, and a period of imprisonment in the Fleet's prison barge, but now freed, he contented himself with trailing the Galactica, and waiting....

* * * * *

Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest for a shining planet known as Earth.

* * * * *

"Commander!" The excited brunette looked up; there was a light in her wide blue-green eyes. "Father!"

The blue-clad command officers were surprised at her lack of decorum.

"What is it, Lieutenant?" Colonel Tigh snapped.

"Athena?" Her father sounded more puzzled.

"A signal, sir, on a low band! Sir, it's from Earth!" Her voice was a shrill squeak of elation.

"What?" Pandemonium broke out on the huge bridge of the battlestar, as personnel rushed over and excited voices carried her words along.

Then shock and dismay colored her features. "Father! They're under attack ... by a lizard species...."

Adama spoke in the despairing silence that followed. "What information do they give?"

She stared vacantly at her board. "What...? Oh..... They're under attack. It sounds like they're trying to summon an enemy of the invaders, someone who might be a friend...." She sighed shakily. "They give their coordinates...."

The commander's face had been carefully composed; now his eyes widened in horror. "They give their coordinates over an open channel? Lords of Kobol...."

"What is it, sir?" Tigh questioned urgently.

"The Cylons! They must be receiving this as well. They know, now, where we're going, and how to get there! Omega, plot a course for that location. Get us there as rapidly as possible."

The flight officer ran back to his post.

"Tigh," Adama whispered, "could we have come so far, just to know the Cylons may already be on the way?"

"At least we can warm them...."

"How long will the trip take?" the old veteran snapped at his young officer.

"Approximately eight sectars, sir," Omega replied intently.

Adama nodded and turned away. "A long time," he breathed. "Perhaps all the time Earth has. The Lords grant we have a chance to help them." To himself, he wondered. They already face an enemy from the stars, and seek allies against the invaders. We looked to them for hope in our own struggle. Do we unite merely to witness the end of our race?

* * * * *

"Command-Centurion. We-are-receiving-a-signal. Its-origin-is-a-planet-in-Beta-sector. It-is-from-the-human-vermin."

The gold-overlaid Cylon swivelled to face its underling. Eerie light flashed off its shell from the bridge illuminators. "What-information-is-available?" it intoned without emotion.

"The-inhabitants-refer-to-their-planet-as-Earth. The-Galactica-seeks-that-world. It-is-under-attack-by-the-Forebears."

"Inform-Commander-Baltar."

"By-your-command."

* * * * *

At Philip's urging, the Leader himself came to Earth. The alien took Elizabeth Maxwell, the Starchild, to be his consort, and make peace between their disparate species. Elizabeth accepted her heritage, and the union. Unknown to the rest, the treacherous Diana, still aspiring to military glory and political power, had planted a bomb on the Leader's shuttle.

And that's the state of the war tonight....


Chapter 1

Main Index

Enter Sheba's Galaxy