Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 4

Galactica Saga

Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 4

By C. Demetrius Morgan

From the Aella Chronicle:

Some say no one remembers how the war with the Cylons began. It began innocently enough. We sent out exploratory vessels thousands of yahren ago, because we knew we weren't alone. Our moldering histories turned myth and legend told us about the myriad worlds our ancestors trod upon, the colonies they established, and the worlds of primitives they brought the light of civilization to.

We knew, out there, somewhere, brothers of man waited us. Sadly we had no idea how those first fateful encounters in the depths of space would shape life in the Colonies. For we forgot that those same ancient histories spoke of strange alien races and dark dreary worlds where slimy brutal beings skulked in muck. Perhaps it was human folly that we never imagined such detestable creatures might one day achieve the same lofty heights, as did our own once primitive ancestors. Luckily we were not entirely unprepared for danger, or else Cylon treachery would have ended the colonies long ago.

# # # # #


The first thing Tychon and Egg noticed about the Delos station launch bay was it was a lot more spacious than the launch bays aboard their cramped training carriers. Then this was a civilian station. The Warrior presence was tolerated, though from the way some techs reacted to their presence they wondered how much longer that would last. It was hard for Egg to align the plant vapor dreams of those with their heads in the clouds of Armistice celebrations from the reality of the war he'd been training for the past few yahrens. Looking over their assigned craft, the feel the old Starhound's pitted surface despite being many times re-painted, Egg felt like the modern scanner installed in the archaic cockpit control panel. Out of place.

'Was that what Warriors would be after the Armistice, archaic relics?' He wondered.

"They look a lot older than the Starhound's we flew back on Gemoni. No worse for wear though. "

"What were you expecting, Egg, shiny new Vipers?"

"Be nice. Still I thought they'd have something better than old MK II's."

"Actually I think they're MK IIb's, see the aerofoil?"

"Hey, you're right. They're much bigger."

"Perfect for aerial acrobatics, and that's what we're. . "

Tychon was interrupted by the sudden unexpected sound of blaring Klaxon.

"What the feldercarb?"

"My sentiments exactly, Egg. It can't be time to launch for our aerial display yet, can it?" Tychon looked around, "We're virtually the only pilots here!"

Egg turned to a crew chief he sees talking on an com, "Chief what's. ."

"Frak!" the chief faced the warriors with eyes wide in startled disbelief.

"You've got to clear the tubes. Get those birds out. No time to switch out the payloads now. Just head for the planet!" The latter was said over the chief's shoulder as he broke into a run toward the interior of the bay.

"You wearing your flight suit, Egg?"

"Always. But wha-"

"Attention. Attention. This is not a drill. All Colonial personnel report to duty stations. I repeat, this is not a drill, ALL Colonial. . "

Grabbing Egg by the lapels, "Whatever's going on I'd feel a lot safer planet side. This isn't exactly a colonial base, you know."

"I read you." Egg replied turning to run toward the nearest Starhound, "Let's go!"

* * *

Niobe's hand went unconsciously to her sidearm the moment the klaxon sounded. While all the guests merely looked around in confusion she immediately began to scan the entrances, making eye contact with other warriors doing the same. Like wayward asteroids circling a distant star the warriors slowly began to gravitate toward each other, pausing only for a moment when the announcement began, then the bedlam began as warriors began to gently fight against the crowd to make way to where they needed to be. Sadly Niobe noted there were too many who, like herself, had nowhere to go.

"What do you suppose is going on?"

Turning to the now almost familiar voice Niobe was surprised to see Aella, "Don't know."

A second body sidled up beside her. Turning Niobe saw an unfamiliar face wearing a familiar uniform. She took in his insignia and junior rank pins in barely the span of a milicenton.

"Lieutenant, ma'am." The warrior nodded to both women in turn.

"Better try some crowd control, at least until we find out what's going on."

"Might help if there was music."

Niobe turned and nodded slightly, both in agreement to Aella's remark and greeting to another colonial warrior who'd joined her little group.

"Get the band to play something light, nothing too dramatic, and pass the word this leisuron's over."


* * *

"Alright, now that we're out here let's see what our scanners can pick up on. ."

"My Com's dead, how about yours, Egg?"

"I've got Caprican ground control chatter."

"And Fleetcom?"

"That's odd. Nothing but static. I know they gutted this thing to put in loaders for pyronics and lazons for the Armistice display but, wait, scanners still work. Engaging perimeter sweep."

A pregnant paused filled the dead of space.

"Tychon I'm picking up something on the scanner at-"

"I see it. Warbook reads them as heavies, Cylon raiders. Twelve, scratch that, fifteen."

"Guess that means the armistice is off."

"Maybe," Tychon said as he began to scan through com channels, "But how in Sagan's name did they get that many raiders this far into colonial space without someone raising a klaxon before now?"

"They're probably just drawing them in, making sure they have their aim dead on."

"Then why aren't the Caprican planetary defenses lighting up with sky pulsar fire? Those ground emplacements are supposed to be able to hit an pirates arse in an airlock all the way out to Delos."

"I wish I knew, Tychon, wish I knew. Not much we can about it now."

"We've got the pyronics." Tychon clenched his teeth.

Pyronics could be dangerous, if misused, but even against Cylon raiders they'd be little better than firing an artillery shell at a Battlestar. Yet. .

"Yeah, but they're incendiaries." Egg reminded him, "No good to us up here."

"Frak." Tychon cursed.

"Yeah," Egg quietly agreed.

"We'll just have to hit atmosphere sooner, then. ."

"Then," Egg finished, "we do what we can. Fleetcom's still dead so they must be jamming us. Yet they didn't seem to bother jamming sensors. What are they playing at?"

"I don't know but they're not jamming the civilian channels either."


"Check for yourself. I just picked up Serina's broadcast. Everything looks perfectly fine down there."

"I prefer Lyra myself," Egg mumbled as he scanned through the civilian broadcast bands, "Serina maybe the face of Caprica but Lyra has the bod-

"Got it."

"Told you. Damn strange."

"Egg I think we'd better get dirt side. Either the feldergarb is about to hit the fan, in which case we're going to be little more than target practice, or someone screwed the daggit big time. Either way we're no good to anyone up here."

"Yeah, I'd hate to be the one to go down in history as starting a war by attacking a peace envoy. But if things do get squirrelly," Egg paused to check his ailerons, "these old daggits have better maneuverability in atmosphere."

"Agreed. And all we've got are pyronics."

"Yeah. Great way to fly into a war."

* * *

Talbot Chabrol rushed onto the bridge. Sestina barely spared a glance for the ridiculous Armistice celebration costume he was wearing.

"What's going on!"

"Don't know. The station just went to alert status and, if Brackett's right, cleared her launch tubes. They've also ordered all vessels in dock out."

"That includes us, I'm afraid." Brackett retorted from his station.

Talbot sat at his command console with a disconsolate thump.

"Just five centons, just five more centons and I'd have been on my way and they could play their damn games without involving me."

Sestina noticed the mock disdain in her captain's voice and, not for the first time, wondered why Talbot really left the colonial forces. He seemed to miss the life.

"Fine," Talbot muttered sitting back, "passengers are all off anyway and there's nothing to see from the Star Kobol yet. Take her out nice and slow and, Sestina, make a note in the ship's log that this is an official colonial order. If they expect us to pay for the extra fuel load they're two cards shy of a full pyramid. Matter of fact, Brackett, did we have time to log the problem with our port thrusters?"

"I believe so but what's that-"

"Good! We'll bill them for that, too."

"But, sir, it's just a matter of routine-"

"Note it in the log!"

Brackett knew better than to press the matter when his captain used that tone of voice so he simply replied, "Noted."

* * *

There wasn't much Tychon and Egg could do, they knew that, yet they had to try. It was Egg's idea to set off his pyronics in a tangled mass as near Caprica city's busiest flight corridor as they dared. He'd hoped someone dirt side would take notice, not that Caprica was a bastion of military hardware these days. That was something he knew the Capricans prided themselves on. Perhaps that was why the Armistice celebrations were centered there. But surely that big of an explosion wouldn't go unnoticed. Surely someone would raise a klaxon, if only to mobilize the colonial police. He monitored the one clear broadcast, but Serina didn't even blink when she commented on "some kind of explosion" being spotted.

And still no sign of the much lauded Caprican planetary defenses. Neither warrior understood their silence, as those platforms were supposed to be automated. Were the Cylons using some new form of electronic countermeasures that spoofed Colonial IFF? There was just no way to know, at least not from the seat of a Starhound. To add insult to injury, the Cylons didn't seem to take notice of them. Even when Tychon set off a stream of pyronics in the path of a pair of raiders they seemed to shrug off the impotent blows like a mangy daggit shaking off water. Then, in a flash, Egg understood why.

"Tychon, I'm reading multiple flights of craft coming in from high orbit!"

"What?" Tychon had been using his lazons to play tag with one of the heavies and it took a centon for what Egg was saying to register.

But that was a centon neither he nor Egg had for that wave of ships were coming in at a combat dive, and they were playing for keeps.

The first thought that sprang to both warriors mind's was: It was impossible. No one could get that many hostile craft this far into Colonial space without setting off the perimeter klaxon. Yet, somehow, the Cylons had managed to do just that.

"I'm losing scanner resolution. Egg, what're you reading now?"

Egg moved to adjust his screen as he cursed under his breath.

"Lost it. That kind of blanket jamming can't be local. That requires a lot of power."


The instant Tychon's whisper mic relayed that word Egg felt a cold knot twist in his stomach. Much as he hated to admit it that was really the only possible answer. Smaller vessels would have been detected, not matter how good their stealth, and only a Baseship had the kind of power output needed for that sort of mass masking field generation.

'But how?' he'd wanted to say.

Instead he found himself caught up in a blur of adrenaline fueled confusion. It was true Starhounds had better maneuverability in atmosphere, even against some Viper models, but none of that mattered when assault craft were screeching out of the clouds like comets hurled from the angry fist of a raging demon. With that much g-force behind them it was all a pilot could do to stay out of their way.

'Just like the Cylons to attack from behind cloud cover,' a distant part of his mind scoffed. It was the last conscious thought he would remember of that event for many yahren after. That and hearing Tychon's voice over the com as he reported aileron failure. Egg tried to reestablish contact, find out where Tychon was, but there were now civilian small craft fleeing in every direction.

Not many made it far.

Egg didn't see what happened to Tychon. He was too busy trying to stay alive, which meant doing the one thing that went against every fiber in a colonial warriors being; run from a fight. But what else could he do?

* * *

Talbot Chabrol sat with a white knuckled death grip. He was watching events unfold in real time on the bridge monitors, yet some small portion of his mind refused to believe what he was seeing. Then something snapped.

'How could this be happening,' he thought as he checked scanner readouts with a marines strategically trained eye.

Talbot had to do something. But what could he do? He was just a marine turned liner captain. There was-

"Bring our defensive lasers online now!" he barked.

It wasn't much. In fact the Phoenix wasn't even supposed to have any weaponry, defensive or otherwise, but he'd learned the hard way while running cargo that there was only one way to deal with pirates, especially with the Colonial Forces so far away, and that was to be armed. Only problem was these weren't ramshackle pirate craft.

"What the feldercarb," Sestina cursed as she turned a questioning eye to Talbot.

Brackett had not been happy when his captain approached him about making the off-spec modifications. He'd had many questions, few of which had been answered, but then he also knew his captain had been a cargo hauler. Few ran the routes Talbot took, and with good reason, but the Phoenix wasn't going to be traveling those routes. Brackett said as much. Not that his arguments seemed to have any affect. Now, as he typed the code into his console to activate the defensive grid the liner wasn't supposed to have Brackett found himself smiling predatorily at his captain's astute foresight.

"Sorry," he shrugged at Sestina inquiring glare like a child caught with his hand in the treat bar jar, "meant to tell you about those, uhm, modifications. But with the Armistice and-"

"As first officer of this tub I should have known about this, sir."

Talbot loved Sestina like a daughter but he also knew what her temper was like. Having known her since she was a youngster Talbot didn't want it directed at him. The woman still wasn't speaking with her own father, one of his boyhood friends, so he did the only thing any colonial marine in his position would have done. He feigned innocence.

"How's everything look, Brackett?"

"Green across the board."

"That's good. Of course the system hasn't been tested yet. Meant to get to that, but with the Armistice, didn't seem that important so-"

"Not important? You mean to tell me we not only have weapons, which we aren't supposed to have, but they haven't even been tested?"

Talbot realized his plan wasn't quite working the way he intended as he watched Sestina angrily take over the board from Brackett. If he lived through this he'd have to step lightly around his first officer, at least until he could find some way to get back into her good graces. Then again if they lived through this maybe that'd be enough for her to forget and forgive him.

* * *

By the time the last of the Cylon assault fighters cleared his screen Egg was somewhere over the largest of Caprica's oceans. His fuel gauge was also dangerously close to the redline. He also realized that the entire engagement, if you could call it that, had barely lasted more than a few centons. The few cylon fighters that came after him didn't seem interested in pursuit so much as chasing him away. He'd barely had time to ponder why when warning indicators on his flight console began to wink their baleful glow just as a blinding flash of light lit up the distant horizon.

"That was near Caprica City," Egg announced unnecessarily.

Egg's scanners detected several similar explosions to the far north and west. Each one, he realized, seemed to be in the area of Caprica's major space ports. And each one gave the same trace readings on his hazard board: radiation. Yet he detected no tell tale columns of smoke. No mushroom clouds. That was why the Cylons didn't waste time pursuing one lone obsolete unarmed fighter, or probably many of the other small craft they encountered in their initial furious dive. They knew most civilian craft would be knocked out by those cloud level EMP bursts; the slimy bastards.

Luckily his Starhound was shielded. But that fortunate realization didn't change the fact Egg had to set this bird down, and soon. But where?

# # # # #

(To be continued in Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising, Part 2)

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Clash of the Titans has begun!

Or has it?

The good news is there's reports circulating that Warner Bros begins production on Clash of the Titans and "will begin filming in studios outside London and will later shoot in various locations in Wales and in the Spanish Canary Islands, predominantly on Tenerife, off the coast of Africa. Further aerial work is set to take place in the diverse locales of Ethiopia and Iceland". The bad news (from here) is: "the movie is currently in pre-production and is slated for an Australian release on April 1, 2010."

So the new Clash of the Titans hasn't quite begun filming, as of mid April 2009, yet, if the report quoted above is to be believed, it's going to be released on April 1st (Fool's Day?) of 2010. Fish and chips anyone?

Perhaps the best write-up using such threadbare information is the article Filming begins on Clash of the Titans. My favorite part is: "The project is described as the ultimate struggle for power, which pits men against kings and kings against gods." Alas in yet another of the great Internet contradictions the article wraps with the following statement: "Clash of the Titans has begun filming in studios outside London and will later shoot in Wales and Tenerife."

Well which is it? Is the film "currently in pre-production" about to "begin filming" or actually in production, as the above article claims?

According to IGN dot com (which seems to be the source for many of these articles) : Titans Start Clashing as "Principal photography began today (April 27) on Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' epic action adventure Clash of the Titans".

Yet in The Australian article Classic role for rapidly rising Sam it states: "This week the National Institute of Dramatic Art graduate (Sam Worthington) began filming his third blockbuster in quick succession, Clash of the Titans. In the past 18 months he has taken leading roles in James Cameron's ambitious 3-D sci-fi film Avatar, which is due for release at Christmas, and opposite Christian Bale in the June 4 action release Terminator Salvation. <...> The Somersault star will take it down a peg in Clash of the Titans, a remake of the 1981 film <...> due for release in April next year."

There you go. Apparently it's true. Assuming the movie keeps to this announced schedule that means Clash is going to be shot, go through post, and released to theaters in barely a year's time, at least in Australia. Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Maybe it wont be all that bad? Maybe it wont be a CGI crap fest that goes straight to SyFy? Maybe.


#end of line

Monday, April 27, 2009

[DVD Spotlight] Hercules Collection


The Hercules Collection box set is currently on sale at Amazon for $10.49, a real bargain considering these are a slimline re-issue bundle of previously released titles that can still be found on Amazon for between $9.98 to $17.99 individually. This set contains the following:


Hercules/Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules

Hercules is in wide screen and looks fairly decent. .


However Mole Men is FS and a total eyesore. In fact the video quality is no better than the version found on the Warriors 50 movie pack, which makes you wonder where that version was sourced. Hmm.

Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules



Hercules and the Captive Women/Hercules, Prisoner of Evil

This is the best I've ever seen Hercules and the Captive Women look, and I used to have a VHS prerecord that was better than any of the PD DVD releases. Color is vibrant, the video is clear, it's widescreen, and has a touch of sci-fantasy that makes this a must see. .

Hercules and the Captive Women

Sadly Hercules Prisoner of Evil is full screen and so dark you can't see what's going on half the time. .

Hercules Prisoner of Evil



Hercules The Avenger / Hercules And The Black Pirate

Hercules the Avenger is a madcap pastiche utilizing stock footage from HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD and HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN to create an exegi monumentum aere perennius of exploitation hackery. .

Hercules The Avenger

The feature on the flip side is not really a Hercules movie at all. Rather it's a renamed swashbuckler. Alas it's FS and way too dark. Shame, it looked interesting, or would if you could actually see anything. .

Hercules And The Black Pirate



Hercules and the Princess of Troy/Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops

For those paying attention there's three titles on this DVD, so technically that's 9 features in this set. I say technically because Hercules and the Princess of Troy was a pilot for a TV series. It runs only 47 minutes but is an entertaining diversion. Sadly this is also the worst DVD in the set. While a entertaining diversion the main feature, Hercules and the Princess of Troy, for all that it's fuzzy and the color a bit faded, has the best looking video of all the features on this disc. .

Hercules and the Princess of Troy

Giants of Rome is FS, too dark, and barely watchable. .

Giants of Rome

Atas in the Land of the Cyclops is even worse. .

Atas in the Land of the Cyclops

Alas it's unlikely any other labels will be releasing better quality versions of these movies to R1. Not impossible, but as there have been high quality remastered editions of some of these released in Germany (R2) for a few years now and no one seems to be interested in licensing those prints this is, sadly, as good as it gets. So if you don't already have these titles on DVD you might consider getting this box set while it's on sale.

#End of Line.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sale on at Amazon

Film Fans take note there's currently a big Amazon Sci-Fi Sale on DVDs.

Also Ye Cosmic Cinema Amazon Shop has been updated with more titles and new categories.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mise-en-scene Crypt rises from the grave!

Greetings Film Fans,

After what seems like forever Yahoo 360 has FINALLY accepted, saved, and posted a prepared HTML for Mise-en-scene Crypt. So for you exploitation film lovers that means there's fially a fresh review up. It's short, to the point, and full of screen caps from Black Candles.


P.S. Or, should the page not load, go the new Mise-en-scene Crypt (pain in the arse that it is) and view the same review here.

Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius

Friday, April 24, 2009

[TGIF] Spotlight On: Reviews

Every reviewer has their own approach. Some like to break a movie down, scene by scene, while others offer bare bones op-ed pieces that barely tell you anything and then there's the reviews that read more like ad copy. As those who've read the reviews here at Cosmic Cinema and at Mise-en-scene Crypt know my style is to try to present facts and a overview of the movie without giving too much away, when possible. But have you ever wondered what a reviewer looks for in a review?

To answer that question, and find out if the reviewers read reviews that reflect their own reviewing style, I'd like to start with a recent review I read A Spaghetti-Flavored Road Warrior —- “2019 : After The Fall Of New York” (word of warning that review may contain spoilers) from the Trash Film Guru blog. Here's a movie I've been intending to review but, for whatever reason, never got around to it. Sure I've started a review a few times but I've always felt my review style couldn't do this sort of movie justice. I mean where to begin? Well, if you're the Trash Film Guru you start with a simple question:

"Anybody else besides me miss the days when any reasonably successful — and reasonably cheap — movie genre birthed scores of Italian knock-offs? Yes, whether it was westerns, crime flicks, zombie movies, or Hitckcockian-style thrillers, there was always an Italian who figured he could do it quicker, cheaper, and—most importantly—bloodier."

As a matter of fact, yes, yes I do miss the era of quickie knock-offs. And not just those produced by Italians! Roger Corman was the king of knock-offs. When Hollywood released ALIEN Mr. Corman gave us GALAXY OF TERROR. When CONAN hit the big screen Mr. Corman gave us DEATHSTALKER. Of course the Italians were also quick to cash in on the sword-and-sorcery craze with movies like CONQUEST

The following line from Trash Film Guru's above review applies to most films produced during this golden age of knock-offs: "The special effects for this film are so mind-numbingly stupid they’ve got to be seen to be believed."

Amen brother!

However one thing missing from that review are screen caps. If you're like me screen caps make good reviews better and bad reviews tolerable. And you know what blog I book marked because the reviewer makes ample use of screen caps, Movies About Girls (formerly Boobs!). Just check out any of the following recent reviews to see why (warning may be NSFW): Cheerleaders Wild Weekend, Evil Toons, and Cougar Club. The reviews are informative, let you know availability of the movies, and, for those not on dial-up, there's even some trailers. There's even a nice tang of acerbic wit. For instance take this from the opening paragraph of the Cougar Club review:

"First off, I should point out the obvious: if you use the word "cougar" when describing older women who prefer the company of younger men, then please, stop reading. Just get the f#ck out of here. This "cougar" business is so obnoxious that it can really only appeal to college-age power-pukers, so how this film managed to get produced - and with an actual budget, and with actual actors - is seriously beyond me."

It gets worse, dear friends, much worse. I caught this movie on satellite. And, while I can't repeat the summary given for the movie here (lots of naughty curse words that we don't want the kiddies to read) I do mostly agree with it. This is an obnoxiously lame movie that could have been so much better, alas it never quite delivers in the titillation department and, well, read the review.

Of course there's far more than just blogs out there. One of the sites in the links sidebar is Tars Tarkas. A nice site with reviews of the interesting, not so interesting, and totally unexpected. Reviews of things like Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. You'll just have to click the link on that one. Articles like this will make you wish for a direct downlink into your brain. However when I want to look for informative reviews I have two sites book marked Bad Movies dot org and Eccentric Cinema. Also worth a look, though the host seems to be on a short hiatus, is Million Monkey Theatre.

I've way more links in my bookmarks than that but, well, it's Friday and I figure that if you're still reading you must really be bored. So, to close this out, here's a few more sites that should be interesting (and probably NSFW) that should help you pass the time: Nunsploitation and Encyclopedia of WIP Films. Both sites offer reviews and (some) screen caps.

Enjoy the sites and try to stay out of trouble over the weekend film fans!

#end of line

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 3

Galactica Saga

Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 3

By C. Demetrius Morgan

From the Aella Chronicle

As adults it falls to us to teach the young. For children are born empty slates, thus they can be forgiven their youthful folly. Alas folly in an adult too often is perceived as stupidity, and stupidity unchecked becomes recklessness. As children of Kobol our ancestors, who crossed that vast void of space to settle the 12 Worlds, acted as children so often do when out of sight of their parents. So it was that, for a time and a season, our ancestors forgot who they had been. Those wondrous technologies of legend were laid down or forgotten, the colonies went their own ways until, over the course of time, all contact was lost.

We may wonder why and how, alas, after a thousand yahrens of unrelenting warfare, the colonies once more had been treading upon that same dangerous path toward isolation. We wanted to be left alone, to live our lives without being bothered, alas it was not to be. Had we but looked to our own history perhaps events would have unfolded differently.

Each of the 12 worlds recorded the return to space slightly differently, for it was not entirely a peaceful affair. We were, and ever have been, a prideful race. If our ancestors were able to do it then, so the logic followed, so too must we. But it wasn't until the colonies put aside their differences and came together, sharing fragments of ancient data, freely sharing our similar yet divergent histories; only then did colonial science and technology truly began to excel and evolve. It was together, as a single Colonial nation, not twelve individual planet-bound 'tribes', that we routed the Cylons when they first dared attack our worlds. Alas, even after a thousand yahrens of shared conflict against a malevolent alien foe, the ancient divisions remained beneath the surface.

# # # # #


"Alright people," Talbot began, "Soon as we get the green light from Delos control let's make this quick and as painless as possible. We all have Armistice celebrations to attend but fuel needs to be loaded and before we can do that we need to dock and disembark the passengers."

"Sounds like you have plans, captain." Sestina teased.

She knew full well that Talbot had spent more cubits than was in his comfort zone for a special Armistice costume, not that he'd let anyone see it, then again for his roguish affectations Talbot was a great big daggit. Of course there'd been some speculation amongst the crew who the lucky lady was.

"As a matter of fact," Talbot replied, "I do. First, and foremost, is seeing that this ship docks without incident."

Chuckling, "So will you be going to Caprica City or- ?"

"And waste perfectly good cubits on a skybus? Hardly. I will be attending the festivities at Planet Leisuron."

Talbot left out how he'd come to that decision after seeing how much his Armistice costume was going to cost. But if all worked out the way he hope with his paramour, well, then it would be worth every cubit.

"Nice place. Bit swanky for my tastes though." Brackett noted.

"Bet that cost a few cubits," Sestina commented, "hope it's worth it."

"She is," Talbot, momentarily distracted by new data on his board, murmured.

"Looks like we've got green lights all across the board from Delos." Bracket announced.

"She's ready for docking. Waiting your orders, captain."

"Let's take her in then."

Sestina smiled.

* * *

Niobe entered the small Phoenix lounge and did not like what she saw. Tychon and Egg were hefting frosted mugs and, judging by the expressions on their faces, it was probably of something better than the usual grog they got back home. She only hoped it wasn't their first round because they weren't going to enjoy another sip. Sometimes life was an unfair bitch; today that job fell to her.

"I thought I told you two to get to quarters," Niobe said as she took the mug from Egg's hand.

"Ma'am?" Tychon inquired with innocent puppy daggit eyes.

"Don't ma'am me," her eyes cut through Ty's light buzz like lasers through paper, "you know you've both got duties to attend on Delos that require a clear head. This isn't a dog run. No time for playing, boys.

"There'll be plenty of time for," she punctuated her remark by lifting the mug to her nose, "ambrosia later. And I'd suggest you stay away from the socialators."

"Socialators?" Egg's mouth actually dropped open.

"E-T-A to Delos station dock 10 centons," a voice chimed in over the intercom.

"You heard?"

Niobe's stern retort and unflinching glare left no room for misinterpretation.

"Ma'am," the ensigns said together as they turned heel and made haste toward the door.

"Bit harsh, don't you think?"

Niobe turned at the sound of the sweet, yet gratingly intrusive, voice. A lovely young blonde woman stood by the bar, empty glass in hand. Yet despite her charmingly disarming smile and the sparkle of laughter dancing in her piercing azure eyes Niobe's warning klaxon was ringing red alert.

* * *

"We have a problem." Sestina announced in her familiar no nonsense tone.

"Oh?" Talbot inquired.

"Looks like the port stabilizer's malfunctioning again."

"Ignore the red light," Brackett injected, "It's a minor problem with the internal sensors. Nothing a bit of station maintenance can't fix."

"I'm not made of cubits, you know." Talbot cautioned.

"Be that as it may, sir," Sestina replied, "I'd feel better if we got it looked at. I don't like seeing red lights on my board."

"Point taken. Might as well mention that when Delos control contacts us. And don't forget to tell them about the Demeter."

Rolling her eyes, "Not that there's much to tell."

"I have a feeling, call it a hunch, that there's more to the Demeter than meets the eye."

"I don't know," Brackett countered, "she didn't look like much, Cap'n, but according to the sensors she really was as beat up as she appeared."

"So does half the outlaw traffic out there. Looks can be deceiving, and sensors fooled."

"If anyone knows about being deceiving," Sestina muttered.

"What was that, first officer?"

"Nothing, sir, nothing."

'Youth today,' Talbot thought as he shook his head in mock disdain.

* * *

The first thing visitors to Delos noticed was choreographed chaos. It was a dance between checking baggage through station security, keeping out of the way of embarking and disembarking visitors, logging in, and dodging yet more people to find which terminal was the right egress to the level assigned each visitor; or at least to where it was they wanted to go. To Creusa, as steward aboard the Phoenix, he was all too happy to get the passengers into that stream of chaos as quickly as possible.

"Safe Journey and Happy Armistice," Creusa said with a formal bow as the group of Socialators approached to disembark.

"Thank you," the tall blonde said with a polite, if less formal, curtsey.

"It's been a pleasure," Creusa replied.

"Not quite, but then there's always the return trip."

Creusa actually found himself blushing at that mild jovial retort. There was something about the tall blonde. She exuding a charm and charisma that went beyond the usual practiced elegance most Socialators affected.

"Behave yourself," Calybe chided.

"Always," Cassiopeia winked conspiratorially at Creusa.

Creusa's eyes lingered on the blonde after she left just the barest of moments longer than decorum allowed and, not for the first time this trip, he entertained thoughts about how things might have been if he were but a few yahrens younger. It was a nice flight of fantasy, one he'd like to contemplate in depth, but he had other passengers to attend to.

* * *

Delos wasn't just a space station in geo synchronous orbit above Caprica. It was the space station. It hung in space amidst smaller fueling and warehousing platforms like a majestic leviathan around which starships glided like minnows. Its eateries were renowned throughout the colonies for, it was said, there was not a colonial dish, no matter how exotic or obscure, that could not be had there. Delos was a hub of activity with separate and distinct levels operated and maintained by delegations and personnel from each of the 12 Worlds.

The first thing Egg noticed about Delos was the smell. That there was one wasn't unusual. Most space stations, and vessels, had a scent of sterility covered up by a slight charcoal-like smell caused by the apparatus used to filter out body odor and other less than hygienic fragrances. Not Delos. The first breath of Delos air through his nostrils smelled vaguely of a damp spring meadow with a hint of something floral.

"Smell that!" he exclaimed.

"What?" Tychon asked.

"The air," Egg punctuated his remark by taking a deep audible breath.

"Probably just some scent a pompous Siress had her attendants spray."

Egg turned to glare at Tychon, but found him already busy leering at a group of young female greeters standing near a Scorpia Cooler dispenser. How anyone could stomach that bottled swill was beyond him. Flavored sweet water was all it really was and-

"You both know where you need to be," Niobe framed her question as a statement of fact.

"Yes, cousin." Egg blushed at the slip of the tongue.

Smiling, "Big place. Lot's to see. You sure you two boys will be alright?"

Egg visibly blanched at the jibe but Tychon just turned, his most endearing smile plastered on his youthfully smug face, and nodded affirmative.

"Of course, ma'am."


"Co- I mean, yes, Ma'am!"

"And no dawdling for ambrosia or scorpia coolers this time," she yelled after the departing pair but she doubted they heard her.

* * *

Talbot watched the fuel readouts nervously as the Phoenix eased out of the main docking area. There was a lot of civilian traffic waiting to dock; mostly skybuses, and he didn't trust the maneuvering thrusters or piloting skills of the operators of those smaller craft.

"Let's try not to burn up anymore of our fuel getting to the fueling port than we need to," Talbot admonished to no one in particular.

Sestina bit her tongue from pointing out, as she had on many other occasions, that worrying about wasting fuel while maneuvering in space dock made about as much sense as worrying about a leaky airlock when a ship's been exposed to vacuum.

Instead she said, "Lights are all green. Fuel consumption is nominal."

"Good. Let's keep it that way."

Talbot got up, "Sestina take over. I've got just enough time to get into that fool suit I bought and prep the shuttle."

"You're going to pilot her yourself?" Brackett asked incredulously.

"Any reason I shouldn't? You did say she's-"

"Oh, yes, she's fine. Just a problem with a faulty coil."

"Alright then. The big seat is yours Sestina"

And with that Talbot Chabrol left the bridge.

* * *

Niobe wasted little time logging in and was soon entering the main dance floor of an establishment not quite as swanky as Planet Leisuron yet it was a hive of activity. She entered with a group of handsomely attired colonial warriors in freshly creased new uniforms, none of whom she knew, but what drew most eyes their way was wasn't her company or their smart new uniforms but rather what she was wearing. She wore a dress uniform, which was just as new, yet it was like something out of a HD play from the beginning of the thousand-yahren war. However on her it was elegant simplicity. Her silken dress tunic was tightly formed to display the most flattering aspects of her shape, even where it tapered into a pleated peplum almost-skirt.

Alas her uniform was also, to some eyes, archaic. Many whispered remarks were made, some none too discreetly, about Gemonese intractability about moving forward into the modern age. It was all Niobe could do to kept from biting her tongue off while attempting not to voice the venomous counter remarks she'd like to make.

'Some people,' she thought. This was supposed to be a celebration. Some people just couldn't let outmoded stereotypes go.

"Nice dress uniform, Niobe."

Niobe turned, a biting retort ready to launch from her lips like a Viper into battle.

"It was Niobe, wasn't it?"

"Uhm, yes. ."

Niobe nervously straightened an imaginary crease as she tilted her head to hide a blush.

"You were one of the, uhm, women aboard the Phoenix, right?"


"It's a classic pattern," Niobe found herself suddenly blurting, " Never been officially retired."

"And you wear it well. You look like you could go straight from the dance floor into the cockpit of a Viper."

"Starhound," she corrected absentmindedly.

"Starhound? That like a Viper?"

"Not exactly. It's an older model fighter that used to be in regular service close to a hundred yahrens ago. There probably aren't many left in service with line fleet units but some bases and outposts still use them and, of course, they make great trainers."

Niobe knew she was blathering but she was earnestly embarrassed. Living on Gemoni one can become insulated to trends, especially those concerning fashion, and she did ask for a simple classical dress uniform. It was her right after all, not that most Warriors bothered anymore, what with the cost. But it wasn't merely that she could afford it. The standard dress uniform she was issued never quite fit right.

"Oh? Why's that?"

Niobe looked up with a start, she was so nervous she'd almost forgotten Aella was there.

"Why's, oh, because their basic flight characteristics aren't too dissimilar from that of Viper models currently in active fleet service."

"If they're so similar to Vipers why aren't they still in use?"

"It's complicated. For starters if you saw one they would look similar to a Viper but with the cockpit moved further up the fuselage to make room for a oversized top thruster/engine, larger pulse canons, yet neither of them are as powerful what's mounted on Vipers today."

"Can't you just put new engines and pulsars in them?"

"That's part of the problem. Starhounds only have two wings. They're slightly larger than the wings on a Viper and swept forward with inset ailerons, uhm, stabilizer fins that flip up when the fighter is in planetary flight mode."

"What does that have to do with engines and pulsars?"

Aella smiled warmly. She realized the young warrior was babbling out of nervousness and decided to put her training to use and help her feel more at ease. It seemed the right thing to do.

"It's something about weigh ratios. The engines in a modern viper are proportionally half to a third the size and, thanks to advances in poly composites, weigh a lot less than the same sized engines we made even a hundred yahrens ago. And that doesn't even take into account compatibly issues with the power planets. To get new hardware into those old war daggits would require a total rebuild and. ."

"And there's no point to do that since you've got Vipers."


Aella noted that Niobe was smiling just as warmly now and seemed to no longer seem as ill at ease in her own skin as she did a few moments ago.

"Good," Aella said, "Now how about we find some refreshment?"

The few lingering looks that followed the women were for entirely different reasons. And had either woman been aware of the lewd speculation behind some of them a few of the individual may have spent the remainder of the Armistice in a life station pondering quite different matters.

* * *

(To be continued in: Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 4)

# # # # #

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are Bloggers Cultists?

If you're a fan of the horror genre and have a horror themed blog some people apparently seem to think so. Seems odd to me. But what do I know. Anyway this all started with me reading some blogs and tumbling to a discussion going on about horror bloggers apparently spawned by comments about Paul Naschy movies between the hosts of Groovy Age of Horror and the And Now the Screaming Starts blogs. If you don't know who Paul Naschy is I suggest you pop over to The Mark of Naschy for a crash course. The spark for this discourse is summed up in the post: How do fans experience the stuff they love?

I'm posting this not so much because the argument is interesting (though it is interesting reading) but because it is, in my opinion, precipitated by the misuse of an single word. That word being: cultist.

Behold the offending line: "I propose that horror bloggers aren't so much experts as they are cultists."

That sentence sounds rather offensive when you take it out of context and just put it up on screen by itself, doesn't it? Why not call them hobbyists or enthusiasts?

A cult, loosely defined, is a specific form and/or system of religious worship as expressed through ceremonies and rites. While it is true cults may venerate certain objects these are almost always items viewed as phylacteries. Now it could be argued that cultists, being members of a cult, having a shared cultus of devotional symbols and ideologies appears similar to the sort of veneration fandom in general imbues the object(s) of their admiration with. But this hardly qualifies as religious devotion. And, most certainly, as a host of a genre themed blog myself- albeit dedicated to science fiction not horror, per se- I would scarcely say this makes me a sci-fi cultist.

Simply put there is no sci-fi cult. No corpus of sci-fi scripture. No sci-if philosophy upon which to meditate. There are, however, movies and novels and comics and other genre related entertainment media that we can discuss, analyze, and critically review.

Keyword: entertainment.

To further compound the confusion- as I'm sure you're probably scratching your heads wondering why I'm posting about this- take this bit of commentary: "Cultists, on the other hand, are best distinguished not only by their deep knowledge, but by an idiosyncratic set of critical standards." (Emphasis mine.)

Really? Would you apply this to the members of Heaven's Gate? The followers of Jim Jones? Scientology? I mention the latter for a reason. There is great debate over whether it is a cult or not. You see Scientologist's don't like that word applied to them. Nor do most religious groups. And with good reason. The word "cult" carries connotations that are primarily derogatory. Granted there exists in the vernacular of cinema the term Cult Film but, like space opera, it was most likely not originally implied as a term of endearment.

That may seem like splitting hairs or nitpicking but there's rhyme to my reason, as shall soon be shown in good season, for, you see dear friends, there is more to come ahead, not easily does this blend, for here's the next quote to be read:

"In trying to explain Naschy's appeal, Curt described a sort of genre fandom "double vision." Nobody is blind to the cheesy make-up, occasionally awkward acting, or often heavy-handed "stylishness" of these films. But, for the fans, you see through - not past - these things to the mental world they suggest. In the works of Naschy, it's a darkly seductive alternative universe driven by the erotic and forbidden impulses we confine and suppress in the real world.

I suspect my love of lucha works on almost the exact same principle, only the end result is different. I don't really buy the whole "dark and forbidden thing." When I look around me, I see a world that happily caters to our basest whims. Short of homicide on demand, is there anything we can't pull up on the Internet?"

And I'd like to stop the argument train right there. Here's what the OP fails to understand, these movies have appeal because they are from a era where there was no Interenet. Too many people today are jaded. There's more pornographic imagery available at your fingertips today than ever there was a mere decade ago. There's certain words it's just not safe to type into a Google image search, even with safe search turned on!

But, and here's the news flash, some of us don't care. No, honestly, some of us really don't care about the Internet porn. Some of us, I know this will shock and amaze, perhaps even astound, but some of us actually prefer these old movies because they are from a time before the Internet made us all jaded at the sight of filth. In fact these movies come from a time when we knew filth when we saw it and it was good! Of course these movies aren't filth, never were intended to be, though they sure did keep your eyes glued to the screen hoping you'd see something. You weren't sure what, exactly, but then again even a glimpse of bare ankle or side boobage was really something way back when.

I know every old person says the same thing to the younger generation, that things were better in their day. But seldom has that been truer than today. I'm sorry but when we live in a world where "2 girls 1 cup" has been discussed on TV- not to mention at least half the people reading this sadly know what I am talking about- then check me out of this crazy reality and give me a Paul Naschy movie to watch. Preferably one I haven't seen yet, like Inquisition or a properly framed unexpurgated release of Count Dracula's Great Love.

Just don't call me a cultist because I happen to like watching genre movies. I think that was a poor choice of words. If that makes me a Grammar Nazi, then click your heels and wish for home because I'm not going to apologize. Words have meaning. If you must call me something and can't pronounce my handle refer to me as a fan, a hobbyist, or how about that guy with the fun blog about science fiction movies and stuff?

Have a great day my fellow film fans!

#end of line

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clash of the Titans remake finally getting made?

Looks like there's finally some progress happening with the Clash of the Titans remake that was announced back in 2006. The big news is Liam Neeson has been tapped for the part of Zeus. However what's disconcerting is, according to the articles (written April of this year), "Shooting will begin on the film later this month in Britain and will see Neeson team up with Ralph Fiennes for the first time since 1993 Oscar winner Schindler's list."

Fiennes will apparently be playing the part of Hades. Other actors announced include Mads Mikkelsen (as Draco), Gemma Arterton (as the demi-goddess Io), Alexa Devalos (as Andromeda), and Sam Worthington (as Perseus). In other words it's taken close to three bloody years just to get out of the announced idea slash pre-production stage and into the maybe-possibly-perhaps ready to start shooting stage. This article mentioned that Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) will direct.

But has it actually gotten to the production stage? This project has been bandied about for quite a few years with many different names attached to it.

One article casually mentions the film is "due out next year", which if true doesn't bode well for the film's quality in my opinion. It is now April. For this movie to get filmed, go through post production, and hit theatres sometime next year would mean this would have to literally be one of those hackneyed rush jobs where principle photography is done in a few weeks (or less) and post-production takes months. If this is the case my vote is just save critics poison pens the ink and trash the project before it further devolves into a straight to SyFy monstrosity.

Too, I am forced to ask, why Neeson as Zeus? I'm not saying Neeson can't play the role. But it seems like the only reason he got cast was name recognition. Has anyone involved with this lame duck production bothered to LOOK at the CENTURIES worth of artifacts in museums? Does Neesom remotely resemble any statue or, say, any idealized painting of Zeus?

Granted you put the right fake beard on Mr. Neeson and he'll look fine, but then you could probably say that of anyone. I suppose that "name power" trumps casting to type. Unless you're talking about statuary from the archaic period, in which case I think there were a few representations of Zues sans beard from that era. Yet Liam, in his prime, was more of an Apollonian youth. As a veteran actor Mr. Neeson, in my opinion, has the gravitas to portray Hades. Similarly Fiennes seems better suited to filling the sandals of Hephaestus. But what do I know. All I was ever able to come up with as a fantasy cast for my version of Clash of the Titans was a flawed, if entertaining, group of character actors. .

Yes, I know, there's no Centauress in Clash. But, c'mon, it's Jolene Blalock! Topless! Now THAT would be worth the price of admission.

#end of line

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 2

Galactica Saga

Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 2

By C. Demetrius Morgan

From the Aella Chronicle:

The location of the star system from which our ancestors emigrated has long since been lost to the mists of time and the obscuring fog of myth. And what is known of that distant mother world? A single word ran through the legends of the 12 Worlds and that word was: Kobol.

The Lords of Kobol, for lords they were, true masters of the sciences and their world, had spread out amongst the stars seeding many worlds. Yet, being merely human, and possessed of mortal frailties and faults they, too, over the course of time saw themselves grow decadent. Some say they foolishly attempted to harness powers man was not meant to possess. Others say that while the Lords of Kobol were still at the height of their power a discontent spread through them, a wanderlust, and that a great emigration began. Whatever the truth the facts, as best anyone can know them, are that the 12 Colonies were established and settled by the last of the great "tribes" to emigrate from that distant mother world.

Yet what will our descendants say of the colonies? Will they even remember the 12 Worlds? The Cylon tyranny? Perhaps our story will become fragments of myth and legend about a distant time and space, much as has happened with the memory of Kobol.

# # # # #


The Phoenix, having taken aboard a number of passengers, including a Socialator and Colonial Warriors, at least one of which is a Gemonese female, begins it's disembarkation sequence as Sestina, the Phoenix's first officer, sat at her console plotting a course to break orbit and engage cruising speed to Caprica. Nor was the crew of the Phoenix alone in wanting to get out of Gemonese space as quickly as possible.

* * *

"Welcome aboard the Phoenix, lords and ladies," a voice spoke from the intercom, "This is your captain speaking, Talbot Chabrol, we're fueled and ready to go. Refreshments will be available for the next centare. So sit back and enjoy the stars for our next stop is the Inner Planets and peace!"

Niobe listened to the announcement with maudlin concern. Throughout the colonies everyone was hoping for peace. Yet their expectations ran far deeper than that. She'd already had a discomfiting encounter with a small group of passengers on her way to her cabin that eyed her uniform and sidearm with something approaching disdain. Nor was it entirely because of the Armistice. Warriors were ever increasingly viewed as aloof guardians of a antiquated social structure of an bygone age thanks to that pudgy merchant-prince Baltar, whose rise to prominence in the councils of the colonies was almost as meteoric as certain ensigns penchant for getting into-

"Trouble," Niobe muttered as she marched out the door.

Not for the first time since she'd been put in charge of cadet training Niobe wondered if her life wouldn't have been far simpler if she'd become a fire juggler. At least then she'd only have to worry about hot headed young males once every seven years.

* * *

Egg and Tychon barely took notice of the announcement as they hastily dumped their baggage in their compartments and made a bee line for the lounge, where they hoped to find more than just refreshments.

"Did you see that lovely brunette?"

"Easy, Ty, we're supposed to keep out of trouble, remember?"

"Oh, she's the kind of trouble I wouldn't mind getting into."

"Don't you ever think of anything else?"

"What's there to think about! Everyone's celebrating life, what with the armistice, and we are representing Gemini after all. How can we not share in that sense of jubilation?"

"Because it'll take more than fancy flying and fast talking to keep us out of the brig, this time, that's why you reprobate."

Laughing, "C'mon, I think the lounge is this way."

* * *

On the bridge Talbot smiled, knowing full well how his informal greeting and use of his full name would rattle some. Then he'd never much cared for the stodgy caste formalities. It wasn't his fault certain colonies developed cultures in which the use of any but proper familial names was considered impolitic. Besides he'd had enough of formalities when in colonial service.

"Well this ought to be an interesting cruise, too bad it's going to be a short one"

"If you say so captain."

"Where is your sense of adventure Sestina? Your spirit of. ."

"My desire to see men act like borays?"

"Why whatever do you mean!"

"Captain, I know as well as you who we have aboard. And while under different circumstance it might be amusing, entertaining even, to see what sort of mischief our mix of passengers gets up to right now all I care about is getting to Caprica and enjoying an extended leisuron of armistice celebrations."

"Fair point. Well then what are you waiting for Ms. Navigator? Plot a course and get us out of here!"

"Course set and getting us out of here, aye!"

"You know it didn't always used to be this way."

Sestina rolled her eyes. She hated it when Chabrol got into one of his waxing nostalgic moods.

"Did you ever hear about Dzihuth?"

"Odd name. Was he one of the colonial warriors you worked with when you were a marine?"

Laughing, "Goodness me, no. I'm old but not quite that old. Besides Dzihuth wasn’t a person, it was a ship. One of the last deep star exploration vessels. A great, great, great uncle or something of mine many times removed was attached to the project, I forget how. All this recent talk about an armistice got me to remembering about that bit of my illustrious family history."

"Oh," Sestina replied noncommittally, "so is that what you're hoping to do once the war is over. Pick up where your great, great many times removed ancestor left off?"

"That's not what I meant at all. You see the Dzihuth was launched, well, I forget when exactly but it was during a period of decreased tension early on during the thousand yahren war. We still didn't know much about the Cylons back then, thought we could peacefully coexist. But the lesson the Colonies learned seems to have been lost and forgotten, like the Dzihuth.

"Did you know we had just begun opening new frontiers and were establishing outposts before the outbreak of the thousand yahren war? Most colonials have become so insulated they don't see anything beyond the sky above their heads. They forget that, once, we were spreading out into other star systems when, wham, the Cylons came at us like rogue asteroids."

"Sorry to interrupt sir," Sestina said as she double checked the readings on her console, "We're well on our way now. ETA to Delos and Caprica 3 centare 28 centons, taking the quickest route possible at full cruise. There's a lot of traffic out there today."

"Still sounds like we should make our schedule."

"Depends on the traffic. I've plotted almost a straight line course but we'll need to keep a constant eye on the vectors of some of the smaller ships out there."


* * *

Meanwhile, in the observation deck lounge, Cassiopeia, a statuesque woman nearly as tall as most warriors, was wearing a smile of childlike glee as she stood, arms outstretched, and spun in a circle, "See how the color shifts subtly in the weave?"

"It's lovely," Aella commented.

"Orion silk, isn't it?" Calybe observed with a twinkle in her eye.

Aella's eyes widened, "Must have cost a small fortune."

Cassiopeia turned to Aella, "Now, now young lady what did you learn about discussing affluence. Remember your protocol lessons and mind your etiquette."

Blushing, "Sorry Cassiopeia, it was an importunate remark."

"Yes it was," she replied with mock sternness then smiled, "but you're right this marvelously flimsy dress is probably worth my weight in cubits!"

And it was flimsy, for Orion silk was sheer as gossamer, yet when fashioned by a master tailor it was a tantalizing sight to behold for it hid as much as it potentially revealed.

"So what's the occasion?" Calybe probed.

* * *

"See, I told you this was the way to the lounge."

"So you did. Wow, would you look at that!" Egg said in a hushed whisper pointing to the twirling woman across the room.

"She's a beauty, but blondes aren't-"

"No, not her, well I do mean her, but rather what's she's wearing."

Blinking in confusion, "It is nice but I'm afraid you've lost me."

"I swear that's the same dress they had at the dress maker's Niobe got her new uniform at. I teased her about getting something like that for herself, she elbowed me so hard I thought for sure she'd broken a rib."

Whistling, "Means cubits. Your sister never was one to skimp on clothiers Which reminds me, you still own me from-."

"They've noticed us, quick, let's move over to the bar before they get the wrong idea."

"And what's wrong with that?" Tychon replied with a leering smile.

* * *

A warning chime from the navigation station drew Sestina's attention away from the screen where she'd been monitoring Lyra's Armistice broadcast.

"Captain, looks like one of those craft you wanted us to keep an eye out for is almost directly in our path."

Talbot quirked an eyebrow, "We're barely 47 centons out, it's probably just a sky-bus full of people celebrating. Better warn them they've wandered off the regular route before they get lost out here."

"It's too big to be a sky-bus. Not getting a clear transponder signal and the guidebook is having trouble identifying the vessel."

"Give me a visual."

"Coming up, now-"

"Frak. That thing looks ancient. What's the guidebook's best tentative ID?"

"That's the interesting part. The guidebook gives a 20% chance it's an 5th millennium Orion freighter, a 20% change it's a old Colonial livestock transport, and a 10% chance it's a converted Cylon tanker."

"Not a lot of help there," Talbot replied as he glanced intently at the visual on screen.

"Well it's not a tanker, the engine configuration is all wrong, and that ship was built by someone with a sense of aesthetics, which rules out the Cylons. Almost looks Delphian."

"Delphian?" Sestina replied incredulously.

"There's a symmetry to her that looks like something from-"

A second chime from the navigational console drew their attention.

"About time," Sestina injected testily, "Captain we have an clear transponder signal, says she's the Demeter."

* * *

(To be continued in: Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 3)

# # # # #

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

Monday, April 13, 2009


Year: 2005

Run Time: 127 minutes (listed); 129 minutes (actual)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Cast: Paul Telfer, Sean Astin, Leelee Sobieski, Kim Coates, Timothy Dalton, Elizabeth Perkins, Leeanna Walsman, Peter McCauley, Kristian Schmid.

Director: Roger Young

Official Sites: RHI Entertainment (US), Magna Pacific (Aus)

DVD Features

  • Full Screen
  • Scene Selection
  • Trailers
  • Hercules: The Myth Comes Alive (featurette)

PREMISE: A retelling of the Hercules story on par with Nero or Augustus that creates it's own narrative while managing to construct a simple yet moderately entertaining tale that follows the life of a would be hero called Hercules.

THE REALITY: This movie/mini series, while ludicrous at times, walks a fine line between being an tedious bore and mildly amusing. Alas roughly the first hour is spent on the machinations of characters not called Hercules. In fact the titular hero isn't even born yet when the series starts.

THE STORY: The followers of Hera (being women) and Zeus (being men) are in constant conflict with each other. This conflict fuels the palace intrigues and inter cult machinations that shape the cultural mores which form the societal tapestry into which Hercules is born, raised, and has to live his life. For Hercules, being a man, that apparently means his lot in life is to suffer.

ASSESSMENT: In a bold move the scriptwriter for Hercules decided not to start the story with the titular character but to instead waste screen time presenting the ridiculously contrived intrigues of peripheral characters, including a very gender specific religious animosity fueling the hatred between followers of Zues and Hera; storylines that would have been better left on the cutting room floor. The story of Hercules doesn't really get started until nearly a third of the way in. Even then the action is disappointing. But what's really shockingly bad is the CGI. Certain CGI creatures are so poorly rendered they are a distraction. This is not immediately evident in stills but. .

While that doesn't seem that bad; upon closer examination. .

The CGI just sticks out like a sore thumb. And the VFX suffers from the usual problems of budget productions. For instance the following, when viewed during play, looks like Gollum on a horse. .

But when you take a close look at the still you notice something far worse. The CGI graphic appears to be a poor quality 2D paint overlay. There really was no need for such cheap CGI graphics. The production could have done everything live action and it would have looked far better. Witness these characters. .

Otherwise this is not that bad, once it actually gets around to telling the story of Hercules. Alas the story is set against a backdrop of palace intrigues and religious conflict fueled by the hatred of Zeus and Hera cultists; meaning men and women. Herein resides a gender themed morality play framed as a parable about religion. Which begs the question: Is this about the mythological hero, Hercules, or is it about palace intrigues and religious machinations of the followers of Hera and Zeus?

The 'movie' portrays the followers of Zeus as pompous rapist zealots who love nothing more than to get drunk and ram their swords into other men and, believe it or not, the harridan followers of Hera are even worse! The Hera cultists are conniving harlots who hold life, particularly male life, to be meaningless. They've no qualms with committing infanticide nor using male children as proxy instruments of murder. They use potions and poison as a matter of course. Alas there is not really any subtext here beyond a sad commentary that religion is a morally corrupting influence on humanity. A message, if indeed that was the intent, that could have been delivered wasting far less of the audience's time. Then again a major chunk of this feature is missing. .


I vaguely recollect watching the miniseries when it aired yet, watching the DVD, something seemed wrong; like the listed run time of 127 minutes. Similar Hallmark/RHI releases in my video library that were miniseries events have run times of 170± minutes. That is a clue as blatant as the thunder crack of doom from the hairy unkempt gorilla occupying the cubicle next to you that a big stink is about to fill the room.

Why the disparity? Taking a wild guess based on information found online this may have something to do with NBC. According to archived articles found online a truncated 3-hour version of the 4-hour miniseries aired at 8 P.M. on NBC, Monday, May 16, 2005. However I seem to recall seeing this either on the USA network or the Sci-Fi channel. As both are subsidiaries of NBC Universal it's even possible the mini series aired on both networks. In short the R1 DVD contains a truncated/ edited version of the mini series.

* * warning potential spoilers ahead * *

* * warning potential spoilers ahead * *

* * warning potential spoilers ahead * *

ALTERNATE VERSIONS: It appears there are numerous releases of Hercules with virtually all save the Thai and R1 release in wide screen. The Thai release is likely a direct port of the R1 release. However the listed run time of the Japanese DVD release is 178 minutes, the Netherlands release lists a run time of 161 minutes, the New Zealand DVD clocks in at 170 minutes, as does the Australian DVD release. Considering some of those releases appear to be in wide screen that's ample proof that R1 consumers got shafted. But why release such a severely cut version only to R1 DVD? Sadly I don't have an answer. It is curious that NBC aired a edited version and a similarly truncated version was released only to R1 DVD. So what's missing?

THE MINI-SERIES: The mini series runs 177 minutes, sans commercials, and contains many minor, yet significant, differences. The most noticeable found in the opening scene. To those who have only seen the faux "theatrical edit" on the R1 DVD the forest ritual from the opening scene is presented with an entirely different context.

In the DVD this ritual elapses over the course of barely 2-3 minutes as the narration plays and the scene cuts back and forth from the forest to a ship battered by turbulent seas. Here the ritual's tone, despite being led by priestesses of Hera, has an oddly Celtic feel. Too the invocations are brief, baffling, and do not reflect the Hera of actual Greek mythology. It's all rather confused for in this truncated version we are witness to what is, essentially, a ritual sacrifice more befitting a chthonic or underworld deity, which Hera most certainly is not.

Viewing this same scene in the mini series is a revelation for it is expanded over several minutes. It's form and function therein provides more depth and, though seeming to be a paraphrased amalgam of neo-pagan harvest ritual and Invocation of the Goddess possibly mixing in confused mis-remembrances of Pliny's account of the Druid's ritual of oak and mistletoe, at least presents the Hera worshippers as being more than some blood crazed murder cult meeting in the dark wood. .

There's more dialogue, character interaction, reveling, and other situations not seen in the R1 DVD version. This changes the entire subtext of the scene from morbid ritual one might expect to find evil Druids officiating at on some dark Samhain eve in a horror feature to a elaborate, if curious, harvest/fertility ritual complete with sacrificial harvest king. There is much dancing, merry making, and musical accompaniment and the scene goes on for 5-6 minutes! The DVD version is edited so that Leelee Sobieski's Dryad character (the series simply refers to her as a Nymph). .

Seems to be officiating over the sacrifice. In the mini series the Dryad is an non-participant observer watching the ceremony from her perch in a nearby tree. There is a brief exchange between two women making fun of the fact the Nymph has "chosen the path of the virgin goddess" and does not want to participate in the ceremony by pairing up with one of the blindfolded men to engage in ritual sex. The entire tone of the scene, not to mention the audience's perception of Leelee Sobieski's character, is thus altered!

VERDICT: This is supposed to be about Hercules, the mythical hero whose deeds became legend, not some frenzied fictionalized pseudo feminist (or whatever) screed disguised as an exploration of neo-pagan Hellenic cults. Taking into account the disparity between versions viewed it's clear American audiences were cheated by the Lions Gate DVD. A lame attempt to rescue this nonsense with voice over narration proclaiming it pure fantasy (even that was bungled) begins with the opening narration: "Come back in time, not to a century or millennia, but to an age outside history. A time of myth and fantasy."

Myth IS history as represented in legend, folklore, and tradition. It is NOT synonymous with fantasy, which intimates made up nonsense or make believe. This narration smacks of being an weak eleventh hour attempt to pull the wool over the audiences eyes with a bait and switch. It is a epic fail and unnecessary. However sticklers for film adaptations sticking close to the source material may want to avoid this. This version of the Hercules legend presents a faux neo-pagan fantasy using creatures and character names lifted primarily from the Greco-Roman myth cycle set in lands of a generic and ill defined distant antiquity. It is thus no worse than the typical dumbed down Disney cartoon version of mythology. This Hercules is thus not proper Greek mythology, but that will only matter to the handful of people who've actually studied mythology and know that a Dryad is but one type of Nymph. What matters is cohesiveness of story and presentation. In this regard the mini series is the superior edit while the R1 DVD is a overtly long bad movie that's an interesting, if flawed, production worth seeing at least once.


Copyright © Demetrius Morgan

Friday, April 10, 2009

Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire

After sitting through the 1 hour premiere that aired earlier this evening I wasn't going to admit ever knowing this existed, much less watching it. It's that lame. But what's infuriating is it shouldn't be. This has potential to be a BLACK ADDER quality dark comedy or a tits out in-your-face adult spoof. Alas it's one dull Jr. High School cliché after another. Even the basic plot is standard Fantasy 101. You have the wouldbe hero fighing the evil power, ala Robin Hood, that's also the prophesied "Golden Boy" (or whatever) and his band of merry men plus one woman. Krod is sort of Roar meets South Park in a Mirror, Mirror D&D setting.

However in reading comments over at the IMDB forum one stuck out: "The girl was pretty sexy, but that's about it."

Amen, brother!

The "hot chick" is pretty much the only reason to tune in, even if she is called Aneka (played by relative newcomer India de Beaufort) in blatant satire/nod to the Anakin character from the prequel Star Wars trilogy. Alas, this being the post politically correct era, and a non-premium commercial cable television station, her main attributes are never really on display to distract us from the tedium and the less than salubrious semi-puns.

So what reeled me in to watch the pilot initially? The fact the promos made it look like a medieval comedy with touches of sword-and-sorcery, that and recognizing a few comedy faces from BBC America promos from a few years back. For instance the villain, Chancellor Dongalor (Matt Lucas), is a British star known for doing a comedy show called Little Britain. His evil minion sidekick Barnabus (Alex MacQueen), while not immediately known to me, appears to be another star of British comedy series. Then there is Zezelryck- the "token black" sorcerer whose character is also an bumbling "comedy side kick"- played by Kevin Hart; an American comedian whose talents seem wasted here.

Considering how much comedic talent I've identified so far the level of un-funny on display is bewildering. Worse, the actor playing Krod (the dork hero of the piece) is Sean Maguire, the English actor who played Leonidas in the OFT maligned spoof of 300, MEET THE SPARTANS. So far I've somehow managed to not see that movie but I've heard a lot about how bad it's supposed to be. And, yes, all the "jokes" in Krod are as elementary and transparent as the title suggests.

Is it utterly lame? Well there weren't any real laughs for the first half hour. For a comedy show that was pretty astonishing. Then again the one or two laughs I experienced were, for the most part, not with the show but at it. I really hope this gets better. The promo for next week's episode show's John Rhys-Davies, so I may tune in, but if Dork, sorry, Krod doesn't give us something remarkable and entertaining next week's episode will likely be my last. So unless someone gets their kit off or does something truly amazing I wont be wasting a DVDR or review space on it.

So, I guess, take this more as a warning than a review. Even though this could have potential it's off to a pretty bad start and Comedy Central will have a uphill battle to make this work. And considering the decline in quality of the Adult Swim programming on Cartoon Network and the general trend for mediocre elementary school humor on what few non "reality" series remain I just don't know that this show is going anywhere worth following on a weekly basis. Considering I'd recommend the Deathstalker and Ator movies, which aren't exactly Shakespeare, that makes Krod pretty bad. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

#end of line

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Will Blake's 7 ever get rebooted?

It's been nearly a year since I posted a snippet about an announced Blake's 7 remake/ redo/ reboot series. What's happened in that time? Apparently not much. Curious I did a bit of Googling and turned up a fascinating article The many proposed returns of Blake's 7 at Den of Geek. What I did not know when I posted that original snippet, but the aforementioned article has made clear, is efforts to bring Blake's 7 back to the small and/or big screen have a history seemingly more convoluted than the myriad attempts to get a Battlestar Galactica continuation made.

The article summarized how it was circa April 2008 that Sky (a UK broadcast station I believe) announced they'd green lit two scripts "for a potential event series" and recounts how a number of production companies were established as early as 2003. Viz: "[the production companies] first took form in July 2003 when they announced that they had acquired the rights to the series from a producer [who] had bought the rights from the estate of Terry Nation back in April 2000 with the intention of filming a TV movie set some 20 years after the original series."

And that "they announced that they were planning a TV miniseries <...> the series would be entitled Blake's 7: A Rebellion Reborn, it <...> would be set 25 years on from the events of the last episode <...> the series would appear by the Spring of 2005. However, in December 2003" it all fell apart.

If you're interested in Blake's 7 that article is a must read. It's really the only bit of news I've seen about the announced Blake's 7 remake/redo/whatever since last year. And while it's really just pointing out nothing official has been said and is asking what's going on it provides a fair amount of background information about the series. Kudos to the author.

For the really curious there's apparently an official site for the reboot/remake effort. While the site doesn't appear to have been updated in awhile it's chock full of info. Check it out here:

#end of line

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 1

Galactica Saga

Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 1

By C. Demetrius Morgan


Galactic Saga is set in the Battlestar Galactica universe and draws it's inspiration from, and attempts to meld it's continuity with, the story as outlined in the 1978 novel Battlestar Galactica, the original series, specifically the pilot Saga of A Star World. While much of what is presented herein is original material built upon an extrapolation and expansion of events hinted at in the aforementioned sources and some characters from the novel/series do make an appearance this is entirely an original work with new characters, situations, and story arc. However nothing that occurs herein breaks the established canon, though it may bend it a bit in places.

* * *


Aella: A young Socialator well-versed in colonial history; especially it's myths and legends.

Brackett: Engineering officer of the Phoenix, male.

Egg: Colonial Warrior, male; Ensign. Cousin of Niobe.

Calybe: Socialator Attendant.

Cassiopeia: Socialator Attendant.

Creusa: Phoenix steward.

Niobe: Colonial Warrior, female; Lieutenant.

Sestina: First officer of the Phoenix, female.

Talbot Chabrol: Roguish captain of the Phoenix, male.

Tychon: Colonial Warrior, male; Ensign.



There was jubilation throughout the fleet now that they had reached Cimtar without incident. But not all fleet commanders were greeting this moment with jubilation. For Adama, elected to the Quorom of Twelve as representative of Caprica, Commander of the Battlestar Galactica, knew all too well that Galactica's sister ship, Pacifica, would never be returning home. Her battered hulk was being salvaged, discreetly, in the naval yards of Orion. Her loss had been a devastating blow following so closely on the heels of the disaster at Molecay. Adama could still remember the after action reports from survivors of the Battle of Molecay yet he could scarcely believe the Battlestar Pegasus and the 5th fleet were lost. How had it happened? There were probe craft reports of tantalizing signals, sensor ghosts, but not even Cain would be this long overdue.

'Perhaps if the 5th fleet had not been wiped out,'

Adama stepped on that thought.

Adama's trained warrior's mind sensed something was off about the timing of this Armistice conference. Yet even with the public story of Pacifica's destruction and the ever increasingly difficult to squelch rumors about Cain, the near legendary Commander of the Pegasus, circulating throughout the colonies there was no denying the sense of hope and palpable need to believe. A thousand yahren was a long time for any species to be at war. Adama knew the colonies had become insular, many looking no further than the skies above their heads, but that was a social problem for others to deal with, thank the Lords of Kobol, besides he had more pressing matters to worry about.

"How does the uniform look?"

It was a ridiculous question. Then that was precisely how Adama felt wearing his full formal dress uniform.

"It looks fine, Adama."

Adama turned to look at colonel Tigh, the man who was more than just his second in command, this was a friend, a drinking buddy, someone whom he trusted to have his back when the fecal matter hit the turbine intakes. But then he'd said much the same about President Adar, once upon a time.

"Doesn't feel fine," Adama replied as he unconsciously touched the seal of the Lords of Kobol that hung around his neck.

"That's because you can't relax. I've told you time and time again. ."

Adama held up a hand, "Point taken, old friend."

A tone beeped from the desk nearby.

"Looks like you better get going. Don't want to keep the president waiting."

"No," Adama replied with a curious expression on his face, "that would never do. Would you com Athene for me and let her know I'm on my way?"

"Of course."

And with that Adama was out the door and on his way to meet with the other members of the Quorum for a pre-armistice dinner. Life, he reflected, was much simpler when he was just plain old Captain Adama. No worries about politics. No need to have special dress uniforms for such occasions as this preposterous dinner he must attend.

'But,' he reflected wryly,'soon this will be over and I can get back to Ila.'

# # # # #

From the Aella Chronicle:

(Being a Socialator's Commentary on the Rise and Fall of the 12 Worlds.)

The Twelve Worlds' (of Man), or the Colonies as their inhabitants less formally referred to them- even though they had been settled by humankind for millennia- were approaching their seventh millennium of existence. Yet it was not entirely a joyous occasion for the colonies had been at war with an alien menace, the Cylons, for over a thousand yahren. Yet a bright day beckoned. Through a merchant-trader named Baltar word came that the Cylons were seeking an Armistice. It was hoped that this would lead in time to a fuller peace between our two species.

So a convoy of vessels was assembled to meet with mankind's ancient enemy. Because this was a mission of peace and so many people throughout the 12 worlds had high hopes the armistice would ring in a new era the Star Kobol, a vessel that served with distinction and honor, one of the first Battlestar's ever constructed, was re-commissioned from mothballs and designated the official council ship of the Quorum where the armistice treaty would be signed. The Star Kobol had been there at the beginning of the war and she was to be there at the end of this terrible cycle of violence. We colonials were taken with such gestures, alas it was a gesture lost upon the impenetrable alien mind of Cylons.

Yet we would not have been who we are had we not tried. Alas it was a fool's hope, though we did not know it at the time. Had we known the Star Kobol might not have been shepherded by our five most modern Battlestars and their escorts. They say pride precedes the greatest falls, and perhaps it was our smugness and conceit in our own lofty power that doomed us. For the fleet assembled was designed to convey strength. Battlestars are imposing vessels with an array of deadly armament that only the most brazen of outlaw traffic would dare approach. Alas we forgot we were not dealing with simple smugglers or pirates, these were Cylons.

* * *


Sunfall across Gemoni is a beautiful sight. The wave of light washes across the dark arc of the planet like a brilliant multi-colored curtain parting the darkness. So very similar, yet unlike, sunfall across Caprica. There's no cluster of high orbitals, no clutter of ships in parking orbits, it's a serene likeness of tranquility. Of course that serenity might have been shattered if the Gemonese realized that the transport Phoenix, now slowing to dock with the lone Colonial orbital port marring that otherwise picturesque view, was carrying a delegation of Socialators.

Talbot Chabrol took all this in with his usual quirky sense of the absurd. Then when he retired from the colonial marines, not by his choice but due to wounds received, he never in a million yahrens would have pictured himself as the captain of a cargo hauler, much less a luxury liner. Even a small luxury liner such as the Phoenix. Yet he'd been both. And he'd been in this job long enough to know that the young woman lost in thought by the portside view port was trouble. Not because of who she was, the Lords knew he would never hold that against anyone with such a cute ass. No Chabrol was worried she was too young to be fully aware of the intricate social dynamics about to be unleashed when he opened the airlock and the passengers from Gemon boarded. Besides he'd hate to see anything happen to that cute behind of hers.

Had Aella, the young woman at the view port, been aware of Talbot Chabrol's thoughts she may have laughed out loud. Despite being a "profession" sanctified by the elders for well over 4000 yahren Socialators, and their craft, were not universally respected, or even tolerated, throughout the colonies. In fact their very existence had become something of a political and religious point of contention amongst certain Gemenese; especially those of the Otori Sect. And if anyone knew the sorts of problems that might produce it was Aella. True, such fervor was usually fleeting, but with the rites associated with the Worship of the Sunstorm coinciding with the recent resurgence of fundamentalism backlash against Socialators amongst the more xenophobic was sure to be on the rise.

Aella shuddered. Conceptually it shouldn't bother her, she was an orphan after all and knew nothing of her birth world, yet she couldn't help but wonder; what if. What if she were Gemonese? She'd studied them and was both fascinated and appalled by their culture.

'Nevermind that the the ancient functions of certain High Priestess' was not dissimilar from that provided by modern Socialators,' she thought.

Then times change and, if she were to be honest, there was a time that Socialators were little better than the kept courtesans of the ancient legends. Not that anyone would confuse the two now, at least no one who could truly see. But then the first thing every socialator learned was that people often saw what they wanted to see, or expected to see, not always what was really there. The truly astute socialators learned how to discern the difference and play to those expectations, or exploit them, as the situation required.

"Cubit for your thoughts, Aella."

"What, oh, hello Calybe. Nothing."

Calybe exhaled in that way she had when something (or someone) annoyed her.

"Don't give me that. I know that look all too well. You're over thinking something again, aren't you?"

"No, well not really. I mean, even the Gemonese have to admit there's few more learned women in all the colonies, right? Yet that's also a fact used as fuel by the Otori sect to "prove" how unnatural the entire "business" is whenever they. ."

Laughing, "Is that all? You know better than most that's one argument that's never played very well with all Gemonese women, thank the Lords of Kobol."

"True, but it's bad enough that any think that. Doesn't it bother you Calybe?"

"What's to worry? There's room enough in the colonies for people to live their lives however they want, wherever they want, and to expect to be left to do so in privacy."

"But if they only knew how many yahrens we spend learning the histories of all the colonies, not just our birth worlds maybe. ."

'Some of us more than most,' Calybe thought.

"Aella," Calybe made a throwing away motion with her hand, "You worry too much. Try to remember we're on our way to Caprica to attend the most prestigious armistice celebration to be held in all the colonies. This is a joyful time."

"Yes, of course, you're right. I'll try."

Chuckling, "Good girl. Now then. ."


A familiar feminine voice shouted from the direction of the airlock.


Aella smiled, for if anyone should have been worried about the Gemons it was Cassiopeia, who knew first hand how trying the hectare ahead could be. Yet there she was, in full makeup and wearing the sort of dress that would be conservative in every other colony but most certainly was not on Gemoni. Which perhaps explained the looks on the passengers faces embarking Phoenix just behind her. Even the colonial warriors seemed a bit flustered, then one of them was female, which may explain the exaggerated affronted look the Gemons wore.

* * *

Creusa stood patiently by the hatchway. As steward he was responsible for greeting passengers and directing them to their quarters. Most people, if they thought about stewards at all, assumed they were merely ship's cooks. And while there were some sectares he'd rather have been working as a cook he knew that he was the face of the Phoenix, and that he must extend the hand of hospitality to her guests. No matter how tardy they were.

"Ah lady, sirs," Creusa held his hands out in way of gesturing a need for introductions.

"Ensign Tychon," a young warrior replied without any hint of being remotely aware they'd been holding up the Phoenix's departure.

"Ensign Egg," the shorter of the two men proclaimed proudly, "And this lovely lady is Niobe. That's Lieutenant Niobe," Egg intoned with a casual quirk of his brow as he leaned toward Creusa in a manner that wasn't quite menacing but insinuated that if anyone thought to address her with anything less than formal regard they'd answer to him.

Bowing formally, "Creusa, chief steward of the Phoenix. Sirs, Lieutenant, I must respectfully inform you that sidearms must normally be checked with me for the duration of the voyage. However, given the current situation, and the fact we're scheduled for a least time course for Caprica, the Captain has waived this restriction. So long as you agree to keep your sidearms with you at all times and holstered."

"That shouldn't be a problem," Niobe replied flashing a stern glance in the direction of the ensigns.

"Apologies for our late arrival bu-"

"Ma'am, please, no apologies are necessary." Creusa said with an affronted tone that wasn't as forced as it might have been.

"In that case," the Lieutenant said shooting a quelling glance toward the young warriors, "here's our boarding passes. I believe all is in order."

"Indeed. Shall we proceed to getting you all comfortably situated in your accommodations?"

Niobe turned to pick up her duffle only to see Egg hefting it already.

"All ready, ma'am."

Niobe turned a glaring eye on Egg, "I can hold my own, cousin."

"Never said you couldn't." Egg smiled ingratiatingly as Tychon looked everywhere but at his friend or Niobe.

"But there's holding your own and hefting your own, and you are senior officer and," Egg paused winking at Creusa, "how would it look if you carried your own duffle while in the company of two strapping junior officers such as ourselves."

There were times Niobe wished she wasn't Gemenese. But she knew better than to argue with her tenacious cousin.

"You'll make a fine warrior, someday."

"You really think so?"

Rolling her eyes, "Get to quarters!"

"Ma'am!" the ensigns said simultaneously sketching a salute and immediately withdrew laughing about the Lords knew what.

Turning to Creusa, "Make sure they get to where they are supposed to be, will you?"

"Of course ma'am," Creusa said with a tolerant smile that indicated he'd had to look after such recalcitrant youths many times in his career.

# # # # #

(To be continued in: Galactica Saga: Phoenix Rising - Part 1, Act 2)

Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan