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Lifeline

By Blue Banrigh

Word Count: 607
Date: 2004
Series: N/A
Rating: K+
Category: Challenge
Pairing/Focus: O
Warnings:
Summary:
Spoilers/Disclaimers: Miniseries /


His hands were shaking badly, no matter how hard he tried it was beyond his control and he couldn't keep them still.

This can't be happening, no they must have got it all wrong. In three hours he would dock at Caprica City, see off all his passengers and supervise the offloading of the spare parts picked up from the Galactica. Once that was done he could then begin the journey that would take him to Virgon for his nephew's twenty-second birthday.

Having reached a satisfactory conclusion Captain Alexander Beckett stopped pacing. Taking a deep breath he tried to show down his frantically beating heart. He had come close to panic, but he was glad he didn't cause a fuss. Lord knows that James; his co-pilot would never let him live it down if he were wrong.

Again he re-assured himself that it wasn't really happening. If he read the report again he would come across the missing sentence that would explain that it was impossible for four colonies to be destroyed in under a day. No, that kind of wholesale massacre was simply impossible.

Beckett opened his eyes and dared against hope. He scanned the neat text, muttering the words underneath his breath. When he came to the end of the message his hopes were dashed. For a terrifying moment he felt as if he were suffocating, bile rose up in his throat and he had to force himself not to throw up all over the equipment.

He was saved by a tentative knock on the door; he swallowed hard and desperately searched for his voice.

"Yes," he answered, hoping that he modulated his voice so it sounded calm and in control. He opened the door and found Secretary Roslin looking expectantly at him.

"Excuse me," she said inviting herself into the cabin. "One of the passengers has a short wave wireless. They've heard reports that Caprica has been nuked."

He didn't immediately answer, he feared that if he confided the news to another person it would make all those terrible things a reality. Surely it would be better to deny it? The Secretary watched his face intently while he was deliberating and came to her own conclusions. "It has hasn't it?"

He nodded, "Caprica and three other colonies."

He moved to show her the report, but his hands were shaking so hard the words became a blur. Gently she took the paper from his hand and read it for herself. What surprised him was that she didn't let go, the Secretary kept his hand in a firm grip, providing him with an anchor so he could organize his thoughts on what to do next. Looking to the door that led to the passenger cabin, he made a decision.

"I guess… I ah… I should go make an announcement or something." He began uncertainly. God only knew what he was going to tell them. Was there a right way on informing people that they no longer had a planet to call home? He should come up with a plan. Lords what were they going to do? Should he plan a return to Caprica or maybe it was better if they head to Virgon. He was the captain of this vessel and was responsible for the lives of his passengers. Gods, what was he going to do?

A calm voice reached out to him amid the chaos of his thoughts. She offered to shoulder his burden of leadership, to be the bearer of difficult news. She was throwing a drowning man a lifeline, presenting an easier path.

Gratefully, he accepted.

***

Be kind.