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New Blood, Old Friends, and Enemies All Around

By Russell Evans

Word Count: in progress
Date: 8/29/05
Series: Season 2
Rating: M
Category: Alternate Universe/Action
Pairing/Focus: none
Warnings: Some violence/suggestion of sex, nothing too graphic
Summary: It's a tale of new and old comrades come to help and complicate the lives of Galactica's crew.
Spoilers/Disclaimers: Nothing not disclosed at the close of season 1.


I began writing this story sometime during the middle of the first season. As I was reading spoilers for the second half of the season, the idea for this story came to me. It's completely AU as I had no idea how all of the issues of season 1 would be..

This story is set sometime in the middle of the second season based upon the assumption that President Roslin is back in office, Commander Adama survives his wounds and all of the major characters end up back with the fleet.

Thanks for reading.

Chapter One

Colonel Tigh enters Commander Adama's quarters to find him sitting in bed reviewing paperwork. Tigh waits until Adama waves him over, and then crosses the room and reports, "the fleet has taken cover in the small system within the cluster of nebulas we discussed earlier. There have been no sign of cylons in the sector, but I have sent the CAP on a wide dispersement pattern and we have 3 raptors patrolling the nearest systems for any signs of the enemy."

Adama comments, "it wouldn't hurt if they found some resources either."

Tigh agrees, "no, it certainly wouldn't. We currently have six ships in the fleet with non-working FTL drives. So we could certainly use a little quiet for a day or two."

Adama nods, "I haven't heard from the President in a few days, has there been any word on what's going on in the fleet?"

Tigh shrugs, "who cares what the civies do? All they do is whine and complain. I just figure our dear President will call when she needs our troops to pull her out of the fire." Tigh pauses for a moment, "I'm concerned about spreading the squadron out too thin. If cylons do show up…we'll have a hell of a time forming any sort of decent defense."

Adama replies, "I'd rather know they're coming and have time to make decisions than have them drop in on our doorstep unannounced."

 

A raptor flies between a large planet and one of it's moons on long range patrol. The ECO calls out to the pilot, "hey, Burnout! I'm picking up what looks like a descent sized ship on the other side of this moon."

Burnout replies, "how can you tell? There's so much interference in this system. Are you sure you're not seeing some sort of static?"

The ECO calls back, "I'm pretty sure. It's odd, the thing keeps popping up on the edge of the scope, but then it jumps off the screen. We had better check it out…just not too close."

The pilot moves the ship closer to the moon. Suddenly as the ECO watches the screen, it goes from almost completely static to completely clear. He says, "what the…frak! There are fou…five fighters right on top of us!" He looks over at Burnout, "we're surrounded."

 

In the CIC of the Galactica, Petty Officer Dualla announces, "sir, raptor two is coming in from patrol, and they appear to have a large ship coming in from the FTL with them."

Tigh asks immediately concerned, "what kind of ship?"

Lieutenant Gaeta scanning his monitors chimes in, "it's a large cargo vessel with colonial military markings. It's heavily armored and has four gun turrets. We're not picking up any nukes, but it's hard to scan through her hull." He looks up, "it's charter lists it as the "Nebula Chaser.'"

Tigh calls out, "well, don't take our guns off her. And call in the CAP for cover." Then he says to Dualla, "patch me through to raptor 2."

Dualla replies, "we're getting a message from inside the Chaser."

Tigh corrects her, "you mean from the Chaser."

She replies, "no, it appears to be coming from a source inside the ship's hull." As she says this, the Chaser's cargo bay doors slide open and a group of Mark II vipers and raptors exit the ship heading toward the Galactica.

A voice calls over the radio, "Tell everyone on the Galactica that Lieutenant Jolly has finally made it home!"

Burnout, the raptor pilot, calls out over the radio, "look, what we found!" Everyone in the CIC applauds and cheers as Dualla calls out that a group of 19 vipers and 3 raptors has requested permission to land and join the fleet.

Tigh is the only one who doesn't appear happy, he orders Gaeta, "continue to track those ships with our guns. If any of them so much as look like they are going to break formation, blow them out of space."

 

In the hangar bay, the flight crews and pilots stand watching and applauding as the vipers and raptors land. Apollo and Starbuck stand apart and watch the pilot of the lead viper take off his helmet and begin stepping down from his cockpit. They both appear dumbstruck as the man turns and looks them both over. They continue to stare until the pilot says to Apollo, "what? Not even a courtesy hello for the guy that got you through flight school?" Apollo and Starbuck both rush over and hug the new pilot. Apollo exclaims, "Jordan! Where did you come from? Where did all of you come from?"

Starbuck breaks in, "we thought that you were…lost with the rest of the Galactica's response force when the cylons attacked."

Colonel Tigh comes walking quickly onto the flight deck. He approaches the new pilot, Jordan and asks, "what the devil is going on? Jolly, where in the blazes did you come from?" The collection of new pilots, all form a presentation line behind Jordan and stand at attention.

Jolly says, "Lieutenant Jordan Nevlin, reporting for duty sir. I was just about to explain to Captain Adama and Lieutenant Thrace here, that during the attack, just before my ship's power was sapped by the cylons, I was ordered to take over for the CAG. The weapon hadn't quite shorted out my ship yet. I was at the rear of the formation, so I hit my reverse thrusters to move around the other fighters into position when my power went. The inertia from the thrusters moved me farther out of formation when the nukes hit. Between the thrusters and the initial explosion, my ship was thrown from the blast area. My front end completely disintegrated and none of my systems functioned. I was about to give up hope, when a group of Mark II vipers that were to act as the Galactica's honor guard when she made it to Caprica arrived. They rescued me and then we found a group of raptors and a cargo ship under attack. We were able to rescue them, stow the fighters and then we all FTL'd the hell out of there…sir."

Tigh looks them all over while a group of marines approach the group from behind. "And what have you been doing since then? And how do we come by the pleasure of your company?"

Jolly replies, "well sir, we've been jumping system to system ever since. We've been running wherever we might have a chance to replenish our supplies. We have taken our losses and are now down to 19 vipers and 3 raptors. And most of those are in serious need of repairs. But Colonel, my squadron, as it is, is at your disposal."

It's then that the marines move in and surround the new pilots with rifles drawn. Jolly responds in shock, "what the…?"

Tigh interrupts him, "all of your pilots need to be placed into custody until we can clear you."

Jolly takes an angry step forward, many of the marines tense and point their weapons menacingly at Jolly, "clear us of what?"

Tigh responds, "of being cylon agents." And he turns and begins walking away.

Jolly begins to go after him, but Apollo steps in front and holds him, "it'll be alright, Jordan. We have to be careful. It'll be alright, trust me."

 

Petty Officer Dualla enters Commander Adama's quarters and stands at attention. Adama tells her to "enter." Dualla says to him, "The Colonel asked me to give you his status report while he attends to the new pilots."

Adama asks, "what do you mean attend to the new pilots?"

Dualla hesitates for a moment, then replies, "he has taken all of the new pilots into custody, until it can be determined that they aren't cylon agents trying to infiltrate the Galactica."

Adama looks concerned, "he's put the new pilots in the brig?"

She responds, "no sir. He's placed them in sequestered quarters under guard. He's also arranging for replacements to be sent out to the Nebula Chaser, so that it's crew can be tested also."

Adama smiles without humor, "so the Colonel believes that it's a little too big of a coincidence that when we are desperate for fighters, we just happen to run into a small squadron of fighters?"

Dualla nods, "yes sir. He feels it would too great a risk to give them free run of the ship until we can establish that none of them are cylon agents."

Adama continues, "that's why he's a great XO. He knows to put up his guard when everyone else is a little too quick to celebrate. I understand his misgivings, but we need those pilots." He pauses for a moment, "have Lieutenant Gaeta work with the Vice President to get these tests done as quickly as humanly possible. Tell Gaeta he has my full authority to do anything necessary to light a fire under our dear Doctor Baltar's rear."

 

Apollo walks past the two armed marines guarding the room where Jolly and some of his pilots are being held. One of the marines opens the locked door for him to enter. He finds Jolly lounging on a cot while three other sequestered pilots play cards at a small table. Jolly stands up upon seeing Apollo and says, "believe it or not this is the nicest place we've been in for months, but your welcoming committee needs some work Lee."

Apollo explains, "listen Jordan, we have the last survivors of the colonies to protect. We can't let you run loose until we're sure that none of you are cylon agents."

Jolly laughs, asking "do we look like a toasters? what kind of idiot would make a deal with the cylons? Anyone that might have been tricked into helping the cylons would have been fried to a crisp by now."

Apollo replies upon seeing the confused looks from all the pilots, "you don't know…" He pauses for a moment, then says, "the cylons can now look human. They have developed models to look and act human to perform as sabotage agents. We have to be absolutely sure that none of you are a risk to the fleet before letting you go. I'm sorry, but it has to be this way."

The pilots exchange concerned looks, finally after an awkward moment, a small female brunette pilot asks Apollo, "so Captain, exactly how do we go about establishing our humanness?"

Apollo looks directly at her for a moment, then says to them all, "Our Vice President is Dr. Gaius Baltar. He's developed a test to determine if someone is a cylon or human. However, with this many people…I'm not sure how long it will take. Hopefully not more than a few days."

Jolly looks concerned for a moment, then says to Apollo, "well, then I might as well start introducing you to your new pilots. He points to the small brunette woman, "this is Slider." Then pointing to a large bald man, he says, "this is Saber." And then pointing to a younger tall blond guy, "and that's Whiplash."

Apollo nods and says, "welcome. I guess I'm your new CAG."

Jolly smiles mischievously, "I see Starbuck made it out. Figures..maybe even the cylons have some standards."

Apollo admonishes him, "you're not back an hour and already you have to start that up again? Are you ever going to ease up on her? Look that pissing contest crap was ok once upon a time. But I need all my pilots focused on protecting the fleet, not constantly trying to one up each other."

Jolly puts his hands up, "alright, alright. I'll be good. Wouldn't want to start off on the wrong foot with my new CAG." Jolly pauses for a moment then says, "Lee, it's really good to see you. I had pretty much given up hope of ever seeing anyone again. And to be back aboard the Galactica…it's like coming home."

Apollo smiles, "I know what you mean. I'm glad you're back. We need good people and good pilots." Apollo pulls out a handful of cigars, "if I know you at all, you have probably been dying for one of these." Jolly eagerly grabs the cigar and smells it. He hands the rest to the other pilots.

Apollo goes to leave but turns and says, "Jordan, I'm not kidding about expecting you and Starbuck to get along. This is a surprisingly small ship and we don't exactly get a lot of shore leave…so behave." He continues with a smile, "that's an order from your new CAG."

Jolly says between puffs on the cigar, "don't worry about me Lee, that's why they call me Jolly. Because I'm just so happy go lucky." Before Apollo can leave, Jolly asks, "hey Lee, I have to ask you one question…"

Before he can get the question out, Apollo puts his hand on Jolly's shoulder, "Jordan, you are an amazing pilot. I'd fly with you anytime, anywhere, but Starbuck is a little better." Apollo smiles to himself as he leaves the room.

Jolly turns to the other pilots, "he was just kidding. He's always been a big kidder."

 

On Colonial one, Billy has just briefed President Roslin regarding the appearance of the pilots and vipers. Roslin looks pained and shows it as she sits heavily in her chair. Billy moves to help her, but she declines with a smile. "The pain just reminds me that I'm not a cylon spy. It's probably healthy...spiritually speaking." She pauses for a moment then says, "I hate to forcast rain on everyone's sunny day, but I have to admit that I'm skeptical that our fortunes can turn so good so quickly. But maybe I've become too pessimistic. We certainly are due for some good luck. What has Commander Adama's reaction been?"

Billy shrugs, "I don't think anyone knows. Colonel Tigh has been handling everything."

Roslin rolls her eyes and sighs, "at least, we know the man isn't going to be soft."

Billy continues, "as far as we know, Commander Adama is still recovering from his wounds in bed. The Colonel has ordered all of the new pilots to be kept under guard until Dr. Baltar can perform his cylon test on them."

Rosalin doesn't look any happier, "let's just hope that the Vice President's cylon detector proves a little more reliable than he has."

 

Dr. Baltar and Lieutenant Gaeta are both working in the lab. Baltar explains to Gaeta in a tone expecting Gaeta not to understand, "now you know the digital sequencer is to be used in the first, third and sixth steps, but only if you receive redundant RNA buffers affected by particle respiration during the DNA re-splicing."

Gaeta nods as if it's obvious, "right, only if the DNA particles show effects of the re-splicing, otherwise your program will reflect any refraction changes in the RNA."

The more apparent it is that Gaeta has done his homework the more nervous Baltar gets. Suddenly, Six appears beside Baltar, she coos in his ear, "you know that he can see right through your techno-babble don't you?" As Baltar tries to point out another aspect of the process, she continues, "don't you think anyone is ever going to notice that your cylon detector never actually finds any cylons?"

Baltar says a little too loud, "of course." He then collects himself, "I mean, of course, you want to remember to collect three DNA samples from different sites of the body…to…uh…"

Gaeta completes his thought, "to make sure that the cylons haven't managed to fool us in one area of DNA collection."

Six whispers, "lucky for you that Boomer never told anyone that you tested her and said she was human. Maybe she's just waiting for the right moment."

Then all three turn to look at the entrance as a man in his military casual uniform enters the lab escorted by an armed marine. Jolly smiles and says, "Lieutenant Nevlin, reporting for cylon testing, doc." He begins to remove his shirt, but Baltar stops him.

Baltar says with some amusement, "Lieutenant, what exactly are you doing?"

Jolly replies, "I'm getting undressed, so we can get this test over with and I can get flying again, doc."

Baltar smiles retrieving his smug demeanor, "well, I think we'll all be more comfortable with your clothes on." Then saying as if to a small child, "I'm not a medical doctor. I'm a scientist."

Jolly smiles, "so you're not a real doctor?"

Baltar returns his smile, "if you mean to ask me if I'm a medical doctor. The answer would be no. However, I have more advanced degrees and awards than you have hours logged on your viper."

Jolly replies, "then I don't really have to call you doc then?"

Baltar replies without much humor, "most people call me, Mr. Vice President."

Jolly whistles acting sarcastically impressed, "I'll just stick with doc. Now lets get going doc, so I can get past this nonsense and get back my squadron's flight status."

Just then Starbuck pushes her way past the marine into the room. She challenges Jolly by pushing him. "What the hell is your problem!"

Jolly replies, "well, right this moment, the fact that everyone thinks I'm a cylon spy would probably rank right up there. Somewhere between everyone I know and care about being blown up by cylons and not being able to find a pair of flight boots that fit just right."

Starbuck is about to give an angry reply but then Baltar interrupts, "Lieutenant Thrace, I'm in the middle of very important work here, perhaps you could take your little tantrum back to the playground."

Starbuck gives Baltar a nasty look, but ignores him, "look Jordan, I know you were ticked when I made flight instructor and you didn't. But you can't expect to beat those kind of odds. Out fighting and running the entire cylon fleet, sure I can buy that. But the idea that you can out fly me…come on. Some stories are just too far fetched to believe. And you are just going to have to learn that I'm top dog around here and get used to eating my left overs…again."

Jolly smiles, "I'm sorry, I thought Apollo was the CAG. He will probably be surprised to know that Adama promoted you."

Starbuck throws back, "this has nothing to do with rank and you know it."

As they argue, Six strokes Baltar's ear and says seductively, "she is so feisty. So much fire…but not for you. That must be very frustrating. But since they are just going to execute you for being a cylon spy because your detector doesn't work, it probably doesn't matter." Baltar looks green and pretends to be adjusting controls on the computers.

Jolly rips while getting in Starbuck's face, "well, you better hope and pray to the gods that I am a cylon because the top dog is about to be fixed."

They stare each other down, and then both break into smiles and then begin to laugh, finally Jolly breaks the silence, "can't believe how much I missed sparring with you, Starbuck."

After they look fondly at each other for a moment, Jolly admits, "Starbuck. I suppose I do owe you an apology of sorts. Way back when, the night before the testing for the flight instructor spot, I readjusted your starboard thrust stabilizer to throw you off, just a little bit. I figure it probably dropped your flight performance score by around six points."

Starbuck smiles and says while leaning into him intimately, "yeah, I found out and switched vipers on you right before the test." She begins to walk out, but then abruptly turns, "and, exactly how many points did I beat you by again?"

Jolly shakes his head in half humor and half anger and mutters, "I believe it was six." And with that she walks out laughing.

Six comes around and puts her arm around Baltar, she says, "don't worry. God has a plan for you and he always finds a way." Kissing Baltar's neck and stroking his chest she continues, "if you trust in God, he will provide you with the perfect person to single out from the herd." As she says this, Baltar is staring at Jolly decisively.

 

Apollo walks across the flight deck to find chief Tyrol, he asks "chief, what's the story on our new ships?"

The chief responds not looking up from the part he is working on, "personally sir, I think it should be a crime punishable by death for a pilot to try and work on his own ship." After a moment's pause he continues, "to be honest, those ships have been run through the ringer."

Apollo asks, "what's the bottom line?"

The chief clears his throat, "of the 19 vipers brought on board, I think I can get 16 of them in fighting shape again. The others will have to be used for parts, what little of them is left." Holding up the part he is working on, he admits, "I don't even know what this is. I think they were using it to adjust fuel flow." He pauses and throws the part aside, "The good news is that I think we can get all 3 raptors going in a short amount of time."

Apollo comments, "well, that's 16 vipers and 3 raptors that we didn't have yesterday. Not to mention the pilots."

The chief begins to walk towards another viper obviously in the middle of some sort of major repairs, but he turns to Apollo, "Excuse me, sir? It's been awhile, and I was just wondering if a decision has been made regarding the fate of Boom…Lieutenant Valer…the cylon agent?"

Apollo just shakes his head, turns and begins walking the other way. The chief grimaces and returns to work.

 

Petty officer Dualla asks for permission to enter Adama's quarters. Adama replies, "granted." She enters with a collection of charts and papers under her arm to find Adama and Tigh talking at Adama's desk.

She reports, "Sir, Colonel Tigh requested that I pull the logs from the cargo vessel 'Nebula Chaser.'"

Adama asks, "what did you find?"

She replies, "It would be easier to show you." At this she unfolds a very large starchart with two long zigzagging lines running across it, one red and one blue. She says, "the red line shows the fleet's FTL jump log since the initial cylon attack, the blue line shows the Chaser's."

Both Adama and Tigh appear astounded as the lines run parallel and then cross each other at several places.

Tigh remarks, "they were at the armory just a few days after we were."

Dualla replies, "I looked at both the Chaser's pilot's log and Joll…Lieutenant Nevlin's log to see if there are any commonalties to the logic behind their FTL coordinate decisions."

Tigh looks impatient, "and?"

Dualla hesitates for a moment, then says, "it was inevitable that we would meet up with them. It appears between the opportunity to replenish supplies, the legs of their FTL and cylon attacks, they were essentially being herded along our course."

Tigh looks at Adama, "or they were influenced by a cylon agent."

Adama looks at Dualla, "you are exused, and make sure this stays in this room."

Dualla replies, "yes sir" and leaves.

Adama orders, "make sure that the new pilots are fed and given whatever they might need. But keep the guards on them until the test results are back."

Tigh stands up and begins to leave, "potential cylon agents everywhere you look, constant concern regarding dwindling resources and the potential of a cylon basestar showing up at any moment, sounds pretty much like business as usual."

 

Baltar is organizing different DNA samples, when the next pilot is escorted into the lab by an armed marine. He says without looking up, "please excuse me, I'll be ready for you in just a moment."

The pilot Slider says, "no problem Mr. Vice President, would you like me to wait outside?"

Baltar looks up upon hearing a female voice, he looks Slider over, a cute shortish brunette with brown eyes. He replies breaking into a smile, "don't be ridiculous. Please come in and have a seat." He gestures towards a chair across from the main table.

Slider sits and smiles back at him, "so, you're not only the head scientist, but also our Vice President. That's very impressive."

Baltar beams at the complement, he replies in a modest tone that is almost believable, "well, these days we all have to wear many hats, don't we?"

Slider smiles, nods and replies, "yeah, I suppose that's true."

Baltar comes from around the table and stands in front of her. He then holds out his hand, "I'm Dr. Gaius Baltar, your Vice President, and you are?"

Slider smiles taking his hand, "my call sign is Slider. That's pretty much what everybody calls me."

Baltar takes her hand into both of his and replies, "well, it's certainly been the bright spot in my day to meet you…Slider. So please, call me Gaius." He then asks, "Slider? Did you pick up the name because you're an athlete?"

Slider smiles nervously, "no, it's just a pilot thing. You know, just a silly nick name."

Six, standing behind Slider, slowly traces her finger along the back of Slider's chair. She says to Baltar, "looks like Gaius has found a new toy. Giving up on Starbuck so easily?"

Baltar looking nervous for just a moment says to Slider, "well, that's a much better nickname than some I've heard. I suppose it could have been much worse."

Six continues coming around to stand beside Baltar, all the while appraising Slider. "She's cute, not your usual type, but very cute."

Slider replies to Baltar, "yes, I'm sure it could have been."

Six whispers, "you know, I think she would make the perfect cylon agent. Innocent and appearing somewhat vulnerable, but you can tell she has a very tough streak running through her."

Baltar says to Slider, "well, you certainly are a breath of fresh air here on the Galactica. I certainly hope that we see a lot more of you."

Six strokes Baltar's hair as she says, "yes, I think she just might make the perfect example. She's your chance to prove that your work is essential to the survival of your people."

Baltar asks, "sooo…has anyone shown you around yet? Perhaps this nice guard would be kind enough to allow you to escape your shackles for a little while later?"

Slider smiles sadly, "I'm sorry, but besides being in lock up…I'm kind of involved with someone…Joll…Lieutenant Nevlin and I have an…understanding. If you get my meaning?"

Baltar gives her an understanding nod, "of course, I understand."

 

Apollo is standing just outside of the lab insuring that all of the new pilots are tested. A short cute brunette leaves the lab accompanied by her marine guard. Apollo remembers her from his discussion with Jolly earlier.

She catches him staring at her, so she salutes and asks, "can I help you sir?"

Apollo embarrassed asks nervously, "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name earlier."

She walks closer to him and says, "Lieutenant Frankie Warrant, but everybody calls me, Slider."

Apollo smiles, "nice to meet you. I can't wait to fly with you." There is an awkward silence, so he clarifies nervously, "I mean, fly with all of the new pilots of course."

She looks at him as if amused and says, "it'll be a pleasure, sir."

Apollo looks down, "you can just call me Apollo."

Slider smiles at him, "why did they call you Apollo?"

Apollo smiles nervously, "who knows, it's just a call sign. Why did they call you, Slider?"

She replies with an embarrassed smile, "during flight school, I would tend to slide around on the cockpit seat." They look at each other for a moment, then Slider says, "well, I guess I had better get going." As she turns to leave, she replies, "see you on the flight deck, Apollo."

 

As Colonel Tigh enters the CIC, Lieutenant Gaeta announces, "sensors are picking up ships that have just come off an FTL jump." He scans the monitors, "looks like 25 of them. They are definitely cylon raiders. They came in on the far side of the system…ETA 7 minutes."

Tigh looks over at Petty Officer Dualla, "are all of the ships prepared to FTL out of here?"

Dualla shakes her head, "four ships are still working on their FTL drives. They won't be able to jump for another 40 minutes."

Tigh groans, "I guess it was too much to expect another squadron of vipers to drop out of the sky on us." He begins barking out orders, "have the fleet assume standard defensive positions. Have the Nebula Chaser take a position at the far side of the civilian ships. She has a few cannons on her, she might be able to help if any cylons manage to make it into the flock."

He turns to see Adama walking slowly towards him, leaning heavily upon a cane. Adama says gravely, "I guess we are going to need every advantage we can get." Tigh picks up the phone.

 

On the flight deck a group of marines ushers Jolly and his pilots towards the vipers being prepped by the launch crews. Jolly sees Apollo and Starbuck, who are instructing pilots to their vipers. Apollo calls to Jolly, "think your crew can put up with doing some actual work?"

Jolly beams, "are you kidding? You call this work? Compared to launching out of the Chaser, this is like flying first class." Coming closer to Apollo he continues, "Lee, I don't mean to step on toes as you're the CAG, but my crew and I have been together for awhile. So I suggest that I take my crew on one vector and you take the Galactica's crew on another and we prong them." After a moment, he says, "just this time, to get them used to working with your pilots, but it's your call."

Apollo nods, "no problem, let's do it," and then Apollo runs for his viper. Starbuck gives Jolly a nasty look as they both run for their ships.

As they are in the launch tubes, Starbuck calls out to Apollo, "I can't believe you are giving him his own squadron."

Apollo responds defensively, "I'm not, I agreed to allow him to take point with the new pilots on this mission, until they get comfortable fighting in a larger group." And with that Apollo launches out of the Galactica.

Starbuck mutters, "the bastard got his own squadron." And then she launches.

 

From the Galactica, fighters separate into two attack groups and rush to meet the incoming cylons. Apollo calls out, "all of you new pilots, the best strategy is to chase the cylons into the fire from the Galactica's guns, but make sure you stop short of entering the firing pattern yourself."

Jolly adds, "to my pilots, just in case you've forgotten, our job is to protect the fleet first, destroy the cylons second. Herding the cylon attack group away from the fleet is more important than destroying individual ships."

One of the new pilots, Whiplash, calls out, "and remember…"

All of the new pilots chant out, "don't shoot, till you see the red of their eye."

Just then the cylons launch a series of missiles, which fire from the Galactica's rail guns and vipers immediately take out. Both groups of vipers reach the cylons and it immediately becomes a free for all. A viper almost immediately is destroyed in a huge explosion.

After the bulk of the cylons have been destroyed, of the four remaining cylon raiders, two use their FTL drives and escape. While the two remaining cylons head off towards the civilian ships. Apollo, in his faster Mark VII viper chases one down and destroys it. Two vipers fall in right behind the last raider. Jolly appears to have the cylon in his sites when the other viper practically cuts him off as he fires causing him to miss the cylon. He yells, "frak! Whoever you are, you had better get out of the way!"

Starbuck replies, "get out of the way? I am the way." And the two vipers nearly collide as they both try to get a shot at the cylon. Just as Starbuck has a lock, suddenly a third viper with a large black streak down the side comes from the side and destroys the cylon while crossing their trajectories and forcing Jolly and Starbuck to veer dramatically.

They both hear a feminine voice, "sorry, just couldn't watch you guys play around with him anymore."

Jolly yells, "Slider! Never…ever…cross my path and show me up when I'm showing up Starbuck! Do you understand me!"

Then Apollo chastises all of them. "Knock it off and get back to the Galactica, the fleet is ready to FLT out of the system." As the ships get back into formation for landing, he adds, "nice shooting Slider." Starbuck bristles in her cockpit.

 

Back in the secured quarters, Starbuck, Jolly and a few of his pilots are playing cards. Starbuck says to Jolly, "you'll be pleased to know that Colonel Tigh still hates my guts."

Jolly smiles adjusting his cards and smiling at his pilots, "Excellent judge of character that man."

As Slider bets, she says to Starbuck, "you know that none of us actually has any money, right?"

Starbuck smiles, "then it's your lucky day that I'm a very generous distributor of credit. You don't seem to be afraid of taking risks."

Slider smiles back at her mischievously, "if the return is worth it. Like making you and Jolly eat an exhaust muffy."

Saber, a large bald man calls the bet. Everyone groans upon seeing Starbuck's cards, except Jolly. He lays his hand down and takes the smile from Starbuck's face. He grins, "guess, I'll be deciding whether to offer credit or not." He continues giving Starbuck a leering smile, "I think you'll find my terms both fair and extremely enjoyable."

Starbuck gives him a sarcastic smile and says, "in your dreams."

Jolly fires back, "well once, but I had to have been blindingly drunk."

Sometime later, they are betting upon a pile of miscellaneous flight gear sitting on the table. Starbuck and Jolly appear to be the only ones left in the hand.

Slider leans back and asks Jolly, "so how far do you and Apollo go back?"

Jolly looks at Starbuck who all of a sudden isn't smiling. Jolly responds, "all the way back to the first day of flight school. We were bunk mates."

Slider follows up obviously trying not to appear casual in her questions, "so what was he like?"

Jolly replies studying his cards, "pretty much the same really. Great guy…uptight, but a great guy. Let's just say Apollo was the CAG long before anyone gave him the title." He looks at her slyly. "Why do want to know? You looking to shine the good Captain's boots?"

Slider blushes, "no, I'm just curious that's all."

Jolly smiles, "I'm just messing with you. Apollo's absolutely the best. If I was a woman I'd do him."

Saber calls out, "if you were a woman, we couldn't get you into your viper because you'd be too busy in your rack touching yourself."

Everyone laughs except for Starbuck, she looks at Jolly then Slider, "I thought you two were…"

Jolly replies, "that's ancient history." He looks at Slider, "like what? Four, five weeks ago?"

Slider nods, "yeah, that sounds about right." But then after a moment of hesitation, she remembers to say to everyone, "but if anyone asks we're still an item. I had to tell Dr. Cylon that you and I were together to put him off."

Jolly laughs, "really? Wow Slider, hit on by our Vice President. You are really coming up in the world."

Slider replies laughing back at him, "could you even imagine someone falling for his insincere swarmy pick ups. You'd have to have some serious self-esteem issues to fall for that crap."

Starbuck snaps, "can we just play cards here?"

The door opens and three marines enter with Commander Adama, who is leaning heavily on his cane. Everyone immediately stands at attention. Adama calmly instructs everyone to leave except Jolly. Everyone files out quickly, Starbuck gives Adama a questioning look, but he ignores her.

Once everyone leaves, a marine handcuffs Jolly's hands behind his back. He resists at first, but the marine explains that anyone not cleared by the cylon detector test must be cuffed if left with Commander Adama. The marine then goes behind Jolly to watch over him. Adama tells him that it's ok and to leave them. The marine looks as if he is going to question the order, but then thinks better of it and leaves.

Adama sits where Starbuck was sitting and gestures for Jolly to sit. As Jolly sits Adama admits, "Lieutenant, we would have been in a real jam today if you and your pilots hadn't been here to help."

Jolly looks down, "we lost Vapor and Skidmark today. Both really good pilots…and good friends. I know Apollo lost three of his pilots as well." Then Jolly looks right at him, "sir, I have to tell you that today was the first time in months that I actually felt like I was part of the human race again."

Adama asks, "really?"

Jolly nods, "yes, sir."

Adama gives him a discerning look, "I know you and Lee have been friends for a long time. And you and Starbuck have an interesting relationship to say the least. That's what makes this so difficult."

Jolly looks concerned, "what's so difficult, sir?"

Adama takes his glasses off and cleans them on his jacket, and then he puts them back on. "The results of Dr. Baltar's cylon tests are back and one of your squadron was determined to be a cylon agent."

Jolly looks astonished, "are you sure the test is correct? I have lived with these men and women every moment of every day for months and I would…HAVE trusted everyone of them with my life countless times."

Adama replies, "Dr. Baltar is quite certain."

Jolly nods, "who is it? I'll rip them apart myself."

Adama replies, "it's you, Lieutenant. You are the cylon."

Jolly almost laughs, "me! is this some sort of joke? Starbuck is playing with me?"

Adama just shakes his head, "no, I'm sorry, this is no joke. I have to have you placed in the brig until we can decide what to do with you."

Jolly looks like he has been hit. "Sir, this is a mistake, I'm a loyal HUMAN! Do you know how many cylons I've shot down?"

Adama just looks sad and replies, "it doesn't matter. You may be programmed to not even know you are a cylon until something triggers you to act. I'm sorry but we can't afford to take risks."

Jolly looks down, "so when you say, decide what to do with me, you mean, decide when to execute me?"

Adama remains silent. Jolly slaps his thighs, "well ok, thanks a bunch for coming by. I'll go to the brig and then we'll find a way to prove this is all one big misunderstanding."

Adama stands and goes to leave and then turns, "I wanted to come here and face you personally. You have been one of our family here at Galactica and I wish there were more options to handle this. But we just can't take any chances."

Jolly nods and says before Adama can turn, "sir, if I am going to face our makers, then there is one last question I need an answer to?"

Adama replies, "look Jolly, you are a very talented pilot, but Starbuck is a little better. Sorry."

Jolly throws up his hands and says, "how did you know I was going to ask you that?"

Adama almost smiles as he leaves. The marines enter to take Jolly away.

 

Baltar walks down the corridor while six is berating him. People moving up and down the corridor watch him as he goes by because he looks as if he's walking through a rain shower.

Six says sternly, "why did you pick him? I thought we agreed on the girl!"

Baltar mumbles, "listen, Lieutenant Nevlin is the logical target. He and Boomer were the only pilots to make it out of the massacre of the Galactica's response force. It only makes sense that they would both be cylon agents."

Six replies, "why don't you just admit that you have a weakness for women that reject you. I'm sure that Starbuck coming in to speak to him and completely ignoring you had nothing to do with it as well. Really Gaius, sometimes I wonder why I love you."

Baltar defends himself, "this has nothing to do with Starbuck or Slider. It is simply a matter of not wanting people pouring over my results. The more circumstantial evidence I can provide to back up my conclusions, the less anyone will think to challenge my conclusions. Not to mention I found him to be a pain in the ass." As they continue to walk, he says, "besides for all you know he really did test positive."

 

Two marines lead Jolly into the brig area. The brig controller outside the cell room hits a buzzer and the cell door opens. There are two cots on either side of the cell. Someone is sleeping with the covers over them on one of the cots. One of the guards takes off Jolly's handcuffs and pushs him into the cell.

As the cell door shuts with a thud and the marines turn to leave, Jolly says sarcastically to the guards, "call me." He sits down heavily on the cot and the person across from him rolls over. Jolly yells out, "Boomer!"

Boomer smiles and jumps up and they hug each other. Jolly can't seem to stop grinning, "I thought you…you know with the rest of the squadron."

Boomer smiles back, "I thought the same about you." They sit back down and stare at each other smiling for a moment. Finally Jolly asks good naturedly, "so what are you doing here? Colonel Tigh finally catch you and the chief in a storage locker?"

Boomer's smile fades and she says reluctantly, "apparently I'm a cylon."

Jolly smiles without humor, "apparently there's a lot of that going around. Did you fail Dr. Baltar's ever trusty cylon detector too?"

Boomer looks confused for a moment, "actually, I passed."

Jolly asks, "then how could they possibly suspect you of being a cylon?"

Boomer looks down again, "I shot Commander Adama…but I don't remember doing it."

Jolly looks overwhelmed by the statement and is left speechless. Finally, he says in a low voice, "I guess that's fairly conclusive evidence."

She crosses the distance between them and kneeling takes his hands, he appears to be somewhat uncomfortable, "listen Jolly, there's something weird going on with me. I know that. But I could never do the things the cylons have done."

Jolly is looking for something, anything to say, but then they both turn to see Starbuck standing outside the cell. She gives a cold smile, "am I interrupting something? Far be it from me to interrupt a little cylon love."

Boomer looking embarrassed, sits back on her cot. Jolly stands up and walks to the cell door. They stare at each other for a moment, finally Starbuck says, "put your right arm through the bars."

Jolly asks confused, "what?"

Starbuck is inpatient, "just put your right arm through the bars." Jolly does. Starbuck quickly grabs his arm and twists it back against the bars.

Jolly exclaims, "ow, ow, ow," as she keeps the pressure on. She points to a round scar on his forearm, "do you remember how you got this scar?"

Grimacing from pain, Jolly responds, "yeah, and since you gave it to me, I would hope that you remember too."

She continues with questions not releasing his arm, "where and when?"

Jolly looks at her for a moment, then says, "Caprica. At the flight base. It was the first time we met. Somehow we had both managed to get assigned to the same viper during a training mission. We argued about who's it was and you burned me with a cigar."

Starbuck lets go of his arm and he pulls it into the cell and begins to rub it. Then he smiles, "but I got the viper."

She breaks a small smile at him and puts a hand up to her face, "yeah, my jaw was sore for weeks."

They look at each other for a moment, and then he finally asks, "so what do you want Starbuck? Are you here for a congical visit?"

Starbuck shakes her head, "why do you always have to be such an ass?" Then she turns and leaves.

Jolly falls back on his cot. He and Boomer are both laying down staring at the ceiling. Finally, Jolly asks, "Boomer, since we're probably going to be executed and all, I was wondering…and I want your honest opinion because this is important. Who's the better pilot, me or Starbuck?"

Without missing a beat Boomer says, "Jolly, you are a much better pilot than Starbuck."

He looks over at her, "really?"

Boomer smiles at the ceiling, "no."

 

Apollo addresses the pilots in the mission briefing room. All of the pilots not currently flying on the CAP are there, including the new pilots.

Apollo says, "it's nice to see this room almost full again. I want to officially welcome all of the new pilots to the Galactica as your flight status is now official." Everyone cheers, is smiling and appears happy, except Starbuck. Who sits with her arms folded. Apollo continues, "I know many of you notice that there is one noticeable person missing." He pauses for a moment then continues, "Lieutenant Nevlin has been taken into custody. It appears that test results have shown him to be a cylon agent."

A murmur of protest arises throughout the room. A couple of people start shouting out questions to Apollo. Slider looks down the row she is sitting in and gives the pilot Saber a raised eyebrow. He nods back at her.

After a few moments, Apollo is able to get control back over the room, he says, "I know we've all lost family, friends and loved ones. There isn't a person in this room that hasn't lost many that were dear to them. All I can say is that for those of us that were friends with Jolly, we should remember the good things and accept that he's gone. I wish I could tell you that Jolly is going to be the last casualty, but he won't be. But what we have to do now is to go out and do our jobs. There are almost 50,000 people depending on us to be there to protect them. Don't forget that all of our futures depend on our keeping our minds focused on the job."

Apollo pauses for a moment, and then continues, "on that note, my last comment is that during our last encounter with the cylons, there was some showboating going on between a couple of pilots." Starbuck glowers at Apollo, and throws an obscene gesture his way. Apollo smiles, "very mature. I would have thought that the way Slider out flew you that you'd appreciate what I'm saying."

There is a bit of "ooohing" by the other pilots at Starbuck, who has turned red. Apollo finally continues, "but seriously, I think the cylons are competition enough without us killing ourselves in juvenile stunts. I hope I have made myself clear on this."

 

In the brig, Jolly and Boomer are each sitting on their cots not speaking, each lost in their own thoughts. Finally Boomer says, "if they really think that we are both cylons, why would they put us in the same cell? Doesn't that just make it easier for us to collaborate?"

Jolly responds, "they're probably observing us to see if we have some sort of secret cylon handshake or something."

They both look over to see that Chief Tyrol has entered the brig. He doesn't say anything for a moment looking unsure of himself. Finally he says, "hi Sharon."

She sits up and replies sarcastically, "hi? We're done remember? So I can't think of any good reason for the Chief of the flight deck to be visiting the brig."

The chief clears his throat, "I…uh…found this and thought that you might want it." She comes to the bars and he hands her a locket. "The guards inspected it and said that it would be ok for you to have it."

Boomer looks at it fondly for a moment, then the moment fades and she hands it back to him. "You gave this to me, I don't think I'll really need it when they finally get around to throwing me out of the air lock." She hands it back to him.

He reluctantly takes it, asking "are you sure?"

She replies coolly, "yeah, I'm sure. Go find someone that you do believe in to give it to." The chief takes the locket and turns around and leaves the brig.

Jolly says, "you were kind of hard on him."

She shoots back, "he dumped me. He doesn't believe in me, so what am I supposed to do?"

Jolly softly interjects, "well, you did shoot the Commander. That's got to complicate the relationship."

She softens as she says, "it'll be better for him if he just makes a new start and forgets all about me."

Jolly shrugs, "you're probably right." Changing the subject, he says, "you know, I remember the first day you came aboard the Galactica."

She replies skeptically, "you do not."

He assures her, "of course I do. I had a huge crush on you for the longest time. It was a crush at first site."

She doesn't believe him, "you had a crush on me? You were way too busy fighting with Starbuck to notice some rookie."

He says, "I think just about every guy in the squadron did, and a couple of the women."

She asks slyly, "and just how long did you harbor these lustful thoughts regarding your fighting comrade?"

Jolly replies, "right up until I found out you were a cylon." But then says seeing her sad look, "I think we all gave up when you started sneaking off with the chief. It's hard to hit on someone when their boyfriend works on the ships that you depend on to keep you alive. Besides if it wasn't the chief, I still would have had to fight off Helo."

She smiles and says, "gutless. If you had really cared, you would have fought them off."

 

Apollo and Slider are talking and walking down the corridor. They come to the door of the room that held the new pilots while being sequestered. Slider stops, "I think I still have a really good bottle of wine stashed in my gear. Want to come in and have a glass or two?"

Apollo thinks for a moment and then nods, "sure, why not?"

As they enter the room, they see that no one else is there. Slider reaches into a duffel bag and pulls out a bottle of wine and a couple of cups. As she pours, Apollo asks, "where did you get wine?"

Slider pauses as she recollects and then responds, "when we were scavenging for supplies, we came across a cruise ship that had been ripped apart. We were able to find some food and of course plenty of alcohol." She adds, "which considering the spotty nature of the cargo ship's water recycling system turned out to be a true blessing."

They both sit by the card table and Apollo drinks, "that's really quite good."

Slider asks, "so Jolly says you guys go all the way back to flight school. What was Jolly like in flight school?"

Apollo looks uncomfortable with the topic, "he was a…he was a good guy."

Slider says sarcastically, "wow, that's a ringing endorsement."

Apollo tries to find the words, "he and I were great friends, it's just not a very good subject…now. You know."

Slider nods, "yeah, hard to believe you can be so close to someone and they turn out to be a traitor…although I guess he's not really a traitor …as he was always a cylon. Really kind of scary if you think about it."

Apollo asks, "so how close were you to Jolly?"

Slider blushes and shifts in her seat, "we are…were very close. We may have rescued him, but he really saved our cans during the holocaust. When the attack happened, none of us really had a clue what to do, but Jolly pulled us together." There is a moment of awkward silence then Slider continues, "after a few days, we were all so shell shocked and feeling alone in the universe. Well, Jolly and I…we had a brief relationship. It didn't last very long. I think we were both just trying to find something to hold on to. We decided to just stay very good friends. I think we have a friendship probably a lot like you and Starbuck."

Apollo just kind of nods. Slider asks, "so is there a mrs or want to be mrs Apollo waiting for you on the ship somewhere?"

Apollo smiles, takes another drink and replies, "no, I'm pretty much flying solo formation these days. It's not an area I typically excel at."

Slider leans into him, "I don't know, you seem to be doing ok so far." She smiles, "not great mind you, but ok."

Apollo smiles back, but then squints as if he is having trouble seeing. Slider asks, "are you ok? You look a little pale."

Apollo says, "I think I'm ok, but all of a sudden I don't feel real great." And then he collapses falling out of the chair on to the floor.

 

Starbuck requests permission to enter Commander Adama's quarters. He responds, "permission granted."

She enters looking like she's about to burst. Adama sitting at his desk finally asks, "what's on your mind, Starbuck?"

Starbuck hesitates for a moment, then blurts out, "are you sure we're doing the right thing with Jolly?"

Adama puts his pen down and looks at her, "what do you mean?"

She steps closer, "are we sure about the test results? I mean, he hasn't actually done anything wrong."

Adama replies, "our Vice President is quite certain of the test results. He assures me that there was no mistake."

Starbuck rolls her eyes, "do you really feel that Gai…Dr. Baltar is a truly trustworthy source of information. He can be a little odd."

Adama nods, "certainly our vice president has shown that he has an eccentric side, but he's a scientist. Of course we see him as a little off. But I don't have anyone else."

Starbuck looks like she is going to say something, but then doesn't. She switches gears, "it doesn't really make sense that Jolly would be a cylon agent, if you think about it."

Adama looks almost amused, "how so?"

Starbuck goes on, "well, think about it. A cylon agent would want to stay low key and avoid attention right? Does that sound like Jolly to you?"

Adama shakes his head and smiles at her. So Starbuck keeps going, "he's usually a complete ass. I don't think the cylons would know how to program someone that irritating."

Adama explains in a fatherly manner, "the test results were conclusive. The real point here is…we can't hesitate when confronted with cylon agents. It's obvious that the cylons created these models to make us conflicted and unsure of ourselves. But if we in the military protect those that we have personal feelings for, what kind of message will that send to the rest of the fleet? No, we must act decisively to set an example."

Starbuck asks, "what about Boomer…the Boomers? We've kept them in the brig for weeks. Why haven't we shoved them out of an airlock?"

Adama thinks for a moment, "with them, we have a unique opportunity to study the differences between two of the same model. By observing them we may be able to find better ways to identify cylons. Also one of them is pregnant and it appears that is a part of the cylon master plan. Anything that can help us figure out exactly what that is, I consider important."

Starbuck nods, "I know I have no evidence or good reason for you to not go through with this, but my gut is screaming that something here is wrong. You were a fighter pilot, you know that sometimes you just have to trust your gut."

Adama remains silent, finally Starbuck says, "so I guess that's it."

Adama considers for a moment, "did Jolly have any family?"

Starbuck replies, "he always said that he wasn't close to his family. I know that neither Lee nor I have ever met any of them, and they aren't listed on any of the survivor lists."

Adama nods, "I'll have Lieutenant Gaeta run the test again. Just to make sure."

Starbuck getting a little emotional says, "thank you sir." And then leaves.

 

Jolly and Boomer are awakened by the sound of voices in the control area just outside of the holding cells. The controller asks, "what do you want him for?"

A deep voice responds, "Captain Apollo has ordered us to bring him for questioning. I think they found something on one of the new vipers they think might be a cylon device." There is a buzzing sound as the lights come on and two marine guards come into the cell area. The smaller of the two guards instructs Jolly to leave the cell and places handcuffs on Jolly behind his back. The larger one says, "we have orders…"

Jolly cuts him off, "yeah, I just heard you. You were only right there."

As the guards escort Jolly through the corridors, Jolly says to the taller guard, "Saber, what the hell is going on?" Saber replies, "I'm ordered to take you to Captain Apollo." Then Jolly looks at the other guard, "you didn't have to make the cuffs quite so tight Whiplash. All evidence to the contrary, I might need to use my hands again someday."

They eventually come to the room that the new pilots were sequestered in. They enter and find Slider wearing a flight suit and Apollo lying naked on what was Jolly's cot. Once the door closes Jolly turns on them, "what the frak is going on!"

Slider throws him a flight gear bag and says, "what does it look like? We're breaking out of this dump."

Jolly walks over to Apollo, as Slider says, "he's fine. I just spiked his wine. He'll wake up and not know what happened."

Jolly asks, "and why is he naked?"

Slider smiles innocently and shrugs, "I tossed his clothes into the waste disposal chute. Let's face it, he's uptight. Cute, but uptight. If he wakes up without any clothes, I figure it'll take him a while to get the guts to go do anything about it. Which gives us plenty of time for our getaway."

Saber comments, "plus, since we were using him as the excuse to get you out of the brig, it was important that he not be available if the controller had questions."

Jolly crosses his arms, "so you think they are just going to let us leave?"

Slider shakes her head, "of course not. I have Pagan, Rebel and FreeFall distracting the flight crews, so we will be able to…temporarily…take over the flight deck. Hotwire and Rover are fixing communications so after we have launched, the flight crews won't be able to alert anyone. And Topper, Vandal and Nosedive are securing the 'Chaser' and on my word everyone else is just ready to hop on out."

Jolly asks, "and what if the CAP comes after us? You plan on shooting down the fleet's vipers?"

Saber points at Whiplash, who says in an uncanny impression of Apollo, "This is Captain Apollo, there is reason to believe that there is a threat to Colonial One. You are to take up defensive positions around her and not leave your post under any conditions. We'll relieve you on CAP until the crisis is resolved."

Jolly thinks for a moment, "this is the best laid out plan for an utterly stupid idea that I've ever seen. So you want to get back on that cramped cargo ship and fight cylons everyday with no relief except the eventuality of running out of supplies or into a basestar?"

They all shrug. Saber says, "we aren't going to sit by while they execute you. You aren't a cylon, you could have killed all of us anytime you wanted to."

Jolly replies, "Well, I'm not leaving. Look I'm very touched that you all care enough about me to do something this dumb, but I won't have all of your lives thrown away for me. The whole squad has a new chance for a life here on the Galactica and I won't be the reason that you don't get it. Boomer had just destroyed an entire cylon basestar just minutes before shooting the Commander. I can't…won't be responsible for something like that happening. I'd rather be executed than do something like that. Plus the fleet needs you, we can't leave the last people alive without the protection your fighters provide."

Jolly places his hands behind his back, "please just take me back to the cell. Before the whole squad ends up in the brig…there aren't enough racks." Slider, Saber and Whiplash look at each other unsure what to do. Finally, Slider nods to Whiplash who places the handcuffs back on Jolly.

 

Apollo wakes up and instantly notices that he isn't wearing a shirt. He lifts the covers to see that he is naked underneath them. He looks up to see Slider in a flight suit standing over him. She beams, "good morning sunshine."

Apollo looking baffled responds, "last night, did we…uh?"

Slider quickly kisses him on the forehead and says, "no, but don't worry, I understand it happens to every guy sooner or later." Then looking down at the sheet, "looks like you're cured already, must have just been all that wine. Well, gotta go, I'm late for my turn on CAP."

As she rushes out, Apollo sits up and begins scanning the room for his clothes. He calls out, "Slider!" But the door closes and she's gone.

 

Baltar walks into his lab and is surprised to find Lieutenant Gaeta already working. He says, "excuse me Lieutenant, but I remember telling you that I wouldn't be in need of your services today. I don't want to take you away from your very important CIC work."

Gaeta looks nervous while saying, "I was specifically ordered to rerun the test on Jolly today."

Baltar seems a little put out, "ordered by whom?"

Gaeta replies, "Commander Adama, himself."

Baltar composes himself after thinking for a moment, he walks towards the equipment saying, "well…will you tell the Commander that I will be happy to run the test on Lieutenant Nevlin again and I'll bring the results to him myself the moment they are complete."

Gaeta shakes his head, "I'm sorry sir. I was ordered to complete the test myself. I know it might not make sense to a civilian, but Commanding officers can be very picky about their orders being followed to the letter. And I was instructed to perform the test."

Baltar in nervous mode says, "yes of course. I wouldn't want to put you in an awkward position with the Commander."

Suddenly, Six is there and talking into Baltar's ear, "I told you to pick the girl. Apparently, Jolly has friends that are bending the Commander's ear. Perhaps a certain fiery blond pilot has taken up his cause. If she wanted the good Lieutenant cleared, I bet the Commander would do almost anything for her. Probably have Gaeta run through your entire program and quality check every test you've run before he's done."

Baltar grabs the phone as Gaeta looks at him inquisitively. On the other end, Colonel Tigh answers the phone. He answers out of temper, "what?"

Baltar is visibly shaking now, "I…uh…need to speak with Commander Adama, right away."

Six says while running her hands through his hair, "if you want me to help you, this might be a good moment to tell me the results of Jolly's test."

Baltar says, "does it matter anymore? This has become bigger than him."

Tigh says, "hell yes it matters why you want to talk to him, Mr. Vice President. He's very bus…"

Adama takes the phone from Tigh, "what can I do for you Mr. Vice President?"

Tigh says while walking away, "what a prima donna."

Baltar tries to steady his voice, "I understand that you would like the test on Lieutenant Nevlin run again. I would be happy to take care of that, so Lieutenant Gaeta can attend to his other duties." Baltar tries to smile, "wouldn't want him to get into trouble on my account."

Adama replies, "Mr. Vice President, I understand how valuable your time is and that the cylon detector while essential, does take a lot of your time away from matters of government of the fleet that must be pressing. When I decided that we should run a second test before executing someone suspected of being a cylon agent, I didn't want to add to your otherwise already full schedule, so I decided that Lieutenant Gaeta should run those himself. It's just to ease your burden."

Six says, "did you notice now that he says 'suspected cylon agent', it's no longer the cylon agent."

Baltar says near stuttering, "I really don't mind."

Adama replies, "you are far too giving of your time, Mr. Vice President, so the more Lieutenant Gaeta can do, the less we'll need to steal your time from matters of state."

And Adama hangs up. Baltar slowly hangs up the phone and walks out of the lab. Baltar stops at a bulkhead to think but Six is right there tormenting him, "Gaius, what will you do? Not only is he doing this test, but he might be stealing your only chance to cover yourself right out from under you. Perhaps if you trusted me, these little messes wouldn't happen."

Baltar says, "there needs to be an accident, something that can make this go away."

Six smiles, "now you're talking. What kind of accident is our dear Lieutenant Gaeta going to have?"

Baltar responds, "not him. Killing him would only temporarily solve the problem. It's obvious that Adama wants to have someone looking over my shoulder. So the solution is removing the test."

Without warning, Six hits Baltar with her elbow in the gut. He doubles over in pain. She says angrily, "we have discussed this before. The test has to remain. There will have to be another way for you to weasel out of this situation that you have created."

When he catches his breath, he asks, "why? What exactly do you gain by keeping a cylon detector around?"

She puts her hand on his face and gets her lips right up to his ear, "because very soon there is a test that I will need you to run for me."

 

The door opens and Apollo is standing there with a sheet around his waist. Starbuck angrily throws a folded up uniform at him. He catches it and says, "nice to see someone else is having a good morning too."

Starbuck enters the room pushing past Apollo. Apollo lets the door close and after an awkward silence asks, "so what's gotten you so riled up?"

Starbuck thinks for a moment obviously emotional, "first of all, how did you end up in this room without a uniform?"

Apollo replies, "that's hard to explain. You see…"

Starbuck cuts him off, "I don't really care. The problem I have is you."

Apollo almost laughs, "me? What did I do?"

Starbuck shakes her head, "they are going to execute one of our best friends and you don't seem to give a frak. You act like he's already dead."

Apollo replies as he slips the pants on underneath the sheet. "Look, the best way to handle this is to treat Jordan as if he died in combat. As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to remember Jordan as if he died fighting. That's how I want to remember him. I think that's how he'd want it too."

Starbuck laughs, "why don't we go ask him. He's still alive, Lee!" She continues, "you've known him a lot longer than I have, but I…not you…I had to go to the Commander…your father…and beg for him to give Jordan every chance possible. Where the hell have you been? Oh I see, you've been too busy Sliding around with your new girlfriend to care."

Apollo explodes with anger, he closes the distance between them. "I care, but there isn't anything I can do about it! How can I say that Jordan should get special attention just because he's our friend? The test results are the test results and it doesn't matter how badly I want…or even need them to be different."

Starbuck storms past him out of the room, as she is about to leave she turns, "tell you what Lee, if I'm ever up against the wall, don't bother to help me. Just remember fondly that I died fighting." And she exits the room.

 

Jolly and Boomer are each given a small tray of food. They eat on their cots. Jolly says, "at least, they are feeding us, so we won't starve. Or can we starve? I guess I don't really understand how this whole 'being a cylon' thing works yet?"

Boomer snaps, "would you shut up about it? I'm so sick of talking about cylons, I wish I had never been born."

Jolly ignores her complaint, "do you think we were born? Or created on some sort of assembly line?"

Boomer lets her tray drop to the ground and puts her head in her hands. Jolly sets his tray aside and comes over and sits next her. He says, "hey, I'm sorry. I'm just completely overwhelmed, scared and confused and the only way I know how to deal is to treat the situation as absurd as it is. This whole thing is just crazy. I didn't mean to upset you."

Without looking up, she sobs, "I'm not upset."

Jolly replies, "of course not. What I meant to say, is that I wouldn't want to give you a reason to kick my ass." He can see her smile abit, so he continues, "you know, Apollo tried to make that my callsign?"

Boomer looks up, "what?"

Jolly smiles while putting his arm around her, "back in flight school, Apollo tried to make my official fighting name Jack Ass. It's true."

Boomer smiles and asks, "Apollo has a sense of humor?"

Jolly replies, "yeah, sure he does. He usually stores it in his locker, he doesn't like for it to see the light very often, but every once in awhile he lets it out for air."

Boomer follows up, "so why don't they call you Jack Ass?"

He says, "because I had everyone start calling him 'tight ass.' If you had to choose between being called Apollo, son of the gods or tight ass, which would you pick? So we decided to call it a draw."

Boomer places her head on his shoulder, "it's just so hard. There's a woman in another brig on this ship that looks just like me. Apparently, she knows everything I do. Can you understand how weird that is?"

Jolly thinks for a moment, then responds, "no, I can't, but that's lucky for you."

She asks, "why?"

He explains, "because you could be stuck in this tiny cell surrounded by a bunch of me. If you think one is annoying…" Boomer laughs lightly and they sit there for a moment. Jolly drifts into what is apparently a very deep and disturbing thought.

 

President Roslin is in Commander Adama's quarters sitting on his couch. He is standing pouring them a couple of glasses of water. She asks as he walks over and hands one to her, "so how are the new pilots working out?"

He replies, "very well. They have already been integrated with our squadron and are performing as well as any of our pilots."

She smiles, "that's excellent. They certainly couldn't have been more needed." They sit for a moment, Roslin continues, "and of the pilot found to be a cylon? What is happening with him?"

Adama clears his throat, "I'm having the test run again for confirmation and if it comes back positive, we'll execute him."

Roslin seems confused, "and why are we running the test again?"

Adama responds, "if we are going to execute someone based upon one test…one criteria, I think the least we can do is to make sure that we got it right. Also, since this is the first cylon we've discovered through the Vice President's cylon detector, it seems prudent to insure that the test results can be replicated."

Roslin asks, "so my having to deal with an offended Vice President and your having Lieutenant Gaeta run the second test…is that ensuring the test is reliable or that our Vice President is reliable?"

Adama says without further explanation, "both."

Roslin nods and follows up, "and what about the multiple copies of the raptor pilot that we've been holding for awhile now?"

Adama's only reply, "if you have a point to make Madame President, I think it would be best to just say it."

She pauses for a moment to collect her words, and then says, "in the past, when we have come across cylon agents, we haven't hesitated to execute them. Now we have three agents in the brig on the Galactica and no definite plans on what to do with them. And I shouldn't have to add that one of them is guilty of shooting you." She adds trying to display a bit of humor, "Even I authorized the execution of a cylon. People are going to think that you're the softie and I'm the hard ass."

Adama replies, "Madame President, I killed the first cylon agent back at the armory. The reason we haven't hesitated, including the one that you threw out of the airlock is that we knew without testing that they were in fact cylon agents. Lieutenant Nevlin has performed no espionage. We have no evidence other than the test results to implicate him. If there is any chance that an error has been made, once I execute him, I can't exactly take it back."

She responds, "I know the military doesn't care about the opinions and rumors that run rampant in the rest of the fleet. But I have a lot of scared people to look after. And they are terrified of the idea that cylons might be living right next to them. And now it appears as if the military command is hesitant to deal with cylons that are found within their ranks. The rumors have already begun."

Adama corrects her, "we have not hesitated, we have them safely in the brig. In this war, we haven't had a lot of assets. It's possible that these agents are an asset that we can exploit against the cylons. I don't want to destroy something that might make the difference because the people, whether civilian or military are scared. Also, as we find more and more agents, I think we need to have a definitive system for determining guilt and punishment. I won't execute people out of hand." He pauses, then asks, "if I remember correctly, weren't you opposed to the death penalty?"

She corrects him, "I still am. But these are not people, they're cylons. I thought you understood the difference."

 

In the lab, Baltar is hovering around as Lieutenant Gaeta is trying to work. He continues to come up with excuses to come to the lab and bug Gaeta as he tries to accomplish the second testing on Jolly. Baltar says in a nervous tone, "did you remember to reverse the sequencing in the third stage of the test?"

Six has straddled a chair with her head resting on her arms and appears bored. Gaeta exasperated responds, "yes, I remembered."

Baltar continues, "because it's really crucial to the end results…if you reverse the sequencing."

Finally, Gaeta gets the nerve to say something, "listen Mr. Vice President, I really have to finish this. I would be happy for you to double check the findings once the test is complete, but I really need to get this done."

Baltar smiles, "yes, yes, I'll be happy to double check your work. Two pairs of eyes are undoubtedly better than one, right?"

Gaeta reluctantly says, "well, a few pairs of eyes, you'll receive a copy and the commander and the president."

Six comments, "now you're relegated to a distribution list. That airlock idea just looks better and better, huh Gaius?"

Baltar composes himself and begins to slowly leave, "of course, so I won't keep you. I had better get going anyway."

As soon as Baltar leaves the room, Gaeta gets up to go to the bathroom and leaves the lab. A few moment later, Baltar comes back into the room. He mutters, "about time. He must have a bladder made of iron." Baltar rushes over to the computer and begins hitting keys. He's shocked, "I'm locked out. Sometimes I think that he doesn't completely trust me."

Six says sarcastically, "how ungrateful."

 

Apollo watches as Slider opens and exits the cockpit of a recently landed viper. As she talks to the flight crew pointing out certain spots of the ship, Apollo walks up to her.

Slider turns around and smiles at him. Apollo asks, "Lieutenant, can I talk to you?"

Slider gets a serious look and salutes him, "certainly sir." They both walk across the flight deck towards the lockers.

Apollo looks nervous and asks, "so how was CAP?"

She almost laughs, "the CAP was fine. No cylons or anything else for that matter within light years."

Apollo nods, "that's good…very good."

Slider gives him a sideways look, "is there something else you wanted to talk about sir?"

Apollo replies, "you don't have to call me sir." After an awkward pause he says, "I just wanted to apologize for last night?"

Slider asks, "apologize?"

He continues, "if I did anything…inappropriate, I just want you to know that I am very sorry."

Slider smiles and blushes, as she puts a hand to his cheek, "that is so cute. But unfortunately, you were a complete gentleman the whole time."

He smiles and says, "that's…good. It's that I just can't have two of my best pilots hating my guts."

Slider asks, "who else would hate your guts?"

Apollo responds, "oh Starbuck thinks that I'm a disloyal jerk for writing off Jolly. She thinks that we should be fighting for him."

Slider thinks and says, "well, I don't know about the disloyal jerk part, but I actually agree with her, but I don't think that's the only reason she is mad at you."

Apollo looks confused, "really, what else could there be?"

Slider replies, "she thinks I'm trying to steal you away from her."

Apollo laughs, "sorry, but you are so way off base. Not Starbuck."

Slider says, "that would explain why she threatened to kick my ass if I tried to get into the shower before her this morning."

Apollo shakes his head, "that's just Starbuck, she comes across like that sometimes."

Slider replies, "I wasn't even near the showers."

He still makes excuses, "she's just upset about Jolly. Trust me, the last thing in the world Starbuck would be jealous of is me."

Slider begins to enter into the locker room, she turns, "well, all that may be true, but mark my words, she thinks I'm trying to steal you away." And then says with a wink, "of course, she might be right." And she leaves Apollo standing there.

 

Jolly has been brought to Commander Adama's quarters escorted by two marines. He is cuffed behind his back and at his ankles. The two marines take up position behind him, but Adama orders them to leave. They reluctantly obey the order. Adama tells Jolly to sit. He says, "I think you should hear this."

He turns the nob on his radio equipment and there is the noise of a group of reporters all trying to ask questions, finally a woman asks, "Mr. Vice President, do you think that the military is protecting cylon agents?"

Baltar's voice in his most charming mode says, "I can assure you that is not the case. I'm sure that any delays are purely for strategic reasons."

Another reporter shouts out, "Mr. Vice President, so you don't think that Commander Adama is dragging his feet on executing known cylon spies?"

Dr. Baltar smoothly replies, "no, I'm sure Commander Adama's ordering redundant testing for the pilot currently under arrest is simply a case of his being a very thorough man."

Another reporter asks, "how many other times has the Commander ordered second tests?"

Dr. Baltar smiles ever so slightly, "actually never, but I'm sure he has very good reasons."

A reporter asks, "when will you have the results of the second test?"

Baltar replies, "well, I don't know. Commander Adama asked someone else to perform the test. I haven't been involved."

A reporter shouts out over the crowd, "is the new person performing the tests from the military?"

Baltar hesitates for a moment, "well, yes. But this individual has been very useful to me in the past."

The same reporter follows up, "is the person performing the test even a scientist?"

Baltar shrugs, "not per se, no. However, this officer is very competent. In fact, he's one of Commander Adama's command officers."

The reporters begin shouting again and Adama turns it off. He looks Jolly over and says, "Lieutenant, you don't have to be a prophet of Kobol to see where this is headed. You're options are running out fast. I'll wait until Gaeta has the test results, but if there's been no mistake, then I'm going to have to move quickly. Do you understand what that means?"

Jolly looking nervously, just nods. Adama continues, "time is running out and the mobs are starting to form. That leaves me with some difficult decisions. I may have to create a solution before the results are even back."

Jolly looks Adama in the eye, "sir, I know…I'm a bit of a screw up. Probably only second to Starbuck in terms of being a pain in the ass, but I would never do anything to place the fleet at risk. I want you to know that I understand what you have to do. The security of the fleet is more important than one person's life."

Adama looks him over again, "somehow I had a feeling you would understand."

 

Starbuck enters the brig area to find Slider talking to Jolly through the bars. Slider upon seeing Starbuck says to Jolly, "I'd better go, but I'll come talk to you later. Take care of yourself, ok."

Jolly says with a sad smile, "I'll be here."

As Slider passes Starbuck, she says, "hey."

Starbuck just nods and walks past. She asks Jolly, "where's your little cylon buddy?"

Jolly says without emotion, "she was gone when the guards brought me back. With our Vice President all but accusing the Commander of being soft on cylons, they probably decided we were getting along too well. She's probably in another cell somewhere on the ship."

Starbuck nods, "well, don't worry. Gaeta's a very dependable guy. He'll get to the bottom of this."

Jolly looks at her, "get to the bottom of what?"

Starbuck explains, "once the second test is finished, we'll have proof you aren't a cylon."

Jolly looks almost menacing, "and how do you know I'm not a cylon?"

Starbuck tries to smile but can't quite make it, and replies, "Jordan? Don't be stupid. You're no cylon. I've know you too long to believe that you were a robot the whole time."

Jolly looks at her discerningly, "Starbuck, does anyone really know someone else?" He looks at her with a pained expression on his face, as he grips the bars he says, "I don't even think I know myself anymore."

Starbuck places a hand on top of his, "it's ok to have self doubt. Trust me, I'm chock full of them. But you can't give up." She smiles weakly, "it's not over until…"

Jolly finishes for her, "until they throw me out of an airlock?" He pauses, then breaks into a smile, "do you think I have to be thrown out of an airlock? Or can I choose my poison, as they say."

Now Starbuck looks sad, "I don't think it really matter…can we not talk about that."

Jolly continues, "because if they throw me out an airlock, my hair is just not going to look right. And I want to go out the way I lived…gorgeous."

She smiles, "you really are a complete ass. You just can't help it can you?"

From behind them, someone says, "he's a complete jack ass actually."

They both turn to see Apollo enter the room. Starbuck self consciously removes her hand from Jolly's. Apollo walks over to them, "I thought I should come check out your new pad."

Jolly replies, "wow Lee, that was personable and almost funny in a vague kind of way." He looks Apollo over then turning to Starbuck, "maybe he's the cylon?"

Starbuck smiles and then examining Apollo says, "let's see…robotic…seemingly emotionless…aloof from all socialization…there might be a case to be made here."

Apollo looks offended, "let's not get morbid here. I just came by…because I thought you could use a few of these." He hands Jolly three cigars.

Starbuck nods her approval, "you'll like those. I have a stash of them I've been hording, and I'm down to my last thre…" She slugs Apollo hard in the arm. "You bastard!"

Apollo smiles and shrugs. Starbuck quickly reaches through the cell bars and grabs two of the cigars back. Jolly smiles, "that's ok, the way things are going, I'll only have time to smoke one of these anyway."

Starbuck admonishes Apollo, "can't believe I'm going to have to report the CAG for stealing."

Jolly says looking at Apollo, "Lee, thanks for coming by."

Apollo looks embarrassed, "I was in the neighborhood anyway."

 

Baltar is on the phone in the lab and it's obvious from his manner that he's being chewed out. He replies nervously, "well, I 'm sorry Madame President. Should I call you Laura, since I am Vice…ok, Madame President, yes I understand completely…I never meant to imply…no, no, I have complete confidence…you did tell Commander Adama how much I respect…hello? hello?" He hangs up the phone and says to Gaeta who is working, "was it something I said?"

Gaeta responds tentatively, "actually Mr. Vice President, I think it was several things you said."

Six who is standing beside Baltar says as she massages his shoulders, "forget about her. People of greatness are never appreciated by those around them. Most just don't have a vision far enough into the future to understand. But I do."

Baltar shrugs her off and says to Gaeta, "you understand don't you? I was ambushed by reporters. I didn't say anything to impune you or Commander Adama. You know I have complete confidence in your work?"

Gaeta kind of shrugs and says without conviction, "sure Mr. Vice President, if you say so." He stands up to leave, "I need to report to CIC." And then he leaves.

Six asks playfully, "I bet shoving him out of an airlock doesn't seem like such a bad idea now, does it?"

Baltar looks at Gaeta's computer, tries to access it, but finds it's locked again. Baltar overcomes his nervousness and says, "no, that still wouldn't be enough. The problem here is that someone else always has the authority to take my work away from me. If it weren't him, it would just be someone else. And there just aren't enough airlocks on this ship to get rid of everybody. What I need is autonomy. Authority to do what I want, not answering to anyone else."

Six purrs, "I knew God had a plan for you, Gaius. I'm just turned on that you are starting to see the potential." Baltar and Six kiss passionately.

 

Jolly is sleeping on his rack when he hears the buzz of the cell door being opened. He looks up to a blurry image of a female marine standing there. He allows his eyes a chance to focus and asks, "Boomer, what the frak are you doing?"

Boomer replies, "it's time to go. Come help me."

Jolly rises from his cot and follows her to the control room. The controller is slumped over his chair and there is an armed marine lying on the floor. Jolly gulps, "did you kill them?"

Boomer shakes her head, "I knocked them out." She holds up what looks like a small aerosol can and explains, "since cylons have been able to breach security, Colonel Tigh had all of the marines on guard duty fitted with heart monitors as part of their uniforms. If you kill one, all sorts of alarms go off. Now help me get them into the cell, because I have no idea how long this stuff will keep them out."

Boomer and Jolly get the men dragged into the cell. Jolly trades uniforms with the marine. Boomer encourages him to get moving, but Jolly grabs her arm. "How did you get out of your cell?"

Boomer explains as quickly as she can. "I was sleeping when the door buzzer went off. I got up to find my door open and the controller and guard knocked out. There was a message on the computer screen. Someone had typed that a friend had decided to help us get off the ship."

Jolly asks, "there's another cylon agent aboard ship?"

Boomer shrugs, "I was left with this can of gas and instructions that a raptor is being prepped for patrol. Supplies have been stored on board for us. Now I can't explain everything. If you want to be executed, you can stay here, otherwise you are going to have to trust me."

Jolly thinks for a moment, "ok, I don't see that I have many options."

 

Lieutenant Gaeta walks into CIC and starts going through reports and checking equipment readings. When he comes beside Petty Officer Dualla, she comments, "I didn't think you worked here anymore."

Gaeta shakes his head, "I will be so happy when this test is over and done. Who would have thought I would miss the CIC."

Dualla jokes, "it'll be good to have you back because you are very competent and have been sooo useful for us in the past."

Gaeta gives her a dirty look, "shut up. The test is minutes from completion. Within the hour my life will be back to normal. No more, Mr. Vice President looking over my shoulder." And he goes to check other readings.

 

Starbuck is pulling out her flight gear from her locker when Apollo walks in. He comes to his locker and begins pulling his gear out. Starbuck laughs, "I can't believe you had the audacity to steal your best pilot's stogies. You are the worst CAG ever."

Apollo smiles, "it was a gesture. And who ever declared you to be my best pilot?"

She smiles, "I believe you did. You told Jordan that I was better than him."

Apollo laughs, "I told him that you were better than he was. I never said you were my best pilot."

Starbuck continues the argument, but is interrupted when Slider pokes her head into the room. She says to Apollo, "hey I forgot to ask you what time?"

Apollo responds, "I was thinking 5:30pm?"

Slider noticing Starbuck is staring intently at her loses her smile and says, "5:30 would be great. See ya then." And she leaves.

Starbuck says to Apollo, "so Slider is moving on to you now, is she?"

Apollo challenges her, "what does that mean?"

Starbuck counters, "Jolly was running the show and she and he had a thing. Now she has her sights on you. Sounds like someone likes to sleep with the boss."

Apollo snaps, "why do you care who I or she sleeps with. You're the one always telling me that I need to get laid."

Starbuck fires, "I thought you said that you hadn't slept with her?"

Apollo says, "I haven't…didn't…not yet anyway."

Starbuck snaps, "so you do plan to though!"

Apollo tries to reply coolly, "I don't have any plans except dinner. Whatever happens, happens. I don't see why you care all of a sudden. It's not like you let me critique your dating habits."

Starbuck argues, "but you do, Lee. You always have an opinion of what I do and who I see."

Apollo grabs his gear, "I only care when the number of men you've slept with hits some sort of mathematical milestone or gets in the way of you doing your job." And Apollo storms out, while Starbuck looks like she is going to cry.

 

Jolly and Boomer stop when they come to the bulkhead just outside of the flight deck. Suddenly, Jolly looks at her and hands her his rifle, "I have to go take care of something."

Boomer asks, "what? We have to go. It's too late."

Jolly looks determined, "no, I have to do this…I can't go until I do this. I just can't." As he moves to leave, he says, "if I'm not back in time, go without me."

Boomer grabs his arm and says, "Jordan, come back."

Jolly smiles and says, "by your command."

 

Baltar breaks away from Six's embrace, smiles at her and then suddenly grabs the chair and tries to bring it down upon the lab equipment. Six grabs him from behind screaming, "NO!"

Baltar says almost out of breath, "this is the only way, trust me." And he finally manages to bring the chair down on the computer equipment.

Six punches Baltar in the face and he falls down. On the ground he realizes that his hand is on a metal rod that has broken off from the bottom of the chair. Six kicks him, but he manages to get up and start smashing equipment with the rod. She continues to pummel him as he brings the rod down on anything he can. Six screeches as she grabs him and throws him against the wall, "we need this! This isn't yours anymore, it belongs to God!"

Baltar manages to spit out as Six holds him against the wall with her arm on his throat, "God needs me, right? I can always build another cylon detector, but good luck building a new Gaius. Creating a new detector will give me the time I need to establish my plan, and then…we will be in charge…of everything." Suddenly Baltar and Six both look over at the doorway and Jolly is standing there with a pistol aimed at Baltar.

Jolly enters the lab, finding Baltar leaning with his back against the wall yelling at no one. Upon seeing Jolly's gun, Baltar drops the metal rod. Jolly looks around and says, "well doc, looks like someone beat me to the punch." He sees that Baltar's face is covered with blood, Jolly asks, "who did that? Did a cylon agent beat me here?"

Baltar replies while wiping his face with his shirt tail, "not exactly." Never taking his eyes off the pistol, Baltar asks, "what are you doing out of the brig, Lieutenant Nevlin?"

Jolly smiles, "I'm making my big getaway, but I needed to complete my last mission before heading off." Jolly looks at all of the wrecked equipment, and asks, "I need to know. Did my test results really identify me as a cylon? Or are you playing some sort of game?"

Baltar tries to joke, "it depends on what response will get you to point that gun in another direction."

Jolly gives him a cruel smile, "that would have to be one interesting response doc."

Baltar becomes nervous again and puts his hands up, "listen Lieutenant, I don't really know what to say."

Jolly replies, "the truth would be a good start. But I get the feeling that it's been a long time since you said anything remotely close to the truth."

Baltar agrees, "I can see that you are a very astute judge of character. However, Lieutenant Gaeta is completely trustworthy and his results should be available very soon. We could sit and wait…have a cup of coffee."

Jolly shakes his head, "I need to know now! I don't exactly have a lot of time here, so…" Jolly concentrates his aim and indicates a willingness to shoot.

Baltar starts babbling in terror, "look, you don't understand! The test is complex!" As he can see that Jolly isn't moved, he continues talking, "the truth is….the truth is… that I'm not really sure."

Jolly looks at him incrediously, "what do you mean you aren't really sure?"

Baltar responds, "let's just say that the test results can be somewhat open to conjecture."

Jolly spits in disgust, "but you were willing to have me executed?" After a moment, Jolly smiles, "well, I guess there is one last thing I need to do here."

Baltar is shaking as he says, "please…don't kill me. I can help you…I am one of you."

Just as Jolly pulls the trigger, Lieutenant Gaeta tackles him from behind. The shot goes wild and the gun flies from Jolly's hand. Gaeta and Jolly struggle, eventually after an initial struggle, Jolly hits Gaeta hard across the jaw and throws him over the lab table. He looks up to see that Baltar now has the pistol aimed at him.

Jolly raises his arms and Gaeta slowly lifts himself from the ground and asks Baltar, "are you ok?" Baltar nods nervously. Gaeta goes to the phone saying, "I'll call security."

But Gaeta never gets to the phone as Baltar turns and shoots him in the back. Gaeta falls to the ground and blood begins to pool on the back of his uniform. Jolly jumps Baltar and the two struggle for the gun. Jolly hits Baltar and he falls but as he hits the ground the gun goes off and blood splashes from Jolly's left arm.

Baltar continues firing wildly as Jolly runs from the room. After a moment, Baltar slowly stands as he surveys the damage done to the lab. He laughs out loud and says to Six, "this worked out well, don't you think?"

Six asks from behind him looking down at Gaeta, "why did you decide to kill him now?"

Baltar responds hesitantly as if not sure what he has just done, "I don't know what he heard. Besides now that Jolly has killed an officer, there is no way they will take him alive. Not that anyone would believe that I wrecked my own lab." He walks over and stands over Gaeta's body trying to decide if he should make sure he is dead when three marines storm into the lab. Baltar cries, "Lieutenant Nevlin did it!" and drops the gun.

 

On the flight deck, the chief and crew are discussing the next round of repairs to begin on the new vipers. Two pilots are walking quickly to a prepped raptor waiting to be launched. One says to the other, "looks like they are going to throw her out the door whether we're here or not."

Apollo storms on to the deck with Starbuck following right behind. She calls, "Lee…" But she doesn't get a chance to finish as alarms begin to go off all over the ship. Everyone looks around, and then suddenly two people dressed in marine uniforms rush on to the flight deck firing their rifles.

Everyone hits the deck or dives for cover, except Starbuck and the chief. They watch as Jolly and Boomer run to the waiting raptor, firing their rifles high in an attempt to not actually hit anyone. Starbuck ,who hasn't taken cover, shouts out, "Jolly! What are you doing!" She begins running towards the pair, but then Apollo grabs her and pulls her behind a repair cart.

As Jolly is about to enter the raptor, he spots that one of the raptor pilots laying prone on the ground has gotten his sidearm out of it's holster. Jolly says, "don't even think about it Hermes! Not unless you want to learn to fly left handed." The pilot shoves the pistol away.

Boomer makes it to the raptor and hears the chief shout, "Sharon! Wait!" But Boomer closes the hatch and rushes to the pilot's seat.

Jolly gets in her way, "I think I had better fly. I don't know how to run anything on this boat, except the pilot's seat." As he sits, he grabs his left arm in pain, noticing that blood is still running down his arm. Boomer starts to argue, but realizes that there isn't time. She takes a seat in the ECO's chair. As marines run towards the raptor firing, the ship engines flare and propel it down the launch tube and away from the Galactica.

 

The raptor rushes at top speed away from the Galactica. Boomer shouts to Jolly, "veer starboard quickly and take a vector underneath the engines."

Jolly asks, "why?"

Boomer replies, "because I don't want to fly right in to the Galactica's guns."

He agrees, "ok, good point. You had better enter the coordinates for the FLT jump."

Boomer looks confused, "I don't have any coordinates."

Jolly yells, "what do you mean you don't have any coordinates! Don't cylons have some sort of programming telling them where to go."

Boomer snaps back, "you tell me!" Boomer starts doing calculations and then says, "we have three vipers coming in. Looks like the CAP."

 

Apollo's Mark VII viper launches out of the tube with Starbuck right behind. Apollo calls over the radio to the pilots of the CAP. "This is Capt. Apollo, I want you to stop that raptor at any cost. Jolly and Boomer are making a run for it. Disable it if you can, if you can't, take it out."

A voice comes back, "this is Saber, Whiplash and Pagan on CAP. I don't see a raptor, we'll head over to the port side of the Galatica to find her."

In the raptor cockpit, Jolly and Boomer watch with sighs of relief as the vipers rush right by them and fly back towards the Galactica.

 

On the raptor it appears that Boomer has almost finished her FTL calculations. However, Apollo's faster Mark VII viper has outdistanced Starbuck and is hot on their trail. Jolly begins maneuvers, but quickly realizes that the raptor is no match. He says, "this thing is actually pretty agile, but I can't beat him unless we do something unexpected." He turns back to Boomer, "when I say to, launch the missile counter defenses."

Boomer shouts back, "vipers don't have missiles."

He replies, "just do it when I say."

Apollo is as close as he dares get to the raptor to get a clean shot and he places his thumb on the firing control. Suddenly, he is overcome by a flash back of firing on the Olympic Carrier. His mind fills with sudden confusion and doubt, he moves his thumb from the firing button and he hesitates firing.

Jolly suddenly slows the ship so that Apollo's nose is practically in his engines and yells, "Now!"

Boomer launches the counter measures, which begin to spin and fire. One veers off into space, but the other flies right into Apollo's viper, crashing against the port thruster and forcing Apollo into a spin. As Apollo fights to get control of his ship, Starbuck rushes past.

Starbuck calls out, "Lee, are you ok?"

He replies as he finally gets control of the ship, "I'm fine, but my ship lost main thrusters and weapons systems. It's up to you. Do not let them get away!"

Starbuck hits her main thrusters to catch the raptor, but is shocked to find it flying directly towards her. For a moment, Jolly has his thumb on the firing button, but then quickly takes it off.

The two ships nearly collide, and Jolly laughs into the radio, "I always knew you and I would go head to head someday."

Starbuck makes a quick direction reversal and flies after the raptor. She flies desperately to get the raptor in her sights. She mutters angrily, "better get flying cylon." After some maneuvering she finally gets a good bead on the raptor as she places her thumb upon the firing button, only to hear Jolly say, "but I guess not today."

She fires and as the rounds streak towards the raptor, there is a flash of light and then the raptor is gone. The rounds continue flying past the spot where the raptor was a moment before. Starbuck screams, "FRAK!"

 

Colonel Tigh enters Commander Adama's quarters looking haggard and tired. Adama is at his desk working and says without looking up, "so they are away?"

Tigh sighs, "yeah, it'll take days to clean up the mess, but they made it out."

Adama just nods, continuing not to look up. Tigh says, "you realize we went to all of this trouble to let two cylon spies get away."

Adama corrects him, "one spy and one probable spy." He places his pen down, "at worst, we let two cylons go. And the cylons seem to have plenty to spare, so two more or less won't make much difference. At best, we have sent a spy that might be able to give us some desperately needed information. So far the cylons have constantly done what we didn't expect when we didn't expect it. I think if we are to survive, we'll need to start pulling some surprises of our own. And we won't get that without risk."

Tigh shakes his head, "if Jolly is a cylon, then we don't get anything. If Jolly isn't, they will probably kill him as soon as his ship sets down. Assuming they don't destroy the ship on sight anyway."

Adama finally looks up, "Jolly understood the risks. I explained to him that I didn't expect his return either way. He didn't have many options and said that he'd rather die by the cylons than us." After taking a deep sigh, "so how many people know about our letting them go?"

For the first time Tigh looks like he might smile, "including the two people in this room? Two."

Adama looks confused, "who knocked out the guards and planted all of the 'cylon agent' information?"

Tigh replies, "any job worth doing is worth doing right. Plus I wanted to make sure that Boomer wasn't given any clues that Jolly was really working for us. Remember, some of us didn't rise through the ranks in a cushioned viper cockpit. I still know how to get the dirty jobs done."

Adama smiles, but then looks sad, "and Lieutenant Gaeta?"

Tigh sits down across from Adama, "doesn't look good. Hard to have much faith in a guy that plugs his own shipmate in the back."

Adama shakes his head, "I'm not convinced Jolly did it."

Tigh replies, "it was the gun I left for him so he was there in the lab. And someone beat up our dear Vice President pretty good. Can't imagine that dandy messing up his own hair. Somebody beat him up."

Adama says, "there were two men in the room when Gaeta was shot. Baltar was holding the gun when the marines arrived. As far as I'm concerned there are two suspects."

Tigh nods anticipating Adama's next question, "the lab was trashed. All of the test results were lost, including Jolly's." Tigh gets up to leave, "should I throw the CAP pilots into the brig?"

Adama replies, "no, tell Captain Apollo that it's time for him to learn to discipline his own pilots."

Tigh nods, then stops and turns, "permission to speak freely, sir?" Adama nods. Tigh swallows then says, "a lot of things went wrong, but it could have been much worse. This was a hell of a gamble to take based upon some gut feelings."

Adama thinks for a moment, "somedays gut feelings is all you get to go by."

Tigh counters, "I guess…but I shouldn't need to inform you of the irony that your guts are still recovering from gunshot wounds." And then Tigh leaves his quarters.

End of Chapter One...

Chapter Two

(Present) 15 Days and 2 Hours After the Escape of Boomer and Jolly:

Galactica CIC

Commander Adama looks over at Colonel Tigh and asks, "is it?"

Tigh looks up, "yeah, it's definitely our bird."

Adama nods gravely, "bring her home, Colonel." He begins to walk away leaning heavily upon his cane, "I suppose I'll need to alert the President."

Tigh shakes his head, "may the gods preserve us."

 

(Present) 15 Days, 2 Hours And 15 Minutes After the Escape:

Open Space

A raptor and four vipers move into position to surround a raptor that appears to be disabled and floating in space. The Galactica's raptor shines a bright light on the damaged ship. The raptor has a large crack in it's windshield, the markings of taking rounds along her hull, dark stains that look like burn marks all over it's back side and several large dents. There is no one sitting in the cockpit.

From the Galactica's raptor the ECO, Hotwire, calls out, "Captain, it's engines are history. Life support is about the only thing running. We're picking up one faint life sign."

Apollo in his viper asks, "weapons systems?"

Hotwire replies, "negative."

Apollo follows up, "what about nukes?"

Hotwire responds, "she's clean."

Apollo instructs the raptor pilot, "ok Burnout, I want this thing towed back to Galactica. Everyone else spread out to form a standard defensive flight formation. If this is some sort of trap, I want to be ready for it."

The viper pilot, Rebel asks, "where's Starbuck? I can't believe she'd miss out on this?"

Apollo responds, "Starbuck is busy leading the CAP."

Burnout laughs, "you mean you sent her out on CAP so she wouldn't freak out and fry the raptor."

There is laughter from some of the pilots. Apollo replies, "that too." The mention of Jolly and Starbuck sends Apollo into a memory, not of the actual escape but of the events that transpired directly after.

(Flashback) 10 Minutes After The Escape:

Galactica Flight Deck

Apollo is forced to watch what he knows will be an ugly scene from the cockpit of his damaged viper as he waits impatiently for the raptor towing it to land and secure it to the flight deck. He has a ringside seat as Starbuck rips off her helmet in rage and literally jumps from her cockpit. She storms after the three pilots from the CAP as they walk towards the locker room.

She shouts, "what the frak happened out there! You just let two cylons walk away!"

The lead pilot, a bald man quite a few inches taller than Starbuck and twice as wide, called Saber calls out with out turning around, "look Starbuck, if we said that we didn't see them, we didn't see them."

Starbuck continues ranting, "just who's side are you on anyway?"

Saber stops, turns and replies angrily, "listen, I'm not about to fire on the guy that saved my ass that many times. Just a week ago, Jolly stayed in a battle even though he ran out of ammo. He intentionally let the raiders target him, so we could break out and get solid shots."

Starbuck replies, "maybe he knew they wouldn't really shoot one of their own?"

The new pilot, Whiplash calls out, "they sure tried hard enough from where I was sitting. Jolly and I pulled three rounds from the side of his ship."

As they argue, the collection of pilots and flight crew members that had been busy cleaning up the mess caused by the escape, quickly move closer to watch the conflict. Soon there are two groups of people in a stand off, the old Galactica pilots and flight crew, led by Starbuck, against the new pilots, led by Saber. Saber continues, "then we get to Galactica and hear about cylon agents posing as people. We don't know anything about that. We just know that Jolly had our backs. If he was going down, it wasn't going to be by us."

A Galactica pilot, named Burnout, gets involved. "Look, Boomer was a good friend to all of us, but when she was id'ed as a cylon…that was it. She had to go."

Saber counters, "yeah, I heard about that. But she was found out by shooting the Commander, Jolly didn't do anything to anybody."

Starbuck replies, "just helped the cylons try to annihilate our entire species, that's all."

Saber bends down just inches from Starbuck's face, "you think I didn't lose everything? I had family and friends just like everybody else. At least with Jolly, we were destroying the cylons, not running away every time they show up."

Starbuck doesn't flinch, "so you think we should abandon the last survivors to launch a suicide attack? That's a brilliant strategy."

Sensing trouble, Chief Tyrol begins pulling the flight crew members back away from the confrontation. Cally asks as he pulls her away by the arm, "what are you doing, Chief? This is just getting interesting."

The chief replies, "yeah, and I don't want my people anywhere near when they start throwing punches. They're officers, best to let them settle it amongst themselves."

Saber doesn't move away from Starbuck, "no, I think you should keep doing just what you have been doing…running. That's what the Galactica's best at…running away." Which happens to turn out to be the exact moment Starbuck reaches up and swings both fists down on to Saber's nose.

Apollo can see from his cockpit that the flight deck has broken into an all out brawl between the two groups of pilots. He jumps from his cockpit before it touches the deck and begins trying to break up the melee by shouting, but no one stops to listen to him. He gets between two pilots wrestling and is hit from behind and knocked to the ground. In anger, he immediately grabs the leg of the pilot that just knocked him down and pins the pilot beneath him. Apollo lifts his fist to throw a punch, but stops himself when he realizes its Slider.

Seeing that her assailant isn't punching, Slider grabs Apollo's support arm and quickly reverses the position so she is on top. Finally recognizing Apollo she smiles and says, "you know, I always imagined the first time you and I lay down together to go a little differently."

Apollo says without smiling, "cute. Nice lip." He says pointing at her bleeding lower lip.

They both stand up, but Apollo is immediately tackled by the new pilot, Whiplash. As soon as the young lean pilot with blond hair realizes he is on top of the CAG, he nervously apologizes, "I'm…really sorry, Apo…Captain." He salutes still laying on top of Apollo, but Apollo throws him off roughly.

Suddenly someone calls out, "ATTENTION!" Apollo looks up to see Colonel Tigh and a group of marines have come to the flight deck and have broken up the fight. Everyone on the deck is now standing at attention. Apollo walks over to Tigh and can't believe he's smiling. He seems to be actually enjoying the scene.

Apollo says to him, "Colonel, I will handle this."

Tigh looks at the pilots and replies with a smug smile, "we're just here to make sure they don't hurt anything actually valuable. But you are correct Captain; it's your responsibility to keep the pilots in line. Looks like you're doing a fine job of it too."

Apollo bristles and replies, "I guess I've been too busy trying to catch the cylons that just escaped from your brig."

Tigh continues to smile slightly, "besides, compared to the good old days, this wouldn't even qualify as a mild disagreement. Why your father could cause this much of a mess just because someone parked in his usual spot." Tigh turns to Apollo and pokes his chest, "get your pilots in line, captain. That comes straight from the old man."

Apollo nods gritting his teeth and still fuming, as Tigh walks out with the marines in tow. Apollo addresses the crowd, "well, I certainly hope that got any issues you have out of your system." He continues, "I want to make it perfectly clear that we are on the same team. There are not two squadrons on this ship. We don't even have enough pilots to make up one complete squadron. So I need you all to be at your best…every time, all the time. Anything less and we're all dead. It's that simple." He pauses for a moment, then calls out, "Saber, Whiplash and Pagan…front and center." The three pilots assemble in front of Apollo. Apollo charges, "maybe you think that you can play games to get out of obeying a direct order, but I have every right to throw all three of your asses into the brig forever." Apollo breathes, "but I'm not letting you off that easy. No vacations. Instead, you are stripped of all rank and privilege indefinitely. You are going to work under the direction of Chief Tyrol until all of the damage to this flight deck has been repaired and everything in it is as clean as the day she came off the line. Do you understand me?"

All three respond in unison, "yes sir!"

Apollo follows up, "that includes, the damaged viper I just brought in."

"Yes sir!"

Apollo takes a moment to smile ever so slightly, "and Lieutenant Thrace is going to help you."

Starbuck can't contain her surprise, "excuse me…sir?"

Apollo looks at her, "you did throw the first punch?"

Starbuck protests, "I was provoked."

Apollo replies, "well, then I guess this will anger management for all four of you." Apollo turns to Chief Tyrol, "Chief, these pilots are yours, until both you and I agree that they have repented fully for their sins. I want them to perform every dirty, nasty and disagreeable chore you have." Apollo says loudly so the entire deck can hear, "I want these four people to be the second most miserable group of people in the fleet."

Apollo pauses for drama, "The most miserable group of people in the fleet will be anyone caught helping them in any way. Am I completely clear?"

The Chief replies, "yes sir." Tyrol turns beaming at his crew. They all smile back.

Apollo says to the entire group, "dismissed. Everyone get back to your duties."

The Chief gestures to his newest crew members, "lady and gentlemen, this way please." And he begins showing them to their new assignments.

Slider walks up to Apollo still bleeding from her bottom lip. She comes to attention and salutes, "permission to speak with the CAG, sir?"

Apollo blushes and waves off her salute, "Slider, you can just talk to me, I don't really need the formalities."

She smiles, "maybe I enjoy the formalities. It makes the moment that we start discussing personal matters feel almost subversive."

Apollo smiles back at her, "what's on your mind?"

She responds, "dinner. Specifically whether you are still going to have time to have one?"

He looks around at the damage, "I'll make time. We're still on."

She nods, "great, I'll meet you later."

She says, "wow, Starbuck hits much harder than I imagined…and I actually imagined that she hit pretty hard."

Apollo replies, "yeah, I know."

Seeing Slider talking to Apollo, Starbuck breaks away from the work crew and comes over holding her side. She puts her arm around Slider, "when you threw that elbow…inspired genius is all I can say."

Before Apollo or Slider can respond the Chief calls out, "excuse me, Lieut…Miss Thrace? These rounds aren't going to dig themselves out of the walls."

Starbuck looks at Apollo expecting him to grant her a pardon, but he makes a dismissing motion with his hand, "you heard the Chief. Those bullets aren't going to dig themselves out."

Starbuck smiles sarcastically at Apollo and leaves giving him an obscene gesture on the way. Apollo yells out while exchanging smiles with Slider, "Chief, call her Kara."

Slider is about to turn when Apollo adds, "I'm glad to see that you and Starbuck patched up any animosity. I told you she wouldn't be jealous."

Slider laughs lightly, "you don't know much about women, do you?"

He smiles shyly, "well…no, I have to admit it's an area I haven't excelled at."

She explains, "Starbuck and I are probably ok as pilots…teammates. But as women…well, let's just say, that's not even on the table yet."

Suddenly over the intercom, "Captain Adama, report to CIC. Captain Adama, report to CIC."

Apollo gives Slider a mischievous grin, "well, I guess she's just going to have to get used to you." Slider returns his smile and then he rushes off towards the CIC.

Having watched Apollo and Slider talking and laughing together, Starbuck mutters while digging a round out of the wall with a screwdriver, "Jolly, you would have loved this wouldn't you? You had better hope that we never cross paths again."

 

(Present)15 Days, 2 Hours and 20 Minutes After the Escape:

Commander Adama's Quarters

Commander Adama limps to the phone at his desk. He goes to pick up the receiver, but pauses as he looks at his book case and notices the empty slot belonging to the book he had loaned to President Roslin. Little chance he was ever going to see it again. He remembers the last time he spoke with President Roslin. He allows himself a rare smile thinking about their last confrontation.

 

(Flashback) 17 Minutes After the Escape:

Commander Adama's Quarters

President Roslin marches in quickly and determinedly, as Adama and Tigh are consulting over reports at his table. Both look up curiously at Roslin as she looks like a bull ready to charge. She turns to Tigh, "Colonel, I need to discuss some urgent matters with Commander Adama, would you excuse us?"

Tigh looks at Adama for approval and once Adama has nodded the affirmative, steps past Roslin saluting quickly, "Madame President."

The moment he is gone, Roslin turns on Adama, "what the frak is going on Commander!"

Adama looks almost amused, "I told Tigh it would take you at least half an hour before you stormed in here. He said less than twenty minutes." He looks at his watch, "looks like I owe him dinner."

Roslin nods angrily, "I'm glad that you are enjoying this because I don't know if you've looked around lately, but things have gotten quite out of control."

Adama looks at her, "how so?"

She breathes for a moment, "can you please explain to me how two cylon agents managed to escape from the Galactica's brig? Or at least tell me how I am going to explain it to the fleet."

Adama thinks for a moment then says, "Madame President, please sit down." Not the response she was expecting and taken aback, she sits hesitantly on the couch. After another moment, Adama sighs, "I apologize that I wasn't able to consult with you, but we had to move quickly."

She looks baffled, "I don't understand…we had to move quickly?"

Adama continues, "since the initial attack, we have been so busy running that there hasn't been any opportunity to collect usable intelligence on the cylons. With the situation with Lieutenant Nevlin, I saw a small window of opportunity for us to extract some information. It's a long shot, but we really didn't have much to lose, but a lot to potentially gain."

Roslin smiles ever so slightly, "so you really believed that his test results were wrong?"

He looks directly at her, "I still do."

Roslin takes a turn to pause and think, "even after he destroyed the cylon detector, it's test results, roughed up the Vice President and shot one of your command crew in the back? To me it sounds like a pretty successful mission for a cylon agent."

Adama looks grave, "I intend to launch a full investigation as to the incident in the lab."

She counters, "so you think that maybe Doctor Baltar beat himself up and Lieutenant Gaeta backed into the bullet?"

He replies quickly, "the Vice President was holding the gun when the marines arrived. I don't understand what happened in that room, but I will get the answers, and if it was Jolly…then I'll track him down and shoot him out of a launch tube myself."

She asks, "so if Lieutenant Nevlin is human, won't the cylons execute him the moment they find him?"

Adama explains, "that's why we sent him with the cylon agent we knew as Lieutenant Valerii. We have some reason to believe that her programming to turn on humans is not completely stable. If Jolly can get close to her, there is a good chance that she will make some effort to protect him. Plus the cylons seem to have some interest in observing human behavior." He pauses for a moment, "examining Jolly could take years of their time."

She throws back, "her programming seemed stable enough when she shot you."

He continues ignoring her comment, "assuming Jolly is on our side, he will be looking for any opportunity to test her loyalties and find exploitable weaknesses in these cylon agents. Her model seems to be programmed to attach to humans, like what the other version did with Helo on Caprica."

She sighs and stands up to leave, "Commander, I understand your loyalty and attachment to your crew, but I can't allow this to become another situation like when Lieutenant Thrace crashed."

Adama corrects, "if you remember, Madame President, we were correct on that matter."

She turns before leaving, "yes, you were correct, while putting the entire fleet at risk. That's a big gamble. And I don't know if we can afford to keep making those kinds of bets…even when we're right." She hesitates before walking out, "Commander, eventually everyone's luck runs out."

 

(Present) 15 Days, 2 Hours and 22 Minutes After the Escape:

Commander Adama's Quarters

Adama picks up the receiver, "Mr. President, it appears our friends are back."

On the other end, Dr. Gaius Baltar replies from the President's office on Colonial One, "Commander, I trust you have dealt with them quickly and appropriately."

Adama replies, "we haven't done anything yet. But I guarantee to you that justice will be done."

Baltar smiles on the other end of the phone, "I have complete confidence in you, William."

Adama grimaces, "we're bringing their ship to the Galactica, I'll keep you updated."

Baltar smiles at Six, who is sitting on his lap playing with the collar of his shirt, and replies, "of course you will, William. Of course you will."

After Baltar hangs up the phone, Six says to him, "I'm impressed Gaius. I never thought I'd see the day that you talked to the Commander with such confidence. You never cease to surprise me."

Baltar smiles seductively at her, "well, my dear. Now that I have some say in the events that affect our life, I've felt a renewed sense of purpose. I feel absolutely invigorated. I feel…"

Six cuts him off by gripping his face, "you feel like creating a new cylon detector."

Baltar's smile fades, "well yes, of course that's a primary goal. Right up there on the list." Six looks at him sternly as he says becoming a little nervous, "it's the first thing I will get done…once I've consolidated executive power."

Six laughs, "executive power?" She gestures around the office, "this is all very temporary Gaius. Once you have created a working cylon detector, you can play your little games to your heart's content. But first things first." She reaches down and violently grabs his crotch, she says as he winces in pain, "right now, the only thing you need to do is set up a new lab right here on Colonial One."

He asks as her statement actually distracts him from the pain, "on Colonial One?"

She releases him and replies, "it only makes sense that you would have your lab near your quarters and office. After all, the President is far too busy to shuttle back and forth between the Galactica and Colonial One. Not to mention the security breaches that have taken place on the Galactica. Here you can have your own security staff watching out for you."

He smiles, "I'll have to evict some families from the necessary areas of the ship, but…yes, yes, having the lab close to me is an excellent idea. No more military goons looking over my shoulder. I can actually work…or not work as the case may be, away from William's prying eyes." He looks over her body, "you know sometimes I get the feeling that he doesn't completely trust me."

Six looks mischievous, "well, then maybe it's time for him to retire."

Baltar losses his swagger from before, "remove the Commander? After the assassination attempt, security would be impossible to get past. Not to mention the whisperings regarding President Roslin's fate. Although I think Tom Zarek will be picking up the tab for that one."

She gets up leading him to the sleeping area, "you're the President. Did you know that you can appoint an Admiral, or even a Rear Admiral. I don't think it's very practical to assume that the Commander will be in charge forever. I think the assassination attempt on Adama's life, not to mention the current condition of our dear former President, would be more than enough reason to take precautions that someone else can take over…if something horrible should happen to him. As President it's your patriotic duty to look to the future. Perhaps it's time to start grooming a replacement for dear…old…William."

He begins undressing as they leave the room, he asks, "all this talk of patriotic duty…would you like to help raise the flag this evening?" As Six begins unbuttoning his shirt and kissing down his chest, Baltar thinks about how many close calls he's had recently.

 

(Flashback) 45 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

The doctor, Major Cottle frustrated at his patient's nervous squirming, finally grabs Dr. Baltar's head in both of his hands. While inspecting Baltar's pupils, he says, "you took a pretty good beating."

He pauses for a moment, while concentrating on something he sees in Baltar's eyes, "that's odd?"

Baltar inhales nervously, "what's odd?"

The doctor lights a cigarette, "you have no green in your eyes. Most people with brown eyes have at least a little green in them." Baltar exhales in relief, but the doctor says, "better get some scans of your head just to make sure they didn't spill any of the gray matter."

Baltar smiles nervously, "I'm feeling quite fine actually, I appreciate your concern, but I can assure you that further tests won't be necessary."

The doctor insists, "all the same, I think it's essential that we make sure you didn't suffer a concussion or internal damage."

Six sitting on the bed behind him whispers in his ear while sliding her hand into his patient gown, "what's the matter Gaius, afraid they'll find my little gift floating around in there?"

Baltar blurts out, "NO...uh no. I'm quite certain that there's been no permanent damage."

The doctor shrugs, "look, if you aren't going to submit to tests, I'm going to have to hold you for observation for a couple of days…for your own good, certainly not for mine."

Six adds, "I wonder what they would do to a traitor found to have a cylon device planted in his brain? Probably take it out while he's still alive."

Baltar shrugs trying to ignore Six looking over at the bed next to him, "that's ok, I'd like to stay with Lieutenant Gaeta anyway."

The doctor nods, "that's very thoughtful, but there really isn't anything you can do for him."

Baltar almost smiles, "I can't help but feel a little responsible. I'm not leaving his side until I know for sure that we're out of danger."

The doctor shrugs, "suit yourself. But you're going to have to go get your own meals. This isn't the Vice Presidential Palace."

The doctor leaves and Baltar scans the sick bay for other people. An member of the medical crew examines some paperwork, but then after a moment, he leaves. Baltar looks over at Gaeta lying on the bed next to him. He frantically studies the equipment readings trying to decipher if they are signs that Gaeta's condition is improving or getting worse. From behind him a hand begins to stroke his bruised cheek.

Six says to him, "I think we should just finish him now. Come on, Gauis, put him out of our misery and we can move on to more important matters."

Baltar begins to shake as he watches Gaeta lay on his side. He says to Six, "I can't be expected to wait in this dreadfully dull sick bay until he dies. What if he survives?"

After a moment of working up his nerve Baltar lifts himself up off of his bed and moves towards Gaeta. He touches the tube supplying Gaeta with oxygen and after a moment clenches it in his hand cutting off the flow of oxygen.

Suddenly a voice calls out from behind him, "Mr. Vice President, what exactly are you doing?"

Six says with some humor, "uh oh."

Baltar turns still holding the tube, he replies quickly, "the tube was twisted. I was afraid he wasn't getting enough air."

Colonel Tigh standing in the doorway with two marines in tow looks unconvinced. Tigh says skeptically, "that's very considerate of you. But perhaps we should leave his care to the medical crew."

Baltar nods sitting back on his own bed, "why…why exactly are you here, Colonel?"

Tigh responds, "well, since the cylons seem to consider you a primary target, the Commander felt that you should have some security assigned to you."

Baltar shakes his head, "please tell the Commander how much I appreciate his thoughtfulness for my well being, but since the cylons managed to escape, I really won't need any protection."

Tigh replies, "this has nothing to do with your well being. You're the only one who can create a new cylon detector. And that makes you everyone's concern."

Baltar opens his mouth to say something but Tigh cuts him off, "and the President agrees completely with the Commander."

Baltar closes his mouth as that was obviously going to be his next point. Tigh instructs the marines, "the Vice President doesn't make a move with out you. Understand?"

The marines both reply, "yes sir."

Tigh smiles as he leaves, "get well soon, Mr. Vice President."

 

(Present) 15 Days and 4 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Flight Deck

The ECO, Freefall, talks to Chief Tyrol, Specialist Cally and a few other flight crew members on the flight deck. Cally asks, "so they really found the raptor the cylons escaped in?"

Freefall responds, "yeah, I hear it looks like it was hit with everything you can imagine."

The chief asks trying to sound unconcerned, "did they say anything about survivors?"

Freefall replies, "there's only one set of life signs, but they haven't had any communication from the ship."

Suddenly, a large group of marines file out on to the flight deck. They usher all of the pilots and flight crew from the landing area and everyone watches as the disabled raptor is towed onto the deck. The raptor hits the flight deck with a loud thud. The marines encircle the raptor and two approach the ship's hatch.

The marines wait for Colonel Tigh and Captain Apollo, who has just landed, to reach the damaged raptor. Tigh nods to the marines standing by the hatch. The marines manage to manually open the hatch and it lifts reluctantly with a large squeal. Four marines rush past to enter the ship. One of the marines waves Tigh and Apollo in. Upon entering the raptor, both appear somewhat surprised by what they find. After a moment, Tigh shouts out, "we need a medical team here now!"

Pilots and flight crew members struggle against the marines to get a better look at what is going on at the raptor. As Starbuck's viper lands from CAP duty, she rushes over excitedly to observe the scene. Soon a medical team arrives and enters the raptor. After a few moments, a body covered in bandages and blood is carried out on a gurney.

Everyone crowds around attempting to get closer to see who it is. Starbuck strains against the person next to her to get a glimpse of the body on the gurney. Starbuck turns to see it's Slider. Starbuck looks up and can see a small round scar on the exposed forearm of the person laying on the gurney.

The medics carry Jolly off quickly, and then the marines carry out the limp body of Boomer who is staring up with lifeless eyes. Her body is placed on another gurney and taken away. Chief Tyrol shakes his head, crosses his arms and walks off in the opposite direction. Cally calls out to him, but he just keeps walking.

After a few moments, a group of engineers come and pull the body of a cylon centurion out of the raptor. Everyone clamors to get a better look and immediately notice that the armor of this cylon is a bright but dented and scratched gold. The cylon has been shot several times and an engineer follows behind carrying the centurion's right arm.

Apollo walks beside the gurney carrying Jolly to sick bay. Jolly has several bandaged wounds and appears to enter in and out of consciousness, but it's apparent that Jolly doesn't know or understand where he is. He chokes out, "Sharon? What have you done…don't you understand? There's no fish in the pond."

Apollo tries to get through to him, "Jordan? Jordan, it's Lee. You're on the Galactica." Jolly makes eye contact with Apollo for the first time. Jolly looks like he is going to say something, then suddenly grabs Apollo's hand just as they get to sick bay and the size of the doorway forces Apollo to stop. Apollo looks down at his hand now stained with Jolly's blood, and sees what appears to be a small data disk. It looks like a disk that humans might use, but with slightly different dimensions.

Starbuck and Slider catch up with Apollo. Starbuck says angrily, "what's going on? Why are we saving that toaster? Why don't we just go to an airlock and save everyone the trouble?"

Slider, who has begun to cry, turns on Starbuck. She grabs Starbuck's flight suit in both fists, "shut the frak up Starbuck!"

Starbuck shrugs her off and turns to Apollo. But he doesn't really register that either woman is there, as he's lost in thought. Starbuck asks again, "Lee? What's happening here?"

Apollo clutches the disk in his hand and replies distantly, "I …I don't know." And he walks off quickly in the opposite direction. Starbuck watches Lee walk off as Slider tries to enter the sick bay, but is stopped by a guard at the door. She looks in to see the medical crew working frantically on Jolly.

Jolly's mind is captive to a slide show of scenes. He's delirious and the flashbacks come from every part of his life. He can't control or concentrate, only watch as a spectator while the moments of his life are spread out in completely random order. Each scene is broken by a flashing red light moving from one side of his mind to the other. As he tries to concentrate on each memory, it is soon swept away by red light that he seems powerless to control. With each movement of the red light there is a flash of excruciating pain and then a new memory. He can't seem to decide what's going on in reality versus what he sees in his head. One moment, he's fishing with his grandfather, then a flash of red and pain. Next he's looking into the eyes of a beautiful blonde woman who reaches down and crushes the ring finger of his left hand. Another flash of red, and he's in his viper cockpit watching cylon missiles streak towards the Galactica's vipers helpless to do anything to stop them. A flash of red, then he's running with Boomer down shadowy corridors. They're running frantically in fear, but from what? He can't remember, he only knows that they can't stop running. A flash of red, and suddenly, he's in a night club with Lee and Starbuck drinking. Starbuck is drunk and kisses him, while looking slyly for some sort of reaction from Lee. A flash of red and he's kissing Slider by her viper on the deck of the Nebula Chaser. A flash of red and he's a boy again at the pond. He's crying out for his grandfather. He's looking for him. He sees his grandfather's old rowboat tied to the small rickety dock and Boomer is there. She's standing on the dock, waving to him and smiling. He calls out to her, but she doesn't respond. She continues smiling. But then the flash of red sweeps her away. He can hear in the distance the sound of the medical crew trying to talk to him, asking him questions, but they don't seem real. The flashbacks seem far more real. Far more important. He forces himself to concentrate. What was the last moment he can truly remember..."

 

(Flashback) 2 Hours After the Escape:

Open Space

In the escaped raptor, Jolly and Boomer have changed from their stolen marine uniforms into flight suits. He winces as she finishes bandaging his arm and says, "so when we actually do run into cylons, what do we do? It's not like we can just go up to the front door and knock."

She replies while moving towards the back and viewing the scanner, "I have no idea."

He smiles while pulling his bandaged arm back into the flight suit, "then this is without a doubt the stupidest thing I've ever done."

She looks up and smiles back at him, "what we're doing is the stupidest thing anyone has ever done."

He looks back at her, "that's why it probably feels right. Just me in my natural element."

Suddenly she calls out, "I have multiple contacts. Looks like fifteen raiders coming up behind us."

Jolly grips the joystick, "about time. Ok, this is where the fun begins."

Boomer comes up, sits in the chair next to him and pulls the joystick to her.

He asks, "what are you doing?"

She replies, "the cylon transponder on board should keep them from shooting us on sight, but you fly too much like a viper pilot."

He asks, "what does that mean?"

She accuses, "too aggressive. We're joining them, not fighting them. They may take offense."

Jolly looks confused, "offense? A cylon raider might take offense to my flying? They're toasters…you can't offend a machine."

She looks over at him, "really? You just did."

After a few moments of silence, they both breathe deeply as the cylon raiders fly past them. Boomer moves the raptor into formation with the raiders. Jolly looks over at Boomer noticing the strange look that has come over her face, "uhm…Boomer? Are you ok, or should I get out now?"

She smiles at him, "remember how you felt when you landed on the Galactica again?" He nods, so she continues, "I don't understand why, but that's how I feel right now."

And as they come around a planet, lying directly in front of them appears a cylon base star. Jolly takes a deep nervous breath and says without turning away from the base star, "is there anything else about offending them that I should know about?" And they continue flying directly towards the base star.

 

(Present)15 Days, 4 Hours and 20 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Corridor Leading to Sick Bay

Starbuck chases Apollo down, as she calls out, "Lee, what is it? Why are you acting so…non-Lee like."

As he stops and turns to respond, she looks down and sees the blood on his hand and then the disk. She asks, "what's that?"

Apollo responds, "I don't know yet."

Starbuck tries to take it, "well, let's go find out."

Apollo pulls away, "what I need you to do, is to go keep the pilots occupied. Find something for them to do."

She looks at him incredulously, "find something for them to do?"

He nods, "yeah, after this…rumors will be flying around like raiders. I need you to keep their minds focused on their jobs. We can't afford any more rifts in the squadron."

She throws back, "isn't that really the CAGs responsibility? Do you want me to sleep with Slider too?"

He responds as if actually thinking about it, "well...no." Apollo asks sincerely, "Just do this for me. Ok, Kara? I was ordered to deal with this as my first priority. You can handle the troops."

Starbuck replies, "oh, I almost forgot about your all important investigation. What exactly are you investigating anyway? I still don't really understand."

Apollo replies, "that's a good thing. Trust me, if I could trade places with you, I would." And with that he turns and rushes off. Starbuck watches him leave and thinks about the conflicts among the pilots after Jolly and Boomer's escape.

 

(Flashback) 2 Hours and 15 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Flight Deck

Several pilots and flight crew members are talking on the flight deck. Saber, Starbuck and the other pilots under punishment are working on different projects around the deck. One of the new pilots says to Starbuck, "so I heard you couldn't catch Jolly."

Starbuck bristles while trying to dig a round out of a tool cart. Slider admonishes, "shut up Rebel."

But Rebel obviously likes that he's irritating Starbuck, he continues, "I was told that he out flew both you and Captain Apollo."

One of the Galactica's pilots corrects, "if the cylon cowards hadn't FTL'd with their tail between their legs, they would both be space dust."

Starbuck finally gets the round out and stands up to leave. Rebel says, "hey, you aren't going? I was just messing around."

Starbuck wheels on him, grabbing him by his shirt, "listen up. The only mistake I made was not shooting that imposter the moment he landed. Because of him, Gaeta's fighting for his life. He had better hope that we never see each other again. And if you have a problem with that or me, you can just frak off!" She lets the stunned pilot go and storms off.

Rebel turns to the Galactica pilots, "hey, we were fooled too. Hope everyone on the Galactica isn't so sensitive."

 

(Flashback) 2 Hours and 25 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

Starbuck enters as one of the marine guard's attempts to question her, but she shrugs him off. "I'm here to check on Lieutenant Gaeta."

Starbuck stops in her tracks as she comes around and sees Dr. Baltar sitting on the bed next to Gaeta. He seems as surprised to see her as she him. After a moment, he says, "Well Lieutenant Thrace, for what honor do we owe the pleasure of your company?"

Starbuck looks for a moment like she might spin around and leave, but instead she replies with a shrug, "I came to check on Lieutenant Gaeta."

Baltar nods looking sympathetically at Gaeta. "He's stable, but not out of the woods yet. We can only pray for the best possible outcome."

Starbuck looking like she might break down, comes over beside Gaeta, "it's probably my fault. Once again, everything is my fault."

Baltar tries to be comforting, "what is your fault?"

Starbuck gestures beginning to cry, "him getting shot…you getting beat up…Jolly getting away. I'm so sorry."

Baltar comes up next to her and puts his arm around her, "it's not your fault. Your friend will have to account for his own sins…as will we all. Now why would you think that you are responsible?"

Starbuck lets him continue to hold her, she says wiping away a tear, "I convinced the Commander to hold off Jolly's execution until a second test could be completed. If we had just trusted your results, none of this would have happened."

Six says while standing behind them, "I told you she would bring you nothing but trouble. She's like poison to you Gaius. Why can't you see that?"

Baltar ignores Six, "don't be silly. Lieutenant Nevlin was your friend. You were only trying to protect him. You're intentions were perhaps a bit misguided, but good. Sometimes bad things happen to those with the best of intentions."

Starbuck smiles, "thanks. You're a lot more understanding than maybe I gave you credit for."

Six shows her disapproval, "I can't believe you haven't learned your lesson. I can show you that there are far worse things in the galaxy than a broken heart. Like broken fingers, broken spleen, broken kidneys…"

Baltar smiles at Starbuck, "I'm sure if we all examined our actions or inactions, we all had some part to play in the tragic events that unfolded." He pauses for a moment, "even I, might have to share a small portion of the blame…if I think about it."

Starbuck leans into him, "thanks doc." And Baltar kisses the top of her head.

 

(Present) 15 Days, 4 Hours and 30 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica CIC

Apollo rushes in and approaches Commander Adama, who is talking to Petty Officer Dualla regarding the status of the fleet. Upon seeing Apollo enter, Adama excuses himself and waits for Apollo to speak. Apollo just lifts his hand slightly showing Adama the disk. Adama and Apollo both move towards the Commander's living quarters.

Upon entering his quarters Commander Adama asks, "what have we got?"

Apollo begins, "Jolly is in bad shape. The medical crew is working on him now. Boomer didn't make…"

Adama cuts him off, "I just got off the line with Tigh. He briefed me on their condition. What have we got?"

Apollo hands him the disk explaining how he got it. Adama looks at it and says, "this doesn't look like it's compatible with our computers, we are going to need someone to figure out how to get into it."

Apollo smiles sarcastically, "well, normally we would consult with Dr. Baltar. But with the current situation being what it is…"

Adama continues his thought, "and Lieutenant Gaeta isn't able to help us."

Apollo shakes his head, "we don't have a lot of options. What about Dualla?"

Adama thinks for a moment, "she's good. I certainly trust her, but I think she'd need help. We need someone else that knows their way around extracting information and can keep their mouth shut."

Apollo suggests, "I've seen her around a lot with the Presidential Advisor Billy Keikeya. I understand he's a pretty bright guy with these sorts of problems."

Adama asks, "can he be trusted?"

Apollo shrugs, "I know he hates working for Dr. Baltar. And I think Dualla might be able to convince him to keep quiet."

Adama replies, "that might have to be good enough. But we need to keep this top secret, particularly from our current President. No one is told until we know what it is."

Apollo nods, "I'll get them right on it."

Before Apollo can leave, Adama asks, "how's the rest of the investigation coming? With Jolly back, I'm going to need answers to the questions that are coming."

Apollo looks down for a moment, "it's impossible. Dr. Baltar has only changed his story about 12 times, Gaeta is still unconscious and in the end it will be Dr. Baltar's word against Jolly's. Whatever Jolly says when and if he pulls through. I know Dr. Baltar was somehow responsible, but I haven't been able to find any proof that will hold up."

Adama nods, "and President Roslin's incident? Any leads?"

Apollo shakes his head, "as far as anyone can determine it was either an accident or someone tampered with her medication. There are a few grumblings that Tom Zarek had something to do with it…but, no proof."

Adama sighs, "the entire fleet caught between a Baltar and a Zarek."

Apollo leaves Adama's quarters wondering how he went from viper pilot to detective. He remembers the moment his father placed him in charge of this mess.

 

(Flashback) 3 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica CIC

Apollo reports and is ushered into Commander Adama's quarters by Petty Officer Dualla. As he enters the room, Adama gestures for him to sit. Commander Adama says, "close call with Jolly today. I heard he threw some whistlers at you."

Apollo breathes deeply, "yes sir, he fired the raptor's counter measures while I was right on his tail. It was my fault for getting too close."

Adama asks looking at a new bruise on his lip, "I trust you weren't hurt? You don't need to be checked do you?"

Apollo blushes, "the only thing hurt was my ego…and my viper."

Adama nods, "I need to have a full investigation performed on what happened at the lab during the escape. I'm thinking of putting you on it."

Apollo looks confused, "investigation? I think it's pretty clear that Jorda…the cylon agent broke into the lab, beat up Doctor Baltar and then shot Gaeta. What more do we need to know?"

Adama responds, "a lot of things. But I need someone that I can trust explicitly and will report only to me."

Apollo thinks for a moment, "don't you want Starbuck for this sort of thing? She's better at beating the truth out of people than I am."

Adama shakes his head, "Starbuck's not the right person for this job. This needs someone that can be objective. I'm sure she'll be pretty bitter about being fooled by Jolly." He smiles, "I wouldn't exactly call her impartial or detached from this incident."

Apollo replies, "listen, dad. I'm not exactly detached either. He was my friend and he betrayed or was made to look like my friend to betray…to be honest this whole thing makes me sick."

Adama replies, "yes, I know, but you have the ability to put aside your personal feelings and get the job done. Most people can't do that. That's what I need you to do here. Investigate the incident that took place at the lab, and I want you to report what you find to me and me alone."

Apollo finally agrees, "fine, I'll do it."

Adama nods, "I want you to find out as much as you can on our Vice President. We need to get closer to him. Find out what he's up to."

Apollo responds, "I have a thought on that. I'll let you know how it goes."

As Apollo gets up to leave Adama says, "one more thing. I want you to pass along to our pilots that if Jolly does surface, I want him brought in alive. No one fires at him unless fired upon."

Apollo looks confused, so he adds, "tell them I want to rip out his throat myself."

Apollo stops at the door, "about the fight on the flight deck…"

Adama waves him off, "you're the CAG, I'm trusting you to deal with it. The pilots are your responsibility." Apollo nods and then Adama continues, "letting off a little steam might be good for them." Adama smiles and adds, "besides from what I hear it was nothing compared to the time a rookie pilot parked in my spot." Apollo smiles and leaves.

 

(Present) 15 Days and 6 Hours After the Escape:

Colonial One

The Acting President Doctor Gaius Baltar stands at the podium responding to questions from the press corps. A female reporter asks, "so it's true? The cylon agents that escaped from Galactica's brig were found?"

Baltar nods, "yes, it's true. The raptor was retrieved and one cylon agent was recovered still functioning while the other was…not."

A young male reporter asks, "has Commander Adama learned his lesson? Will the cylon be destroyed quickly?"

Baltar smiles slightly, "I think we are all learning as we go. I can assure you that the Commander and I are consulting very closely on all matters and justice will be done, both quickly and fairly."

The first female reporter asks, "is it true that you have begun replacing the Galactica's security forces with your own? Does this mean you've lost confidence in the military?"

Baltar replies smoothly, "Andrea, nothing could be further from the truth. The change in security personnel was simply a move to take some of the burden off the already overburdened Galactica marine force. It's not their job to act as police for the fleet. And in case any one is concerned, let me assure you that I have handpicked the security staff overlooking both myself and President Roslin."

Another reporter asks, "has there been any change in President Roslin's condition?"

Baltar replies quickly, "no…unfortunately, I must report that her catatonic state persists and we ask that everyone in the fleet to please keep her in your thoughts and prayers."

The same reporter follows up, "there are rumors that she was poisoned. Is there an investigation being performed? Are there any suspects?"

Baltar clears his throat, "we have no evidence that President Roslin's current condition is the result of foul play. Everything we know suggests that there was a mix up with her allergy medication."

Another reporter throws out, "has anyone questioned Tom Zarek?"

There is laughter scattered about the room. Baltar keeps a straight face and replies, "I want to be very clear that we have no reason to suspect Mr. Zarek of any wrong doing here. In spite of his reputation, I have not been presented with any convincing evidence that Mr. Zarek had anything to do with this incident."

So another male reporter asks, "is there any non-convincing evidence that Mr. Zarek had anything to do with it?"

Baltar replies, "I'm not at liberty, nor inclined to discuss rumors. No matter how persistent."

Another female reporter asks, "so will you be attending the execution of Lieutenant Nevlin?"

Baltar responds, "I'd have to check my schedule."

The reporter follows up, "well, he did rough you up. Not to mention shooting your lab assistant…Lieutenant Gatel."

Someone corrects him, "that's Lieutenant Gratel."

He replies, "oh sorry, Lieutenant Gratel."

Baltar replies solemnly, "actually, it's Lieutenant Gaeta and he is a very good friend. But to answer your question, I do intend to see that justice is administered to Lieutenant Nevlin personally."

 

(Flashback) 6 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

Baltar has had enough. Gaeta just won't die and Baltar has some sense of fear that if he leaves he will lose the opportunity to insure that Gaeta never recovers. He pulls the privacy curtain as tightly closed as it will go, while smiling sarcastically at his marine guards. He hasn't been able to do much of anything, since they watch him at all times.

And besides boredom, he has to deal with Six's constant complaints and demands. Since getting closer to Kara, Six has only gotten angrier and more violent. Escalating to the point that he's had to steal extra pain medication to accommodate her physical abuse. Unfortunately because of the guards, he has only been able to steal a single vial of pain killer and a syringe to administer it. And he just happens to have an intense dislike for needles. He smiles to himself, ironic for someone that spends as much time in a lab as he does, but he hasn't been able to work up the nerve to use any of his horde just yet. He places it carefully under his mattress and then goes to sleep.

Later that night, he is awoken roughly by Six. He turns and says angrily, "what the…"

She puts her hand over his mouth and says, "Quiet! It looks like God may just want to make something of you yet. I swear if it weren't for me, you would have slept right through the sound of opportunity knocking at your door."

Baltar can then hear two female medical crew members talking outside of his curtain. One asks, "what's this?"

The other one replies, "kamala extract."

The first one replies, "I didn't think the doctor believed in using kamala. Who's it for?"

The second one replies, "I'm not sure. Whenever Doctor Cottle can dig some up, he has it kept here. He never says who it's for."

The first one suggests, "well, let's lock it up and go get some food. I'm starving."

The second one replies angrily, "of frak! I left the keys with Sergeant Brimmel in the Starboard sick bay."

The first one replies, "Who cares? There are marine guards on the door and everyone's either in a coma or asleep. This is as safe as it can be. Let's go eat, and then we'll get the keys on our way back."

The second one isn't sure, "I don't know."

The first one reassures her, "listen, we are only going to be gone for a few minutes. This is just Kamala. It isn't worth anything. Let's just put it on this bed and close the curtain, no one will even know it's here." To entice her she adds, "I think this is when Ensign Trellis gets his meal."

The second one finally relents and Baltar can hear the two talking as they leave. Once they are gone, he whispers to Six, "I'm so glad you woke me up for that. Do make sure that you alert me if they need to urinate later."

Six pulls his head up by his hair, "Gaius, don't you ever put two and two together?"

He grimaces as he sits up and whispers his angry reply, "only when I actually have some need to count to four."

She explains, "Kamala extract is an herbal remedy that some of your people use to treat terminal illnesses."

Baltar whispers, "so I've heard. I am a scientist you know."

Six follows up, "then are you familiar with the side effects?"

He answers, "certainly, nausea, head aches, possible hallucination…" He turns to look at her, "you don't think?"

Six smiles cruelly, "I do. I think our dear President is taking Kamala and the good doctor is holding it for her."

Baltar thinks, "but what can I do about it?"

Six replies while running her hand up his back, "I think you should add the medication that you're hiding under the mattress to the kamala…just to help relieve the poor woman's suffering."

Baltar rises from the bed as quietly as possible and looks past the curtain to observe the guards. Only one guard is in the room and he appears to be trying to see anything going on outside the room. He whispers to Six, "you know they've been keeping their distance since last night."

She replies, "what do you expect, with your moaning by yourself inside the curtain?"

He says defensively, "that was your fault." He moves to the back area of the curtain and reaches over to the next bed and grabs the box laying on it. He pulls it into his own area and lifts the flaps of the box. Inside he finds a large vial of reddish liquid.

Six asks, "isn't Kamala usually taken as a pill?"

Baltar responds, "it can be taken as pills or injection. If someone were in bad shape, they would want the higher concentrations brought right to the blood stream." He quickly removes the stolen pain medication and syringe and moves the entire vial of pain killer into the syringe. He carefully inserts the needle into the bottle of Kamala and places his thumb on the syringe plunger. He hesitates whispering, "I don't know if I can do this."

Six turns on him, "what do you mean, you don't know? You didn't hesitate to shoot Gaeta and he actually seemed to like you."

Baltar tries to reply logically, "that was self defense. I acted rashly to protect myself. This is cold blooded murder."

Six slaps her hand down hard on top of his and the syringe injects the entire amount of pain medication into the kamala extract. Six responds, "you've already crossed the line, Gaius. There's no going back now."

Baltar quickly wipes the vial of Kamala, puts it back into the box and places the box back on the other bed. He nervously scans the sick bay for any witnesses, but finds everything quiet. He falls back on to his bed, closes his eyes and prays. He awakes the next morning feeling surprisingly refreshed, he opens the curtain and sees that the box on the other bed has gone.

 

(Present) 15 Days and 7 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

Jolly lays in sick bay only semi-conscious. He can feel someone holding his hand in theirs and somehow instinctively knows it's Slider. It takes all of his will to concentrate and feel her skin, but he can feel it. He knows he's alive, that his brain is working, but nothing else seems to be. He wonders if he's paralyzed from his wounds. He can hear a voice…a voice he recognizes…it's Apollo. He's sure of it.

Apollo asks, "any change?"

He can hear Slider respond, "no, I thought I could feel him gripping my hand just a moment ago, but that might have been just a reflex."

Apollo responds, "well, I'm going to go try and dig up some more answers. Are you going to stay here?"

Slider responds, "yes, I'm staying."

Apollo replies, "I want you to get something to eat though. You need some food and some rest."

Slider replies, "yes sir."

Apollo admonishes her, "I'm serious about this, Frankie."

Jolly thinks, did Apollo just call Slider by her first name? Yuck.

Slider says lightly, "I know. I'll get something later, Lee."

Jolly thinks, did she just call him, Lee? What's going on?

Apollo says lightly, "I can't let my pilots get weak. I might need you."

Jolly hears a muffled sound and he thinks, did Apollo and Slider just kiss? Ewww, this is just too much to take. Jolly can't quite believe it. But suddenly, his mind is overcome by a blinding flash of red that moves from one end of his mind to the other. He tries to banish it, he struggles to think of something else, anything else, but he can't. The light is like a wave and any thought he has is quickly wiped away. He concentrates and struggles. He can feel his muscles tightening, his head moving back and forth. A montage of images hit him. He sees faces, one after another. He can't control it, he can't…and then he hears Slider yelling, "get the doctor over here!" Then relief as his mind plunges into darkness. But it's not complete darkness…he's flying inside a tunnel. A tunnel illuminated only by an eerie red light.

 

(Flashback) 2 Hours and 30 Minutes After the Escape:

Cylon Base Star

Jolly and Boomer move their raptor through the dark tunnels and into the flight deck area. Jolly struggles to see in every direction, trying to take it all in. He gulps uncontrollably upon seeing the large number of raiders parked on the deck. He looks over at Boomer, "how do you know where you're going?"

She replies, "I've been on one of these before."

He asks, "I thought you couldn't remember anything about being a cylon?"

She looks angry, "when I blew the one orbiting Kobol to hell. That's when I was on one of these before."

Jolly shrugs, "sorry." He says after a moment, "it's dark…I pictured a lot more chrome and stainless steel. Like a really expensive kitchen or something."

Boomer gives him a stern look, "so you figured the toasters just came from a big kitchen, right?" She pauses, then explains, "this ship, it has organic parts. I think in a lot of ways cylons have a more organic connection to each other than humans do."

He looks at her, "is that a fact?"

She replies, "yes, we…they're connected to each other." Jolly just continues to look at her with a raised eyebrow. So she continues, "we operate on the same frequency, if that makes it easier for you to visualize."

Jolly replies, "uh huh…but you don't remember anything about being a cylon?"

She doesn't respond. The raptor touches down amongst a field of raiders and transport ships.

They sit there in silence for a moment, finally Jolly turns, "so…do we wait for them to come to us or do we go snooping around?"

Boomer shrugs, "I guess we should at least leave the ship. We did choose to come here."

Jolly moves to put his helmet on, but Boomer stops him, "you won't need that. There's plenty of oxygen."

Jolly replies, "let me guess, when you dropped the nuke, you left the ship to look up some old friends."

She replies, "no, the bomb release mechanism wouldn't work, so I had to do it by hand."

Boomer opens the hatch, while Jolly picks up one of the assault rifles. Boomer looks at him, "what do you think you are going to do with that? You are just going to provoke them."

Jolly puts down the weapon, "I provoke them…I offend them. Apparently, the cylons are nothing but an entire race of Starbucks."

Boomer decides to ignore the comment and begins investigating the membranes covering the wall area. He comes over to see what she is doing, "did you find something?"

She replies, "no…I'm just looking for a door."

He makes a disgusted face at the membranes, "if this thing sneezes, I suppose we're history."

They both hear a sound off in the darkness and turn to see three glowing red lights in the distance coming closer. Finding no cover and not enough time to get back into the ship, Jolly draws his pistol with his right hand and pushes Boomer behind him with his left.

Boomer protests, but they both stop as three cylon centurions emerge from the gloom. Jolly aims and fires, as Boomer yells, "NO!" and knocks his arm. Of the three cylons, the one on the furthest left is painted a bright and shiny gold color.

In spite of Boomer's interference, Jolly's round hits the gold centurion and ricochets off his chest. The two other centurions' hands almost instantly disappear to be replaced by menacing looking gun barrels. Jolly looks to fire again, but Boomer moves in front of him, so that neither Jolly nor the cylons can fire at the other without hitting her.

Jolly hesitates, but Boomer explains, "we chose to come here. Remember?" And she takes advantage of his indecision and reaches out slowly to take the pistol from him. She looks into his eyes, "it'll be ok. No matter what, you can trust me. Always remember that."

Jolly reluctantly nods and lets her have the gun. She smiles at him, and then with a blindingly fast move, hits him hard in the head with the butt of the gun. Jolly falls to the ground like a rock.

The two chrome centurion's gun barrels are removed to be replaced by hands. The gold centurion walks up to Boomer, "by your command."

 

(Present) 15 Days and 9 Hours After the Escape:

Colonial One

Advisor to the President, Billy Keikeya collects several folders from the President's office. He is hurried and appears a little nervous. He turns in surprise as President Baltar walks from the President's quarters, apparently wearing only a robe. Baltar is watching him with some amusement, "hello Billy."

Billy smiles hesitantly back, "hello Mr. President. I've come for some paperwork I need for a meeting. And I'm running late."

Baltar asks coyly, "really? Sounds like very important stuff, indeed. What do you need? Perhaps I could be of some assistance?"

Billy tries to reply coolly, "it's really nothing you would be interested in." Billy decides to bluff, "but if you are interested you could come to the meeting with me. It's a re-distribution of flour meeting."

Baltar replies suddenly very disinterested, "the re-distribution of flour? I believe I'll just leave that in your very capable hands, thank you."

Billy replies, "I assumed that is how you would feel, so I'm just taking care of the details."

Baltar replies, "that's very thoughtful of you."

Billy responds trying to make a joke, "that's what you pay me for."

Six replies coming into the room in revealing lingerie, "he's not trustworthy Gaius. He'll always be Roslin's man."

Baltar responds to both, "nonsense. You aren't getting paid. You do your job well because you are dedicated and a patriot. And as such you always unflinchingly do your duty."

Billy nods, "well yes, I'd like to think so."

Six says to Baltar, "ask him where his meeting is?"

So Baltar does, "so where is this re-distributing meeting taking place, perhaps I will drop in."

Billy hesitates a moment, then continues the lie, "it's on board the Agamemnon. They have the largest storage of flour in the fleet. Besides the Galactica of course."

Baltar responds, "of course."

Six whispers in Baltar's ear, "he's lying. He's going to Galactica. You do know who his girlfriend is?"

Just then there is a knock outside the entryway. Baltar calls out, "you may enter."

A tall woman with dark hair enters the room dressed in a brown uniform that Billy has never seen before. Baltar smiles at her, "come in, Colonel. Please come in. I'd like you to meet Billy Keikeya. He was one of President Roslin's most trusted advisors and now he's one of mine." He turns, "Billy, I'd like you to meet Colonel Hadrian. The very first officer in the newly formed Colonial Militia."

Billy shakes her hand, "I believe we've met. But you were Sergeant Hadrian, the Galactica's Weapon's Master."

The woman smiles, "Commander Adama and I decided that it would be best to discontinue my position."

Baltar adds, "so William's loss is our gain."

Billy looks confused, "I didn't know we were creating a militia."

Baltar explains, "well, it's been a very recent development. It started with the inspiration that we, in the fleet, needed to pick up the slack. So when I decided to create our own security force, I realized we needed to expand the idea. To pull our share of the weight. I'll be making a formal announcement later today."

Billy asks, "do you really think it's a good idea to have two military organizations in the fleet? Have you discussed this with Commander Adama?"

Baltar replies, "I think it only makes sense. I'm sure that William will be thrilled, since it is to assist him and take some of the load off of his shoulders that I'm doing it." Baltar continues, "not that he could stop me. You see Billy, there are many people in the fleet that have nothing to do. Their careers, homes and families are all gone. This will give them a chance to feel apart of something again. It's all perfectly legal, I've done some checking." He pulls a book from the desk and reads a passage from it, "In times of crisis the President may form security forces or militia, constituted of men and women of colonial citizenship." He hesitates, "war or crisis. Sounds like we have all the bases covered, does it not?" Baltar gives Billy a discerning look, "I believe you had a meeting to attend."

And Billy goes to leave, but Baltar says as he reaches the doorway, "tell William that I won't be pushed around as easily as Laura." And Billy rushes to his shuttle going to the Galactica.

 

(Present) 15 Days and 11 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Pilot's Briefing Room

Apollo is alone in the pilot's ready room reviewing different materials regarding the day of the escape. He hears someone come in and approach him, and he says without looking up, "forget it Kara. You'll find out when everyone else does."

Commander Adama asks, "what will Kara find out?"

Apollo looks up surprised, as Adama sits next to him. Apollo explains, "She saw the disk taken from Jolly, she'll be snooping around trying to find out what's on it."

Adama nods, "well, if she does, make sure she let's us know what the hell's going on. She'll be tough to live with until we do something about Jolly."

Apollo replies, "you think it's tough? Try being her CAG."

Adama smiles, "I know she's hard to handle sometimes, but overall, we're lucky to have her."

Apollo nods, "she's a great pilot."

Adama corrects him, "I wasn't just talking about her flying."

There's an awkward silence, finally Adama says, "I just talked to Billy, he has some distressing news regarding Colonial One. It appears that our Acting President is intending to act upon a hundred year old law to create a Colonial Militia."

Apollo asks, "a militia? What does he plan on doing with a militia?"

Adama shrugs, "he thinks he can negotiate if he has muscle."

Apollo asks, "negotiate what?"

Adama replies, "well, that will all probably depend on what you can find."

Apollo smiles, "that depends on whether there any more surprises that I should know about?"

 

(Flashback) 10 Hours After the Escape:

Commander Adama's Quarters

Apollo, wearing fatigues and a sidearm, storms in to find Adama and Tigh going over some reports at the table. Apollo charges Colonel Tigh, "why the frak did you change the CAP schedule?"

Tigh shakes his head, looks at Adama and replies, "Captain, I certainly don't know what you are talking about."

Apollo throws some paperwork on the table, "that's the schedule I created just days ago. I intentionally mixed each CAP to have a combination of new and old pilots to help integrate the squadron. I thought that Jolly and Boomer just happening to escape while three of Jolly's most loyal pilots were on CAP was some weird mix up or that they traded to be on CAP with each other."

Adama cuts him off, "where are you going with this?"

Apollo continues, "I asked the pilots, they didn't trade and a new schedule somehow mysteriously showed up just hours before the escape. So I asked the flight crew and Cally says that she saw you making changes to the board."

Tigh explains, "I'm around that board all the time. The cylon agent that helped them escape must have created a new schedule."

Apollo draws the pistol and points it at Tigh, "yeah, I guess the cylon agent must have done it. Colonel, you're under arrest."

Tigh looks at Adama, who raises his hand, "put the gun down, Lee."

Apollo continues, "I did some digging and just happened to find your order to have the raptor ready for reconnaissance at exactly the time of the escape. And then I did some more digging, and the CIC log indicates that you had the watch, but were not at CIC during the escape. So Colonel, where exactly were you just before and during the escape?"

Tigh looks at the pistol angrily, "that's twice you've pointed that thing at me…and Captain, pretty soon I'm going to start taking it personal."

Adama steps between the two, "Lee, put the gun down. There is an explanation for everything."

Apollo is clearly confused, but holsters the weapon, never taking his eyes off Tigh. Adama explains, "Tigh did all of those things…and more, only upon my orders. We were responsible for Jolly and Boomer's escape."

Apollo shakes his head, "wh…why would you allow…help two cylons get away?"

Adama tries to clarify, "we thought that perhaps if Jolly escaped he could use the cylon known as Boomer to infiltrate the cylons and get some intelligence on these human look alike agents."

Apollo can't believe it, "so you think Jolly is human?"

Adama nods, Tigh just shrugs. Apollo asks, "and Jolly agreed to this…suicide mission?"

Adama nods, "yes, he didn't see many options."

Apollo asks, "so why did you have me do this ridiculous investigation if you already know what happened?"

Adama explains, "we know how Jolly and Boomer escaped. We don't know what happened in the lab. That's what I charged you with getting to the bottom of."

Apollo asks, "and how many people know about this? And why wasn't I told?"

Tigh replies, "it wasn't your decision, Captain. And the only ones who know are those in this room, President Roslin and Jolly, of course."

Apollo replies, "I am the CAG and Jolly was one of my pilots. I should have been informed."

Adama responds, "that may be true, but we had to move quickly. What else have you found regarding the lab?"

Apollo nods, "well, I've found some strange evidence in the lab that now baffles me."

Adama asks, "what's that?"

Apollo explains, "when someone smashed the lab, they also destroyed most of the blood samples that had been collected. Between the blood and the broken glass spread everywhere, I tried to recreate the events that took place by the footprints." He continues after a moment, "now, I'm not a forensic expert and the marines trampled a portion of the area, but it appears that Jolly got there after the lab was attacked." Gesturing at Tigh, "I had thought that the cylon agent that helped them escape must have beat Jolly to the lab, but if there was no cylon…"

Tigh finishes, "then who destroyed the lab?"

Adama says to Apollo, "I want you to turn up the heat on our Vice President, he's not telling us something and we need to know what it is."

Petty officer Dualla comes marching quickly in. Adama asks, "what is it, D?"

She replies, "it's President Roslin. She just collapsed in sick bay. Apparently, she's unconscious and not responding to attempts to revive her."

 

(Present) 15 Days and 14 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Computer Lab

Working on a computer, Petty Officer Dualla teases Billy as he enters with two trays of food, "it's about time. Did you take a shuttle to the buffet on Cloud Nine?"

Billy smiles looking at the food as he places the trays down, "well, if it helps get this stuff down, then yes, let's pretend I got it from a cruise ship."

She smiles, "this isn't so bad. I've seen worse, the food workers must like you."

He replies, "I'd hate to see what people they don't like get served." He looks over the computer that she is working on and asks, "where are we so far?"

She shakes her head in frustration, "this thing is crazy. I've managed to load the data onto this computer, but it's either encrypted with something I've never seen or heard of, or it's just full of gibberish. I've seen cylon codes before, but nothing like this. Our computers barely register it."

Billy looks at the screen and sees a group of red wavy lines consisting of small nearly unidentifiable symbols, all intersecting and moving about the screen. Dualla tries to enter a couple of different things and then quits in frustration. "this just doesn't make sense."

Billy agrees, "if only Lieutenant Gaeta were here. He was always so good at figuring out these puzzles." He stops when he sees the hurt look on her face, "sorry."

She gets mad, "it's the fraking cylons! I hate them…"

He stops her, "that's it."

She asks, "what's it?"

He explains, "if this is cylon encrypting, what we need is a cylon."

She replies, "trust me, if Jolly were conscious, I'd have him chained to this computer with a gun to his head."

He smiles, "however, if I'm not mistaken, even without Jolly, I believe we still have one cylon on board the Galactica to spare."

 

(Present) 15 Days, 14 Hours and 20 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Outside of Captain Adama's Quarters

Slider and Apollo are standing just outside of his quarters. She says to him, "thanks for making me take a break."

He smiles back, "well, I have to admit that it was a selfish order. Since I get to see you." He gestures to his room, "Lieutenant Warrant would you like to come into the CAG's office for a debriefing."

He leans in to kiss her, but she pulls back. She tries to smile, but replies, "I…uh…better go check on Jordan." As she walks away she turns, "I'm really sorry. Maybe later, ok?" And she hurries off. Apollo turns and sees Starbuck standing there.

She laughs at him, "ouch! That must hurt. It sure looked like it hurt from where I was standing."

Apollo tries to smile it off, "she's just worried about Jordan."

Starbuck says bitterly, "so he's Jordan again. Not the cylon agent or the traitor that escaped or the fraker that shot Gaeta, but our old buddy Jordan. I guess I underestimated Slider's persuasive abilities. That cylon lover is really playing you."

Apollo says with menace, "she's not playing me. The only one playing anybody around here better be you on Doctor Cylon."

Starbuck breaks into a smile, "down boy. I was just testing you." Trying to change the subject, "I was just on my way to take the new pilot's money playing cards, did you want to come or are you all set on playing with yourself tonight?"

Apollo looks down the hallway Slider just left through and says, "yeah, let's play."

 

(Flashback) 1 Day After the Escape:

Captain Adama's Quarters

It's small, but he's the only pilot with his own room. They are laughing and talking while sitting on his rack. He says, "I had a little…just a little mind you, too much to drink. I passed out and Starbuck and Jolly tied me to my rack and placed me in the officer's mess. I was still there when Admiral Realen was dishing up his breakfast."

They both laugh and then there is an awkward pause, Apollo says, "I guess you don't really want to hear Starbuck and Jolly stories all night." She just kind of nods and then they both lean in and kiss. Slider places her hands on his face and Apollo wraps his hands around her waist.

They kiss for several seconds and then break. They smile briefly, but then Slider gets up and begins to walk out. Apollo confused asks, "did I do something wrong?"

She replies reluctantly, "no."

He asks, "then why are you leaving?"

She sighs, "look Lee. I know there's this weird vibe between you and Starbuck. All of your stories feature her prominently. But I would go ahead and let that go, except…"

He follows, "except what?"

She replies after a moments thought, "this may sound cocky, but I need the person I'm with to really want me. To really need me…to burn to be with me. That kiss was nice, but it was like there was something else going on in the back of your mind. Kissing me was in your thoughts somewhere above updating the CAP schedule and below figuring out the strange whining noise your Mark VII makes when using the vertical thrusters. I have this strange thing for needing the person I'm kissing to be thinking of me and only me."

He thinks for a moment, "you noticed the noise too?"

She pauses, "Lee, I think you just can't let go of yourself enough to satisfy me."

He replies, "I'm not sure what to say."

She nods, "that's what I figured."

As she moves towards the door, Apollo quickly closes the distance between them and turns her. He says taking her in his arms, "I'd like to request another approach at the landing."

She looks up at him and after a moment smiles slightly but cautiously, "request, granted."

He kisses her hard and passionately and she responds by reaching up and running her fingers through his hair. They press together as if attempting to compress every possible centimeter of their bodies together. Apollo quickly maneuvers her onto his rack and they continue to kiss while Slider rips Apollo's shirt off. She says breathlessly as he caresses her neck, "now…that…was a perfect landing."

They begin undressing each other between groping, when the door suddenly is thrown open. Starbuck enters wearing flight deck overalls, covered in oil and laughing to herself, "Lee, you are never going to believe what I found while cleaning out the flight deck's oil tank…." She stops dead in her tracks upon seeing Apollo half naked on top of Slider. Who both look up at her in surprise.

He says angrily while rolling off Slider, "did it ever occur to you to knock before entering the quarters of a superior officer?"

Starbuck crosses her arms still looking shocked, but she manages to reply, "well, I guess it all depends on your definition of superior."

Slider covers herself with the rack's blanket as Starbuck says sounding both angry and sad, "sorry, I'll remember my place from now on." And she turns and leaves quickly.

Slider looks up at Apollo, "I guess you had better go after he…" Apollo cuts her off with a long kiss.

As they break he says, "Starbuck can take care of herself." And they smile at each other and fall back onto the rack kissing.

 

(Present) 15 Days, 14 Hours and 45 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

Slider sits at what has become her station, beside Jolly's bed holding his hand in hers. She talks to him about the squadron and what's going on in the fleet. She turns alarmed when she hears a loud confrontation occurring just outside of sickbay.

She recognizes the voice of Rebel, one of the pilots from the Nebula Chaser, he says angrily, "the way I see it is that I'm an officer and you aren't. So you are going to shut up and let us pass."

One of the two marine guards stationed outside the door replies, "I'm sorry sir. But my orders are clear, that only one visitor is allowed at a time and absolutely no one armed is permitted into the sick bay. Those orders come straight from Colonel Tigh."

Slider comes out and asks Rebel, who is accompanied by five other pilots, "what's going on?"

He replies, "this meathead won't let us in to see Jolly." There are several angry murmurings from the group.

The marine says, "I tried to explain that my orders are cl…"

Slider interrupts him, "yeah, your orders are clear, I got that part." She turns to Rebel, "why don't you stow your sidearms?"

Rebel replies, "we're not here socially. We're here to make sure that there aren't any accidents involving air locks."

Slider explains, "that's why he has marine guards posted."

One of the new ECOs, Vandal calls out, "they're here to protect everyone but Jolly. He deserves a chance to tell his story, then a decision regarding his fate can be made."

Slider replies, "look, nothing is going to happen to Jolly. Anyone that wants to do something is going to have to go through these two marines and me."

A couple of the pilots smile and look ready to turn, but Rebel says, "I guess I forgot that you're the CAG's woman now. So I guess that makes you queen bee."

Even though she's a good few inches shorter, Slider steps right up to him, "you're lucky that I know you're stupid and don't mean half the crap that comes out of your mouth or my foot would already be up to it's shins in your ass. If you ever say anything like that to me again, you'll get all the time in sick bay you can handle. Get me?"

Rebel replies, "yeah, I get you. But there are two squadrons on this ship and pretty soon you are going to have to decide which one you're on."

The pilots turn and leave as Slider heads back to Jolly's side. She takes his hand and she hears him croak in a weak whisper, "I forgot how cute you look when you're all fired up."

Slider smiles broadly and begins to cry, "so you live. About time you stopped being so frakin lazy."

He tries to sit up, but can't quite manage more than repositioning himself because his hands are cuffed to the bed rails. He grimaces in pain, "I'm surprised they didn't just throw my body out of an airlock."

She laughs, "apparently, your head won't fit through any of them. So we decided to wait until we could make other arrangements."

He smiles weakly, "my head is killing me. It's only hurt this badly once before…but I can't really remember when that was."

Slider tells him that she is going to find the doctor. As she leaves, Jolly looks over and notices on the wall there is a sign that reads in large red letters, 'IF YOU SEE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE, CONTACT SECURITY IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT APPROACH!' Underneath the sign are pictures of all of the known cylon agents. There are two men that Jolly vaguely remembers, a blonde woman that he will never forget, Boomer and himself. He mutters looking at his own likeness, "the least Lee could have done is made them use a decent picture." He then finds himself studying Boomer's face…

 

(Flashback) 1 Day and 1 Hour After the Escape:

Cylon Base Star

The first thing Jolly notices upon waking is how much his head hurts. The throbbing is nearly unbearable. He has trouble opening his eyes as the brightness of the all white room is nearly blinding. He struggles to adjust his eyes and realizes that his head is resting upon an all white table and his hands are chained to a chair. He lifts his head and sees that the room has no apparent doors or windows, with no furnishings other than his chair and table.

He doesn't have much time to get his bearings before a section of wall moves forward revealing a door. Boomer enters, still wearing her flight suit. She has Jolly's sidearm and looks nervous. Jolly says, "well, look who it is…"

Boomer cuts him off while coming to him and unlocking his chains, "be quiet. You want every cylon on this deck to hear you."

He replies whispering while rubbing his sore wrists, "what in name of the Gods are you doing?"

She smiles, "what does it look like? I'm springing you…apparently it's my new hobby."

He asks, "and where do you think we are going to go? Back to the Galactica? Maybe you haven't noticed, but we don't have a lot of fans. And since the last thing I remember is you clocking me with my own gun." He says while softly touching the wound at his forehead, "I'm not really a fan of yours right now."

She replies quickly, "come on. We need to go. If I hadn't done something to you, they would have questioned my loyalty. Would you have preferred it if I had snapped your neck?" Jolly stands in silence, so she follows up, "well?"

He replies angrily, "I'm thinking."

She says, "we need to get out of here. The model that runs this ship hates us."

Jolly asks beginning to follow her out, "hates us?"

She clarifies, "my model. She doesn't think we're reliable. She questions my loyalty."

Jolly replies, "not that I'm complaining, but it seems she may have a point. I'll need my gun."

Boomer hesitates for a moment, then hands him his pistol, while drawing her own. As they reach the open doorway, Jolly pushes her against the wall and places the muzzle of his gun against her forehead. She asks terrified, "what are you doing? Jordan, it's me…Sharon…I'm trying to help you."

Jolly just says in a menacing voice, "drop the weapon." When she hesitates, he says louder, "now!"

Her sidearm falls to the floor. She tries to explain, "I'm sorry…I told you…I had to hit you or they would have killed both of us. We can get to another base star…maybe, one that is run by my model. They'll help us."

Jolly asks, "help us do what?"

She says while getting upset, "start over…somewhere. We can be together." Jolly doesn't reply, so she says earnestly, "Jordan, I love you."

Jolly studies her face, "the scar is wrong."

She reaches out her hand to touch him, "what are you talking about?"

He replies coldly, "the scar on Boomer's cheek…the wound from cleaning her gun…it had a bit of a hook at the end. Very subtle, but you don't have it. And you don't love me…you've never even met me."

Suddenly the look of terror on Boomer's face is replaced by anger and she lunges for him. Jolly fires the gun and Boomer flies backwards against the wall and then falls to the ground as a crimson trail of blood from the back of her head trails down the formerly all white wall.

Jolly says while he grabs her pistol from the ground, "only my friends call me Jordan and you were no friend of mine."

He turns to see three cylon centurions standing over him. The two steel finished ones have their barrels pointed at him, while a third painted gold stands aside. The one in gold still has the dent in his chest area from Jolly's earlier round. Jolly drops both guns and puts his hands up in a surrendering gesture.

The silence is broken by the sound of one person clapping in the darkness outside of the room. He hears a woman's voice, "well done, Lieutenant Nevlin. Very well done, indeed." Jolly watches one of the most beautiful blonde women he has ever seen appear from out of the darkness to approach him. She smiles, "Lieutenant Nevlin, welcome to my home."

 

(Present) 15 Days, 14 Hours and 50 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Pilot's Rec Room

Apollo and Starbuck enter to find a large group of pilots and ship's officers gathered around. Apollo asks Starbuck, "what's going on?"

She shrugs but moves closer. They see that a large congregation has collected to see the Acting President come to play cards, however it doesn't appear that much card playing is going on. Standing beside the group are several large men dressed like marines, but their uniforms are brown. Members of the press corps surround the group filming it all.

Upon seeing them approach, Baltar waves at them to come over, "Captain Apollo, Lieutenant Thrace…perfect timing as per usual. Please come join us."

Members of the press move in to film closer as the two greet Baltar, who smiles at the cameras, "just spending some quality time with the men and women that have saved the fleet so many, many times."

Baltar shakes Apollo's hand vigorously and then takes Starbuck's hand and kisses her on the cheek. There is some "oh"ing mostly coming from the press members present. Apollo asks, "Mr. President, what can we do for you?"

Baltar beams at him, so that the cameras will catch it, "Captain, we ask so much of you and your valiant crew, but today, I have come here to do something for you." Baltar gestures around the room, "for all of you."

Apollo smiles dubiously, "what would that be, Mr. President?"

Baltar replies while taking one of the microphones, "What better place than among the Galactica's crew to announce the official creation of the Colonial Militia." Baltar pauses for it to sink in, then continues, "the time has come for the men and women of the fleet to pitch in and do their share." He continues as the cameras roll and the press jockey for microphone position, "how many hats have we expected the crew of the Galactica to wear. Soldier, policeman, bodyguards…the list just goes on and on. With the creation of the new Colonial Militia, the Galactica can concentrate on doing what she does best. Protecting the fleet and destroying cylons, while the militia will take on the lighter duties of security within the fleet."

Baltar continues to talk about the many benefits the militia will bring, as the crowd of crew continues to grow. Apollo tries to duck away, but reporters keep taking pictures and asking how excited is he regarding the news.

Starbuck shakes her head and across the crowded room catches the eye of Baltar. He winks at her. She gives him a crooked humorless smile, and then turns and walks away ignoring questions from reporters. Starbuck has learned not to trust her perfect timing or that wink.

 

(Flashback) 1 Day and 2 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Pilot's Locker Room

Starbuck stomps into the pilot's locker room. She's glad to find herself alone and starts to rip off her oil covered clothing. She stops, seeing her face in her locker mirror. She studies it for a moment, but then anger and frustration take over as she grabs the mirror and throws it inside. She manages to get completely undressed except her the towel wrapped around her.

Suddenly she hears someone enter and immediately go, "oh, I'm terribly sorry. I didn't realize you were changing."

Starbuck looks to see Dr. Baltar standing there just inside the doorway. Starbuck smiles sarcastically, "yeah…changing clothes in a locker room, you'd have to be some sort of genius to see that coming." She waits for him to say something, but he just gawks at her, so she says, "so doc, what are you doing outside of sickbay?"

He replies, "President Roslin has come down with something terrible. She's comatose, they don't know if she will pull out of it. Apparently, observing me isn't a high priority for the moment."

Starbuck nods, "that's terrible. I'm sorry to hear it. But what do you want?"

Baltar says essentially to himself, "you…I mean, I was hoping to talk to you."

Starbuck just waits for him to talk so he begins to ramble nervously, "I think…I mean feel…it's not like I've spent lots of my time thinking about it, you understand…but I feel that perhaps we both got off to an awkward beginning…to our…relation…friendship. And I was thinking that perhaps if you…"

Starbuck cuts him off, "listen doc. You're a bit twitchy, but I like you. I'm probably doing this for all the wrong reasons, but in just a moment I'm going to be completely naked in that shower stall, and I wouldn't say no to some company."

She walks across the locker room and enters the shower saying, "just in case your interested…in starting over." Once in side, she reaches out and drops the towel to the ground.

Baltar begins undressing and heading towards the shower stall as he can hear that Starbuck has started the water running. Six standing between him and the shower says, "why are you incapable of learning? There's too many things happening. This is your moment, and mark my words, she will ruin you."

Baltar smiles while he finishes undressing and heading into the shower, "on the contrary, I don't see how things could be coming together any better."

 

(Present) 15 Days, 14 Hours and 50 Minutes After the Escape:

Galactica Pilot's Rec Room

Starbuck marches away from Baltar's media circus and towards the locker room. She thinks, so much for cards tonight. In her decision to make a hasty exit, she didn't see what happened to Lee. Someone calls out behind her. Thinking it's Apollo, she smiles while yelling back, "looks like you're back to playing with yourself tonight."

Baltar running to catch her replies, "that is a shame. I was so hoping for some company this evening."

Starbuck is surprised that it's him and replies, "hey doc. I thought you were Apollo."

Baltar replies in a sad tone, "well much to my sorrow, I am not."

Starbuck explains, "listen Gaius, Lee is my friend, my CAG and…well, he's a big part of my life. And if you want to spend time with me, you are just going to have to deal with that."

Baltar nods, "yes, I understand that sometimes we have to accept another person's baggage. We've discussed it." He smiles, "but to be fair, I'll agree to anything when I'm in that particular position."

She replies, "a pilot's gotta stay limber, doc."

He leans into her, "now what I was hoping you will agree to…is spending a little time with your Acting President. There is an election coming up and I promise to do whatever it takes to get your vote."

Starbuck smiles pulling away slightly, "so aren't you nervous?"

Baltar smiles acting naive, "nervous? Whatever about?"

Starbuck shrugs, "well, there's a lot going on. Finding Jolly, President Roslin's coma…a new militia. Someone finds out that the Acting President is attending to personal matters, instead of minding the store…well, he might not be acting for much longer."

Baltar smiles, "trust me, when I say that all is well in hand."

Starbuck replies suddenly looking serious, "I don't know how you can keep so in control with Jolly on board. After what he did to you…and Gaeta, I'd be screaming for his circuits to be ripped out."

Baltar's smile fades, "well yes, of course justice must be done. But I have complete confidence in Commander Adama…and of course Captain Adama's investigation."

It's Starbuck's turn to lose her smile, "Gaius, Lee is only looking for potential cylon agents that my have helped execute the escape. It's nothing personal, Lee just comes across…" She laughs, "no, I suppose he is a pain in the ass."

Baltar shrugs, "Kara, what I really want is to ask if you will agree to be my escort to a small little dinner party tomorrow night."

She asks, "dinner?" She thinks for a moment, "so where does the Acting President go for a good meal these days? Do you think we can get a reservation?"

He smiles, "I'm having a get together on Colonial One, and I'd like you to be there."

She replies with a mock bow, "I would be honored, Mr. President." Starbuck watches him leave and inwardly breathes a sight of relief and wonders how she gets into these situations.

 

(Flashback) 1 Day and 5 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Flight Deck

Apollo catches up to Starbuck on the flight deck on the way to her viper. He yells out, "Kara!"

Finally, she stops, turns and comes to attention, "SIR! What can this officer do for you, sir!"

Apollo waves off her salute, "knock it off, Kara. I need to talk to you."

She continues to stand at attention, "this officer has not been given permission to be at ease, sir!"

Apollo pauses for a moment in frustration, then says, "at ease, Lieutenant."

She relaxes, "thank you, sir."

Apollo gets irritated and pulls her aside so no one can hear them, "listen Kara. I need your help with something important."

She pulls away from him, "hey Captain…I wouldn't want your new girlfriend to see us, she might be the jealous type."

Apollo grabs her by the arms, "Kara, I need your help, this is serious."

Finally getting through to her, she says, "ok, ok. What's up?"

Apollo asks, "how are you getting along with Doctor Baltar these days?"

Starbuck expresses a look of guilt and fear and she replies reluctantly, "uh…fine, I guess. Why do you want to know?"

Apollo smiles, "because I want you to go out with him."

 

(Present) 15 Days and 16 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

The marine guards and Slider come to attention as Commander Adama enters the sick bay leaning heavily on his cane. He addresses Slider, "Lieutenant Warrant, would you excuse us?"

Slider salutes, gives Jolly one last sympathetic look and then leaves the sick bay. Adama takes her seat. Jolly looks over at him, "I'd salute too, but my handcuffs won't seem to let me move my arms that far."

Adama smiles at him, "I'll settle for all the intelligence you were able to collect and what ever code we need to get into the data you gave Lee."

Jolly looks confused, "I have to admit sir, it's all a crazy collage of images in my head, I can't remember details…I concentrate, but can only seem to capture details of individual moments…it's like I can't focus. I don't know about any code for the data either. Boomer secured that."

Adama responds, "that's unfortunate. Major Cottle says that your body has wounds consistent with torture, and your mind may have blocked certain memories to help you get past the pain. But we need everything you can give us, so I'm going to ask that you try to recount everything that happened. Unfortunately, your life depends on it."

Jolly struggles to smile, "well as long as there's no pressure."

 

(Flashback) 1 Day and 2 Hours After the Escape:

On Board the Cylon Base Star

The two centurions chain Jolly back to the chair behind the table while the blonde woman and gold centurion look on. The two chrome cylons leave dragging the body of the unit of Boomer Jolly shot. Jolly asks the blonde, "who are you? Where is the real Boomer?"

She smiles, "which 'real' Boomer do you mean? We have so many." Jolly doesn't reply, so she adds, "but I'm sure you mean the unit of Sharon that returned from the Galactica with you." She walks towards him, "she is currently being debriefed…and reprogrammed."

Jolly asks while looking down, "reprogrammed?"

The blonde replies, "yes, reprogrammed. She needs to be reminded who's side she's on. With her model it's become an unfortunate and far too common necessity. I can assure you it is a very unpleasant experience. They just don't seem to have the faith to do their jobs."

She strokes the wound on the side of his head that he received from Boomer, "but you don't need to be reminded who you fight for do you?" She smiles, "so did Commander Adama think we would welcome you with open arms? Perhaps make you an officer? Or maybe he thought we would give you access to a top secret weapon we plan to use against his insignificant little fleet?"

Jolly finally meets her eyes, "I came because I didn't have any options. I…"

She cuts him off, "yes of course, the ever trustworthy cylon detector declared you to be a cylon agent. They missed the mark by a few seats on that one."

Jolly says angrily, "you appear to have all the answers already, so why don't you tell me what's going on."

She leans into him, "all in good time, Jordan. All in good time." She begins moving her hands along his face, "this doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience. You might even like me if you just opened your mind…just a little."

Jolly remains silent, so she continues, "so tell me, Jordan, what kind of woman interests you? What kind of woman is your type?"

Jolly remains silent as she moves her finger across his lips, "on those long patrols, who fires your fantasies? Maybe Starbuck? She and you have so much in common." Seeing the disapproving look on his face, she says almost touching his cheek with her lips, "or perhaps the little brunette called Slider." She pauses, trying to measure his reaction. She continues, "Boomer? Don't tell me she got under your skin in so little time. I bet if you give me a chance I can make you forget all about Boomer and everyone else for that matter." She moves in and kisses him passionately. As they finish she smiles and in a quick motion Jolly thrusts forward and head butts her.

She falls backwards and looks up surprised. Jolly looking down at her says, "I said only my friends call me Jordan."

The gold centurion quickly closes the distance and grips his hand around Jolly's throat and begins to slowly squeeze. The woman holds up her hand, "wait!"

The centurion releases Jolly, who begins choking and gasping for air. The centurion backs away to stand in the corner. Six approaches Jolly, while a trickle of blood flows from her nose and the corner of her lip. She sensuously moves her fingers from her bloody lip to his, spreading the blood over his mouth. She then traces a line from his lips, down his neck, past his shoulders and to his left arm. She says menacingly, "perhaps you need a little reprogramming yourself. Remember, you had a chance to make this a pleasant experience." And with that, she stabs her finger into the bullet wound he suffered during the escape. Jolly grimaces and cries out in pain. She removes her finger, sucks his blood from it and turns, "you should thank me, I'm going to bring God into your life…Jordan."

As she walks away, he calls out, "I'm in chains. Why not take your pet with you?"

She smiles standing next to the gold centurion, "typical fool, you mistake silence for ignorance. My friend is as smart as either of us." She moves over and slides her hand down it's shiny chest, and coming to the dent made by Jolly's gun, she says "my friend wants to be close to you."

Jolly smiles sarcastically, "couldn't we just be pen pals?"

She replies, "you don't understand do you? This…before you, was the sign that showed us that it was God's will that we replace you."

Jolly laughs, "you paint a toaster yellow and think that it's a sign from a God? I suppose if it had come in blue, you'd be trying to walk on water?"

She gives Jolly a look of contempt, "this…toaster. Has an organic brain, far superior to yours."

Jolly replies, "that wouldn't be a huge accomplishment."

She slides her hand across the metal plate on it's head, "this was one of the first genetic creations that became the staple for what we now are. In fact, I'm surprised you don't recognize your old friend. Since one of the people closest to you is a model with a brain identical to the one that stands before you now."

Jolly is left to think about that as she leaves and the door closes behind her, leaving him and the gold centurion alone in the room. The lights go out and almost instantly each of the four walls begin showing images of destruction.

From every angle, Jolly is forced to watch the cylon elimination of the human race. There is no escape from the scenes of death and carnage. Nuclear explosions destroy entire cities. Men, women and children die from radiation poisoning. He is sure that one scene is actually of the Galactica's response force being blown up by cylon raiders. He can hear the pleading cries for help from colonial ships just before being destroyed by the cylons.

Jolly closes his eyes trying to block out the images, but somehow they continue even with his eyes closed. They become worse with his eyes closed. It's as if he's there, in the scene that is unfolding, but from the point of view of a cylon. This goes on and on. He begins to notice that some scenes are repeating themselves, the scenes that relate to him personally. His hometown, ships he's served on, ships his friends were stationed on all continue to be obliterated before his eyes over and over again. Even when he drifts to sleep, his dreams are made of death and suffering.

Eventually, Jolly doesn't know how long he's been forced to watch. Hours or days. Finally he begins to break down. He moves from crying to frustration to rage and back again. All the while, the gold centurion stands in the corner motionless.

Jolly begins to struggle against his chains, desperate to reach the cylon. To hurt…to kill…to make someone pay. Jolly screams in agony, fights to leave his seat, but the cylon remains motionless except for the flash of red moving right to left, then left to right. Finally Jolly collapses back into the chair and the images continue.

 

(Present) 15 Days and 17 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Sick Bay

Jolly tries to wipe away the tears, but can't because his hands are cuffed to the bed rails. He says to Commander Adama, "I'm sorry sir, that's the last I can seem to remember." After a few moments, Jolly says, "it's funny…the academy puts you through all the drill and grill about being captured. So I knew I'd break sooner or later…everyone does, but a part of me really thought I could take it. But I broke…I think a part of me will always be broken."

Adama nods, "just remember, your being here…functioning and continuing the fight is a victory the cylons can never take from you. Keep trying to remember. Dualla and one of the presidential advisors is working on the disk. I'd like for you to help them. Maybe it will help you remember."

Jolly replies, "yes sir. I'll do anything you ask."

Adama says, "I'm counting on that. I'm going to have Starbuck help supervise your rehabilitation and maybe she can help you get your memory back."

Jolly appears a little alarmed, "Starbuck? I understand that she can't wait to get me out an airlock."

Adama responds, "exactly. You haven't been cleared of being a cylon agent…not yet anyway. So I need someone skeptical of your story to help me decide if what you say is true." He gets up and adds, "if you can convince Starbuck, you can convince anyone."

 

(Present) 15 Days and 18 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica Commander Adama's Quarters

Apollo walks in to find Colonel Tigh at the table reviewing some paperwork. Apollo asks, "where's the Commander?"

Tigh replies, "debriefing Jolly in sick bay."

Apollo nods turning to leave, "that was my next stop anyway."

Tigh stops him, "Captain, may I speak with you a moment?"

Apollo responds coming back, "yes sir."

Tigh looks as if he has truly painful to say, "Captain, I need to ask a favor of you."

Apollo almost laughs, "a favor?" He stifles his smile, "what can I do for you, Colonel?"

Tigh replies, "talk your father out of attending the dinner on Colonial One. I've tried, but he won't listen to me."

Apollo nods, "I've already talked to him. But Doctor Baltar has invited the entire Council of Twelve, and he's afraid Baltar will gather even more support if he doesn't show."

Tigh blurts out, "that's just great. Exactly what the fleet needs, the Old Man trapped in a room with Doctor Gaius Baltar and Tom Zarek. Well, I'm sending over an entire marine unit to act as security detail."

Apollo shakes his head, "I already tried that tactic, but he doesn't want any friction between the marines and the new militia. However, we do have one ace in the hole."

Tigh asks, "what's that?"

Apollo smiles at him, "Starbuck is Doctor Baltar's date."

Tigh gasps, "oh gods. Starbuck? Just when I thought the scenario couldn't get any worse…I suppose the cylons are on the guest list too. What have we got on the doctor anyway?"

Apollo shrugs, "the most I can pin on him is changing his story. He insists that it's Jolly's fault that Gaeta was shot."

Tigh replies, "do you believe him?"

Apollo responds, "no. But Gaeta's vitals are improving. The doctor has hope that he'll come out of it. Maybe that will fill in some gaps."

Tigh looks down and then says, "Captain, I want to use this opportunity. While the Old Man's gone I want to perform a training exercise. The raid on Colonial One was sloppy. I want raptors and marines prepared to go with all available vipers flying escort. No such thing as over trained, right?"

"Yes sir." And Apollo leaves to make the arrangements thinking about Baltar.

 

(Flashback) 2 Days After the Escape:

Colonial One

Apollo enters the President's office aboard Colonial One. Doctor Baltar is pacing nervously while advisors, each holding multiple folders, try to keep his attention. Baltar stops and points to Billy Keikeya, "uhm…what was that you were asking about..."

Billy finishes for him, "the ship, Red Horizon is asking for help with their air flow system. They've been having trouble for some time."

Baltar nods, obviously unsure of what Billy's talking about, "well, we can't leave them gasping can we? Tell them someone will help them."

Billy asks, "who will help them, sir?"

Baltar shrugs, "who ever it is that does this sort of thing. Certainly, there must be someone around that can do…whatever it is that needs to be done." Baltar sees Apollo standing there and beckons him to come in. "Captain Adama, so nice to see you." Then turning to the advisors, "I…really need to discuss some very important security matters with Captain Adama here, so please…write up your recommendations and I will look them over…very soon."

The advisors all grumble but leave. Baltar says as Apollo comes in, "difficulties of state. Not exactly a well oiled machine…yet."

Apollo nods, "I'm sure you're doing fine, sir. How is President Roslin?"

Baltar looks sad, "no response to treatment as of yet. No change, I'm afraid."

Apollo responds, "Major Cottle told me that you had her moved here to Colonial One. And that you have a civilian doctor placed in charge of her care."

Baltar nods, "yes…well, you see…it only made sense to keep her close. And Major Cottle has so many pressing injuries to take care of. It seemed prudent to bring her here. That way it will be easier for me to keep tabs on her…her condition, I mean. But what can I do for you, Captain?"

Apollo pulls out a folder, "I was hoping to cover some of the details regarding the cylons destroying your lab and shooting Lieutenant Gaeta."

Baltar gets a little defensive, "I believe we've gone over this…multiple times. What more do you need to know?"

Apollo reads some notes for a moment, then says, "there is some evidence that Jolly entered the room after the lab was destroyed. Was it possible that someone else was there?"

Baltar hesitates, then replies nervously, "now that you mention it, when I was first hit…I didn't actually see the assailant…I was attacked from behind…you see…had my back to the door, so there could very well have been someone else there first. I just assumed it was Lieutenant Nevlin."

Apollo nods, "ok, you say that then Lieutenant Nevlin fought with Lieutenant Gaeta and shot him as he was going for help. Then you jumped Lieutenant Nevlin and managed to wrestle the pistol away. From the angles of everyone's footprints…it looks like you had to have been holding the gun when Lieutenant Gaeta was shot."

Baltar thinks for a moment, "actually, I think I may have jumped on Lieutenant Nevlin first and then the gun fired and hit Lieutenant Gaeta. You see we were struggling with it, so it would look like the shot came from where I was standing."

Apollo pauses, "so Jord…Lieutenant Nevlin didn't deliberately shoot Gaeta? It happened while you were fighting over the gun?"

Baltar thinks for a moment, but realizes he's cornered himself, "yes, I believe that is how it happened. However, if Lieutenant Nevlin had not been there, the shooting would never have occurred." Baltar gets up and replies nervously, "now, if you'll excuse me…I really do have some urgent matters of state to attend to." He walks towards his living area, but then realizing that it doesn't make any sense, turns an about face and leaves in the opposite direction, leaving a bewildered Apollo behind.

 

(Present) 16 Days After the Escape:

Galactica Computer Lab

In the computer lab, Dualla punches Jolly's wounded left arm hard in frustration, "you frakin' cylons are worthless! How can you smuggle data out and not know how to get into it!"

Jolly sitting in a wheel chair behind the computer jerks from the pain. He replies angrily, "if you think that hurting me will help pull information out of a vacuum, by all means keep trying."

Billy pulls a still angry Dualla away, he says to Jolly, "listen, didn't the cylon that gave you this disk at least give you some indication as to what was on it?"

Jolly replies looking down at the broken finger of his left hand, "I was nearly unconscious when it was slipped into my hand, if anything was said, I can't remember it."

Dualla asks, "so all that time aboard a cylon base star and you didn't get any idea at all of how their systems work?"

Jolly matches her anger, "sorry, I must have missed the cylon encryption class at camp. But I did learn how to make a necklace out of pasta, so it wasn't a total loss."

A voice from the doorway says, "I might be able to help you." They all look up to see Boomer standing in the doorway. She is wearing civilian clothes, chained and has two marines escorting her. Jolly can't stop himself from staring at her, and his eyes eventually move down to the swell in her stomach.

One of Jolly's marine guards moves his wheelchair away from the computer, as Jolly passes Boomer still staring, she touches his face, leans down, kisses him on the, "you've been given a very special gift."

Everyone seems a little shocked and is silent for a moment. Boomer takes a seat at the computer and then turns to Dualla and Billy. "I'll help you, but I expect something in return."

Jolly sits and watches her with great discomfort.

 

(Flashback) 5 Days After the Escape:

Onboard the Cylon Base Star

Jolly lies with his head down on the table. He can't seem to either fully awaken himself or get a deep refreshing sleep. He's in a blurry world of fear and pain. The images of destruction were just a warm up to soften his mind, to make his emotions raw and open like blood flowing from a wound.

Different cylon agents each take turns interrogating him. Sometimes it's the same model as the blonde he's met previously, but their clothes and mannerisms are distinct. Each cylon treats him differently, testing his response to their approach. The first was a not particularly tall man with dark hair. He seemed cordial, almost to the point of being apologetic. The next, a younger blonde man, wanted to know Jolly's thoughts on religion. When Jolly suggested that the Gods were not a major part of his life, the man flew into a tirade regarding Jolly's need to accept the one God, if he is to save his life.

There are countless different variations, all asking similar questions regarding Jolly's experiences, emotions and particularly his relationships with others. Even variations of Boomer come to question Jolly, though they make no indication that they recognize him. The first blonde that he met in particular seems determined to elicit a sexual response from him. He's met with several versions of the blonde model, but can always identify the first one, by her swagger and attitude.

But no matter the questions or attitude of the questioner, the interrogations always end with the same result. The human looking cylon asking questions would make a motion and then the golden centurion would perform some action to elicit pain. Choking and burns created from one his fingers seem to be the preferred instruments, but it uses a variety of techniques. These interrogations continue one after the other.

But there was one incident that stood out as markedly different. The first blonde he had met after destroying the fake Boomer was questioning him. She was very business like and didn't seem too interested in the responses, until she asked about Boomer. "What is your relationship with the cylon, you know as Boomer?"

Jolly says, unable to lift his head up, "I thought she was a pilot in my squadron…but, she's one of you…a cylon."

She becomes somewhat agitated, "you've known her…you were thrown into the brig with her…you've spent time with her…what is your relationship?"

Jolly shakes his head, "we don't have one…she helped me escape, that's it."

The woman raises an eyebrow, "if we terminated Boomer…your Boomer, would you care?"

Jolly replies in a whisper, "no."

She comes around the table and takes Jolly's head in her hands, "don't lie to me, Jordan." And as she says 'Jordan,' she jerks his head up, forcing him to look at her. She turns almost tender, "I know she has an affect on men. She has a way to get inside of you."

Jolly forces himself to keep eye contact, "not me."

She actually looks sad and begins to cry, "maybe…maybe if you got to know me. Things could be different."

Jolly doesn't have the energy to respond, so she continues touching his face softly, "I can save you…I can make this stop. Would you like that?"

Jolly drops eye contact and can only nod, "yes…make it stop."

She forces him to look into her eyes, "then you do care? You could love me?"

Jolly finds the resolve from deep within himself, the very last of his power to resist. He mutters, "no."

The blonde screams in rage and throws the table across the room. Jolly is sure that she will kill him now, but she stops and collects herself. Never unlocking her eyes from his, she reaches down and takes his left ring finger into his hand. She begins to apply pressure, "this is the finger that you would place a betrothal ring upon isn't it? The finger that represents love." Jolly doesn't respond as the pressure gets tighter and tighter. Soon he can feel the smallest bone in his finger snap in several places under the pressure. He grimaces as the next bone does the same. Popping noises accompany each snap on each bone. Finally the third and final bone is broken in several places.

After stepping back and wiping away her tears, she laughs, "I'd give up everything to trade places with you. Do you realize that true feeling is the rarest commodity in existence? And humans can never seem to resist squandering it." She then motions to the centurion, and leaves crying. The last thing Jolly remembers before passing out is the centurion's hand closing around his throat and staring directly into the red eye moving back and forth.

 

(Present) 16 Days and 4 Hours After the Escape:

Colonial One

Commander Adama pauses to allow Starbuck to enter the newly created dining room on board Colonial One. Upon Adama's urging, Starbuck is wearing her fancy dress, as opposed to her dress uniform. Adama didn't want any friction between military and militia members at the dinner. He follows her in limping on his cane. Starbuck whispers, "you know that Lee ordered me to make you behave this evening. So whatever I do, you need to take it out on him."

Adama replies, "I always behave my self." Starbuck laughs. Acting President Doctor Gaius Baltar stands at the end of the room talking to several members of the Council of Twelve, including Tom Zarek.

Upon seeing them enter, Baltar immediately excuses himself and approaches them loudly making sure that everyone can hear him, "ah…Commander Adama and Lieutenant Thrace. I am thrilled that you could make it."

Starbuck replies for both of them, "how could we miss the very first presidential dinner?"

Baltar smiles, "exactly." As they talk, Colonel Hadrian walks up beside them wearing a dress uniform similar to Adama's but brown in color. Baltar remarks, "Commander, you remember Colonel Hadrian?"

Starbuck looks the Colonel over in shock, but Adama shakes her hand without smiling, "of course."

Hadrian smiles smugly at Adama, "no hard feelings, Commander? We might have to work together and I would hate…"

Adama cuts her off, "I would never hold a person's making a life and career against them. It's just what you do with their life and career that matters."

There's a brief silence, until Baltar says to break the tension, "do you like the room? It was touch and go there for a moment, they barely finished in time."

Neither Adama nor Hadrian immediately respond, so Starbuck breaks the silence admiring all of the fine settings and decorations, "it's beautiful…very Presidential."

Baltar smiles, "just the theme I was hoping for." He admires Starbuck looking her over and replies, "however Lieutenant, I must say that no room could ever truly do you justice." Baltar holds his arm out to Starbuck, "my dear, shall we mingle with the best and brightest left of humanity."

Starbuck smiles, takes his arm and replies, "we shall." As they walk away, she gives Adama a quick wink. Hadrian excuses herself and begins chatting with other dinner guests. Adama appears uncomfortable and stands there almost defying anyone to approach him. Suddenly from behind a voice says, "Commander Adama, I've been looking forward to shaking your hand."

Adama turns to see Tom Zarek standing there with his hand out. Adama doesn't shake it, but says, "Mr. Zarek, I didn't think this sort of ritzy formal affair would be something you'd lower yourself to attend."

After pulling back his hand, Zarek replies, "that's funny, because I was thinking the same thing about you."

Adama almost smiles, so Zarek continues, "Commander, I think we're both here for the same reason. We, at least, have that in common."

Adama asks, "and Mr. Zarek, what would that be?"

Zarek responds as they both watch people around the room interact with feigned excitement and politeness, "we're both here to protect our interests and our position. You want to find out what our Acting President is up to. Particularly with his new militia. And that's why I'm here as well. I have no intention of allowing a trumped up Vice President to become an all powerful dictator."

Adama smirks, "all powerful? I think the cylons might be a little surprised to hear about that."

Zarek laughs, "exactly. We both want what's best for the fleet. If you think about it, you and I are really on the same side."

Adama scowls, "no we aren't." And he walks away.

Later as all of the parties are seated at the long table with expensive looking settings, Baltar stands at the head with Starbuck on his left and Adama on his right. He calls out, "please everyone, I'm hoping that you will forgive me if I take this opportunity to say a few words."

Most of the people seemed pleased at the thought, so Baltar begins, "I'm not really a politician, so please forgive me if I'm not as eloquent as many of the people here tonight. But I thought it was important to have this dinner, so that those of us entrusted to look after the affairs of our fellow travelers through space could come together in a spirit of camaraderie and celebrate our inherent…humanness. I know that many times it's easy to get bogged down in all of the things we don't have. The things that we miss…but tonight is about appreciating all that we have. We are the survivors of humanity and tonight I toast you…and those you represent."

Everyone takes a drink after his toast. Baltar continues, "now, I know there have been a lot of changes the past couple of weeks and I want us to get a chance to discuss and get comfortable with where we are. The first thing I would like to do is officially introduce, Colonel Hadrian, the first and ranking officer in the newly formed Colonial Militia."

Hadrian is standing aside, not eating with the other guests and she nods her head in a humble bow. Zarek watches Adama intently, who happens to be the only one not clapping at all. But then Adama jerks as Starbuck kicks him under the table and he begins to clap politely while giving Starbuck an evil look.

Baltar continues once the applause has stopped, "as I have stated. It simply has not been fair to the crew of the Galactica or to Commander Adama that the civilian government has had to call upon them so often. So the militia will be taking on all matters of internal fleet security." There is more applause, once finished Baltar continues, "but change can be hard, and some have whispered fears that the military won't be willing to give up power so easily." He pauses to let that sink in, "But I have worked with these valiant warriors many, many times and can tell you that the best interests of the entire fleet are the only thing that matters to them."

The applause is cut short as Adama throws out, "what about rebuilding and maintaining the cylon detector?"

A tense silence overtakes the room as everyone awaits Baltar's response. Baltar takes a breath and replies, "well…yes…of course, the recreation of the cylon detector will take a great deal of my time. So it only makes sense to me, that the cylon detector be rebuilt on board Colonial One, where I can attend to the affairs of state and work on the detector."

There is mixed murmuring along the table, some nod approval, some shake their heads. Tom Zarek calls out, "so am I to understand that all fleet security and cylon detection will be under the militia's charter? And that you, as Acting President will be directly supervising the militia?"

Baltar nods, "yes…quite right. What greater security issue than the detection and extermination of cylon agents does the fleet face?"

Adama replies, "may I have a word, Mr. President?"

Baltar looks down at him, "perhaps after dinner, William."

Adama replies coldly, "I think we need to have a word now, Mr. President."

Baltar smiles ever so slightly, and replies to the entire table, "anything that can be said, can be said here. I mean, these are the Council of Twelve. We all have a stake in this, I say that the militia will open up the opportunity for everyone to participate in their own survival."

Adama replies, "fascism is not a solution. President Roslin understood that."

Baltar replies, "well, she isn't available, is she…and I think between being thrown into your brig to being poisoned, we can see how her trust in you served her. So I'll tell you, William. I do have something that I need from you."

Adama grits his teeth, "and what would that be, Mr. President?"

Baltar says, "the cylons."

Adama is surprised, "what?"

Baltar shrugs, "the two cylon agents, Lieutenants Nevlin and Valerii, that you have in custody…yet, have somehow not gotten around to executing. Since cylon agents now fall under militia jurisdiction, I think we need to have them dealt with. Turning them over for execution can be a…good faith gesture on your part."

Adama says with venom, "A good faith gesture?"

Hadrian walks over to the Commander with a phone. Baltar says, "yes, Commander. I'd like you to make the call. Have them brought over to Colonial One, where they will be transferred to Colonel Hadrian and the Colonial Militia's custody."

Commander Adama stands up, "Mr. President, you can stick that phone up your ass." He turns to Starbuck, "I think it's time for us to go." Starbuck moves to get up.

Two large men in the brown uniforms of the militia take up station behind Adama. Baltar says to him, "Commander, if you aren't willing to obey a direct order from the President. Even the Acting President, then I'm afraid we will have to charge you with insubordination."

 

(Present) 16 Days and 6 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica CIC

Colonel Tigh is going over status reports, when a young female Petty Officer calls out from Dualla's usual station, "Colonel, President Baltar is on the line for you. He says it's urgent."

Tigh scowls, "what did I tell you about him?"

She replies, "I'm sorry sir. Acting President Baltar is on the line, sir."

"That's better." Tigh picks up the receiver, "Tigh."

On the other end, President Baltar replies, "Colonel Tigh, as of right now, you are in command of the Galactica."

Tigh replies definitively, "the Galactica already has a commanding officer."

Baltar responds, "Commander Adama is being held on charges of insubordination. So you are in command. And your first order is to have the cylon agents on board Galactica turned over to the shuttle that will be coming over for them."

Tigh almost laughs, "you're joking?"

Baltar replies, "Colonel, let me assure you that I am dead serious. If you do not comply, I will have Colonel Hadrian of the Colonial Militia placed in command of the Galactica."

Tigh nods, "yes, sir. But I think they should be transferred to Colonial One by raptor with a viper escort…for security purposes."

Baltar smiles, "of course, excellent idea. We shall await your ships."

As Baltar hangs up the phone from his office and begins walking back towards the dining area, Six says behind him, "very well played, Gaius. Do you think he has any idea what happens next."

Baltar smiles, "none, whatsoever."

 

(Present) 16 Days and 5 Hours After the Escape:

Galactica CIC

The young female Petty Officer calls out, "Sir! Chief Tyrol needs to speak to you immediately."

Tigh picks up the receiver and Tyrol says in an excited voice, "Colonel, do you know why raptor 3 took off without her marines? She's empty except for the pilot and ECO."

Tigh hangs up and calls out to the female Petty Officer, "who's in raptor 3?"

She looks down and replies, "Topper and Vandal. They're both new pilots from the Nebula Chaser."

Tigh picks up another receiver, "Apollo, raptor 3's flying empty. We need to find out what's going on."

From his viper, Apollo calls out, "Topper, what are you doing? Why don't you have your troops?"

Raptor 3 doesn't respond, instead it breaks away and flies at top speed away from the attack formation. It is quickly joined by 8 vipers from the assault force. Apollo calls out, "what the frak are you doing? Get back into formation!"

The ships take up position close to Colonial One and then turn to face Apollo's oncoming squadron. Finally, one of the renegade vipers responds, "this is Saber. Captain, I'm afraid that I have to inform you that several of us have decided to resign our commissions…as much as I will miss cleaning up the flight deck."

A large shadow comes across Apollo's force as the Nebula Chaser takes up position between them and Colonial One. It's four cannons are targeted at Apollo's vipers and raptors. Apollo yells, "Saber! You and your pilots are disobeying orders. This is your last chance, get your asses back into formation."

Saber responds, "and you are disobeying orders from the President himself. We are now the official attack group of the Colonial Militia. And have been charged with protecting the civilian government. So Captain, it's unfortunate, but I have to ask you to vacate your forces to a safe perimeter from Colonial One."

Slider calls out, "Saber, have you fried your brains! You'd fire on your own squadron?"

Saber replies, "they were never my squadron. We're fighting for the fleet now, not the Galactica. And we are prepared to do anything necessary to protect the civilian government."

End Chapter Two…

Chapter Three

Between the Galactica and Colonial One, the two fighter groups maintain their stand off. Both sides remaining firm in their positions, while waiting for the other to instigate a confrontation. Finally Apollo explodes, "this is insane! We don't have the resources to give Doctor Baltar his own personal air show. I need every pilot and ship to fight the cylons! Remember them? The actual enemy!"

The pilot, Saber responds, "don't worry, when the cylons show up, we'll be there. We just won't be enjoying the comforts of the Galactica while waiting for them."

Slider asks, "It didn't have to come to this. why didn't you talk to me?"

The opposing pilot, Rebel shouts out, "well, we thought about it Slide, but you being the CAG's rack warmer and all…"

The opposing pilot, Whiplash cuts him off, "shut up, Rebel!" He continues, "look Frankie, we wanted to tell you, but we knew it would be hard for you. But you're welcome to join us."

Frankie asks, "what about Jolly? You know your new boss has the most to gain by shooting him out of an airlock."

Saber responds, "that was all part of the deal."

Slider asks, "what deal?"

Saber answers, "he gets another chance. Nothing happens to Jolly until another test can be performed and an independent investigation by someone qualified can be conducted."

Apollo throws out in a suspicious tone, "and just who will be conducting the investigation?"

Whiplash calls, "Colonel Hadrian said that she would handle it herself."

Colonel Tigh says to Apollo on a private channel, "Captain, this debate is pointless. Leave an equal number of vipers out there…just to let them know we aren't going to forget about them. Have everyone else land so we can regroup. Looks like we need to come up with Plan B fast."

Eight vipers and one raptor filled with marines take up position at a safe distance from Colonial One, while Apollo and the rest of the squadron turn back towards the Galactica's landing bay.

 

Two brown uniformed guards escort Commander Adama to a small room and quickly lock him in. The room is empty, except for President Roslin lying upon a hospital bed with a chair beside her.

Adama checks President Roslin for life signs. He finds her unconscious but breathing. The only evidence of her illness, being an IV to provide her with fluids. She gives no response to his efforts to wake her. Adama does a quick search of the room, but finds nothing useful.

He laughs to himself as he sits heavily and decides to wait, "now this is ironic."

 

Acting President Baltar talks into the phone receiver, while his guests, including the Council of Twelve, listen to his end of the conversation, "Colonel Tigh, you have been a very naughty boy. If it hadn't been for the brave intervention of the newly formed Colonial Militia's Air Wing, you would have once again been guilty of interfering with the civilian government."

Tigh replies with venom, "no one wants to overthrow the government, just one pompous jack ass!"

Baltar refuses to lose his humor, "Colonel, is that anyway to talk to your Acting President? It probably won't look good on your references…because you need to find a new job." He pauses, nodding at Colonel Hadrian, "I am regretfully forced to replace you as commanding officer of the Galactica. Colonel Hadrian will be assuming command immediately."

Tigh blasts into the phone, "Colonel Hadrian? Mister Acting President, you are truly insane if you think I am going to surrender the Galactica to that little bullet counter."

As Tigh continues to berate him, Baltar puts his hand over the talking end of the receiver and says to Starbuck, who is sitting overwhelmed and dumbfounded next to him, "Kara? How does Captain…no, Major Thrace sound? You can be my CAR."

She clears her throat uncomfortably, "you mean CAG." Baltar shrugs as if he could care less about the actual title. Starbuck nods, "sounds pretty good. But you must have one heck of a magic wand to pull off that trick."

Baltar smiles at her, and then says into the phone, "well Colonel, let me assure you that my parents were in fact married, and neither happened to be a barnyard animal of any variety."

Baltar hangs up the phone and looks around the table attempting to gauge the reaction of the people in attendance. A few are beaming their approval. A few others, including Tom Zarek appear concerned or angry, but most just seem too shocked to know what to think. But whatever the reaction, they all remain silent. Finally Baltar says to the group, "what an unfortunate turn of events…I had really hoped that the military would learn to work with us, but…" Baltar shrugs, "it looks like we're all stuck here until this can be resolved." He gestures to the food, "please everyone, enjoy your meal." He then turns to Starbuck, and waves his hand over her head, "boom, there you go…one promotion."

Six says suddenly standing between Baltar and Starbuck, "you're letting a poisonous snake into your bed, Gaius. Do you really think even I can help you after she strikes and leaves you in ruins?"

Starbuck replies trying to smile, "just like that? I'm a Major…and CAG?"

Baltar smiles at Starbuck, "exactly."

Starbuck finally manages to muster a mischievous smile, "does this mean I get my own quarters?"

 

As the pilots land, Apollo assigns them duties working on preparations for a potential confrontation with the renegade pilots. He instructs the Chief to make sure that all of the vipers are ready to go fully loaded with ammo and fuel…just in case. Apollo pulls Slider aside, "Lieutenant, will you come with me to CIC?"

Slider appears confused, "why me?"

He responds, "you're my expert on the new pilots."

Once down the corridor and away from others, Apollo stops her, "Frankie, I need you to be honest with me…tell me that you didn't know that was going to happen. Not like the 'I got drunk and you just happened to lose my clothes' story, when you were actually trying to break Jolly out of the brig."

Slider looks as if she has just been hit, "Lee, I swear I had no idea they were going to pull that crap." After a moment, "how did you figure out about our jail break?"

Apollo responds, "I knew you were up to something."

She just stares at him unconvinced, until finally he confesses, "the brig controller…called me the next day to ask about the two marines that picked Jolly up for an interrogation I supposedly conducted…but I would have figured it out eventually."

Slider appears hesitant, "so why aren't I in the brig?"

He gives her a slow smile, "well, it might just be the drugs talking…the drugs you gave me…but I like you."

She smiles back at him, "you didn't put someone that intentionally drugged you, while conducting a jail break into hack because you like them?"

He looks around to make sure no one is watching, then smiles nervously, "I like you a lot."

Slider reaches up and kisses him passionately. He reacts by enfolding her in his arms and pulling her tight into him. As they break, she replies, "I like you too…a lot."

Apollo adds with a grin, "besides I don't think you can really be a member of Galactica's crew until you've committed at least one act of complete insubordination."

 

As Apollo and Slider enter CIC, they find Jolly seated in a wheelchair, hanging up a phone receiver while Colonel Tigh, Petty Officer Dualla and Presidential Advisor Billy Keikeya look on. Jolly says to Tigh, "They won't come back. Saber's got them wound up pretty tight."

Tigh charges, "I'm surprised you aren't volunteering to go with them. Apparently, you're the motivation for this mutiny. You might just get a Presidential pardon out of this."

Jolly replies, "I don't like this situation any more than you do, sir. They're deluded." He says with disgust, "President Baltar has no intention of letting me go. I'm quite certain the moment I'm in the militia's custody, some terrible mishap will befall me."

Billy asks Apollo, "how many pilots stayed on our side of the fence?"

Apollo responds, "eight viper pilots, one raptor and the crew of the Nebula Chaser appear to have thrown their cards in with the militia. Five viper pilots and two raptor crews remained loyal."

With great conviction, Jolly attempts to stand, "that's six viper pilots…that stayed loyal. I'm ready to report for duty."

Breaking the moment, Tigh replies, "sit down and shut up, cylon. Nobody cares. You're no good to us as a pilot anyway."

Jolly slides back into his chair obviously a little dejected, as Slider puts her hand upon his shoulder to reassure him.

Tigh says to Apollo, while looking at Slider, "do we trust the remaining pilots? I don't want any more surprises."

Apollo looks at Slider, so she responds to both of them, "I'm pretty sure they were just waiting for an opportunity to get out with their ships. Everyone left is trustworthy."

Tigh snorts, "they better be." Turning towards Apollo, "Just in case, I think we should make sure that none of the new pilots are briefed too thoroughly on our next step, and I want an experienced Galactica pilot beside each of them."

Apollo and Slider both protest, so Tigh raises his hands defensively, "I just want to make sure no one else has a change of heart. With the exception of Slider here…" Looking at Apollo, "I understand you keep pretty close tabs on her already."

Slider replies turning red, "we're pilots, not spies. Anyone leaving has left."

Jolly says to Dualla, "I thought you had Boomer taken back to her cell?"

Dualla looks at him as if he has lost it, "we did."

Jolly replies dumbfounded, "no you didn't, she's right there."

They all turn to an empty space across the CIC where Jolly is pointing. They all look at him disbelievingly, so he repeats, "she was just there."

Slider says to him, "Jordan, there's no one there. Are you sure you saw her?

He gets irritated, "yes, I'm sure. She was standing there not two seconds ago."

Just then a female deck officer walks past, who happens to bear a striking resemblance to Boomer. Tigh says to Jolly, "that's Ensign Solon. Have your eyes checked."

Slider leans down to Jolly, "you ok?"

Jolly just kind of nods staring at Ensign Solon. "Yeah…she must just have reminded me of Boomer."

Billy interjects changing the subject, "Colonel, so what is our next step?"

Tigh replies, "well so far, plan B is to use fire from the Galactica's guns to destroy the Nebula Chaser. Their vipers won't last long without a support ship to supply them with fuel and ammo. We force their fighters to stand down. Once they have, our raptors will move in and drop their marines onto Colonial One. The marines remove all resistance and we take Commander Adama back."

Slider says frantically looking to Apollo, "we can't kill our own pilots."

Tigh says to her, "I have no intention of just leaving the Old Man over there in that spider's web. If you have a better plan, I'm anxious to hear it."

Billy asks, "why can't we simply cripple the Chaser? We might not have to kill anyone."

Apollo and Tigh look at each other and then Apollo responds, "we were in the process of upgrading the Chaser into a mobile attack carrier." He looks to Slider and Jolly, "since the new pilots had success using her as a launch craft we were hoping we could use it for advance strikes on cylon positions and provide support to long range FTL patrols. She's stuffed to the rafters with ammo and fuel. She has a thick hull and any attack designed to cripple her will most likely end up blowing her up completely. Plus, if we don't take her out quickly and decisively, her vipers may try to engage us. Which is what we are ultimately trying to avoid."

Tigh adds, "we'd end up fighting over a crippled ship like dogs over a bone."

Billy suggests, "what if the Galactica pulled away from the fleet? If the Council saw that the Galactica was withdrawing it's protection…they might forcibly remove Doctor Baltar from his position."

Tigh shakes his head, "as much as that's a personal dream of mine, I don't think it would work. First off, all we would be doing is leaving the fleet with nothing but Baltar's few fighters to protect it. If the cylons should actually show up, it'd be a massacre. Secondly, if we leave, who would have the resources to oust him? Baltar's militia has all the muscle, guns and fighters not on the Galactica. If the Council hasn't stood up to him by now, our leaving will only increase his influence. And third, the man is crazy. Who knows what he might do to the Commander to try and get us back."

They all exchange concerned glances, desperately trying to conceive of an alternative idea. Finally Jolly's adds, "we could just simply give the President what he wants." They all turn to look at him, but Jolly is studying a red flashing light on the wall where he thought he saw Boomer a few moments prior.

 

(Flashback) Onboard the Cylon Base Star

A version of Boomer escorts Jolly back to the room where they have been holding him. He is no longer wearing his flight suit, as he is wearing a casual uniform. Boomer is forced to nearly carry him as he appears to be barely consciousness. Jolly has been cleaned up and new bandages have been applied to various wounds on his body.

Boomer drops him back into the chair and re-shackles him. She whispers while shaking him gently, "Jolly….Jolly."

He wakes with a start, "no…no more…please."

She looks at him sympathetically and touches his cheek, "It's ok…it's me, Boomer."

Jolly manages to recover some of his wits, "there's no fish in that pond."

She asks confused, "what?"

He replies weakly, "just something my grandfather used to say when someone was looking for something that isn't there."

Boomer responds still confused, "Jolly, what are you talking about?"

For the first time in days, he manages to smile, "I was raised by my grandfather and he used to take me fishing on the pond by his house. But we never caught anything. There were no fish in the pond. When I used to complain, he would reply that 'he didn't fish to catch fish. He fished because he just loved fishing.' So whenever someone did something that didn't make sense, but they just couldn't help doing it, he would look at me and say 'there are no fish in the pond.' You cylons are like that…I don't have anything valuable to tell you, but you can't help yourselves from fishing anyway."

He adds pointing at her cheek, "at least you got the scar right this time."

Boomer replies sincerely, "Jolly, it is me. Another one of my…model released me. I want to help you."

He nods and says sarcastically, "right. Of course you do."

She looks at him straight in the eye, "you need to trust me. Remember?"

It dawns on him that she had said something to that effect, but he is unconvinced, so she continues, "I'm going to try and help you get out of here."

He replies, "why? So you can go back to the Galactica and be executed?"

She touches his arm tenderly, "no. Because I can't stand watching you be tortured till death here."

He seems to be weighing her words as the door swings open and the golden centurion enters. The centurion makes no hostile movements, but Boomer seems concerned by its presence. Boomer leans down, kisses Jolly passionately and then turns to leave, never taking her eyes off the centurion as she goes. The centurion's eye seems to follow her as well, so much so that it doesn't seem to notice, when a small metal key drops from Jolly's mouth into his lap.

The centurion takes up it's position in the corner as a version of the blonde walks into the room. She's wearing a burgundy dress that he has never seen before, but as she walks over to him, he can tell immediately by her swagger that it's the model he met in the initial encounter.

The blonde asks as she sits across from him, "do you feel better? You look so much better."

A freshly bathed and shaved Jolly replies, "I'm just peachy."

She replies looking somewhat hurt by his tone, "you know, it wouldn't kill you to open up to me a little." She smiles slightly, "but not opening up just might."

Jolly still looking at the centurion asks, "who is he?"

She looks at the centurion as well, "Why do you assume it's a he?"

Jolly shrugs, "well, who is it?"

She smiles, "it doesn't really matter anymore, does it?"

He replies not meeting her gaze, "it might."

She gets up, walks around the table and leans intimately into him, "you are so wonderful. Even as you know your life will soon end, you are looking for information. As if you actually have a chance of ever making it back to the Galactica." Jolly doesn't reply, so she continues, "I think you are my favorite. Of all of the humans that have crossed my path…you are my absolute favorite." She drifts off as if lost in a memory, "well, there was one other…but that's not important."

Jolly finally responds, "you said that one of my closest friends was a model based upon that thing. I think the least you can do is tell me who it was."

She laughs lightly, "maybe later, Jordan. But for now, just sit back and enjoy...being alive another day." Jolly has learned through countless trials what will happen next. She will try to kiss him and when he doesn't respond in kind, she will order the centurion to torture him on her way out. Now was the time to try a different approach.

She kisses him, but this time he returns her kiss. Hesitantly at first, but then he surrenders to her and the passion begins to mount between them. She runs her fingernails through his hair and pulls his head into her with desire. He opens his mouth more fully as if to drink her in. She straddles his lap and presses her body fully into him beginning to grind her hips against him. As Jolly pulls back for air, she smiles seductively, "I was so hoping you would come around." And then, they begin kissing again.

Soon Jolly pulls away to gasp for air. He says to her, while gesturing at the centurion, "do we really need an audience?"

She replies while nibbling on his ear, "does it bother you? After all, you were the one that said it was nothing more than a toaster. Do you always remove appliances from a room when you're with a woman?"

Jolly responds struggling against her renewed efforts to kiss him, "that was before you mentioned that it was someone that I knew." He manages a smile, "of course, if you are afraid to be alone with me…"

She laughs, turns to the centurion and makes a dismissing motion, the door slides open and the centurion leaves the room.

They immediately begin kissing and her hands roam his body. She doesn't hesitate when her hands touch his wounds, in spite of Jolly's wincing in pain. She leans back from sitting on his lap and begins to unbutton her dress. As she begins to pull her first arm out of it's sleeve, he launches himself on her. He quickly turns her, pinning her between himself and the table and then quickly wraps the chains from his shackles around her throat. He says angrily, "sorry, but you're not actually my type. And I think it's time for me to go."

He seems a little startled when she begins to laugh. He tightens the chains around her neck to show his seriousness, but she continues to smile back at him. "Do you really think you are a match for me, Jordan?"

Before he can respond, in a blindingly fast motion she flips Jolly over her shoulder and on to the table top. Jolly bounces off the table and onto the floor. He tries to catch himself, but lands on his hand with the broken finger and cries out in pain. He tries to force himself up, but she is already there. She kicks his ribcage hard. Jolly rolls away and manages to get to his feet.

He studies her looking for the right moment to attack, but is concerned that she doesn't appear concerned in the least. She stands smiling in a relaxed stance between him and the door. Finally she says, "you don't have to die, Jordan. Tell me who helped you and we can go right back to where we were. Because from where I was sitting, I know it wasn't completely an act."

Jolly appears ready to speak, but instead strikes at her with the chains from his right hand. She effortlessly grabs the flying chain, wraps it around her hand anduses it to pullJolly in close to her. She then brings Jolly to his knees with a vicious upper cut to his mid section. Still holding the chains in her other hand she wraps them around his neck. Jolly turns purple and gags as she tightens the chains. She spits in contempt, "if you would have only tried! I could have helped you…I could have made you into more than you ever…"

She isn't able to finish the sentence as the door swings open, Boomer rushes into the room and shoots her squarely in the forehead. The blonde dies instantly and falls backwards still gripping the chains, dragging Jolly with her.

Boomer quickly removes the chains from Jolly's neck and pulls him off of the newly deceased blonde. Boomer says to him, "always hated her." Jolly stands up and Boomer pulls a bag from behind her and throws it to Jolly, "get dressed. We are going to have to make a hasty exit."

As he opens the satchel, Jolly notices for the first time that she is wearing her flight suit. Essentially reading his thoughts, Boomer thrusts a pistol into his hands while looking him straight in the eye, "and Jolly, try not to shoot me this time."

Jolly takes the gun, smiles weakly and says to her, "call me, Jordan."

After she quickly helps him into his flight suit, they nod and move out into the dark tunnels of the base star.

 

Commander Adama has just nodded off as the door unlocks waking him abruptly. Starbuck enters the room, still wearing her evening gown and carrying a small box. She says to Adama, "you are missing one hell of a party."

Adama replies, "I'm sure it's quite the ball. I assume you are here because the Council is removing our Acting President and we're going back to Galactica."

Starbuck replies reluctantly, "not exactly." After a moments hesitation, "actually, everyone's too busy dancing."

Adama bristles, "dancing? You mean they intend to let him get away with this?"

She shrugs, "they're politicians. Don't count on them taking sides until this thing has played out. And he does have the militia and air wing."

He asks angrily, "air wing?"

She smiles, "yeah. Tigh tried to send over a bunch of marines to spring you…he's so predictable. But several of the new pilots sold out and formed the Colonial Militia's Air Wing. So I wouldn't be expecting reinforcements any time soon."

Adama shakes his head in disgust, "so it looks like you are my reinforcements. How do we get out of here?"

Starbuck laughs, "we? I've been offered a huge promotion. I'll be a Major…not to mention the air wing's CAG."

Adama stops in his tracks, "Starbuck stop screwing around. This is serious."

Starbuck says still joking, "I am serious. You never made me a Major." She gestures at President Roslin, "so what's her condition?"

Adama replies, "she's alive. But who knows for how long."

Starbuck replies skeptically, "you don't really think Gaius would kill her?"

Adams responds angrily, "At this point, I think Gaius is capable of about anything."

Starbuck challenges, "why? Because he actually believes the civilian government should be run by civilians?"

He answers, "no, because he believes the civilian government should be run by his own personal goon squad."

Starbuck hands him the box she has been holding, "as opposed to your personal goon squad?" Deciding to change the topic, "here's your dinner. I convinced them that you needed to at least eat."

He takes it hesitantly, "how thoughtful."

Starbuck drops her shoulders in frustration, "what do you want from me?"

He bursts, "I want you to pick a side."

She forces herself to say, "maybe I have."

He growls, "the right side."

She turns to leave, "I had better go, they might be missing me."

He says to her as she reaches the door and knocks to get the guard's attention, "you mean, Giaus might be missing you. Remember you were the one that implied that he wasn't completely trustworthy."

She says without turning, "no one is. You taught me that." And the door opens and she leaves.

 

With a Marine guard in tow, Slider wheels Jolly towards sick bay. The marine says somewhat skeptically to Slider, "sir, I really don't think this is a good idea."

Slider smiles touching Jolly's shoulder reassuringly, "it's a horrible idea. That's exactly why we are doing it."

As they enter a nervous looking young female Ensign approaches them, "this isn't his assigned sick bay. He can't be in here."

Slider stops her and then turns to the marine, "Corporal?"

The marine replies, "yes sir."

Slider instructs him, "aim your weapon at Lieutenant Nevlin. If he makes even the slightest aggressive move, you are to shoot him. Is that clear?"

He replies raising his rifle, "yes sir."

Slider turns to the Ensign, "see? Everything is completely under control."

The Ensign turns in frustration, "it's your head if anything happens."

Slider wheels Jolly over to the bed where Lieutenant Gaeta is lying. He remains comatose and unresponsive. Jolly just stares at him in disbelief, "I don't care what anyone else thinks anymore…except for you. I need for you to believe me. I didn't shoot him."

Slider reaches down from behind and gently wraps her arms around him, "of course you didn't. I never believed for a moment that you did."

He adds sadly, "but it is my fault."

She asks, "how do you figure?"

He replies still staring at Gaeta, "if I had just stuck to the plan and left, it wouldn't have happened. I had to go back and confront Doctor Baltar. I just couldn't let it go."

Slider still holding him says, "that's not your fault. You were accused of being a cylon, it only makes sense that you would try and get some answers. The only thing you did wrong was not shooting Doc cylon before this happened."

One of the medical personnel comes to check Gaeta's vitals. Slider asks her, "how's he doing?"

The woman replies eyeing Jolly suspiciously, "he's improving. Very slowly, but he is improving."

She leaves giving Jolly a last evil look. They sit and after a moment Jolly breaks the silence, "so you and Lee, huh?"

Slider nervously pulls a chair around and sits so she and Jolly can look at one another. She responds, "yeah, Lee and I have a…an arrangement."

Jolly gives her a melancholy smile, "an arrangement? Sounds like Lee. He always was Mister Romance."

Slider corrects him, "he's been great." She adds looking guilty, "I'm the one that pulls back."

He asks, "why? He's a good guy. Quite a catch." He adds, "and let's face it, the pool of eligible bachelors isn't what it used to be."

She smiles back at him, "there's a lot of things that make it complicated. His being the CAG…all of the tension going on between the pilots…his screwed up dysfunctional relationship with Starbuck…you…"

Jolly seems confused, "me?"

Slider responds, "we've been through a lot together." She cuts him off as he tries to speak, "now you are going to give me the whole line of macho crap about not really caring, but I know it's going to be hard for you." She smiles, "just like I'll be completely psycho and treat you horribly when you find someone else."

He smiles back, "yeah, I can see that happening."

They laugh lightly and then Slider says, "besides, he's probably going to dump me for Starbuck someday anyway."

Jolly responds, "he'd be making a poor bargain if he did."

Slider shrugs, "besides his being your friend can't make it easy. I know how stupid men can be about competing with one another."

Jolly smiles in a melancholy manner, "I'm not so sure about that anymore. We were close in flight school. Stayed in touch, but the past couple of years…ever since Zach died, I haven't seen or heard much from him. When I was transferred to the Galactica a little over a year ago…I think he felt like I was somehow going against him…the Old Man being in charge and all." He sighs, "and now that I'm generally considered to be a cylon agent…I don't know if I would characterize us as friends. At least, not good friends."

She smiles jokingly, "you know, if when all this is settled, if you were dating Starbuck...that might…"

Jolly replies quickly, "I'd throw myself out an airlock first." Suddenly Jolly takes her hand firmly, getting her attention. He says, "listen Frankie, I still have gaps in my memory of what happened. But I'm pretty sure that someone we know…someone we are close to is a cylon."

Slider loses her smile, "what? You don't mean?"

Jolly nods, "yes, the gold centurion I keep remembering…it was a prototype for a model of cylon agent. They said it was one of the people closest to me."

Slider looks confused, almost angry, "but you don't remember who?"

Jolly confirms, "no, I don't remember. Look out for anything suspicious. With all the confusion going on right now…I just have a very bad feeling."

Slider replies, "we should tell Lee. With this information, we could get the pilots back."

Jolly shakes his head, "do you really think they will believe me? Remember, most people still think I'm the spy. I don't think Lee really believes me…not yet anyway. You're the only one I can trust completely."

She nods, leans over and looks like she is going to kiss him on the lips but moves and kisses his cheek, "whatever you need, I'm here for you." She gets up, "I'm supposed to be making sure our pilots are all ok with what's going on. As if that were a real possibility."

Jolly replies, "yeah, I had better get prepared for my part in this insanity."

As she walks past, Jolly decides to spend a last moment paying his respects to Gaeta, "sorry, buddy. It should have been me."

Jolly feels her behind him as she places her hands tenderly on his shoulders. She whispers, "Jordan. I'm here for you."

Jolly turns, "Frankie…." But no one is there, except the marine still leveling his rifle at him. He says to the guard, "where did she go?"

The guard replies, "where did who go?"

Jolly answers, "Frankie…Lieutenant Warrant."

The guard responds, "she left a minute or two ago."

Jolly says obviously baffled, "I must have drifted off for a moment." Then looking at the guard, "you know, you don't have to keep pointing that thing at me."

He replies without humor, "I have my orders."

Jolly gestures towards the door, "but she left, how long do you plan on holding that gun on me?"

The private replies after a moment's thought, "till I'm order not too."

Jolly shrugs, "well, I don't suppose there's anyway for you to point that thing at me and wheel me to the other sick bay."

The Private thinks and then responds, "I don't think so."

Jolly sighs as he starts wheeling out of the sick bay, "very well then, follow me." As Jolly wheels himself along, he becomes distracted by the reddish glow of one of the monitors. He remembers a similar glow.

 

(Flashback) Onboard the Cylon Base Star

Boomer leads the limping and hurt Jolly through the labyrinth of dark corridors. Some lead distinctly downwards and then slope upwards again. Boomer continues to hurry him along as if they are being chased although there are no visible signs of alarm or that they are being followed.

As they round a corner, they find themselves facing the barrels of a dozen or so rifles. Both Jolly and Boomer freeze as each rifle is being held by a different version of Boomer. A few are wearing flight suits similar to the one the Boomer with Jolly is wearing, while others wear civilian clothing and a few are wearing no clothes at all. Jolly appears ready to go down shooting, but his Boomer stops him, "wait! They're on our side."

Jolly eyes the gaggle of Boomers wearily, but it's obvious he's too worn out and hurt to argue. Boomer says to him, "they are going to help get us out of here."

Another of the Boomers, dressed in civilian style clothes, steps closer. She hands Boomer a large rifle, while saying "you've got five minutes to make it to the Raptor."

Jolly asks, "five minutes? What happens in five minutes?"

The Boomer that just stepped up responds, while giving Sharon a disapproving glare, "because of what's happened with Sharon, and the other model still onboard Galactica. The commanders of this ship are going to press for a discontinuation of our model. All of our model. We don't intend to allow that to happen. We've destroyed the long range communication's system and in five minutes this base star will be gone." She reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small disk and hands it to Sharon. She says, "the data you needed." She gestures to the Boomers in flight suits, "we've been running the centurions in circles with decoys."

Sharon takes it quickly and places it in a pocket from her uniform.

Jolly breathes deeply, "let me guess, if we don't get to the Raptor and out…you don't have a reset button."

The Boomer starts to reply, "no…" The Boomer that had been talking immediately takes several rounds and flies backwards. She never finishes her sentence as plates in the ceiling have slid open and several centurions are perched there firing down at them. As the Boomers return fire, some of the centurions jump down.

Sharon pulls Jolly back behind the others of her model who continue to return fire with the centurions. They run in the opposite direction as the fight continues behind them. They run frantically until Boomer stops suddenly and begins quickly searching the wall by running her hand along it. Jolly mutters as he nervously eyes the panels along the dark hallway, "it just figures that I would get held on the one base star in the middle of a family feud." His nervousness increases as the sound of gunfire steadily decreases from a fire fight to sporadic shots and then silence.

Finally a wall panel slides open and she grabs his arm, "Jordan, we have to go!" As Jolly takes a last look down the corridor, he can see the shadows of centurions rushing towards them. He catches a glimpse of gold coming around the corner just as the panel slides shut.

 

Baltar stands back watching the guests of his dinner party. While a few are dancing and seem oblivious to the drama taking place, most of the guests move from one group to another gossiping and trying to get as much information as possible.

Six says to him, "they're such fools. Running scared just because someone takes a little initiative. No wonder your culture was so easy to destroy. Not a backbone among them…except for him." She gestures at Tom Zarek, who is walking towards them.

Baltar looks at the man she is referring and responds, "that's Tom Zarek. A former terrorist, who managed to somehow get elected to the Council of Twelve."

Six sizes him up and says jokingly, "he doesn't look happy. Maybe freedom just doesn'tagree withhim?"

Baltar replies, "he's just angry and jealous because I have managed to do what he can only dream about. He wants to be a respected leader, yet he always manages to fall just short of the title."

He finishes, just as Tom Zarek reaches them, "Mister President."

Baltar replies, "don't be so formal, Tom. Call me President Baltar."

Zarek manages to say it through a pained expression, "President Baltar, what happens next? You seem to have planned this out very nicely."

Baltar smiles, "why Tom, what could you mean? I had no more forewarning about tonight's events than you or anyone else. It's only been a lucky set of coincidences that we still have a civilian government."

Zarek smiles, "thanks to the Colonial Militia."

Baltar replies still smiling, "thanks to the Militia indeed. I must confess, it was one of my better ideas." Looking at Six, "it just came to me, an inspiration from above."

Zarek responds, "of course, but what do you plan to do now? We can't stay holed up here forever, and I don't see Colonel Tigh turning over the Galactica. What's to stop him from removing the Galactica from this system? What is your plan if he decides to stop protecting the fleet? I don't think a handful of Vipers will be enough if the cylons should happen to find us."

Baltar gets serious, "Tom, you bring up some very important concerns, but I am quite certain that even Colonel Tigh wouldn't endanger the very last survivors of humanity, just to settle a political squabble. I do believe that this will be resolved very shortly with the best possible outcome…for everyone."

Baltar becomes distracted from the conversation as Starbuck enters the party. As she reaches Baltar, she says, "I hope I was missed."

Baltar replies slipping his arm around her, "Mr. Zarek, have you met Major Thrace?"

Zarek shakes an obviously not thrilled Starbuck's hand, "I think we may have met before. But my memory isn't what it used to be."

Starbuck looks at him as if studying something disagreeable, "it must not be. Because in my memory, you used to be a terrorist, but I guess all the horrible things you've done must have just slipped your mind. But a few of us still remember."

Zarek smiles slightly, "I've paid my debt to society, Major. Have you?" And he walks away.

Baltar turns to Starbuck, "so I trust our guest of honor is finding our accommodations to his liking?"

Starbuck smiles, "not quite. I wouldn't go in there for awhile, if I were you." She takes a quick drink off the tray of a passing server, and takes a quick swig, "in fact, I wouldn't go in there again if I were me."

Baltar responds, "nonsense, everyone knows Commander Adama treats you like his own child."

She shrugs, "have you ever seen how he treats his own children?"

Baltar looks her in the eye, "Seriously Kara, I need to know that I can trust you."

Starbuck replies, "of course, doc." After a brief moment, she adds, "so you can have the clumsy idiot that is following me assigned to some far more important duty."

Baltar smiles nervously trying to explain, "you understand that…under the current circumstances, I had to have some assurance of your loyalty. Can't be too careful."

She smiles back, "no, I don't suppose you can. And since I can only imagine the promises you will have to keep to have pulled all this off…I'd watch your back, doc."

 

As pregnant Boomer sits chained in the computer lab attempting to break into the cylon data, she unconsciously reaches down and feels the swell of her stomach. She smiles to herself that at last an opportunity for her to preserve her child and perhaps, her own life has finally arrived. She can't believe she almost lost faith. God will provide. She begins humming a simple melody, and doesn't notice Helo enter the room. He watches her in silence for a few moments.

Finally, she looks up startled to see him. She smiles nervously, "Helo…I didn't think they would let you see me until after I had finished helping them with the disk."

He replies slowly, "they've never forbidden me from seeing you. I just didn't want to. I've been spending most of my time volunteering for long distance FTL scouting missions."

She looks down obviously hurt, "oh…I didn't know. I guess I was hoping…"

He cuts her off, "well, I was hoping for a lot of things, but none of them are going to happen either."

Boomer starts to cry, "it doesn't have to be like this…I can't help what I am any more than you can. All any of us can do is make the best of ourselves."

He jumps on her, "and how does one make the best out of being a mass murderer! Tell me how to just shrug that off!"

After a moment, she collects herself and she responds determinedly, "you have a child coming into this world." At this, Helo looks as if he's been hit, she continues, "sooner or later, you are going to have to accept it. And that means you are going to have to deal with me."

Helo shakes his head, "you tricked me! You used me! For some sort of twisted cylon science project and you expect me to just go…'hey, no problem. Let's just be one big happy cylon family.' What the frak do you want from me?"

She gives him a hard look, "it was my mission to seduce and then hand you over. I gave up everything for you…for this child. I saved your life dozens of times, and all you can do is spout hate at me. I know this hurts you, but you know what? You haven't cornered the market on pain. Don't believe me if it makes it easier for you, but I hurt too."

Helo turns to leave, "I've been assigned to your raptor, because of the deal you made. But it's because I've been ordered to, not because I want to. Just so we're clear." And he leaves her crying.

 

In the CIC, Colonel Tigh speaks into the receiver, "Mister President, none of us can afford this conflict. We need every fighter available to fight the cylons. You don't have the support to take the Galactica, I can't afford to waste the ships, pilots and resources to take Colonial One. So, it seems we are in a stalemate."

Baltar sitting in the Presidential Office of Colonial One replies, "yes Colonel, you do have a point. But I must confess that I don't see an easy resolution to this predicament."

Tigh responds, "well, I do."

Baltar smiles looking up at Six, who sits across from him, "do tell, Colonel. I'm all ears."

Tigh takes a deep breath to control his temper, "I will give in to your original demand upon the return of Commander Adama."

Baltar asks, "my original demand?"

Tigh nods his head, "I will send over the two cylon agents; Lieutenants Nevlin and Valerii. You send back Commander Adama. You get your photo op as the mighty cylon executor and we go back to defending the fleet."

Baltar plays with him, "oh, I don't know, Colonel. Exchange the Commander of the Galactica for two pilots. Doesn't quite seem…equitable. I'm sure there is something you can offer to sweeten the deal."

Tigh replies quickly, "fine, keep Lieutenant Thrace and we'll call it even."

Baltar responds, "well, you can't give me what I already have. There must be something else."

Tigh's temper begins to show, "well, since you are bringing it up, I can only guess that you have something in mind."

Baltar laughs lightly, "I've always enjoyed your straight forward manner, Colonel. It appears that I have a new air wing for the militia and…thanks to you…a formidable and fully stocked support ship to act as carrier…but what we will need…eventually…is access to ammo, fuel and support staff."

Tigh nearly chokes, "you think we are honestly going to take care of those traitors?"

Baltar corrects him, "those brave souls that you dismiss so casually as traitors proved themselves as true patriots."

Tigh brushes it aside, "save it for the campaign speech." He thinks for a moment, then responds, "we'll give them access to the damaged hangar bay…it's not like we can afford to have valuable fighters out of commission because of politics."

Baltar breathes in the victory with great satisfaction, "Colonel Tigh, you are a crafty negotiator. Send over your raptor…but I only want to see the pilots and the cylons…no Marines."

Tigh replies reluctantly, "agreed."

Upon hanging up, Six says to him, "you don't really think he will follow through with the deal?"

Baltar replies smugly, "my dear, Colonel Tigh has no intention of sticking to this or any deal. In fact, I'm counting on it."

Six asks, "you really think you've got this all figured out don't you? You've put a lot on the line, if anything goes wrong…"

He replies, "if a horrible calamity should take place…and something unfortunate were to befall the Galactica's Commander and our conscious impaired President…well, then I guess the Colonel will only have himself to blame." Baltar smiles, "and if he doesn't blame himself, I'll make sure everyone else does."

Six seems skeptical, "and what if he doesn't take the bait?"

Baltar smiles at her, "if Tigh refuses to instigate an incident, then I suppose we will have to just do it for him. In fact, I've already made the necessary arrangements."

Just then Starbuck enters the room carrying two glasses of ambrosia, "what's this? Our host is avoiding his responsibilities? You are missing your own party. Everyone is starting to get restless."

Baltar gets up and walks over to her, "just negotiating an end to these disagreeable hostilities with your always charming XO."

Starbuck makes a face, "yeah, he's a charmer alright. So what's the deal?"

Baltar responds, "two cylon agents, fighter maintenance and support in exchange for one Commander."

Starbuck nods while placing the glasses down, "not a bad deal, Mister President."

Baltar adds, "apparently, he was more than willing to throw you into the pot."

Starbuck replies, "oh, he'd like to throw me into a pot alright."

Baltar puts his hands on her shoulders, "but what I really need more than anything right now, is to know that I can trust you."

Starbuck looks at his hands on her and smiles, "me? We've discussed this. Of course, you can trust me. I'm your CAG."

Baltar gives her a discerning look, then smiles, "of course, I can." He shakes his head while pulling her close, "I'm sorry, it's just all this unpleasantness." He looks at Six as he holds Starbuck, "But soon everything will be in perfect alignment."

Six looking crushed mutters to him, "you're on your own now. I couldn't save you now, even if I wanted to." Then the corners of her mouth slowly turn into a cold smile, "by the way, did you ever get around to properly reviewing the test results of the other new pilots?"

The contented smile slowly drops from Baltar's face, as he continues to hold Starbuck. He says to her, "uhm…I'm sorry. There is one more small matter that I need to deal with…before I can rejoin the party."

Starbuck notices his sudden nervousness, "you ok, doc?"

Baltar forces himself to some sort of composure and hands her the glasses. Before she can take them he quickly drains one of them. "I'm just grand. I simply forgot something that I need…to take care of…for our guests…a finale of sorts. I'll be right along."

Starbuck reluctantly takes the glasses and leaves the room. Baltar immediately calls out, "what about the pilots?" His questions meets with only silence and Six is no where to be seen. So he repeats in a more desperate tone, "what about the pilots!"

After a moment, Six strokes the back of Baltar's neck with one of her nails causing him to jump. She comes around to face him, "the new pilots. Did you bother to analyze anyone besides Lieutenant Nevlin?"

Baltar shakes his head, "you know I didn't…it was taking too long. What were the odds that one of them would actually turn out to be a cylon? Living onboard that cargo ship for so long…surely, someone would have identified them."

She smiles, "are you really so sure, Gaius?"

He looks at her disbelievingly, "why? Why tell me this now?"

She shrugs, "since you have created this perfect little scenario for yourself…with your new love by your side. I just thought you should know. I mean, President Roslin, Commander Adama, the entire Council of Twelve…" She says with some amount of disgust, "arguably the best pilot in the fleet…and of course…you." She pauses for it to sink in, "the entire leadership of the last surviving humans all on board the same ship." She adds with menace, "the same unarmed ship. What cylon agent could resist such a target." She regains her smile, "and you gave them the all clear…not to mention perhaps a fully armed viper."

Baltar has gone completely pale, taking on the look of a man that has just realized that he has created his own execution. Six continues tormenting him, "what are the chances that the other pilots could stop them? Assuming they even find out…I mean, if the agent is any good, how hard would it be to make Adama's exchange look like something just went horribly wrong? A really good agent could remove the entire government and most of your fighters in one fell swoop."

Baltar begins pacing trying to think, "I'll send Kara out. She'll fly cover for Colonial One until the cylon can be found…"

Six adds, "how do you know it's one of the pilots that defected? Could be one of the pilots that will surely be flying escort for the exchange. Funny, how just a slip on the firing switch could ruin everything."

"Which one is it?" Six simply smiles at him. Baltar becomes frantic, "tell me! Which one is it!"

Six begins rattling off call signs, "could be the obnoxious one…Rebel? Maybe the one they call Whiplash?"

Baltar thinks, "Slider? Is it Slider? You pointed me in her direction before. It's her isn't it?"

Six finally replies, "I guess you don't need me. Have Kara figure it out for you."

And suddenly she is gone. Baltar begins panicking, "I have to get out of here."

 

Colonel Tigh walks to the various stations in the CIC checking the status of the ship's systems and resources. As he walks, he barks back at Slider, "I said, no Lieutenant."

Slider tries again, "Colonel, I really think we need an experienced combat pilot taking the raptor over to Colonial One."

Tigh turns to her, "are you suggesting that our pilots are not experienced combat pilots?"

Slider stops in her tracks and answers hastily, "no sir. It's just that…"

Tigh cuts her off, "I know what your attachment to this mission is and I don't care. Request denied. If you don't like it, take it up with the CAG, although I believe you'll find him even less sympathetic than I am."

Slider salutes him, "yes, sir." As she turns, she almost runs into Apollo. She says looking guilty, "Lee? I didn't know you were there."

He nods without smiling, "yeah, I could tell. Lieutenant, would you walk with me for a moment?"

Slider nods and leaves the CIC in step with Apollo, although he is walking very quickly, finally she stops him in the hallway, "Lee, I wasn't trying to sidestep you."

He replies looking irritated, "what, no salute? I thought you enjoyed the little formalities to our relationship?" She doesn't appear to know how to respond, so he adds, "you didn't try to sidestep me as your CAG or as your boyfriend?"

She says innocently, "neither. It's obvious that as long as Colonel Tigh gets your father back, he doesn't care what happens to Jordan. And I don't expect you to care either. He is your father, and as far as you're concerned, Jordan is still a cylon agent, right?"

Apollo just kind of nods slightly, but still looks peeved. So she continues, "well, I do care, and I thought it only fair that someone is looking out for him, should things go badly. I didn't want you to get the wrong idea about Jordan and me…"

Apollo says sternly, "first of all, Lieutenant. As your CAG, you need to come to me with any issues regarding flight assignments. I won't tolerate you going over my head every time you are afraid to approach me. Am I clear?"

Slider responds, "yes, sir."

Apollo nods, "secondly, as your boyfriend, I need to know where I stand. And Frankie, I think I have a right to know where Jordan stands."

Slider looks confused, "what do you mean? Jordan and I are close. He means a lot to me, but I'm with you."

Apollo braces his jaw as if preparing for a fight, "Jordan hasn't been cleared of anything. I think there's a really good chance that his escape from the base star…his wounds…it's all a set up to get us to lower our guard. He could be getting information out of you."

Slider almost laughs, "Lee, I didn't even know that my own squadron was defecting. What possible information could I leak to him? Is that why you haven't even said more than two words to him?"

Apollo responds, "I just think we need to keep some distance. You haven't been away from his side for more than two minutes since he got back. People are starting to get ideas."

She replies defensively, "are you concerned about fleet security, just jealous or worried about what people are saying about the CAG's girlfriend? I'm a little confused."

"I don't care about what people talk about, Frankie. I'm worried about Jordan actually being a cylon…and you're involvement with him."

Slider smiles without humor, "is it possible, you are convinced that he is a cylon, only because your father believed he wasn't? Or is it now that Starbuck is convinced he's a cylon, you are right on board with whatever she says?"

Apollo shouts shaking his finger at her, "that's ridiculous! I am very capable of coming to my own conclusions without picking a fight with the Old Man! I won't even dignify the comment about Starbuck!"

"I didn't think you would. I had better get going." Slider comes to attention and salutes, "Don't want to be late for pre-flight briefing, sir."

Apollo returns her salute, "you are excused, Lieutenant." As she begins to walk away, he calls after her, "Frankie, we can talk once this whole mess is over." But she doesn't look back.

 

Jolly struggles in his wheelchair to get a uniform shirt over his head. Through the neck hole he yells at the Marine, still aiming his rifle at him, "you could put that bloody thing down for a moment and help me with this."

The Marine replies, "no sir. I was ordered…"

Jolly finishes the statement for him as he finally gets his head through the shirt, "to aim that at me and fire if I make any aggressive movements."

Jolly braces himself on the arms of the chair and begins trying to pull himself out of it. The Marine gets nervous and renews his aim directly at Jolly. Jolly throws his arms up defensively and shouts, "wait, you idiot! I'm just trying to stand up on my own. Don't shoot."

The Marine takes a couple of steps back, but doesn't lower his weapon. Jolly takes a deep breath and once again attempts to pull himself up and out of the wheelchair. With obvious discomfort and great effort, he finally manages to get to his feet.

The Marine suddenly comes to attention as Colonel Tigh walks into the sickbay. Tigh dismisses the Marine, as well as the medical staff present. The Marine quickly chains Jolly back to the wheelchair, and then with the medical staff makes a hasty retreat. Tigh says to Jolly, "what are you doing out of that chair, Lieutenant?"

Jolly replies, "I thought this would go a lot better if I could fly on my own wings, sir."

Tigh shakes his head, "negative. I need you in the chair."

Jolly is obviously about to ask why, but Tigh cuts him off, "in your condition and in that chair, I don't think they will search you too thoroughly." He explains, "no one will want to get too close to a cylon, chains or no chains. And if they don't search you too closely, you might get by with this." Tigh reaches behind him and out of his belt pulls a small pistol. He hands it to Jolly.

Jolly reluctantly takes it, but doesn't appear to know what to say, so he just stares at the weapon. Tigh continues, "the Old Man trusted you. His gut told him that you were human. I'm going to see if his instincts are still up to snuff." He points at the pistol, "it's ceramic. The scanners onboard Colonial One won't pick it up. So hide it in the last place anyone will look…if you get my meaning."

Jolly nods, "thank you, sir. Your trust means a lot to me."

Tigh laughs, "It's not loaded. I said the Old Man trusted you. I don't. No way would I let another cylon near him with a loaded gun. If things go badly, that's just to buy you a little time."

"Well, thanks anyway. I just hope I don't need to use it."

Tigh turns to leave, but pauses, "as soon as the switch is complete, I intend to inform them you have it. So don't get any funny ideas."

Jolly sits heavily back into the wheelchair, "yes sir."

As Jolly watches Tigh leave, a familiar voice calls his name. But the voice is other worldly, ethereal in nature, as if it were carried on the wind. He closes his eyes and it's as if he's standing on the dock by his grandfather's house. The house he spent almost all of his childhood. Jolly smiles while turning to take in the scene about him. It seems as if he can actually smell the lake and feel the breeze. As he turns around to see his grandfather's small house, his smile fades as Boomer is standing where the dock meets the shore. It's Sharon, the Boomer he knew, he can tell although she is wearing civilian clothing and the scar on her cheek is gone. He doesn't understand why, but he knows it's her.

She smiles tentatively at him, but he is obviously confused. Finally, he asks, "what's happening?"

She walks towards him still smiling. As she reaches him, she places a hand tenderly on his face and kisses him softly on the lips. She smiles again at his obvious confusion, so he asks again, "what's happening?"

She finally replies, "don't worry, Jordan. I'm going to help you."

Jolly doesn't get to inquire further as he is forced back to reality. He opens his eyes at the sound of a rifle bolt being pulled back. He's suddenly back in sick bay and the Marine guard is pointing his rifle directly in Jolly's face. Jolly says to him, "whoa! What are you doing?"

The guard steps back and replies, "you were getting…weird. You asked 'what was happening?' while spinning around." Jolly looks down and there are in fact tire tracks on the floor that appear to have been made by his wheelchair moving in a circle.

Jolly says to him, "just getting ready for my trip, that's all."

The guard appears unconvinced, "you looked like you were trying to kiss someone."

Jolly replies while holding his arms out, "I'm going to really miss you."

 

The last of the remaining pilots assemble in the pilot's briefing room as Apollo comes to the podium. He addresses the group, "I know that recent events have been difficult for all of us…I know, I've had to say that a lot lately, but we have a job to do."

He looks down at Slider, but she refuses to make eye contact, so he continues, "we're flying escort for the raptor carrying the cylons to Colonial One. I want everyone to keep their heads and not allow yourselves to get provoked into a confrontation. Picking a fight may well be their strategy to try and get sympathy and increase support in the fleet. Be defensive, but don't back down. We're there to fly the colors, but not get drawn into a fight."

He surveys the crowd trying to gage their attitude, but they all seem lost in their own thoughts. He hesitates, but realizes he needs to say more, "this confrontation has nothing to do with democracy. It's all about greed snd power. I hate the idea as much as any of you, but if…gods forbid, we are forced to fight our former comrades, strike decisively and with determination. We may well be the last thing stopping Doctor Baltar from pulling everyone down a road to madness." He sees that quite a few pilots have raised their heads and are hanging on his words, so he finishes up, "good hunting."

 

Three commentators appear on the screen sitting at a desk with the words, 'The Colonial Gang' in bright gold letters behind them. The female commentator says, "greetings to everybody in the fleet. I'm Playa Palacios, along side my journalistic cohorts; James Mcmanus and Sekou Hamilton, and welcome to a special edition of 'The Colonial Gang.'"

The commentator in the middle, James Mcmanus cuts in, "We apologize for interrupting the documentary, 'Tom Zarek: Peace Maker, Peace Breaker,' but we want to bring you all the events in the current stand off between Colonial One and the Galactica as they unfold."

The commentator on the right replies, "that's right, James. Tonight's events are almost too strange to be true. The Acting President's bold move of incarcerating Commander Adama, seems suicidal. Which begs the question, does Acting President Baltar really think his newly formed militia is ready to step up and play with the big boys? I mean, who does he think is going to lead the military?"

The female commentator, Playa Palicios counters, "I'm glad that Acting President Baltar has the word acting in his title. Finally, someone is acting like the President. Laura Roslin, may the gods bless her, was just never cut out to go toe to toe with the likes of Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh. Finally we have someone that will stand up and wrest control back into the hands of the civilian government, where it should have been all along. I don't think it's a coincidence that both President Roslin and Acting President Baltar have spent time in the Galactica's brig. You know what they say, what comes around, goes around. And it appears to be coming around for Adama tonight."

James Mcmanus, in the center, breaks in, "you may have a point. Who would have thought that this science nerd would turn around and pull off something like this? Who's even heard of a civilian coup? I'm sure Commander Adama never saw it coming. And I have to add…" The commentator to the right tries to cut in, but he talks over him, "…I have to add…that Doctor Baltar has saved the fleet as many times as anyone in the military. And who can forget that he did manage to lure away a significant part of the fighter squadron…so maybe even the military doesn't care for it's current leadership. I'm just throwing it out there that maybe Doctor Baltar is the best equipped to get us through the troubled days ahead. And I have to tell you that my biggest gripe with Adama is his apparent inability to get rid of the cylons we've captured. What is he waiting for anyway? We're caring for cylo…"

Sekou Hamilton, one on the right, finally breaks in, "that's just ridiculous. We need those cylons for the sake of research…finding their weaknesses and to improve our detection methods. Doctor Baltar's Militia…and let's face it, they only qualify as a militia because they have uniforms, are nothing but a bunch of thugs. I certainly don't feel safer thinking that tomorrow they will be in charge of the fleet."

The female laughs at him, "there you go again. Sekou, I don't know why you don't just go out and have the name, William Adama, tattooed on your ass?" They all laugh, but then she continues, "I don't feel comfortable with the idea that only one man can save all of humanity. It's time to put others in positions of responsibility and the Militia is a great way of allowing all of us in the fleet to have some say in our collective destiny."

The commentator in the middle asks, "so does that mean you're signing up?"

Both male commentators laugh again, but the female responds, "no, however I am encouraging all us that believe in our President and the militia to show their support." She pulls out a brown piece of cloth and ties it around her wrist. "All of us that think we need to stand behind our civilian leaders should wear brown wristbands to show our support, as a non-violent way of saying 'NO' to a military dictatorship."

Both male commentators stare disbelievingly at her. Finally the one on the right replies, "ah…Playa? Don't you feel that what you are advocating is decisive and might make matters even worse?"

She smiles at the camera, "not at all, I think it's time that we showed bullies, like Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh, how many of us there are that support the civilian authorities and don't want to live under the thumb of the military. And to Doctor Baltar, let me just say, 'thanks for looking out for all of us.'"

 

In his office on board Colonial One, Doctor Baltar is looking out for anything of value he can find and throw into a duffle bag. He is so busy and nervous that he doesn't notice the man in brown uniform enter the room. The man walks over and touches the bag Baltar is holding. Baltar looks up and jumps slightly. He says, "you startled me. What is it?"

The man replies, "I apologize, sir. I'm Sergeant Jason Athol. Colonel Hadrian assigned me to your security detail."

Baltar, who is nearly shaking and looks like he might run for cover at any moment, grips his bag as if about to use it for a shield.

The Sergeant reaches for the bag, "I can take that for you, sir."

Baltar says with forced composure, "that's quite alright. I won't be needing your services, please go back to the party."

The Sergeant asks, "the party, sir?"

Baltar explains condescendingly, "the party. You know that big room with food and people moving to music."

Just then, another man in brown uniform enters the office. Baltar does a double take as the new man is an exact replica of the man he is talking too. Even down to the markings on their uniforms. The first man smiles, "Mister President, we're here to take care of you."

Baltar dives for the phone. He shouts into the receiver, "THERE ARE CYLONS ABOARD COLONIAL ONE! THERE ARE CYLONS ABOARD COLONIAL ONE!"

The second man shouts to get his attention, trying to calm him. "Mister President, I'm his brother, Sergeant Terel Athol. We're twins. Identical twins."

Baltar finally stops yelling into the phone, "twins? You're twins. Yes…yes, of course you are."

The first man explains, "yes sir, we're identical twins. And we were both also cleared by your cylon detector."

This doesn't seem to make Baltar feel much better, but he says into the receiver, "never mind. This was only a test." And he hangs up. He turns giving them a nervous smile. "I'm sorry, I thought…:"

Both men smile and say in unison, "completely understandable, sir."

Baltar stands up and tries to appear dignified. He says to them, "what I need you both to do is secure a shuttle for me. I need it right now. And tell no one, not even Colonel Hadrian. This is absolutely top secret."

The second man asks, "excuse me, sir. Where should I tell the pilot you need to go?"

Baltar responds, "that's classified. I'll instruct him as soon as soon as we are away."

The first man asks, "a shuttle, sir? Might I suggest, that with the current tensions between fighter groups, that a shuttle might not be the safest place for you?"

Baltar orders, "you may not suggest. I have urgent business that might affect the lives of everyone in the fleet and I need transportation off this ship…immediately."

The second man suggests, "sir, we do have the Raptor from the air wing. It would provide you with a more secure environment than a shuttle."

Baltar nods, "yes, yes. That is a good idea. Thank you. Have the raptor pick me up. But once again, no one, under any circumstances, is to know where I am."

Both reply, "yes, sir."

 

Commander Adama nibbles on the food Starbuck left for him while continuing to scan the room for any possible way out. He looks up as the door unlocks and then opens. Colonel Hadrian enters the room leaving two guards behind. She smiles smugly at him, "good news, Commander. You're release has been arranged and no formal charges will be filed."

Adama stands, pauses to straighten out his uniform and then attempts to walk limping past Hadrian. She raises her hand, "not quite yet, sir. There are still a few details to be worked out."

Adama asks, "details? What details?"

She continues, "the transfer of the cylon operatives into militia custody. The Raptor should be on it's way any moment. Once we have them, you can go."

Adama scowls, "Colonel Tigh made a deal? With you?"

"A very good deal…for us anyway. We take custody of the cylon agents, keep the Air Wing and assert supply and support rights from the damaged hangar bay of the Galactica."

Adama replies angrily, "Tigh would never agree to those conditions."

Hadrian shrugs, "apparently, to get you back, he would."

Adama sits back heavily on to the chair, "well, I haven't agreed to anything. I'm not leaving under those terms."

Hadrian raises an eyebrow, "pardon me, sir?"

Adama crosses his arms, "I said, I won't leave under those terms. Tell your Acting President that I'm not accepting the conditions of my release."

Hadrian appears a little taken aback, "excuse me, sir. But it's not up to you anymore. The deal has been made."

Adama smiles without humor, "well, I'm un-making it. Tell Baltar, the deal doesn't exist until he negotiates with me. I'm not going anywhere."

 

Jolly is wheeling himself down the corridor towards the flight deck while talking to himself. The Marine guard has apparently decided that Jolly's wires must be crossed and appears content to keep a few paces behind. Jolly mutters, "it's ok, Jordan. People see things all the time. Could be the meds…fatigue…or a complete psychological breakdown…could be anything really."

A voice calls out just behind him, "or it could be a friend still trying to look out for you."

Jolly turns to see Boomer walking beside him. Jolly twists behind to see the guard's reaction, but he makes no indication that he has seen Boomer's sudden appearance. She says to him, "maybe you should just let me talk. He appears a little nervous and the safety on his weapon is off."

Jolly just nods, while he has begun to shake a little out of nervousness. She places a hand reassuringly upon his shoulder and says, "you aren't crazy. At least, my appearance doesn't mean you're crazy."

Jolly can't help himself, he replies in a whisper, "then what does it mean? And don't skimp on details."

She smiles at him, "while you were unconscious aboard the base star and I was cleaning you up, I…I inserted a computer chip into your head."

Jolly stops, "YOU DID WHAT!"

Seeing the concerned look that the Marine is giving him, Jolly manages to regain his composure and begins deliberately wheeling himself. Boomer admonishes him, "you may want to get control of yourself, it's not as bad as you are thinking."

He whispers, "then why don't you tell me exactly how bad it is."

Boomer explains in a voice obviously designed to try and keep Jolly calm, "I placed a small…very small…chip into your brain." She pauses for his reaction, but Jolly seems to have no reaction to the news. So she continues, "and when I died, instead of my consciousness being sent to another unit, it was sent to the chip. So now you and I…co-exist."

Jolly snaps in a hushed tone, "what the frak does that mean?"

She hesitates, but then goes on to explain, "I'm in your head. No one else can see or hear me."

Jolly mutters, "fabulous. I'm either insane or everyone will simply think I'm insane." He thinks for a moment, "or even better, I have a chip in my noggin that actually makes me a potential cylon agent. That will go over nicely."

Boomer actually looks hurt, "the chip doesn't make you a cylon agent, that's not why I'm here."

Jolly asks, "then why are you here?"

She replies, "I was afraid."

He shakes his head, "you were afraid of dying, so living out the rest of your life in my head seemed like the better option? I always thought robots would be more logical."

She admits, "I was afraid of my soul not moving on to a new body…I was afraid of the end…and God won't help me because I betrayed his work by helping you. Being linked to you is my penance."

Jolly lets it sink in for a moment, "so you picked my head over being thrown into eternal darkness. Must have been a tough choice. So how do I turn you off?"

She replies, "you can't."

"Of course, I can. If I live through this craziness, I'll have them perform a surgery. Anything that can be put in, can be taken out. We'll find a nice toaster to put you into."

She shakes her head, "it won't work. Even if they found it, any attempt to remove it would kill you. Assuming they could find it anyway. Not to mention it would only be proof of your cylon connection, they might just decide to remove it after your execution."

Jolly frowns, "good point."

As Jolly hits the flight deck, he sees his Raptor waiting with an open hatch. As he wheels towards it, he spots Chief Tyrol grabbing a tool off a cart to his left. Jolly turns and quickly wheels over to him. The Chief stops and watches Jolly's approach with some suspicion.

Jolly says to him, "Chief, I know it must be hard for you to come to terms with Sharon's…situation."

The Chief nods, but then replies, "look, I don't want to talk about it…"

Jolly cuts him off, "there's nothing to talk about, but I have to tell you something. Sharon gave her life for mine. Truth be told, she was a rotten cylon, but not a bad person…not by a long shot. I was with her at the end and her last thoughts were about you and how much she cared about you. She was sorry you got hurt and her last wish was for you to find happiness. I just thought you should know."

The Chief appears choked up and can only croak out a weak, "uhm…thanks." Before he walks off in the opposite direction.

Jolly turns back to the waiting raptor. Boomer says angrily in his ear, "I know you don't remember the end. You just lied to him. I never said those things."

Jolly mutters staring at the open raptor hatch, "well, you should have."

 

(Flashback) On Board the Cylon Base Star

Boomer continues to run a relentless pace through the dark tunnels of the Base Star. Jolly limps heavily and is having a difficult time keeping up. A few of his wounds have broken open and he can feel the blood begin to soak through the bandages.

Boomer is forced to help him, almost carrying him along. Finally, she says to him, "Jordan, we're almost there. The flight deck is just up ahead."

The small pinpoint of light ahead of them has gradually grown to be an open doorway. They rush through almost running into the backs of two centurions. As the centurions twist around, Boomer shoots one with her rifle creating a large hole where it's chest used to be. The second centurion manages to swat Boomer's rifle away as it's companion falls lifeless backwards. Jolly manages the strength to raise his pistol and shoot. A spray of sparks comes flowing from the centurion's eye slit. Jolly shoots it again in the head and after a hesitant step it falls forward.

Boomer quickly retrieves her rifle and points to the waiting Raptor across the deck. She places one of Jolly's arms around her and begins rushing towards the ship. They weave in between the parked raiders as she says to him, "stay with me, Jordan. I'm going to get you out of here. We can make it."

As they close the distance, they can see the raptor's hatch is open as if inviting them. They are within 20 feet of the Raptor when a version of the blonde woman comes around from the other side of the Raptor. Although unarmed, she is smiling smugly. From the other end of the ship, another blonde woman and a short man with dark hair walk casually into view, they both appear unarmed as well.

The first blonde addresses Boomer, "Sharon, it's time for this nonsense to stop. You've thrown everything away…over him…a human?"

Sharon lets go of Jolly, while she raises her rifle. The blonde smiles again and suddenly from behind the Raiders scattered on the deck, centurions begin filing in to surround them. Boomer begins to slowly lower her weapon, as every possible avenue of escape is closed off by the multitude of centurions. She drops her rifle to the ground as the blonde turns to the others and smiles.

The man with brown hair says to Boomer, "it's unfortunate that it had to come to this. But God's work must be done…with or without you."

Boomer watches in quiet surprise, as behind the human looking cylon agents, several versions of herself have crept up, taking firing positions. Suddenly, the large slit in the forward section of several of the raiders slides slowly open, and their red lights begin moving back and forth. No one seems to notice, until the hum of their engines engaging fills the flight deck. The human looking cylons suffer a moment of uncertainty as the raiders raise from the ground about them.

Sharon quickly dives on top of Jolly as the raiders and Boomers open fire upon the centurions. Sharon continues to shield Jolly as explosions and rounds go off all around them. Boomer jerks forward as a round from a centurion finds her left side.

Jolly looks up to see that the human looking cylons all lay dead and the entire flight deck has fallen in to chaos. Centurions and Boomers shoot it out, while raiders supporting the centurions have entered the fight. The deck becomes littered with fire and debris.

Jolly pulls Boomer up and they help each other stagger towards the open Raptor hatch.

 

The party guests on board Colonial One are getting restless. Acting President Baltar has not been seen or heard from in hours. The Council members and their guests entertain one theory after another as to what is happening. The newest officer in the Colonial Militia, Major Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace stands aside, an uneasy feeling gradually growing inside her.

Tom Zarek approaches her from behind. "Major, I would have thought that you would be checking on your new Air Wing about now."

Starbuck replies, "I guess that's what you get for thinking."

Zarek is not taken aback by her hostile reply, "since I am a novice at politics I was wondering, how does a man like our Acting President retain the loyalty from such a person as yourself?"

Starbuck replies dryly after taking a drink, "he's hung like a horse."

Zarek smiles, "nice to see that promotion hasn't tainted you."

Starbuck begins walking away, "a girl's got to have her standards. Excuse me, I'm going to go and do…something else."

Zarek places a hand on her arm, she appears ready to pull away, but he distracts her by using her old rank, "Lieutenant, I have met some good spies, but you aren't one of them."

Starbuck smiles weakly, "what are you talking about?" And then she gestures to his hand, "your hand is about to become the newest member of my body part collection of the people that made the mistake of ticking me off."

Zarek removes his hand, "my apologies. I simply want you to know that when you make your move to rescue Commander Adama, I can help you."

Starbuck laughs, "I really don't know what you are talking about….and even if you were right. Why help Adama? What's in it for you?"

Zarek explains, "when you've been on the firing line as often as I have…you develop a sixth sense about things. I get the feeling that our Acting President has bitten off far more than he can chew. And I think you may have as well. I don't think that our imperious leader has any intention of letting Adama return to the Galactica. He's going to do something stupid. And when the dust settles and Adama is back in power, it certainly wouldn't hurt my position if he owed me a couple of favors."

Starbuck still laughing, "what makes you think I am going to help him? I'm on the other side, remember?"

Zarek smiles again, "like I said Lieutenant, I've met some good spies and you aren't one of them." And he walks away.

 

Billy Keikeya enters the computer lab to find the pregnant Boomer working on the cylon data while a Marine guard stands over her. He says, "we need to get you to the flight deck."

She replies while still working on the computer, "why rush me? Time this correctly and I might be able to solve this puzzle for you before you send me to my execution."

Billy shakes his head, "we're out of time. We need to get going now."

She hits a few more keys and then shuts the computer down. She smiles, stands and then follows Billy towards the flight deck. Billy leads the way concerned that she is smiling.

 

In frustration, Commander Adama has scoured the room countless times looking for any method of escape. He is checking underneath President Roslin's bed for anything that he might have missed the last time he checked, when he hears a 'click.'

He looks up, but no one has entered the room, however the door slowly swings open. He cautiously walks over to the doorway and peers out, but sees no one in the hallway. He calls out in a whisper, "Starbuck?" There is no reply, the area is deserted. That's when he makes his decision and goes back into the room.

 

As Jolly moves across the flight deck towards the Raptor, several pilots and flight crew members stop what they are doing to study him. Jolly matches their angry glares, forcing each to make eye contact. As he passes three pilots, he stops briefly and says, "Hermes, I'm having a rough day and if you keep looking at me like that, chains or no chains, I'm going to beat you to death with your own helmet."

All three pilots pretend to look another way, and Jolly begins rolling again. As he reaches the hatch, Apollo comes out from inside the Raptor talking to the pilot, Burnout. He acknowledges Jolly with a nod, as Burnout goes back into the ship leaving Apollo standing next to Jolly. After sharing an awkward and painful moment of silence, Apollo says, "good luck." And he begins to walk away.

He only gets a couple paces before Jolly calls to him, "I don't blame you, Lee. If I were in your shoes, I'd sell me out too."

Apollo turns, "what was that?"

Jolly shrugs, "I was just saying that if I were you, I would sell me out too. If it were my father on the line, that is if I had a father, I'd betray a friend to save him."

Apollo almost smiles as he returns to confront Jolly, "is that what you think? That I'm feeling bad because we're handing you over? As far as I'm concerned, you're a cylon agent and you deserve whatever happens to you."

Jolly stares him in the eye, "you don't really believe I'm a cylon. You're investigation should tell you at least that much. You're just selling yourself on the idea, so you won't feel bad if I don't make it. And I'm telling you, it's ok. Whatever happens, I understand."

Apollo responds, "whatever."

Jolly continues, "and about Slider…"

Apollo cuts him off, "here we go. That's none of your fraking business."

Jolly replies, "maybe, maybe not. But…"

Apollo finishes for him, "let me guess. If I don't treat her right, you'll come back and kick my ass."

Jolly smiles, "no, you'll have to live knowing you screwed up the best thing you'll ever have." There is a brief pause and then he adds, "then I'll kick your ass. And you'll end up a lonely old man with nothing to look forward to but your daily fight with Starbuck."

Apollo smiles in spite of himself, but his smile fades the moment Slider saunters up. Making great effort to let Apollo know that she isn't going to acknowledge him, she leans down and kisses Jolly on the cheek, saying, "hey handsome."

He replies, "hey, beautiful." He clarifies, "I mean you, not him."

Apollo's brow wrinkles in discomfort, but he keeps quiet. She places a hand on Jolly's shoulder and admonishes, "fly low as long as you can." Then giving Apollo a dirty look, she adds, "we'll do everything we can for you. I'll see you later."

She gives Jolly another long hug and then walks off towards her viper. She yells out jovially, "Cally, if my gimble is still loose, it's your ass!"

Apollo and Jolly both watch her leave. Apollo says to Jolly as Billy, Boomer and her guard arrive. "Tigh told me what he gave you. Let's hope you don't have to pull a miracle out of your ass."

Boomer gives Jolly a slight smile as she enters the raptor. Helo sitting in the ECO's seat watches her enter in silence and her smile drops upon seeing him. The Marine guard chains her to the seat set up on board.

Jolly says to Apollo, "well, looks like my ride is ready." And with the help of both Marines manages to get the wheelchair on to the Raptor.

As the hatch begins to close, Apollo calls out, "Jordan." As Jolly looks up he says, "good hunting, jack ass."

Jolly returns, "back at you, tight ass."

As the raptor is moved into launch position, Apollo says to himself, "where the frak is Starbuck?"

 

Starbuck yells out, "stop! Please, I can't take anymore."

The man next to her stops dancing and laughs with her, "it's been a pleasure, my dear." And he kisses her hand.

Starbuck gives him a slight bow, as Colonel Hadrian comes quickly and determinedly over. She says to Starbuck, "where's the President?"

Starbuck looks around the room, "I don't know. He was in his office the last I saw of him."

Hadrian takes Starbuck by the arm and pulls her off the dance floor. Before Starbuck can protest, Hadrian says to her, "The President has gone missing and now Commander Adama is gone too."

Starbuck stops, "the Old Man's gone?"

Hadrian replies raising an eyebrow, "it appears that someone must have let him out. Someone that could manage access to the right key."

Starbuck shrugs, "don't look at me. Hey, it's not that large a ship. You'll find him."

Hadrian corrects her, "we'll find him."

Starbuck smiles, "no, you see…I'm a pilot. So unless, you can fit a viper into the hallways of Colonial One, I won't be of much use to you."

"We need everyone close, Major." Hadrian adds making sure no one else can hear, "there's something else…President Roslin is gone too."

 

In the deserted computer lab on board the Galactica, a monitor turns itself on. Blinking red characters begin filling up the screen, slowly at first and then faster and faster. After a few moments, the room's lights go out leaving the computer's red alien graphics as the only illumination. The characters continue to accelerate until they become nothing but a blur of red moving back and forth across the screen.

 

Helo stares at Boomer as the raptor makes it's way towards Colonial One. He holds his sidearm and rubs it with his free hand subconsciously. Boomer tries to match his glare but is unable.

Jolly breaks the silence, "you know Helo, you used to be a fun guy. This whole angry brooding thing really isn't a good look for you."

Helo barks while gesturing with his pistol, "shut up, Jolly. You're just another toaster. No one cares what you think any more."

Jolly frowns, "I prefer suspected toaster, if you don't mind. But I think you're not really looking at things clearly." Helo turns challengingly making sure that his gun is pointed directly at him. Jolly gestures to the pistol, "point in case, you're waving that gun around. Tends to put people a little on edge."

Helo blurts out while glaring at Boomer, "people? Let me tell you something…" Helo stops himself, "look, I was ordered to guard both of you on this little trip, but my orders didn't say anything about providing chit chat. So shut up."

Jolly nods, but stays silent. Helo turns back and looks at his scanners. After a moment of silence, Jolly can't stop himself, "I'm just saying that you seem really stressed. Trust me, things could be a lot worse."

Helo turns to yell at him, but before he can, Burnout calls back, "would you all shut it, we're on final approach to Colonial One."

Jolly leans back into his wheelchair and shakes his head uncontrollably as a ticklish breeze hits his ear. He shakes his head a few times, and finally, Helo asks, "what the frak is wrong with you?"

Jolly responds, "nothing…just an irritating itch in my ear." He holds up his cuffed hands as far as they will reach, "not like I can scratch can I? Don't suppose you'd be inclined…"

Helo admonishes, "no, I wouldn't."

As Helo turns back, Jolly says out of the corner of his mouth, "what are you doing?"

Suddenly Boomer appears next to him as she blows in his ear. She says in an alluring voice, "I'm just trying to show you that this doesn't have to be an unpleasant relationship."

She moves her hand down underneath his shirt and begins stroking his chest. Obviously uncomfortable, Jolly begins moving uneasily. He whispers back, "stop."

Both Helo and the pregnant Boomer ask in unison, "stop what?" They look at each other and then both look away.

Jolly whispers, "Sharon…time and place."

She replies still trying to be seductive, "I love it when you call me, Sharon." She kisses his neck and begins moving her hand south.

Jolly almost jumps from his wheelchair, startling Helo who also jumps up aiming his pistol at Jolly. Jolly says to everyone looking at him with curiosity, "alright, who's excited to go get the Commander back! Who's with me!" Jolly slowly sits back down while asking, "too much?"

Helo responds slowly lowering his weapon, "yeah, a little."

 

In the CIC, Petty Officer Dualla announces, "raptor 474 is away and our vipers have created a perimeter around Colonial One."

Tigh nods, "I want to know the moment the Commander is on the Raptor and away."

Dualla replies, "yes sir."

Dualla appears to be confused looking at a screen at her station. She calls out, "Colonel, I'm getting a power surge coming from the computer lab."

Tigh questions while coming over, "surge? What kind of surge?"

Dualla shakes her head, "I don't know, but it's shorted out the entire deck's power grid."

Tigh comes to her station, "what's causing it?"

Dualla responds, "it seems to be originating from one of the computer stations in the lab."

Tigh growls, "that's impossible. Those computers aren't networked and none of them could handle that kind of power."

Dualla answers while checking another monitor, "it's redistributing the ship's power. Somehow the computer is sucking in power from several of the ship's electrical systems and then thrusting it all back on each system individually…it's overloading everything."

Tigh orders, "shut down that entire deck…multiple decks if you have to."

After working on her keyboard and controls, Dualla throws up her hands in frustration, "I can't. It's not networked and it's cut off our ability to access the power grid.

Ensign Solon calls out from her station, "it's already burned out weapons systems and the FTL drive."

Tigh adds sarcastically, "Let me guess which computer is causing the problems. Fraking cylons. Jolly set us up and Boomer dropped the hammer."

Tigh picks up a phone receiver, "this is Colonel Tigh. Send Marines to the computer lab and destroy the computer that's on…immediately." He hangs up and orders the command crew, "turn off everything. Everything but life support needs to be offline…and even that's questionable…NOW!"

 

Three men in brown uniforms with the markings of the Colonial Militia search Colonial One's cargo bay. Two of them carry batons, while the third has the markings of a sergeant and a sidearm. The bay is littered with large boxes and crates of various supplies. There are large cranes on either end of the bay used to move and stack the ship's inventory. One of the cranes is currently suspending a large crate 15 feet above them. The men search behind and underneath the ship's cargo trying to find the fugitives.

A female voice calls from the open doorway to them, "we need you three to report to the flight deck right now."

The sergeant replies, "Colonel Hadrian personally ordered us to search the entire cargo bay for Commander Adama. She was very specific."

Major Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace has changed from her evening gown into the brown uniform of an officer of the Colonial Militia. She steps through the doorway into the open area, "well now, I'm being very specific. We need every available soldier on the flight deck to take the cylon prisoners into custody." She adds with a smile, "unless you think we should just give them free reign of Colonial One?"

The men come to attention seeing Starbuck's rank. The Sergeant replies, "I apologize, sir. We were ordered to search the entire cargo bay and haven't yet completed our assignment."

Starbuck nods, "The Commander isn't going anywhere and we need you in the bay now. I take full responsibility if the Colonel asks."

The Sergeant looks at the other men for a moment, then replies, "yes sir." And all three hurry out towards the bay.

Starbuck smiles, "suckers."

She decides to take a look around the cargo area herself muttering, "now, if I were on the run…with a hospital bed in tow…where would I hide." It's that moment that she notices the large crate being suspended in the air. She saunters over to the crane and hits the button that makes the crane lower the box slowly to the ground.

Starbuck smiles as she appraises the ten foot high box and climbs the crane to see over it's top edge. She laughs, "hah!" But quickly loses her smile as there is no one on top of the crate. She climbs down deep in thought, and then walks over and begins rummaging through a tool box attached to the crane.

She pulls out a small crowbar and walks determinedly towards the crate. She says almost angrily, "ok, we do this the hard way." And she begins prying the crate open. As the side of the box cracks and then falls, Starbuck is forced to jump back as small boxes fall out all over the floor. Starbuck instantly begins using the crow bar to carve a path through them, but finds the crate empty besides more boxes.

She surveys the mess and then drops the crow bar with a sigh. She leaves heading out towards the hangar bay.

A few moments after she has left a slight vibration begins to resonate through the floor. A box by the crane at the opposite end of the deck falls into a newly formed hole that is opening as the floor slides apart. A hydraulic lift raises Commander Adama and President Roslin's bed to the main deck.

He says to the open room as much to Roslin, "that was pretty close. Good thing they don't know their own ship very well. Now, we need to find a way off of this..."

He is cut off as Starbuck replies standing in the doorway, "don't leave yet. Things are just beginning to get interesting."

 

In the Galactica's darkened computer lab, the computer causing so many problems hums with the constant creation of more and more red characters crossing its screen. The characters move so fast that they appear to be a single red light moving back and forth.

The shadows of five Marines entering the room move eerily across the walls. Then five red dots move to settle on the computer in question. The Marines open fire and the computer explodes in a shower of sparks. The red light created by the cylon characters instantly stop.

One of the Marines turns on a large light, as the others all approach the recently deceased computer cautiously as if expecting it to come alive again. The lead Marine pulls out a radio, "this is Corporal Polos. The computer has been destroy…"

He is unable to finish as all of the other computers in the lab suddenly turn themselves on and begin filling their screens with the same red cylon characters. The Marines open fire on all of the computers.

 

On board Colonial One, Burnout gently lands the Raptor onto the makeshift flight deck. A dozen or so men in brown Militia uniforms form a line in front of the Raptor's hatch led by Colonel Hadrian. A couple of soldiers in line carry rifles, a few have side arms and the rest all carry batons as weapons.

Jolly looking out the cockpit window mutters sarcastically to the pregnant Boomer sitting next to him, "no friendlier reception than a bunch of big guys with clubs."

Burnout and Helo exchange concerned glances as both realize that Commander Adama isn't on the deck. Burnout says to him, "we don't give them up till they produce the Old Man, right?"

Helo nods, "I'll let Colonel Tigh know our situation." Helo calls out to the Galactica several times over the radio, but there is no response. He turns to Burnout, "I can't reach the Galactica."

Burnout replies, "they must jamming our radio somehow." He then grabs the controls and reignites the engines. "rotten backstabbers! Well, I'm not sticking around to be drafted into the frakn' militia."

Upon seeing the Raptor's engines reignite, Hadrian turns confused to the Sergeant next to her, "what are they doing?" She quickly starts shouting orders, "don't let them leave! Close the hangar bay! Shoot if you have too!"

Burnout manages to turn the Raptor about as the Militia members give chase and those with guns open fire. As the Raptor begins to lurch forward, a soldier takes aim with a long fat barreled grenade launcher. As he pulls the trigger an arc of smoke flies from the launcher directly hitting the undercarriage of the cockpit creating a small explosion.

Inside the Raptor, the windshield crashes in on Burnout as he collapses onto the Raptor controls. The ship immediately takes a nose dive and crashes skidding forward on the deck.

Helo slowly lifts himself from the floor, surveying the damage to the ship. He places a hand on Boomer's arm asking, "are you ok?"

She nods but appears to have taken a cut to her forehead, which is bleeding profusely. Helo looks at her stomach, "is it…?"

Boomer pulls her arm away, "it's fine too."

Jolly quips while pulling himself straight onto his wheelchair, "I'm ok too. Thanks for asking." He then adds looking towards the pilot's area, "Helo, better check on Burnout."

Helo rushes over and lifts Burnout off the controls. After a moment, he gently eases him back down turning towards Boomer and Jolly shaking his head.

Helo hurries across the ship and grabs his sidearm from where it landed during the crash. He then removes the safety, while moving towards the hatch and muttering, "bastards."

Boomer stops him, "have you lost your mind? There are too many of them."

Helo replies angrily, "they aren't getting away with this!"

Jolly says to him, "they won't. But the only way to make sure is for us to get out of here."

Helo points at Boomer, "you both just agreed that there were too many of them. How do you propose we get past them?"

Jolly gets an idea, "I think we can come up with something that gets us away and takes care of them at the same time."

Outside the Militia's guards stand somewhat dumbfounded staring at the crashed Raptor. Finally, Hadrian orders, "go get them!"

The soldiers all hesitate, still staring at the wrecked ship as if expecting it to explode at any moment. She yells, "get going! The ship doesn't have any weapons!"

Slowly the soldiers with guns begin moving forward towards the crippled ship. Suddenly there is a flash and 'thump' sound on the Raptor's high backend. Hadrian watches as two large spinning barrel shaped objects launch from the ship into the air and directly towards the Militia.

She mutters, "oh Lords…" She screams, "INCOMING! HIT THE DECK!" The two barrels simultaneously burst into a shower of sparks and smoke. The Militia all dive as there is no safety of cover to be had from the Raptor's anti-missile defenses. One of the barrels hits the ground striking two soldiers killing both instantly.

The spinning barrels carve a path of fire, smoke and death through the ranks of the Militia members until finally striking the end of the flight deck. Even at rest, they continue to send a shower of sparks and flame through the flight deck.

What is left of the Militia is too confused, scared and blinded by smoke to see, let alone stop Helo, Boomer and Jolly escaping from the Raptor's open hatch.

 

Raptor 367 continues its course around the outer perimeter of the system. The ECO, Racetrack, calls out to the pilot, "never thought I'd be happy to be on long patrol, but right now, the farther away from the fleet we are the happier I am."

The pilot, Tantrum, calls back, "no kidding. I just hope they manage to have everything settled by the time we get back."

Racetrack replies, "so say we all."

Tantrum grins, "you just want the new pilots back so you can have another chance to hit on Whiplash."

She laughs, "I just want a fair shot before Starbuck throws herself at him."

Suddenly Racetrack's attention freezes while looking at her screen, she calls out, "we've got multiple contacts. Definitely Raiders…thirty-seven of them."

Tantrum asks, "where the frak did they come from?"

She replies, "looks like they just FTL'd in to the system. They've spotted the fleet and are heading straight for them. ETA ten minutes."

The pilot hits the radio, "this is Raptor 367 on long patrol. Galactica, you've got Raiders on your doorstep, copy?"

Tantrum waits for acknowledgement, but there is no reply. She repeats, "Galactica? This is Raptor 367, do you copy?" She looks over at Racetrack, "FRAK! What happened to the Galactica?"

Racetrack scans her monitors, "she's still in position…but I'm getting an almost non-existent power reading. No engines…no weapons… she's practically dead in the water."

Tantrum hits the engines and begins racing the Raptor towards the fleet. She says, "I guess we'll have to find a way to beat them there."

Racetrack looks up, "they've spotted us. Three Raiders are moving to intercept. They're firing missiles…"

 

Apollo calls out from his Viper cockpit, "what did they say?"

The Raptor pilot, Hermes replies, "they've lost power to all major systems. Some sort of cylon sabotage. They've stopped the power loss, but don't know how to get everything back online yet."

Slider asks, "what kind of sabotage?"

Joker responds, "it was hard to understand. Something about Jolly's data…the traitor."

Slider mutters, "that can't be right. It can't be."

Apollo orders, "find out if Colonel Tigh wants us to call off the operation?"

The Raptor begins flashing it's message using it's signal lights. Flashes of light reply emanate from the Galactica's observation deck.

Hermes says, "we're ordered to continue, but fan out to give the fleet more protection. He wants raptors acting as long range sensors until the Galactica's are repaired."

Apollo acknowledges the order, "you heard him. All Raptors are to fan out…"

He is cut off as a flash of light brings in Raptor 367 from a hastily planned FTL jump. Two Vipers are forced to veer dramatically to avoid colliding with the sudden arrival. The Raptor's pilot begins explaining breathlessly. "Captain, we've got cylons incoming…thirty-seven of the bastards!"

Apollo curses, "frak!" He takes a deep breath, "ok, this is it. Hermes send a message…all ships in the fleet are to FTL to the next system." He opens a channel that the Colonial Militia's Air Wing will hear. "Listen, up. This is Captain Adama. We have thirty-seven incoming Raiders. We need all of you. The Galactica is sidelined out of this fight."

The Militia pilot, Saber, responds, "yeah, we saw her power drop off the charts. We'll be there, Captain. Just like we said."

Saber then orders his pilots, "ok, here's the deal. I want the Chaser to settle in front of the Galactica. Use your rail guns to keep any Raiders that break away out of the fleet. Everyone else is in the trenches…except Rebel and Whiplash."

Rebel yells out, "what the frak are you talking about?"

Whiplash adds, "we're not sitting out."

Saber orders, "yes, you are. We need someone to make sure that Colonial One stays secure until she can jump out of here and deal with any stray Raiders that break into the flock. Trust me, with that many of them, there will be plenty of action to go around."

Both fighter groups rush to confront the oncoming cylon fighters as the armed cargo vessel, Nebula Chaser takes up a defensive position by the Galactica.

In their cockpit, the cylon agent suddenly realizes it has a job to do. It doesn't understand why, but it knows it needs to complete its objective at all costs.

 

Nearby in the Militia Air Wing's only Raptor, the pilot Topper says to Acting President Baltar, "sir, I think we should take up a combat position…to help direct the fighters with battle intelligence."

Baltar sitting in the back of the Raptor holding his head in his hands looks up for the first time since taking off from Colonial One. He appears somewhat lost and confused, "wha…no. Absolutely not. You are to maintain position away from the Galactica and Colonial One."

The ECO, Vandal, gives Topper a disgusted look. Baltar shakes his finger at them. "I am the Acting President of the Colonies! I am dealing with things that you couldn't possibly understand or comprehend!"

Topper says, "yes sir." And they both turn away from him.

Suddenly Baltar asks, "what battle?"

Vandal explains, "the cylons, sir. There's thirty-seven of them headed this way."

Baltar struggles to catch up, "why don't we simply FTL with the fleet to the next system?"

Topper calls back, "the Galactica's had some sort of incident. We don't know what happened, only that she doesn't have power. She's defenseless and can't get out."

Baltar appears confused, "so? Leave them."

Vandal asks, "leave them, sir. The Galactica's our only true military asset. I may not like them, but we need her."

Baltar sneers at him, "need them? I don't need anyone. Don't you understand? God will come through."

Vandal asks, "which God, sir?"

Baltar is taken aback by the question and doesn't quite seem to know how to respond, as Six appears standing before him. She says, "what a great seat you have."

Baltar smiles cautiously upon seeing her, "seat?"

Vandal is confused, "Seat, sir? I'm not aware of any God named Seat."

Topper smiles calling back, "she must be the Goddess of saving your backside." They both go back to their duties deciding to ignore their Acting President.

Six says to Baltar, "you have a ringside seat to the final destruction of your tiny little collection of lifeboats. It should be quite the fireworks show." She smiles cruelly, "and it's all your doing."

Baltar shakes his head nervously, he whispers, "it's not true. You're just doing this to hurt me because I made my success without you. Your jealousy is making you crazy."

Six still smiling, "your success? God protected you to do his will. Once you fail to serve his purpose you fail to be important….yes, it's true. Even the great Doctor Gaius Baltar is expendable in the great scheme of things."

Baltar whispers, "well, nothing has happened. Colonial One still exists, as do I. So where is your little agent?"

Six laughs lightly, "They are better than I even thought. The Galactica is out of commission, Raiders on their way…I'm sure they are just waiting for exactly the right moment to strike." She looks at the Raptor's crew, "aren't these some of the new pilots…the pilots you didn't really test?"

Baltar looks up as if it just occurred to him. He says to Topper, "I need to talk to Colonel Hadrian, right away."

Vandal replies, "sir, you instructed us that no one was to know that you were with us and our position."

Baltar chastises, "I know what I said, but now I'm saying that I need you to get me Hadrian on the radio…now!"

Vandal shakes his head and contacts Colonial One. After a moment, he looks over, they can hear an excited voice talking on the other end. Vandal explains, "there's been some sort of an explosion onboard Colonial One. It was on the flight deck during the cylon transfer. No one knows where Colonel Hadrian is. The cylon agents are loose somewhere on the ship and it's FTL drive was damaged. She's not going anywhere."

Six whispers seductively into Baltar's ear, "and it begins."

Baltar lifts his head, "the Galactica."

Topper turns, "excuse me, sir?"

Baltar explains, "the Galactica. I need to get to the Galactica."

Topper responds, "the Galactica doesn't have power enough to light up a room, let alone her flight deck."

Baltar insists, "I don't care, Lieutenant. Find a way to get me onboard the Galactica."

End Chapter 3...

Chapter Four

As his crew maneuvers the armored cargo ship, Nebula Chaser, in to a defensive position above the Galactica, Lieutenant Randall "R-n-R" Rise can't help but smile to himself. He calls out to his second-in-command, "Chief, how do we look?"

The Chief checks his monitors, "green on all systems and our guns are hot." The Chief reminds the crew member in charge of gun controls, "don't worry about tracking individual targets, give the fighters a firing solution to chase the Raiders into."

The man nods grumpily as he's performed his tasks thousands of times.

As serious as the situation is, R-n-R can't help but see the humor in it. A Battlestar was hiding helpless behind his cargo ship. A fact made even funnier because the Chaser, like her commander is infamous for being of an undetermined age. Lieutenant Rise is, in fact, the record holder for the oldest active serving Lieutenant in the Colonial Fleet. But no one was about to suggest a large ceremony for his retirement or making the Chaser into a museum. There would be no fanfare when either of them pulled into dry dock for the last time. R-n-R's plan was simple, live out his remaining days on the Chaser until one of them fell apart. Which many whispered was likely to happen sooner rather than later.

R-n-R thought how odd it was that he had taken so quickly to the little squadron of survivors he had escaped with. Maybe it was the shock of the attack…maybe it was the thought that they were the last humans left, but the unit almost fell immediately into more of a family organization than military. R-n-R fell easily into the role of grizzled grandfather dispensing advice and wisdom, that like in most families went largely ignored.

Sure he had misgivings about throwing in his cards with the newly formed Militia, but when Saber and Whiplash had explained that it was the only way to save Jolly…that was good enough for him. Besides, he didn't like the way the Galactica's crew kept showing up, asking dumb questions and trying to change systems they had never seen let alone worked on before.

The Chief calls out, "our fighters are two minutes from engaging the cylons."

R-n-R looks over his crew, "let's trash some toasters."

 

"What do you mean you can't get me on to the Galactica!"

The Raptor pilot, Topper replies to Acting President Baltar, "the Galactica doesn't have power to her flight deck. And it's not likely the flight crews are going to be in the mood to guide Militia defectors in manually."

Baltar seems flustered and confused, "why can't we board the same bloody way the Marines storm onto Colonial One?"

The ECO, Vandal responds, "because of the Galactica's armor. We don't have anything onboard that could even make a dent in her hull. Sir, why would you want to be on the Galactica? She's dead in the water."

Six says standing next to Baltar, "you're too late, Gaius. There's nothing you can do, except prepare for judgment."

Baltar shows his rising desperation, "I can't believe I get stuck in the one Raptor that's FTL isn't functioning. What about the Nebula Chaser? We could get on board andjump out with it."

Topper and Vandal both laugh. Topper replies, "ole R-n-R isn't going to go running. He won't leave while the Galactica and Colonial One are defenseless. He'll fight until the last possible moment."

Baltar gathers his dignity, "I'll just order him to leave. I am still the Acting President."

Vandal laughs, "I'd like to see that. R-n-R's not real big on respect for rank."

Baltar goes back to his initial argument, "so we are back to finding a way to get me on board the Galactica." He goes on to explain, "If the Galactica and Colonial One are destroyed, I'll be stuck in this tin can with you two morons for the rest of my miserable existence. And that is simply not acceptable! The Galactica is our best hope of surviving this day and she needs assistance. So unless either of you know someone else in the fleet that has advanced degrees in computer science from every major university in the colonies, I suggest we find a way to get me on board!"

 

Colonel Tigh snaps at everyone present at CIC, "well, what have we got working again?"

Petty Officer Dualla replies, "we have established inner-ship communications, limited short range communications on a few channels and…" Suddenly the lights come on, "lighting."

Tigh says to the entire CIC in disgust, "lights! We need thrusters…gun controls…hell at this point, I'd settle for being able to throw our garbage out the door at them. Anyone not believe there's a base star on the heels of these fighters about to come down on our heads?"

Ensign Solon calls out, "Colonel, we're being hailed."

Tigh asks, "by whom?"

She replies expecting him not to like the answer, "It's Pres…Acting President Baltar, sir."

"I suppose he expects us to somehow find a way to throw ourselves in front of Colonial One to save his sorry ass."

Solon replies, "no sir. He's in a Raptor…he says he thinks he can help us."

 

Helo and Boomer walk cautiously down a corridor of Colonial One with Jolly rolling in a wheelchair close behind. Jolly says looking back, "doesn't look like anyone is following us."

Helo calls back to Jolly in a whisper, "maybe that's because you fraking nuked them. How did you know to use the raptor's missile defenses as a weapon?"

Jolly replies, "just something I learned from Apollo."

Helo chastises him, "you could have killed us. Could have blown up the entire ship…but I guess a cylon doesn't really care…"

Jolly throws back, "look! You were the one that wanted to go out shooting. They fired first…killed Burnout…they had it coming."

Helo nods angrily, "I guess we all do, huh Jolly?"

Jolly retorts, "I wouldn't know, I'm in chains and you've got the gun."

Boomer adds, "would you both shut up! I hear voices up ahead."

Helo leads the way, gun drawn as the three cautiously advance towards the open doorway lying ahead of them. Suddenly, Jolly finds himself sitting on the dock outside of his grandfather's house, his legs dangling into the water. Sharon sits next to him, wearing casual clothes, as if out for a holiday by the lake. She muses, "something you learned from Apollo?"

Jolly shrugs, then whispers, "well, I did. Sort of…"

Sharon responds with a smile, "can't believe you got away with that trick three times."

Jolly thinks confused, "only twice."

Sharon smiles, "think again. It's time for you to remember everything. It might just be the only way to save yourself."

Jolly shakes his head, "I can't…"

Sharon places her hand on his arm, "yes, you can."

 

(Flashback) The Cylon Base Star's Flight Deck

Both now wounded, Jolly and Boomer literally fall together into the Raptor's open hatch. Jolly struggles into the pilot's seat and strains to say to Boomer, "I'm going to get us out of here…just hold on for a little while longer." Boomer nods weakly and struggles back towards the ECO's seat leaving a trail of blood behind her.

The Raptor's engines fire to life and Jolly begins moving the ship off the deck deliberately knocking several centurions down in the process. He jerks nervously as rounds from other centurions strike various sections of the Raptor's hull. As they gain altitude, Jolly can see the absolute carnage and chaos that has enveloped the Base Star's flight deck. Destroyed centurions, deceased cylon agents and the debris of Raiders liter almost the entire deck as the fight continues between the two groups.

Three Raiders immediately move to intercept the Raptor. Jolly breathes deeply as he attempts to make evasive maneuvers in the confined space of the ship's flight deck. He sends the Raptor through its paces as he manages to evade their fire.

Jolly steers the ship into the shaft leading towards open space and their only chance for survival. The shaft dramatically enlarges and then shrinks at intervals along its length. He calls out to Boomer, "when I say…hit the anti-missile defenses!" He waits…"NOW!"

Just as the Raptor enters a narrower section of the shaft, it ejects a barrel like object that erupts into sparks and fire. It immediately begins bouncing off the walls and then into the lead Raider. The Raider slides sideways and right into the path of one of its comrades. Both explode. The third Raider manages to make it through the explosions and smoke continuing after the Raptor.

The Raider fires its cannons and one of the rounds ricochets off the walls to find the side of the Raptor. The impact forces the Raptor against the Base Star's walls creating a shower of sparks along its side. Boomer grabs a suction device and places it over the small hole created in the side of the ship.

Then they are free and in open space. Jolly gives the Raptor full throttle with the Raider still giving chase right behind. Upon reaching space, the corners of Jolly's mouth actually curl into a small smile. Which is immediately lost when he sees the collection of Raiders that have been waiting outside the Base Star. The Dradis screen indicates that there are at least eighty of them.

He mutters a quick prayer, "holy frak."

Jolly holds his breath, waiting for the Raiders to fire, but at that moment there is a flash of light that emanates from behind them that quickly encompasses the entire area. The Base Star explodes creating a wave of force and debris that flings the Raptor like a toy. The Raptor is spared some because the explosion sends the Raptor along its current trajectory. Most of the Raiders don't fare so well. Many are crushed as their engines drive them directly into the force of the shock wave. The Raider that had been hot on their tale collides with an incoming Raider and both explode. Jolly fights with the controls, just barely avoiding being thrown into another Raider lying directly ahead of them.

As the Raptor roughly rides out the wave of force, Jolly checks his Dradis screen. He calls back, "there are still about forty of them left. We are going to need to get out of here. Is the FTL still functioning?"

There is no reply, "Boom…" Jolly turns back to see Boomer collapsed on the ECO station. Her eyes are closed and there is blood covering the ground around her. He limps over as quickly as he can. He places a hand upon her forehead, "oh…Sharon. I'm so sorry."

Suddenly the door to the large storage locker at the back of the cabin flies from its hinges. Jolly's head jerks up, and his hand instinctively reaches for his sidearm, which was lost on the flight deck. Taking a hesitant step backwards, Jolly struggles to see into the dark space. Then after a heartbeat the darkness is broken by a small red light moving left to right and then back again. The red light continues to move back and forth as a golden colored centurion with a large dent in its chest plate begins to move forward. It leaves its hiding place and walks towards Jolly.

Jolly looks around frantically for a weapon, any weapon. He takes a step back and the gold centurion displays its hand, which quickly reveals five lethal blade-like fingers. The centurion seems to be sizing Jolly up, but then says, "well Jordan, looks like its just you and me now."

Jolly finding no advantage, freezes at the sound of the voice. He had half expected the voice to be Boomer's. That the whole identity of the centurion had simply been a game the blonde had created to play with him. But it wasn't. It was the voice of a trusted friend. Someone that Jolly loves dearly and just the sound of it is almost enough to drive him into madness. Jolly staggers backwards in despair, falling down in a sitting position, as if death would now be the most merciful ending.

The centurion pauses, leans over Boomer's body and engages the Raptor's FTL drive. Jolly hardly feels the sickening FTL sensation as the Raptor is whisked away from the oncoming Raiders.

Once the jump is complete, the centurion turns its head to Jolly. The voice is that of his friend, but with a cruel edge to it. "Now, what to do about you." It moves surprisingly quickly for how large it is and is upon Jolly in the blink of an eye. With its left metallic hand it grabs Jolly by the throat and lifts him up. The right, it holds out making sure that Jolly is watching its long sharp fingers. The centurion stabs at Jolly's head, but then stops the blades a hair's length from Jolly's eyes. The index finger begins heating up and smoking, as it takes on an orange reddish glow.

Jolly struggles against the centurion but has no strength left to fight. The centurion traces the smoldering finger down Jolly's face just millimeters from touching his skin, and then almost gently presses it against his chest. The finger burns straight through the flight suit and into Jolly's skin. He cries out in pain.

Both the centurion and Jolly turn abruptly as another scream has joined Jolly's. Boomer is alive and she quickly reaches over and grabs the centurion's arm. In one fluid motion, she wrenches the arm completely off of the centurion's body, and with a triumphant yell, she stabs the fingers right into the centurion's face. The heated blade pierces the eye slot creating large sparks as a reddish fluid spurts out upon all three of them. The three figures fall to the ground in a clumped mass.

Jolly struggles and with a groan finally manages to get the centurion's hand off of his neck. He looks over at Boomer, who struggles for a moment, but isn't able to lift herself. She settles for pushing the data disk, she received from the other cylon agents towards him. Jolly reaches across the centurion's body with the last of his strength and places his hand upon hers, "thanks…Sharon."

She says as one side of her mouth reveals a half-smile, "you called me, Sharon. I like it." Her body goes limp, as she dies. Jolly then passes out into the relief of unconsciousness.

 

Colonel Hadrian shoves the Militia's medic away, as he attempts to tend to her wounds. Hadrian's left side has suffered burns from head to toe, in some spots it's difficult to determine where her burnt uniform ends and her blackened skin begins. A large section of charred flesh hangs loose from her left cheek. She bends with a grimace and grabs an assault rifle from a dead Militia soldier laying near her feet as she surveys Colonial One's flight deck.

The entire deck is covered in black, and smoke slowly rises from several spots as witness to recently extinguished fires. Several covered bodies lay scattered as re-enforcements tend to first aid duties among the few survivors. She mutters in rage to no one in particular, "if he had just let me do my fraking job in the first place, none of this would have happened."

The medic returns to Hadrian, "excuse me, sir. You need medical attention."

Hadrian pulls the bolt back on the rifle, "what I need is to kill someone."

The medic asks stunned, "what?"

Hadrian orders, "just give me something for the pain. As much as I can take and remain conscious."

After receiving the shot in her neck, Hadrian begins walking determinedly towards the open corridor gesturing to two soldiers standing guard with rifles. They follow her out towards revenge.

 

"No one in that uniform tells me what to do. Get out of my way."

Starbuck appears ready to give a smart mouthed reply, but manages to hold it back, "I…apologize, sir. But did you hear the explosion? I was only trying to suggest that in the current state of affairs that we might be better off finding you…and your comatose friend here a safe place to…"

Commander Adama cuts her off, "to hide? I'm sick of hiding…sick of this game. I'll be damned if I'm going to sit out and be used like some cubit in a hand of cards by that high-strung fidgety traitorous boyfriend of yours."

Starbuck hesitates a moment, "he really is high-strung and fidgety isn't he?"

Adama growls, "Kara, get out of my way and stop trying to delay me."

Starbuck shrugs and moves out of the path of the bed, "I'm just a Major in the Colonial Militia looking out for the best interests of the fleet." She watches as he begins to push President Roslin's bed, but its wheel is stuck in a groove in the floor and he doesn't have quite the strength. Starbuck ventures the question, "what exactly are you going to do with her?" Then with a joking smile, "nothing untoward I trust."

Adama glowers at her, "she needs a real doctor. Who knows what that man has done to her?"

Starbuck nods, "oh, I get it. Big bad Doctor Baltar obviously had something to do with her collapse. It wasn't cancer…nope, had to be Gaius. Maybe he gave her the cancer in the first place? And of course, he's probably still doing something to her to keep her unconscious. Why I bet he even had a hand in the cylon attack. This whole war is all Gaius Baltar's fault." She pauses and then adds, "So you figure, once she's free, she'll wake right up. And then the mighty oracle President Laura Roslin will straighten this whole mess out and send Gaius to his room. Is that what you were thinking?"

Adama scowls, "what I think is that I can't believe you of all people turned against me."

Starbuck responds bitterly, "I told Lee this was the dumbest thing he's ever come up with! My whole being here with Gaius was his idea."

"Lee's never been able to get you to do anything you didn't really want to do."

Starbuck opens her mouth to reply angrily, but is cut off by a voice coming from the doorway, "Commander Adama? Starbuck?"

Adama and Starbuck both turn to see Helo enter the room cautiously with his pistol drawn. Starbuck's smile upon seeing Helo quickly drops as Jolly and the pregnant Boomer follow him into the cargo area of Colonial One.

Helo salutes Adama quickly while never taking his eyes off his prisoners. Starbuck says as Helo's group reaches them, "out taking your pets for a stroll?" Then looking at Jolly, "I heard an explosion, should have known you were on board."

Helo responds with a question to Starbuck, "Kara, what's with the uniform?"

Adama replies in a mocking tone, "this is Major Thrace of the Colonial Militia…and she's our prisoner."

Jolly attempts to get their attention, "Commander, there's somethin…"

Starbuck flies off the handle at Adama, ignoring Jolly's attempt to speak, "WHAT?"

Jolly tries again, "look, there's something I need to tell…"

Adama spits back at Starbuck, "you don't have a weapon, if we run into Militia, no one is going to believe that you managed to take all of us prisoner."

Starbuck replies, "fine. Helo give me your gun."

Finally, in exasperation Jolly yells out, "HEY! The suspected cylon is trying to tell you something!"

Once they all turn, he adds, "I have knowledge that there is a cylon agent among my pilots."

Starbuck asks sarcastically, "your pilots?"

Jolly continues looking directly at Starbuck, "I know who it is. And guess what? It isn't me."

 

Apollo uneasily releases the breath he had been holding as he watches Slider narrowly escape a head-on collision with a Raider by suddenly twisting her Viper into a vertical dive. Her move places the Raider directly into Apollo's sights as he squeezes the trigger. Streaks of red mark the path of his rounds as they strike dead center into the Raider's fuselage. The cylon explodes and Apollo involuntarily closes his eyes as his viper flies directly through the debris.

Searching the field for his next target, Apollo can't help himself from scanning for the Viper with a distinctive black mark running down its side. The Viper Slider always prefers to fly. He breathes deeply again as he sees her chasing down a Raider that is targeting another of the Galactica's pilots. He doesn't have time to observe the outcome as two Raiders have managed to get behind him and fire. He rolls his Viper and begins evasive maneuvers.

As he manages to turn about and take a shot at one of the Raiders, someone hails him through his radio. He misses the Raider and it veers off, "Captain, this is Lieutenant Rise of the Chaser, a Base Star has just jumped into the system…ETA ten minutes."

Apollo calls back, "copy Chaser. No wonder these Raiders weren't in any hurry to get to our ships, they were just trying to keep us busy. Alert Galactica and prepare to jump to the fleet."

The sound of the Chaser's guns can be heard in the background as R-n-R replies, "bug out? Just when the party is getting good? Not a muffy's chance on Cloud 9's buffet, Captain."

Colonel Tigh breaks in on the radio, "this is Tigh, we've got limited communications back. Lieutenant, if we don't make it out of here, then the Chaser is the last thing with guns the fleet has for protection. You are to stow as many fighters as possible and jump out, is that understood?"

R-n-R responds angrily, "yes, sir."

 

Commander Adama stares decisively at Jolly, "how do you know?"

Jolly clears his throat, "it just came back to me, sir."

Starbuck laughs, "it just came back to you?"

Jolly counters, "try being tortured…burned and strangled and see how much you enjoy reliving the memories?"

Starbuck moves aggressively towards Jolly, "if that's true, then maybe if I choke you, you'll be able to tell us where all the cylons hiding in the fleet might be. I'm willing to give it a try."

Adama stops her, "there's time for that later. Right now, we need to find a way off this ship."

Helo shakes his head, "the flight deck's torched. The Militia shot up our Raptor and then…" He gestures to Jolly with his sidearm, "pyro over here fried the rest of it along with most of the Militia. Nothing is coming or going off this wreck."

Adama nods, "then we need to get to a radio. Find out what's going on."

A scream of rage comes from the open doorway of the cargo bay, and Starbuck instinctively hurls herself on top of Adama knocking him to the ground, which happens to be lucky timing as rounds fly past the air he had been standing in just a moment before. A round ricochets off of the metal railing of Roslin's bed, and strikes Helo in his left shoulder. He falls, while the rest of the group all dive or move towards the cover of cargo boxes.

Jolly and Boomer move towards the large crane, used to move the ship's cargo, while Starbuck and Adama end up behind several large crates.

Helo laying wounded, quickly slides his pistol across the floor towards Starbuck. Who manages to catch it and begins to return fire.

Colonel Hadrian flanked by two of her soldiers quickly dashes into the cargo bay while firing at the group. She screams, "FRAKING KILL THEM ALL!"

Jolly attempts to slide behind one the large cranes at the end of the deck, and calls to the pregnant Boomer, who in spite of her chains jumps back into the line of fire and grabs Helo. She manages to drag him to cover.

Starbuck manages to shoot one of the Militiamen, but then finds herself effectively pinned down from fire from Hadrian and the other soldier. As Hadrian stops to reload, Starbuck yells out, "I suppose it's too late to explain that I was just about to take them prisoner!"

Hadrian only screeches and begins firing again. Starbuck mutters, "figures." She says to Adama lying next to her, "you have to find someway to hold back the charm. This affect you have on women just makes my job that much more difficult."

He replies, "you should have seen my ex when she got going."

As Jolly fights his chains attempting to slide his hand down his side to pull out the small double barreled concealed ceramic pistol, that Tigh slipped to him, suddenly boxes behind them are pulled down to reveal a service plate in the wall that has been removed. Several Militia members are there, one has a pistol while the others roughly grab and pull Jolly, Boomer and Helo out of the cargo bay. Helo yells in pain, as they grasp his wounded and bleeding shoulder.

Starbuck realizing that she is running out of ammo has been forced to become selective regarding her shots. While a new soldier has picked up the wounded man's rifle and has added to the suppressive fire pinning them down. Everyone seems to have forgotten Roslin lying in the bed in the middle of the room.

As Starbuck quickly pulls her magazine out of the pistol to count how many rounds are left, they hear the sound of at least two new pistols joining the fight. Then silence.

Starbuck slowly raises her head to see that both soldiers with rifles lay dead and Colonel Hadrian is missing. From outside the doorway, Tom Zarek enters the cargo bay accompanied by a man and a woman. All three carry large pistols. The woman is wearing a Militia uniform signifying her rank as corporal. The man is wearing a suit, as if a delegate at the dinner party.

Zarek walks closer, "Colonel Hadrian ran. It looks like they captured the others before we got here, but the coast is clear…for the moment."

Starbuck aims her pistol at Zarek, while Adama asks, "you saved us?"

Zarek smiles, while putting his hands up in a defensive gesture, "life can be funny to the point of actually being cruel can't it?"

Starbuck adds, "and who is going to save us from you?"

Zarek smiles at them.

 

Baltar says into the radio of the Raptor, "no, no, no, I said to reroute your ancillary systems with the new cable."

One of the technical crew members working on the area underneath a station in the CIC looks back at Petty Officer Dualla and nods. She replies to Baltar, "we did."

Baltar shrugs, "well, then it should be working."

Dualla exasperated replies, "well, it's not."

Baltar nods nervously, while thinking. He then adds, "ok, switch the power routing from ancillary systems to primary."

Dualla nods at the technician, who goes to work underneath her station.

Baltar asks urgently, "well?"

Dualla replies angrily, "now we don't have lights."

Baltar shakes his head, "damn it, I'm not an electrician!"

Baltar appears ready to burst in frustration, he takes a deep breath and manages to steady himself, "the problem is that the same system that separates the ship's systems from being networked is the same thing that is keeping us from getting everything working. We need a power source…an outside power source…something that can jump start the ship's systems, while allowing me a chance to filter out the cylon bug."

Dualla replies angrily, "in case you haven't noticed we're fresh out. So unless you can plug us into another ship, we're still screwed."

Billy Keikeya standing next to Dualla asks, "how much power does a raptor have?"

Dualla shakes her head, "not enough."

Baltar listening to their conversation interjects, "not enough for the entire ship, but probably enough to get a couple of major systems going. Like weapons or the FTL drive."

Dualla asks, "what about the cylon virus or whatever it is? How do you plan on keeping that from sapping our power again?"

Baltar replies, "I have an idea."

The Raptor's ECO, Vandal cuts in, "Mister President, you do realize that what you are proposing will make us an instant target AND we won't be able to defend ourselves or get away?"

Baltar nods, "if we don't do this, then what happens when the Base Star gets here?"

 

Jolly yells at them, "listen, I have to talk to who ever is in charge. There's a cylon agent among your pilots!"

He is rewarded for his efforts by being dragged out of his wheelchair and hit in the abdomen with a baton. He falls to the floor in pain. Helo is also immediately hit across his wounded shoulder by another man with a baton, and he falls as well. Boomer attempts to stop them from hurting Helo, but they push her away.

The group's leader, a sergeant brandishing his sidearm supervises, as his group of seven men in brown uniforms use their clubs to shove Helo, Boomer and Jolly backwards until they reach the air lock area. The Sergeant has several large wounds that have been bandaged on various regions of his body. Two other members of the mob appear to have similar wounds. This was not going to be a level headed crowd.

Struggling against the mob, Jolly continues to protest while gasping for air, "you don't understand! I need to get to a radio! We need to warn the Galactica!"

The leader of the mob calls out, "there's been no radio contact with the Galactica, since your little cylon bitch sapped her systems. She's nothing but a load of scrap metal now. So chances are they aren't any more interested in listening to you than we are."

The group steps back as the leader goes to the wall and hits the control that brings a large clear door down from the ceiling, sealing the air lock.

As the door closes, both Helo and Jolly stare at Boomer. Helo demands, "what did you do?"

Boomer replies bitterly, "they were going to kill us, Helo. I had to have some leverage to bargain with. I figure the life of our child is worth the price of getting the Galactica back."

Helo snaps back, "well, it seems to be working out nicely."

The Sergeant calls out to the three through an intercom, "which one of you burned down the flight deck?"

Helo and Boomer both tentatively point at Jolly, who shakily gets to his feet. Jolly mutters angrily, "thanks a lot."

The leader responds, "doesn't matter now, I suppose. Because it's just about time to dump the garbage."

The mob seems more than happy with his declaration. Helo shouts out into the intercom on their side, "don't do this! You don't understand!"

Several of the mob shout back at him, and the leader replies to Helo, "sorry, you're just in the way of my doing my job. As soon as the Colonel gets here, it's bye bye cylons." He nods at Helo, "and you too, of course. Wouldn't want you to feel left out."

Inside the air lock, Helo sits against the wall heavily, placing his right hand over his wounded left shoulder. Boomer attempts to help him, but he pushes her roughly away with his good arm, "haven't you done enough already!"

She tries to explain, "if you weren't going to help save your own child, then I had to." She then turns to Jolly raising her chained hands, "Jordan, you understand? I had…"

Jolly turns away from her, "to save yourself by stripping the fleet of its only defense? Are you crazy? Don't ever call me, Jordan. Not ever."

Boomer steps back away from Jolly, "I thought you would understand. After all we have been through…"

Jolly leans his chained hands on the wall across the air lock from Helo, "Sharon and I went through a lot. I don't know you. And as far as I'm concerned, not all Boomers are created equal."

As Jolly looks out the air lock at the mob that appears confused as to the conversation going on, Sharon appears next to him helping support his weight. She says to Jolly, while looking at the pregnant version of herself, "she's becoming desperate. It's making her unstable."

Jolly whispers sarcastically, "you think?"

Sharon explains, "she's different than me. I was so distant from my programming that I couldn't really accept what I was. She's a half-er. She's moves back and forth between knowing that she's a cylon and being immersed in her human role. She's confused and that means she's capable of turning on either side at any given moment. And she'll do anything or kill anyone if she thinks it will secure her baby's life."

Jolly whispers again, "that's comforting."

Helo confronts Jolly, "what the frak are you mumbling about?"

"Nothing." Jolly limps over to Helo, and sits next to him. He asks in a quiet tone, "what do you have left on you?"

Helo looking pale replies, "I don't have a gun, if that's what you mean."

Jolly explains, "I managed to escape from the brigs of the Galactica and a cylon base star…" He flinches as if he's been poked in the ribs, "granted with a lot of help…but all the same, seems like a shame to die in this air lock." He adds, "although technically, I guess we would die just outside of it."

Helo looking ready to give up replies, "our only hope is to wait and hope Starbuck shows up."

Jolly looks as if he has a bad taste in his mouth, "the last we saw, they were cornered and out gunned. They'll be lucky not to be thrown in here with us. Look, I know Boomer's messed with your head…"

Helo scowls, but then nods, "ok, ok, I agree. We need to find a way out of here, but I don't see anyway to do it."

Jolly struggles against his cuffs to slide the small double barreled ceramic pistol that Tigh gave to him out of his back pocket, but with his cuffs and the bandage on his broken left hand is unable. He says to Helo while twisting his backside to him, "would you mind?"

Helo gives him a disgusted look, "not a chance, perv."

Jolly whispers, "you fool, in my back pocket...there's a small gun." Helo tentatively reaches over and withdraws the small double barreled pistol at an angle the mob won't see.

Jolly continues, "don't get too excited, it isn't loaded. I don't suppose you have any extra ammo hiding somewhere?"

Helo reaches into his flight suit and pulls a small rocket looking projectile out of a pocket, "I have been carrying one of these…just in case."

Jolly smiles, "you just happen to carry an explosive round with you?"

Helo smiles back, "I've seen enough centurions that keeping a little extra firepower in reserve just seemed like a smart thing to do. Do you think that thing can fire it?"

Jolly holds his hand out, "only one way to find out."

Helo stops him, "not a chance."

Jolly sighs, "fine. But if it works, you're getting the bill for this one."

Everyone looks up as Hadrian enters in a fury. Her own soldiers appear shocked by her appearance. She's wearing a brown Militia dress uniform that has been burnt all the way down her left side. There are several areas where charred flesh shows through the material. She grips her assault rifle as if it were the last rung of reality that she has to cling to.

The Sergeant salutes and says, "we have the cylon agents and the pilot in custo…sir?"

Hadrian simply growls and marches past him to the air lock controls on the wall. Everyone is so engrossed watching her that no one notices Helo as he quickly and shakily tries to load the lower barrel of the pistol with his one good hand.

Hadrian's hand touches the red button that will open the air lock and send its occupants to the void of space, but she hesitates and turns as a couple of the Militia soldiers cry out a warning. She hesitates just long enough to see Helo fire the round directly at the clear door of the air lock. The projectile strikes the door made of industrial glass and explodes.

 

The Viper pilot, Lowdown calls out nervously on his radio, "I could use some help."

Apollo watches with a sick feeling as two cylons target his pilot. He manages to fall behind them and destroy one of the Raiders, but not before the other shoots and Lowdown's Viper goes up in a ball of flame. Apollo growls in rage as he moves quickly and destroys the second Raider.

He is forced to immediately pull up dramatically on his controls to avoid flying directly into the Nebula Chaser's firing solution as it kills a Raider trying to break out and get to the Galactica and Colonial One.

Then Apollo does what is quickly becoming his ritual, he scans the battle for a reassuring glimpse of a certain Viper with a black streak running down its side. But his concern grows as he can't find it. There is no sign of Slider anywhere.

Even though he's not sure it's the right thing to do, Apollo calls out on his radio to one of his Raptors monitoring the battle, "Racetrack, I've lost track of a pilot. Where's Slider?"

Apollo's heart races as he fears the response that she may not have made it. After an excruciating moment of silence, Apollo's fears continue to mount. But then Racetrack responds in a confused tone, "I can't find her…oh wait. She's behind the lines. She's heading straight for Colonial One."

The moment of relief quickly passes as he calls out, "Slider, have you taken damage? Do you need assistance?"

But the only response he receives is dead air.

 

The Colonial Militia's Air Wing pilot, Whiplash complains, "I can't believe we're stuck back here. It's ridiculous. How am I ever going to impress that cute ECO, RaceTrack, if I don't get in the fight?"

The pilot, Rebel replies, "she's on the wrong side, remember? But this is ridiculous. We're the two best pilots they have and we get stuck with clean up duty. Even R-n-R is going to get more action than us."

Whiplash checks a new reading on his screen, he calls out, "hey, what are you doing slacking off back here?"

Rebel adds jokingly, "yeah, aren't you supposed to be up on the front lin…." He never finishes his question as rounds strike his Viper from behind and it explodes.

Whiplash yells, "WHAT THE FRAK!" While trying to maneuver his Viper out of the crosshairs, he calls out on his radio, "this is Whiplash. One of our pilots is a cylon agent. Beware S…" And his Viper becomes a streak of flame and explodes.

 

Tom Zarek leads the way down Colonial One's corridor, until Starbuck forces her way past him. Zarek asks, "Major, where do you think you are going?"

In anger, Starbuck begins ripping all of the insignias off of her uniform with her free hand, and just lets them fall to the ground. She replies, "the sooner we find them, the sooner I can find a fighter and get in to the real fight." She adds, "are you sure your…assistants back there are trustworthy? If anything happens to the President or the old man, I'm holding you personally responsible."

Zarek smiles, "Zora is my most trusted aide. She will protect the President with her life. Plus, she's a member of the Militia, so no one should hassle her. And Derek has a knack for keeping out of harm's way. He'll take good care of the Commander."

Starbuck growls, "it was stupid to split up."

Once Zarek had filled them in regarding the plight of the Galactica and the incoming cylon Base Star, Adama had decided to split the group. Zarek and Starbuck were to go after Helo and company, while Adama and Zarek's male associate attempt to make it to Colonial One's cockpit and contact the Galactica. The female Militia member working for Zarek would stand guard over President Roslin.

Zarek responds, "I was actually very impressed with how quickly the Commander shifted to guerilla tactics. Splitting up into smaller cells gives you a higher probability of success. It's standard operating procedure."

Starbuck blows his explanation off, "You would think it was a good idea."

They both freeze as a large blast goes off somewhere on the deck. Starbuck begins rushing towards the sound. Zarek tries to slow her, "Major, are you sure we should be hurrying towards an explosion…on a space ship?"

Starbuck calls back, "trust me, whenever something blows up, you can usually find Jordan somewhere near by."

 

Jolly manages with great discomfort to sit up to see most of the smoke clearing from the room. There is a large hole in the industrial glass of the air lock's door. Behind it several militia members lay on the ground having caught the brunt of the blast and shattered glass.

Jolly calls out, "Helo, are you ok?"

Helo leans on his good arm and attempts to drag himself up, "I'm either ok or dead. I'm kind of hoping for dead, actually."

The last thing Jolly can remember is watching Colonel Hadrian's hand on the air lock control panel, as Helo fired the explosive round at the door. The blast had been partially reflected back at them by the industrial glass of the door and knocked them all for a loop. But that was nothing compared to the blast that caught the mob. The broken glass had effectively acted as shrapnel. So if the blast didn't kill or wound them, then the shattered glass did.

Several Militia members also slowly begin to stir. The Sergeant that had led the mob manages to get to his feet having somehow held onto his sidearm. He is bleeding heavily from his left ear and dozens of nasty looking cuts, he lifts his pistol and just begins shooting blindly through the hole created by the blast in the door. Both Jolly and Helo dive for the ground as bullets fly wildly into their area.

In between shots, the Sergeant hears the crackle of broken glass behind him and he spins to see Starbuck and Zarek entering the room. He fires just barely missing Starbuck's head as Zarek fires his pistol hitting the man squarely in the chest. The Sergeant falls backwards dead.

The other Militia members that have gained consciousness quickly raise their hands in surrender. They have no interest in continuing the fight. Zarek instructs them to take a seat by the far wall of the room.

As Helo and Jolly get up from the ground, they hear in a weak voice behind them, "Helo, please I need your help."

They turn to see Boomer lying on her back holding her chest, which is bleeding. One of the Sergeant's rounds found her. Forgetting himself, Helo moves quickly to help her and places his working right hand on her wound to help stop the bleeding. She smiles slightly, "just once I'd like for us to be together and no one gets shot."

Her eyes begin to glaze over, as Jolly limps over, "Boomer, how do we reverse what you did to the Galactica?" She doesn't respond, so he tries again, "how do we fix what you've done?"

Boomer replies looking off in the distance, "you can't. Only God can." And after a last look at Helo, closes her eyes.

Sharon says to Jolly, "she's gone."

On the other side of the air lock, a raspy and weak voice asks, "is she dead?"

Everyone turns their gaze to Colonel Hadrian lying against the wall underneath the air lock controls. Starbuck walks over to her while aiming the rifle she took from the cargo bay shoot-out.

Hadrian is even more burnt and wounded than before, with a large section of flesh from her face missing. She asks again, "is she dead?"

Starbuck nods, "yeah, she's dead."

Hadrian actually smiles,giving her facea skull like appearance, then drops her head to the ground and dies.

 

The Raptor's ECO, Vandal manages to pull the power lines through the soft hatch connection to the Galactica. He looks over at Baltar, "sir, are you sure this is going to work?"

Baltar manages to smile at him, "in science, few things are absolute. But I have high hopes."

Vandal doesn't appear too reassured by his comment, and takes a deep breath. He then goes to connect the cables to the Raptor while asking, "how exactly is this going to work?"

Baltar takes a seat at the ECO's station and begins working on calculations as he replies, "this virus, for lack of a better term, seems to be running through the Galactica's electrical supply. Somehow the electrical current itself is carrying a signal that has shorted out the Galactica's systems. Now if that's true, then if we were able to filter the Galactica's power, we could effectively pull the virus out and send the power back, thus jump starting the Galactica's systems." He adds after a few moment, "well, hopefully a couple of systems anyway."

Topper asks, "how will we filter the virus out?"

Baltar thinks, "well, we'll need an outside power source to start the flow of power that also just happens to have the necessary equipment that could be used as a filter. Your Raptor." Then you also need a genius who understands the nature of artificial intelligence and can create and monitor this contraption. That would be me. Of course, that's assuming that I have correctly ascertained the nature of the virus."

Vandal asks, "and if you haven't?

Baltar replies ominously, "I think it's best to think positive."

Both pilots go back to their duties, as Six sits back on the ECO station, "why are you doing this? This is so unlike you."

Baltar attempts to keep working, while he replies, "you mean saving my own ass? I would think you've seen that many many times."

She responds, "I can think of a couple of different ways to get out here with minimal risk to you. You're in a ship with an FTL drive…you could fix it, then leave. Let the cylons take the Galactica and Colonial One and we can start over. All of your enemies will be gone."

Baltar thinks for a moment, then slams his fist on the station, "NO!" He realizes that the pilots are watching him, so he collects himself. Once they have moved onto their jobs, he answers her in a whisper, "do you or do you not believe that God is guiding me for some higher purpose?"

Six seems taken a back a little by his question, so after a brief pause, "yes. I do believe that God is using you. Or at least, wants to use you, when you let him."

Baltar says in an almost philosophical voice, "I don't understand what God's will is. But here is a situation that calls for talents only I can provide. Am I supposed to believe that's a coincidence?"

Six smiles nervously, "God doesn't want you to save humans. Why call for their destruction if he intended to have you save them? Gaius, God doesn't change his mind."

Baltar replies, "am I not human?" She nods, "then if what you say is true, why preserve me? Why use me as an instrument at all?"

Six is silent for a moment, so Baltar concludes, "if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

The voice of Colonel Tigh comes over the radio, "Doc, you ready yet?"

Baltar sighs and replies sarcastically, "no Saul, I'm not."

Tigh warns him, "that Base Star istwo minutes out. So unless you'd like to show them around, we need to move fast."

Baltar hits a couple of buttons quickly and then says to Vandal, "you need to get going. I'll need you to monitor from inside the Galactica."

Vandal nods and then slides through the soft hatch in the floor made by the Raptor to connect it to the Galactica. Baltar then says to the pilot, Topper, "are you sure this thing is secure? What I'm doing will probably rip this ship apart and destroy all of its systems. When it's done, we're probably going to be forced into a very quick retreat."

Topper replies, "when the cylons show up it might be a rough ride, she was never meant to take fire, but I can get it to hold long enough."

Baltar calls on the radio, "Dualla, are you ready to begin?"

Dualla calls back, "yes sir. We're ready."

Baltar replies, "ok, I'm beginning the charge…now." And he hits a button on the console. He is forced to brace himself by grabbing the station desk as the ship jolts and a loud humming sound begins.

 

In the ongoing battle, the remaining Raiders suddenly make a straight line towards the Galactica and Colonial One with no regard to fire from the Vipers or the Nebula Chaser.

Giving chase, Apollo calls out, "RaceTrack, alert Colonial One's escort to be ready. They have incoming."

RaceTrack replies, "they're…gone. The only fighter anywhere near Colonial One is Slider. And she's not responding."

The Chaser's rail guns pummel two Raiders and the Vipers chase down another three, but four other cylons manage to make it past and begin firing at the Galactica with the Vipers hot on their trail.

Apollo calls out in desperation, "Slider, respond!" After a moment, he says to the entire battle group, "this is Apollo, it appears that Slider…is a cylon agent…do not approach, but if you are forced to…take her out."

 

In the cockpit on board Colonial One, Starbuck and Jolly enter quickly and report on the events that took place at the air lock. Commander Adama thinks for a moment and then gets them up-to-date on the Galactica's condition.

Jolly blurts out, "you're not really putting all of our lives in Doc Cylon's hands?"

Starbuck replies, "shut up, jack ass."

Jolly looks at her, "you know in that uniform, you look like a giant turd in a blonde wig."

Adama barks, "knock it off, both of you. We're not in a position to turn down assistance from any corner. What we need are solutions."

Colonial One's pilot reminds them, "our flight deck, is blocked by your damaged Raptor, so no one is getting off. And it'll take at least thirty minutes to finish repairs on our FTL drive."

A weak but distinct voice from the doorway says, "I believe this ship still fits onto the Galactica's flight deck."

They all turn to see President Roslin standing in the doorway leaning heavily upon a female Militia corporal. Roslin continues, "I believe our best bet will be to get onto the Galactica and jump with it."

Adama looks at Starbuck. She comments, "without power to the flight deck, getting this boat stowed is going to be a bitch."

While Starbuck moves past Colonial One's pilot, she stops, "if you don't mind?"

He looks relieved, "going in blind on a dark flight deck? It's all yours." He adds, "we've been having some trouble with our radio as well. Haven't been able to make any radio contact with our escort for the past few minutes."

Starbuck takes a seat and begins looking over all of the control panels, as she sees Jolly following her she says, "want to watch how a real pilot does things?"

Jolly moves towards the chair, "we need to somehow hail Lee." And he falls heavily into the chair as the entire ship shakes, as if it were hit with something. Jolly quickly quips as Starbuck looks over at him, "don't look at me."

Starbuck checks her screen, "where's our escort? They're gone." She yells at Jolly, "why didn't you warn me! It's the co-pilot's job to warn me about these things."

Jolly replies defensively holding up his chained hands, "I just got here. And I'm not your co-pilot. Technically, I'm still a prisoner."

 

With the cylon Base Star in visual range and almost close enough to launch a missile strike, Apollo watches the specks drop from the Base Star's wings. The specks that meant hundreds of Raiders were coming to finish the job their friends had started. Apollo calls out to his pilots, "finish off those last two Raiders and gear up for the incoming Base Star, I'm going after Slider." And Apollo pulls away at full speed towards Colonial One.

Apollo quickly sees the Viper with the familiar black streak running down its side heading at full thrust towards Colonial One. He calls out to Slider, "this is Apollo, pull up or I'll have to shoot."

He is greeted by silence as the Viper continues towards its apparent target. Apollo gets the Viper in his sights and places his finger on the firing mechanism. Apollo calls out to Colonial One, "this is Apollo, you have a cylon agent coming your way. Take any evasive maneuvers you can." Even as he says it, Colonial One begins to move in a way that he's never seen the ship move before. It begins to dive and move away from the oncoming fighter.

But there is no reply to his call to Colonial One. Someone's jamming his radio. He hesitates firing on the Viper, and slides his finger off of the trigger, as a moment of indecision overtakes him. But he clears his head and convinces himself that Slider must be the one jamming his radio. He places his finger back on the trigger.

It's then that the light flashes begin from Colonial One's signal beacon. He reads their message as he attempts to get the now defensive Viper back in his sights. It reads, "C-Y-L-O-N" there is a brief pause, then it continues, "P-I-L-O-T" Apollo thinks, 'I know, I know, stop distracting me.' He manages to get Slider back in to his sights and depresses the firing trigger, as Colonial One adds, "S-A-B-E-R."

Apollo swears and jerks up on his stick causing his rounds to fly wide. But at least one round catches the side of Slider's Viper, and her ship begins spinning out of control.

As Apollo regains control of his ship, Saber emerges from his hiding place behind the now maneuvering Colonial One, and heads straight for Apollo firing.

 

The Raptor attached to the side of the Galactica bucks knocking Acting President Gaius Baltar off of his chair. The pilot, Topper fights with the controls to keep the ship attached to the Galactica.

As he struggles back into his chair and straps himself in, Baltar says to him, "that wasn't a power surge."

Topper scans his Dradis screen, "some Raiders have broken out and are taking pot shots at us. Looks like our fighters have them under control though."

Baltar says sarcastically, while holding on tight and looking over his monitors, "that's under control?"

Baltar studies one of his screens and appears concerned, "hold on, the power's overloading the Raptor's system." Suddenly the entire ship begins to shake and shudder. Baltar calls on the radio, "Galactica, we've isolated the bug, and I'm ready to reallocate power. Try your first system."

Dualla looks over at Colonel Tigh, who simply nods affirmative as his response. Dualla says to Baltar, "roger Raptor One. Initiating system re-set." And she begins flipping switches at her station.

On the outside of the Galactica, the ship's gun turrets begin to move and track the incoming Base Star to the sound of cheers and applause inside of the CIC. Dualla calls back, "re-set successful. We now have gun control. Repeat, we now have gun control."

Tigh calls out, "well, done Doc. This will buy us some time, but we need the FTL drive."

Baltar is not sure what is causing him to shake more; fire from the cylons, the power surges or his own nerves. He frowns as the ship bucks again, "working on it."

Tigh calls out to the crew members manning the gun controls, "waiting for the coffee makers to come on? Start shooting! The cylons are going to have to earn it today."

 

With Jolly's warnings about a cylon agent haunting her, Slider remembers watching the familiar Viper suddenly exit the battle area and immediately had a sickening feeling that something was very wrong. She observed the Viper, as it took a round about approach behind the Galactica towards Colonial One.

She couldn't help but appreciate how good Saber was at hiding behind the larger ships to mask it from all but the most thorough Dradis search. And everyone would be far too busy tracking Raiders to do a thorough search, any Viper not immediately found would be assumed lost in the fight.

When it became apparent that Saber was clearly up to no good, she attempted to radio Apollo, but received nothing but dead air. Someone was jamming radio communications around Colonial One. Slider fought the temptation to head back to an area where she could contact Lee, but there just wasn't enough time. Colonial One's escort never saw him coming.

Slider was forced to watch the cylon agent sneak up on her comrades and friends, knowing she wouldn't be there in time to help them. Slider screamed in desperation, but it doesn't make any difference…not for Whiplash or Rebel. She is forced to watch, tears running down her face, as someone she counted as one of her family stalked and killed her friends.

Saber's Viper turns and makes a run on Colonial One, when she fires.

She is too far away to possibly hit him, but she hoped to get his attention and distract him from the civilian target. It seems to work momentarily as the fire from Saber's Viper misses Colonial One and he pulls up. Slider rushes forward to take him on.

She had been so intent on tracking and taking on Saber that she just notices Apollo has come up behind her. Her moment of relief at seeing him on her screen is quickly replaced by confusion and fear, as Lee appears to be attempting to target her. As Slider is forced to make defensive maneuvers, Lee doesn't seem to see that his chasing her is driving them both directly into Saber's path.

She attempts to maneuver them away from Colonial One, in spite of the risk that it further opens her up to being fired upon by both Vipers. But deep down she knows that Lee won't fire…until he does. Or at least, he begins to. A stray round catches her Port engine and forces her into an uncontrolled spin. Thank the Gods Lee pulled up.

Slider watches as Lee veers away from Saber's charge. He escapes unscathed, but his forced fall back leaves her open and wounded. Slider manages to pull her Viper out of its spin and scans her monitors to determine the amount of damage. She yells, "FRAK!" as she quickly begins trying to revive her ships systems and hits the distress beacon.

 

From the cockpit of Colonial One, Jolly yells, "that frakin' idiot! He fired on Slider!"

Starbuck replies while steering Colonial One closer towards the Galactica, "he thought she was attacking us. He was doing his job."

Jolly looks incredulously at her, "since when do you defend Lee?"

Starbuck just continues flying, "since some damned toaster can't keep his trap shut." After a moment, "it's called growing up. You should really try it."

Jolly sees the Galactica in the windshield as Colonial One comes around. He objects, "didn't you see Slider's beacon? Go back. We're not leaving her. "

Starbuck still refusing to make eye contact, "we have the President, the Council of Twelve and hundreds of civilians to look after, not to mention the old man. We don't have time…or a flight deck. Hopefully one of the Raptors can tow her in."

Jolly snaps, "so you're just going to leave them?"

Starbuck replies through gritted teeth, "yes. There is a cylon agent loose…who was your pilot, by the way… a Base Star coming in fast and we don't even have a spitball between us to throw at them. Our only real option is to get everyone on the Galactica…Lee can handle things for himself and his girlfriend."

Jolly replies sarcastically, "what a mature decision. You really have grown up. But I prefer the old kick ass leave no friend behind Starbuck."

Starbuck answers bitterly, "really? That's funny because the Old Starbuck would have killed you by now."

 

As the cylon Base Star moves in, a salvo of missiles launch towards the only Colonial ship returning fire, the Nebula Chaser. Its four rail guns fire frantically, but two missiles escape past its firing solution and make their way towards the cargo ship.

Lieutenant R-n-R Rise calls to his crew, "brace for impact!"

Just before the missiles strike the Chaser's hull, the Galactica's guns open fire and destroy the two remaining projectiles.

R-n-R and his crew all breath a huge sigh of relief as the Galactia's firepower joins the fight. Their relief is but for a brief moment, however as hundreds of Raiders streak towards their position. The wave of Raiders briefly wavers as the Galactica's Vipers enter the fray.

R-n-R instructs his crew as the ship shudders having taken some fire, "move us behind the Galactica and tell the fighters to prepare for combat landings." Turning to the Chief, "time to open the doors and pick up the kids. Let's hope the Galactica's pilots are fast learners."

As the Chief moves towards the back of the command area, a rogue Raider crashes itself directly into the side of the Chaser. The ship is thrown sideways as the crew member at the helm fights to regain control. There is a momentary loss of power and several screens around the command center go dead as the crew surveys the damage. R-n-R calls back, "that was a bad one, Chief. What's the bill?"

When there is no reply, he looks back and sees that the Chief was thrown by the blast and lies dead in the doorway. Without hesitating he calls out, "Sebastian, get in the back and see what we can salvage. We need to get those fighters stowed."

A crew member rushes past, stepping over the Chief's body and towards the cargo bay. R-n-R hails the Galactica, "if you have a plan B, this would be the time to let me in on it."

 

Colonial Militia Air Wing pilot and cylon agent, Saber swears as he brings his Viper around to take a shot, but misses as Apollo manages to roll and escape. Saber understands that he's disregarding his programming to go after Captain Adama. He should be shooting or ramming his ship into either the Galactica or Colonial One to insure its destruction. But he can't help it, his desire to kill Apollo is all that his mind will hold on to.

It was a hard moment, when he realized who and what he was. That his memory of family and friends was a delusion simply to provide him with a cover story. It had brought him great pleasure to shoot the loudmouth Rebel, but Whiplash had been like a brother. Whiplash was the better pilot of the two and Saber knew the smart thing would be to take him out first, but he just couldn't do it. However, once he killed Rebel, he realized that there was no going back.

After killing the escort, he was in a perfect position to destroy Colonial One, but when Slider took a pot shot at him, it made him pause. How could he fire on Frankie? Just like every other pilot on the Chaser, he had developed a crush on the small brunette and had felt the sharp pangs of jealousy when she took up with Jolly. But now her new boyfriend Captain Adama was swooping in to save the day. And an idea came to him that if he played correctly, would have Apollo doing his dirty work for him…and it worked. Apollo shoots at Slider, thinking she is the cylon only pulling up at the last minute.

The tall bald pilot watches as Slider manages to pull her Viper out of its spin, but she's been hurt. He watches as her Viper limps along like a bird with a broken wing. Too damaged to fight, which seems just perfect. He wouldn't have to pull the trigger on her, let a Raider be the bad guy. Perhaps she could even be taken alive. And then…he stops himself, best not to get too far ahead. First he had to finish off Apollo, and then Colonial One.

Saber doubles back onto Apollo's tail. He expected more from a pilot so arrogant that he allows people to refer to him as the son of a God. But Saber knew that just as the false Gods fell before the one and only God, Apollo would fall before him. Those are his thoughts as he lines Apollo up in his sights. He stares in disbelief as Apollo flies in an almost straight line, as if daring him to shoot. Saber caresses the firing trigger with his finger waiting for the exact moment that Apollo slides into his crosshairs, when suddenly a large shadow crosses his cockpit.

He looks up to see Colonial One bearing down on him at a completely vertical angle. Like a missile, its path is on a collision course with his fighter. He doesn't even attempt to escape, but simply closes his eyes accepting his fate. Perhaps it is God's will for him to pass with out killing Apollo, but at least he would have the satisfaction of sealing the fate of the complete leadership of the humans with his death. The damage of a head-on collision, if not enough to destroy it, would undoubtedly be sufficient to make escape for Colonial One impossible.

With eyes still closed he lifts his hands waiting for the explosion that will send his soul to his next body…but there is no collision as Colonial One veers at the last moment and passes by just inches from his ship. Saber can't believe his eyes, as Colonial One rushes past him and right into his sights. He moves his finger to the firing mechanism, but that's the moment that he sees the Viper that had been hiding directly behind the larger ship.

With Saber dead center in front of her, Slider depresses the firing switch and sends rounds streaked in red straight into the cockpit of Saber's Viper. Saber dies instantly as his fighter explodes around him.

 

A deck officer informs Colonel Tigh that the Nebula Chaser has taken damage. Tigh turns to Petty Officer Dualla, "how long on the FTL? The Chaser might not be able to get the fighters out of here."

Dualla shakes her head, "the Raptor's having a hard time managing the power flow. It's taking awhile."

Tigh responds, "well, we don't have awhile. Remind his majesty that his only hope of saving his own ass is that FTL drive. I have a feeling that he'll manage to find a way if he knows his head is on the line."

Ensign Solon calls out, "sir, Colonial One is requesting permission to land on our flight deck."

Tigh looks at Dualla, "D, how long on the flight deck?"

Dualla just shakes her head, Tigh replies, "tell them, negative. They can't land anything that big until we've got power."

Solon talks into her radio piece, then says to Tigh, "they're quite persistent."

Tigh picks up the receiver, "listen hot shot, I know civilian pilots think they can do anything the military can, but that's not exactly a shuttle you're trying to bring in on a dark flight deck."

Starbuck replies with a smile, "Colonel Tigh, so nice to speak with you again."

Tigh rolls his eyes to the heavens, "I should have known only you would try to pull that kind of stunt. Do you have any idea what kind of damage crashing that bus onto our flight deck will cause? You are to keep yourself behind us until the flight deck has power."

Starbuck protests, "maybe you haven't noticed all of the guests we've been having, but the Base Star is on our doorstep. When exactly will you have power?"

Tigh hangs up the receiver on her. Ensign Solon's voice comes on, "please hold, Colonial One."

Starbuck comments to Jolly as the anthem of the colonies begins playing over the radio, "the bastard put me on hold."

Jolly smiles, "now that was the old Starbuck. You're just lucky Lee and Slider picked up on the plan."

Starbuck fights her smile, "yeah, I have to admit little miss Slider did a pretty good job pretending to be out of commission."

Jolly nods, "you're handling Lee's new love much better than I expected. Maybe you have grown up."

Starbuck scowls, "love? Who said anything about love, toaster? I merely mentioned that she managed to not screw up my amazing maneuver." She adds, "they're not right for each other. You know he's been crap as CAG since they got together."

Jolly nods, "yep, the old Starbuck, that's more like it."

 

Lieutenant R-n-R Rise lifts himself with his one working arm from the ground while scanning the cockpit of the Nebula Chaser. His whole side feels like it's on fire. He must have broken every rib on his right side. His crew lies among the ruins of the Chaser's command area.

The last thing he remembers is one of his crew shouting out a warning as a second Raider slammed itself into the side of the large armored cargo vessel. His ship was tough, but never meant to go head-to-head with a Base Star and a full accompaniment of Raiders. The damage caused by the first Raider had stopped the Chaser from making it to cover behind the Galactica.

And now no guns, no engines or thrusters, but through it all, R-n-R manages a smile. He held his own and the Galactica would have a chance since he took the brunt of the cylon assault. He finds a Dradis scanner still working and sees the Raiders rushing past his position with no regard for the Chaser. Now that his guns were silent, they would finish him off once the battle was over. But R-n-R had one last weapon to throw at them.

 

As the Raptor attached to the Galactica shakes up and down wildly, the pilot, Topper calls out to Baltar, "the bug is shutting down our systems! And the Base Star is in range…she's starting to throw the big stuff at us. I can't hold her in position! We could lose our air seal!"

Baltar yells back, "not much longer. I just need a few moments."

Six says standing next to him genuinely worried, "get out! The only way to save your self is to run! Don't you understand that you're going to die here?"

Six is shocked as Baltar shouts, "Topper, get out! As soon as the FTL is on-line, help Vandal snap the cables and seal the hatch!"

Topper seems confused, "Mister President, what about you? How do you get out?"

Baltar looks determinedly at Six, and then replies, "I don't." He explains, "I have to make sure the bug doesn't get back into the Galactica's systems. I have to be here until the cable connections are severed."

Topper adjusts the ship's controls and says "you're the bravest man I ever met, Doc." And heads towards the ship's hatch connecting it to the Galactica. Suddenly he is thrown as the Galactica is hit by a large explosion just next to the Raptor.

The side of the Raptor is breached by shrapnel which hits Topper in the lower leg. He screams in pain as he falls to the ground. As Topper's blood spatters across the floor, Baltar stares with an expression frozen in terror. Topper yells, "grab the suckerfish!" Baltar continues to stare at him, until Topper explains while pointing, "on the wall…the big suction cup looking thing…now Doc!"

Baltar finally sees the device he is referring to and once realizing that he can't reach it without removing his seat's harness, quickly undoes the latch and while holding on to the station desk in a death grip with one hand, reaches out and grabs the device with the other. He tosses it to Topper, who immediately seals the hull breach with it.

Baltar quickly and nervously attempts to get his safety belts back on as Toppers holds onto his lower leg attempting to get the bleeding to slow. Topper slowly and painfully lowers himself through the floor hatch as Baltar goes to working on the computer system attempting to get enough power to the Galactica's FTL drive.

He watches the red light indicating the FTL's status as it powers up. He mutters, "come on, come on, come on." Suddenly the light changes to green and he calls out on the radio, "Galactica, you've got an FTL drive!"

His smile is quickly lost as another large thud hits the Raptor and several of the monitors blow out. The ship begins sliding back and forth and fear overcomes Baltar. He undoes his harness and jumps for the hatch, but stops in his tracks as he sees that it's been sealed. He falls upon it and begins banging with his fist as the Raptor is ripped from the side of the Galactica and begins falling away powerless out into space.

 

Officer Dualla shouts out to the CIC, "our FTL is online!"

Colonel Tigh picks up a phone receiver, "this is Colonel Tigh to all ships, looks like were not going to get a powered flight deck…so it's combat landings in the dark. Everyone is to come home immediately."

He commands, "D, the moment all ships are stowed, we get the hell out of here."

Tigh sighs, "who would have thought I'd end up thanking the Gods for Doctor Baltar." He looks at Dualla, "tell that pompous dandy to get up here, we may need his help again."

She replies losing her smile, "Topper and Vandal severed the cables and sealed the hatch. Toper was wounded…Raptor One has been lost. Doctor Baltar didn't make it out."

Tigh drops his head for a moment, "what's the status on the Nebula Chaser?"

Dualla shakes her head, "we lost contact after it took another Raider in its side. Its dead in the water, it won't make it out."

 

Jolly says to Starbuck, "how do you plan on landing this boat on the Galactica without taking out our own fighters? Just curious."

She smiles at him, "unless my math is off, the Galactica has two flight decks. And one of them isn't being used at the moment."

Jolly adds the question, "you do realize that flight deck isn't really a flight deck anymore? I mean, it's a museum…and a badly damaged museum at that."

She replies, "that's the beauty of it. Colonel Tigh can't blame me if it was already wrecked before I got there. If you have a better plan, I'm all ears."

Jolly shrugs, "no, I actually don't."

 

Apollo calls out to his surviving Vipers and Raptors, "this is Apollo, we've got the call. Everyone head back to Galactica. I'll escort Colonial One in. There's no power to the flight deck so it's combat landings in the dark."

A pilot calls out, "probably the easiest thing any of us has done all day."

Apollo asks, "how we doing Slider?"

Slider struggles with her joystick, "I'll make it. It'll be a rough landing, but I'm sure not sticking around here. This neighborhoods sucks."

Apollo then calls out, "Colonial One, this is Captain Adama, I'll do what I can to guide you onto the flight deck. It won't be eas…"

Starbuck replies, "really? I thought I would guide you in. I could do this in my sleep."

Apollo smiles, "I should have known when Colonial One did a roll that somehow Starbuck had something to do with it."

Starbuck responds, "well, just make sure your rocket jockeys are out of my way, cause I don't think this thing handles quite like a Mark VII."

Apollo answers, "roger that. We'll try our best to stay out of the way." He hesitates then begins to ask, "is…"

Starbuck answers his question, "we've had some troubles, but the old man is fine."

Jolly adds, "I'm ok too, Lee. Thanks for asking."

 

A large cylon transport ship attaches itself to the Nebula Chaser and dozens of Centurions unload. They rush through the ship towards the command cockpit finding only one human already dead in the cargo area.

They encounter another deceased crew member lying in the entrance way to the command cockpit, where they find one elderly man in the uniform of Colonial Lieutenant sitting at a station watching the Dradis through a cracked monitor. The old man turns and blows the smoke from his last cigarette at them, "I didn't think you boys would make it in time."

One of the Centurions fires killing R-n-R, who's body falls onto the station he had been observing. The lead Centurion in gold, walks over and throws R-n-R's body to the ground and turns to the screen he had been viewing. It shows their Base Star moving into a colored circle around the Chaser. The moment the Base Star is completely within the circle the room around them breaks apart in a huge explosion.

R-n-R's last task had been to rig the Chaser, which had been stuffed with munitions and fuel by Colonel Tigh for the Galactica's fighters to explode the moment the Base Star entered the estimated blast radius. As close to a nuclear blast as he was going to get, the cylon transport attached to the Chaser explodes in a ball of flame that encompasses a large area. Dozens of Raiders also are caught and destroyed. The Base Star takes damage as one of its spikes is completely vaporized. But it isn't destroyed and it continues its course towards the Galactica.

 

"What the frak was that?" Starbuck yells out.

Jolly answers soberly as he views a screen, "that was the Chaser. She's gone."

Starbuck responds, "well, looks like it bought us some time. We're going in."

Jolly points to where the flight deck opening should be, "uhm…when did they seal it up?"

Starbuck smiles, "don't worry. We should break right through pretty easily…I think."

They watch as the oncoming wall moves closer and closer. There is a large crash as Colonial One breaks through the sheet metal used to close up the flight deck and the ship slides through the museum area. Jolly calls out, "brakes! Brakes would be good!"

Colonial One bursts through three separate rooms sending thirty years of Galactica artifacts and memorabilia flying. The ship continues plowing through until Starbuck manages to land on top of a large recreation of a Base Star. Starbuck and Jolly look out the windshield to see that they have stoppedcentimeters from a large banner hanging down from the ceiling. The banner reads, 'THE GALACTICA: 30 YEARS OF KEEPING THE COLONIES CYLON FREE!'

 

With the Vipers and Raptors landing, the Base Star bears down and sends a volley of its full arsenal at the Galactica. As hundreds of projectiles stream towards thenearly powerlessGalactica, suddenly there is a flash of light and it's gone. The missiles and Raiders fly through the space occupied by the Galctica just a moment before.

 

Colonel Tigh looks over at Petty Officer Dualla, "well?"

Dualla smiles, "we're back with the fleet. All contacts accounted for."

Tigh asks, "Colonial One?"

Dualla responds, "she's on our alternate flight deck. She's seems to have made it intact."

There is a general cheer from all of the crew in the CIC. Tigh comes over to her, "what's the butcher's bill, D?"

Dualla begins counting ships on her screen, "we lost a total of eight Vipers and three Raptors…and the Nebula Chaser. I haven't received a casualty report fromMajor Cottle."

Tigh looks concerned, "three Raptors?"

Dualla replies, "yes sir, Tantrum and Racetrack didn't make it out."

Ensign Solon calls out, "we have a contact jumping in." She scans her monitor, "its a Raptor. It's Tantrum and Racetrack, sir."

Dualla says on her radio, "good to have you back, Raptor 367."

Tantrum's voice fills the CIC, "sorry, we're late Galactica. We decided to grab a souvenir, so you should really be calling us, Colonial One. We managed to pick up the Acting President before we jumped out."

 

Commander Adama asks, "any idea how you are going to explain all of this?"

Roslin replies dryly, "I was hoping you could explain it to me."

Starbuck leaves the cockpit area, "not my smoothest landing, but any landing you can walk away from…"

Two Militia soldiers escort Helo into the seating area, one has a pistol drawn. Commander Adama challenges them, "what are doing with my pilot?"

The soldier with the pistol replies, "we caught him messing around the auxiliary air lock." Then glaring at Jolly, "and the body of the female cylon is missing."

Everyone looks at Helo, until he explains, "she was pregnant with my child. I couldn't stand the idea of it being dissected and put in a jar. So I sent them both out the air lock."

Adama gets angry, "you did what?"

Helo has trouble keeping eye contact but manages to reply, "she was dead. We have another dead Sharon to study. I couldn't handle them being cut up, sir."

Starbuck looks at Helo then Jolly, "she was dead…I mean, we know she was dead, right?"

Jolly responds obviously confused, "I didn't check for a pulse or anything. She seemed dead."

Starbuck yells at him, "you didn't make sure? You idiot!"

Jolly yells back, "since when did I become the cylon coroner? I had a pretty good source that told me she was dead."

They all turn to him, as Jolly realizes he's going to have to explain, "my gut…I mean, my gut told me that she was dead." Jolly stares at Helo, "she was dead…wasn't she?"

Helo defends himself, "like I said, I just couldn't handle seeing my own child dissected. I just couldn't do it."

Starbuck scolds him, "Helo, tell me you didn't help her escape. Tell me she was dead and you really sent her out the air lock."

Helo just stands defiantly and silent.

Adama orders, "you're in the brig, Lieutenant…until I can decide what to do with you." He then orders, "I want every inch of this ship checked. If the cylon is still alive, we need to find her."

Roslin corrects him, "I believe this is my ship, Commander."

Adama nods, "of course. My apologies."

Roslin then orders, "you heard him. Check every inch of this ship."

Helo nods reluctantly, as the Militia soldiers begin pulling him away. Starbuck steps up and pushes them away from him. "Commander Adama charged him; that means it's a military…not a Militia matter. I'll take him."

Starbuck stands at attention and addresses Commander Adama, "sir, requesting permission to report for duty and secure the prisoners, sir."

Adama responds, "permission granted…Lieutenant."

Roslin leans into Adama, "what Militia?"

 

TEN HOURS LATER…

In the Galactica's brig, Jolly sits alone with his back to the door as Vice President Gaius Baltar enters. Sharon mutters to Jolly, "the snake is here."

Baltar says to the guard, "if you'll excuse us, I need to speak with the Lieutenant…alone."

The guard replies, "I was instructed…"

Baltar cuts him off, "now, I'm instructing you to leave us."

The guard reluctantly leaves and Baltar walks right up to the bars to talk to Jolly. In aquiet voicehe says, "funny how things work out, isn't it?"

Jolly refuses to respond, so Baltar continues trying to sound sincere, "after everything is said and done…you still end up in a cell and I receive rewards for saving the day."

Baltar nervously continues, "listen, I know mistakes have been made…I've made mistakes…but we're all just getting by the best we can."

Jolly still refuses to turn to him, so Baltar offers his deal, "Lieutenant, I can fix things…make up for…past errors. I can get you released."

Without turning Jolly asks, "how?"

Baltar takes a deep breath and then explains, "we tell the truth. I have a more than reasonable explanation for everything that transpired. Shooting Lieutenant Gaeta was a horrible regrettable accident."

Jolly snorts, "the truth."

Baltar begins to get irritated. "Look, I'm trying to help you. I'm the hero of the day! I don't really need you. You're just another fraking toaster that they'll either throw out an air lock or allow me to dissect while you're still alive." He stops himself, "but…but, there are questions that linger. And things would be a lot smoother for me if you and I came to some sort of agreement…a meeting of the minds. We can help each other."

Still without turning, Jolly asks, "where's the disk?"

Baltar startled by the question replies, "you mean the cylon disk you brought back?" He thinks for a moment then responds, "well, the Marines managed to shoot up everything in the room, but the actual disk. I deciphered it and it contained nothing but the virus, so I flushed it out an air lock. Sorry that you were duped. Apparently, the version of Sharon Valerii that gave it to you was using you to sabotage the Galactica. Lucky thing I was able to thwart her plans."

Sharon cries out, "that's not true! He's lying. That disk contained several recurring DNA sequences that can be found in every humanoid cylon. It would have cleared you and would have cut cylon detection to a matter of minutes."

Jolly asks Baltar, "you threw it out an air lock?"

Baltar smiles smugly, "yes, I did. Very dangerous little thing to keep as a souvenir don't you think?" After another awkward pause, "so you see, you don't really have a lot of options, Lieutenant. I have a large meeting of the press to get to and I need to know whether I am going tell them an awful mistake has been made and you're human or whether all of the horrific death and losses that occurred can be placed squarely on your shoulders. It's your choice."

After Jolly gives his decision, Baltar turns to leave the brig. Jolly calls out, "I'm going to kill you someday, Doc."

Baltar turns to see that Jolly has finally turned around and is standing gripping the bars and staring at him. Jolly repeats, "just so you know, someday I'm going to kill you."

Baltar smiles smugly, "I'll keep that under advisement."

Jolly adds as Baltar reaches the doorway, "and tell you're blonde friend that I said 'hi.'

Baltar freezes in his tracks, but then leaves without another word.

 

President Roslin walks with the help of Billy Keikeya towards the podium set up aboard Colonial One. The room is packed with the press and members of the Council of Twelve. She takes particular notice of Tom Zarek standing along the back of the room.

Roslin smiles weakly and then begins, "I am here because I know that there are a lot of unanswered questions about recent events. Questions that require answers, if we are to continue living, working and striving for survival together."

She takes a drink of water from a glass set upon the podium, then continues, "it appears that one of the pilots from the Nebula Chaser was a cylon. This pilot that went by the call sign, Saber, somehow managed to infiltrate Doctor Baltar's lab and corrupt test results. He managed to implicate another pilot, Lieutenant Jordan Nevlin…" She smiles, "although everyone calls him, Jolly…Jolly was falsely implicated as being a cylon agent."

Roslin looks out over the crowd, she can see Vice President Baltar at the back, moving his lips as she talks as if going over the story again. It makes her nervous, but she continues, "when a second test was ordered and it became apparent that Saber would be exposed, he attacked Doctor Baltar from behind and destroyed most of the lab. As Doctor Baltar was recovering, Jolly entered the lab with his sidearm drawn. Obviously Doctor Baltar assumed that Lieutenant Nevlin was the cylon agent come back to kill him. Command Officer, Lieutenant Gaeta showed up and attacked Lieutenant Nevlin and in the melee while fighting over the gun, Lieutenant Gaeta was shot. A terrible accident rising from a truly regrettable and unfortunate misunderstanding."

Both the Vice President and Lieutenant Nevlin have validated these events and I believe we can place this matter behind us. I would like to offer Jolly our sincerest apologies and wish him a speedy recovery from his wounds. It appears that Lieutenant Gaeta will also make a full recovery in time, and we hope that you will keep both of them in your prayers."

Roslin looks back to Billy, who hands her a large soft box. She takes it and says, "I know word has spread quickly regarding the heroic actions of our Vice President and I don't want totake any more time before we show our appreciation for his selflessness and bravery. Doctor Baltar, please join me up here by the podium."

Vice President Baltar acts convincingly as if he didn't expect the honor, waltzes up quickly to shake the President's hand and stands smugly over the crowd.

Roslin continues, "this man was willing to sacrifice his own life to save all those on board the Galactica and Colonial One. None of us would be here if not for his talent and courage. So Doctor, we have decided to honor you with the highest award a civilian can receive." She opens the box and shows the crowd the large gold medal inside. She says to the crowd, "we award Doctor Gaius Baltar, Vice President of the Colonies, the 'Valor of the Gods' medal for your courage and strength of character. Congratulations Doctor."

The crowd gives Baltar a standing ovation as he bows in humility and graciously accepts the award as Roslin places it around his neck. He mouthes, 'thank you…thank you," to the crowd as he takes his place beside the President.

Reporters rush forwards yelling out questions. Roslin points at one male reporter who asks, "if what you say is true, then Lieutenant Nevlin actually escaped from a cylon Base Star. That's truly amazing. He's a hero."

Roslin begins to respond, but Baltar interrupts her and moves to the podium, "certainly, Lieutenant Nevlin is to be commended for having a high aptitude for survival, but it seems that the cylons may have aided his escape. They allowed him to leave, so that he could deliver the virus which would have led to the destruction of the Galactia…had I not been there."

Roslin gives Baltar a discerning look as that had not been something they had agreed to discuss to the press. She leans back to take back the podium, which causes him to apologize and step back. She adds, "I don't think there's any shortage of heroes in the fleet."

A female reporter quickly asks, "how are you feeling?"

Roslin smiles, "I'm doing much better thank you. Doctor Cottle isn't sure what happened to me, but I seem to be making a full recovery. As we have so many reasons to thank Doctor Baltar, I would like to thank him for attending to the office of President while I was out."

Six whispers seductively in to Baltar's ear, "she'd be singing a different tune if she knew it was you that caused her collapse. Not to mention your ever watchful care that kept her from coming around while you were President. You think she wonders why she made almost a full recovery only a couple of hours after being rescued? Probably not, but you never know when the light bulb will go on."

Baltar continues smiling and whispers back, "just an unfortunate episode of her disease. I only wish I could have done more to end her suffering."

Another reporter throws out looking at Baltar, "will there be any disciplinary action against members of the military or Militia for the violence that occurred?"

Roslin thinks soberly for a moment, "certain hostilities that took place between the Militia and the military were unfortunate byproducts of the misunderstandings created by the cylon agent." She continues hesitantly, "it appears that Colonel Hadrian, commander of the Militia, as a side affect of the mounting stress might have acted in a manner that escalated the violence. I think we will all agree that she more than paid for any misconduct on her part."

As other reporters try to get her attention, they all stop and turn as Tom Zarek throws out a question, "what about the Militia? Do you plan to dissolve the Colonial Militia?"

Roslin strokes her hair nervously, "no, we actually plan on maintaining and expanding the Colonial Militia." As all of the reporters go into a frenzy, she raises her hands to get them to stop and listen, "I believe the central idea of creating a Militia to deal with issues such as civilian security and peace keeping duties was a good one." She takes off her glasses, "let me be clear. I am not challenging the military. The scope of the Militia will be strictly civilian security issues."

A reporter shouts, "what about the pilots…the Air Wing?"

Roslin replies, "after assurances that no disciplinary action against them would be taken, the pilots will be assigned back to the Galactica's fighter squadron."

As Roslin speaks, Six purrs into Baltar's ear, "you are amazing. God must truly love you. You're his choice…you're the one."

Baltar shrugs, "just doing what I can, where I can…for a higher purpose."

Six asks, "Jolly's a dangerous loose end. Particularly now that he has a partner in crime. What should we do about him?"

The corners of his mouth curl into a sly smile, "we'll deal with him…when the inspiration hits us."

 

Apollo follows Slider out on to the flight deck, "Frankie, will you at least talk to me?"

Slider turns around, "you shot at me, Lee!" She shakes her head, "what am I saying? You didn't shoot at me, you shot me! Not the sort of thing that's easy for a girl to forget."

Apollo grabs her arm, "listen, I pulled up. Shouldn't that count for something?"

She pulls her arm away, replying, "only because Jordan told you who the real cylon was."

Starbuck who had been working on a Viper watches them smiling. She calls out, "speaking of cylons…"

Everyone on the flight deck turns to watch Jolly approach in a wheelchair. A few people nervously wave or nod in greeting to him, but he wheels right past everyone without a word.

Starbuck begins walking with him, "I knew you were human. No machine could smell that bad…" He smiles but chooses not to reply and continues rolling. Starbuck stops in surprise as she obviously expected some sort of retort.

Slider hugs him quickly giving him a quick kiss, but he wheels past even her until he comes to what looks like the skeleton of a once living Viper.

In fact, the Chief is just finishing pulling a part off the bottom of the Viper, when he looks up to see Jolly. He comes over, "sir, I want to thank you for what you said the other day. About Sharon's last moment…I've thought a lot about it and I'm glad you said something."

Jolly responds, "just felt you should know."

Sharon says next to him, "at least he cared. Glad to know that he cared. Even if I never said those things."

Jolly whispers, "doesn't matter now does it?"

She answers, "no…not unless you and he were open minded to trying…"

Jolly replies quickly, "not a chance. And I'm pretty sure I'm speaking for both of us."

The Chief looks Jolly over, "excuse me, sir?"

Jolly shakes his head, "nothing, Chief, nothing." After a moment, Jolly asks, "what are you doing with my Viper, Chief?"

The Chief looks at it confused for a moment, "sir, that Viper's not good for anything but parts. It's a goner."

Apollo has walked up and comments, "Jordan, Major Cottle said you probably wouldn't ever fly Vipers again. You're wounds will never heal enough."

Jolly replies matter-of-factly, "that's my Viper. And by the time the Chief and I can get her flying…I'll be ready too."

Jolly forces himself out of the wheelchair and limps over to a tool cart and pulls a can of black pitch used to seal engine parts. He limps over to the heavily damaged Viper and with great effort manages up the ladder to the side of the cockpit. He dips a finger in the pitch and on the area that once read the name of the pilot, which has long since worn off, he writes…'Lt. Jolly.'

Congratulations, You Have Reached the End of the Story.