Title: Everything that was, will be again
Word Count: WIP
Characters: Lee, Kara, Anders, Adama, Zak (A/R)
Date Posted: 12/01/2008
Category: (AU Stories; Action and angst.)
Story Timeline: Miniseries on
Spoilers: The entire show
Warnings: Strong images
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
You hold onto that one thing…
Soldiers aren't human, they look human, they talk and walk and breathe
like humans, but in the end they are just tools. It's what they sign
up for, it's what military life does; strips you down to bare bone and
rebuilds you, makes you something else. Something that has a different
set of instincts, something that serves out a purpose that works in
the grander scheme of things. A lot of people don't understand that.
Civvie's expect a certain amount of humanity, mercy and compassion
from each other. They cry out against criminals who don't have that,
against warlords, theives, CEO's and all the vileness in human nature,
then expect to be protected by it. Civvies don't understand what a
soldier is, what it means, or why once you've been in it, it's all you
can really do.
Lee had been in the service for ten years now, since he was seventeen,
this was the life that he knew, the life he had been shaped for. He
didn't even know what he would do in the civvie world. Hard to talk to
someone about the day and the weather when you know twenty-five ways
to kill them with a pen. He knew what a lot of grunt soldiers didn't,
that this was it, once you sign that piece of paper and swear yourself
in, this was your life. There was no going back. Some people saw that
a little too late and ruined themselves, others caught it on time and
got out some way or another. People like Lee, saw it before they
signed up, and damn well wanted it.
Lee you are such a frakking asshole
That's why he did so well, why he was so good at his job. He had gone
from an entry level grunt to the leader of one of the most
sophisticated tactical strike teams in the entirety of the twelve
colonies. His team had seen more combat and had a higher success rate
than any other since the armistice. It was why instead of spending his
R&R like every sane person, at a bar, he was out on a training run
with the rest of his squad.
You hold onto that one thing…
Course the thing about being a soldier is that if you weren't careful
you became damaged goods, you slipped passed that line where enemy and
friendly were distinguishable. You became a razor, where everyone was
expendable, even yourself. You then got a nice accident so that the
civvies didn`t find out and burst a vessel. Lee had been on that road
a long time ago. Five years in, his special ops instructor pulled him
out for a night at the bar and explained that there was one thing he
was missing. That in the world of black ops, there was always one
thing that kept the line in front of you. Lee hadn't understood it at
the time, but a few weeks later, one of the few times he actually went
someplace for his time off, he had made a couple of days worth of
memories. Those he kept for himself and no one else. Some people kept
pictures in their hats, some got tattoos. Lee had two days of
happiness. For Lee that was all he would ever need.
Lee you are such a frakking asshole
His brother Zak didn't understand that. He was an engineer on the
Battlestar Solara, pretty good at it, or at least he'd heard. It had
been a few years since he had talked to his brother about anything
other than reconciling with his parents. Which was a subject he
definitely did not want to discuss. Zak didn't understand that. Course
Zak wasn't Lee, hadn't seen or done half the things that Lee had,
which Lee knew was a blessing. So when he refused to go to the
decommissioning ceremony of the Galactica and the official start of
his Father's retirement, Zak just kept needling until Lee had said
something to the affect `of get your head out of your ass and figure
out that I don't want anything to do with the old fart`. To which Zak
stated that he was a frakking asshole and hung up.
You hold onto that one thing…
The local birds made the last chirps of the day in the tall pines as
the evening drew near. Caprican Mountain sunsets had to be the best of
all the places he'd been. Course this was the Cerebus run for his
squad. Wasn't that bad considering some of the jams they had gotten
themselves into in the past. A Cerebus run consisted of getting a
mission standard of ammo, food, and gear; then being taken blindfolded
by raptor to the middle of nowhere, dumped out, and basically told to
walk home. Usually hard to do when you're tied up, with only the bare
essentials, limited ammo, and four other teammates to depend on. Three
years with this crew, and this, their fifth Cerebus run, made it all
seem like luxuries.
" ...you don't know the half of it. So I'm at a bar outside the base
He had managed to get a buck with one bullet and dragged it back to
camp for skinning and cooking. Usually they didn't allow themselves a
fire, but they weren't in enemy territory, and venison tasted like
crap raw. So there they sat, or most of them sat, Calisto, their
medic, was on guard duty.
" …She's got me, just pinned me with some major `come frak me' eyes so
I walk over…"
She wasn't much for the nightly conversations, too quiet and serious
for that, he thinks she might have been a trauma surgeon before
joining the service. She hadn't even flinched when a nugget
accidentally shot himself in the leg, just set down to stop the
bleeding, giving orders like a general. Was hard to get her to talk,
and usually he would worry about the stoic types; they tended to crack
a little too easily when in the thick of things, but even she was not
immune to Dion's charms.
"…and we're going at it like no ones business when suddenly to door
Dion was a charming bastard that could make anyone laugh. The man had
even sent Calisto into a giggle fit. And on occasion, much to
everyone's amazement, managed to make Lee outright laugh and appear
human. It was probably what let the team know he cared, didn't happen
often but every once in awhile he would crack a smile, give a chuckle,
and it never ceased to shock them when he did. Course sometimes
laughing wasn't a great thing, especially when it came to Nestor.
"…I looked general Kincad right in the eye and said, 'She's a higher
rank sir, I was just following orders!'"
Nestor was a good kid, no doubt, bright, a touch on the mousy side,
but he was a genius comms officer. He could pick any lock, and make
any hunk of junk work, but the man had the most irritating laugh in
the whole of the twelve colonies. Usually Lee just ignored it, but it
was especially hard when Dion got the little man going. And Lee was
cleaning his gun, so it was a struggle.
"…there is no way that Mad dog Kincad let you go with just warning. He
guts recruits for fun."
Everyone there was a hardass, had to be when you had to do the
counterterrorism work they did. Breaks people left and right, that
sort of job, so the ones left were some of the best soldiers you ever
met. But being the squad leader meant he couldn't quite be human,
especially when an order he had given might cost them their lives. But
they knew that he wouldn't give an order that he himself wasn't
willing to follow.
"Must be my natural charm?"
"Or maybe he didn't want have to see you and burst out laughing a
Achilla, out of everyone in the squad, had been with him the longest.
Started in the Service together, and been each other's shadows ever
since. She probably saved his life more than he'd like to admit. They
just got on, never really knew why, maybe they both loved the military
life the same way, maybe the same kind of past, maybe the same kind of
pain, or maybe it was her laugh. Either way, after the first Triad
game, where they both had literally lost their shirts, they were friends.
"Ya know, Achey, I would start asking you out, it's just I'm afraid if
I tried to kiss you you'd scratch my face off like every other
boyfriend you`ve had."
"Scratching wouldn't make you look worse."
He trusted all of them with his life, same the other way around, but
their weren't so many ears to lend when you just called them a dumb
fuck with a brain of a Caprican mule for leaving the flank open. But
Achilla, with her red hair and Saggitaron temper, didn't care that he
only saw his brother once or twice a year, didn't care that he hadn't
talked to his mother in ten years or his father in five. With the two
of them they managed to keep this combination of insane people in
line. So much so they seemed to be the mother and father of a tight
knit, fucked up family.
"I'll have you know several stately women have noted my exquisite
physique and handsome face, thank you very much."
"Yeah, your mother and all her sixty year old friends."
This was always what made him laugh, Dion was funny, Achilla was
witty, but together they were hilarious. Sitting there, sunset in the
distance, orange clouds glinting off of Calisto's dirty blonde hair,
Dions campside cooking filling the air, Achilla's eye roll at his
dramatic proposals and Nestor's high pitched squeak of a laugh, would
have made him feel like he had found a home. He hadn't had one of
those since he was ten.
"Considering your last boyfriend was sixty two, Achilla, I wouldn't
throw too many stones there."
Red hair swished furiously when her head snapped to him. Dion pounced
on the opportunity.
Lee had seen the look on Achilla's face turn nuggets into puddles, But
he merely quirked an eyebrow while he finished cleaning his rifle and
started the process of putting it back together. It was a look that
told you that you were lucky she didn't have a gun, of course her
rifle was propped up next to her, so he was dancing on the edge.
Knowing Dion, he would make a new nickname for Lee's second in command
in a few days, probably something like "hip braker" or " walker robber".
He would try and call Zak once the week was over, try and smooth it
over, cause no matter how much he would have like to just cut free and
leave his `family` behind, he had been taking care of his brother for
too long, and habits were hard to break. Resolved to this he slapped
the magazine into the rifle and set the safety. Looking up he caught a
flare up in the distance, something small and he couldn't quite make
out. Lee, never one to give up on details, stared intently.
Callisto's all business voice drew his attention from the puzzling
horizon. It was unspoken that if it was operation related, rank or
codname was used, otherwise everyone was on a first name basis. She
had positioned herself to the east, on a small rock peak at the side
of the outcropping, giving her a commanding view of the valley below,
just above the trees. Moderate cover from below, with maximum
visibility. Lee got up, Achilla's eyes following.
"Flare in the Northeast, can't tell what it is, might be an explosion,
but it`s too far for us to be seeing it and not hearing it."
Like the words commanded the elements, the wind picked up, coming in
from the base of the mountain, and from where he sat, moved the trees
like fields of grain. The rest of the team noticed the change of
atmosphere, and Lee himself could feel the pressure start to build.
Something was happening, and it felt being ominous. The sound to hit
them just as the newest flash cleared, rolling forward like a stampede.
Lee didn't hear Dion's near silent exhale against the rumble of
nuclear thunder as he stood fixed for a moment staring at the mushroom
Lee you are such a frakking asshole
Those were the last words Zak ever said to him.
You hold onto that one thing…
Lee had no fucking idea what to do.
The team hadn't stopped for ten hours now, not to rest, eat or shit.
The only relief they had were the moments they thought they heard
something, had to stop and drop. Something that was in fact much more
stressful; your heart instantly in your throat and your balls into
your stomach. This reaction was something he hadn't experienced since
his first missions into the Aeralon Jungle, looking for transport raiders.
It wasn't a comfortable feeling.
They had yet to see who in Hades name had hit them, but their presence
in explosions and random gunfire was carried in the wind. That was
what bothered Lee the most: he had no clue who was attacking.
Saggitaron separatists didn't have the nukes - the Colonial security
bureau had spent millions making sure that didn't happen – so maybe
another colony. But Intelligence said that none of the others had the
attitude for it. Even if they did, the number of `blooms' on the
horizon indicated surprise on a massive scale. He doubted another
colony could have hit so many targets all at once.
That left only one other possibility, and it would take a bottle of
ambrosia before he started to think about that.
The nukes had stopped going off an hour ago, making it the longest day
of his life. Never mind the soul crushing fact that civilization as he
knew it was ending, but the uncertainty of not knowing if the next
nuke would be close enough to vaporize them was enough tension to set
everyone on edge. But after the dull roar had died down, the sounds of
explosions and gunfire had carried up from the east.
Which was why they were heading north. Whoever the enemy was, they
were well armed and well informed. The colonial security base where
the Cerebus run was supposed to end was emitting a slow beep over the
radio waves indicating that the base had been compromised. Which meant
that the enemy knew the location of the base. Knowledge that as far as
Lee knew, was held by only ten people outside each squad. If it was
compromised, the enemy had the ability to cripple the whole of the
worlds. Essentially, the twelve colonies were frakked. And he wasn't
in the business of putting his team in a frakked situation just to die.
Re-supply at the forest ranger station, establish forward base, assess
the situation; that was the best plan Lee could come up with, and
right now it was the only thing making his shell shocked team move.
The numb looks on their faces were enough to shake Lee to the core.
They had been to every colony, every climate. Seen atrocities and
injustices that civvies couldn't even imagine -- but this was
something that even they couldn't walk away from with composure.
They had made good time getting through the North Caprican forest
reserve just above Delphi and between the Northern and western
mountain range. The thick trees and underbrush made stealth near
impossible, but it also made it easy to spot any incoming foot
traffic, as testified by the sound of crashing underbrush and human
voices drifting in the wind. With efficiency that was telling of years
in extreme training, the five soldiers melted into the foliage,
training their rifles on the incoming sounds.
They watched as the newcomers approached. As far as Lee could see,
thirty two men women and children were making their way down the
valley. There was some kind of rough formation in their grouping, with
twenty people moving in a V, eight people enclosed, and two bringing
up the rear. From the inside grouping he could see two families, a man
and two little girls, and beside him a man and women with three kids,
two boys and girl who looked like a toddler, young enough that she was
being carried piggy back by the man. The people holding the V
formation were all fairly athletic and moved with some kind of sync,
each carrying some kind of small arms, all leisure weaponry.
Lee knew he had to make a choice immediately: let them pass without
letting them know the squad was there, or make themselves known. The
newcomers were probably going to be picked off when they reached
Delphi. But if his team took them to the outpost, it would slow them
down and probably leave a trail big enough for anyone to find.
A part of him wanted to take what he could and quickly neutralize them
just to make sure the enemy wouldn't be able to get a bead on their
location or pick up their trail; this kind of scenario had been one of
the earliest contingencies he'd trained for. But as the point of no
return closed Lee couldn't help eye the children and wonder if he had
it in him. The little girl laying her head on her fathers back as he
carried her, sucking her thumb, had blond hair and a cherub face.
Warm light shining through golden strands.
In that moment Lee knew he had only one option. Glancing to his right
he caught Achilla's look from three meters away. Giving a nod, she
signaled to the others to lower their weapons but keep at the ready.
The squad had been moving nine feet apart in a circle, a standard
formation to avoid being vulnerable to mortar fire. As fate would have
it the group of civvies was moving right down the middle. It meant a
high risk of discovery, but if luck was on their side it would give
Lee's team the advantage in case anything went badly.
"...we'll be able find any food in Delphi if it's nuked to shit."
The newcomers lack of stealth made their lack of professionalism
evident; Lee's team hadn't even spoken since they had broken camp.
Whoever this group was, they weren't military.
"You saw same as I did," one of the men was saying. "None of the
nukes hit Delphi. If we can find some supplies and a place to bunk
down, then we can figure out our next move."
Later Lee would kick himself for having the same plan, but for that
moment he was focused on their movement, one of the hind points of
their sloppy formation was almost on top of Dion's position. Luckily
his drop had put him being a tree with a low bush snug against it,
letting the oblivious flank guard pass by without noticing.
The same speaker added "Let's just hope none of those tin cans find us
before we get there."
Right about the time the meat of the group reached the center of the
circle, Lee let out a melodic whistle causing them to immediately
panic and close the V into a circle, enclosing the two families inside.
"WHO'S THERE! Come out where I can see you."
Getting them to stop done, Lee slid up with his back to the tree he
had positioned himself behind, and nearly rolled his eyes. "All
right, I'm coming out."
Lee was used to volatile situations and came out slowly and relaxed,
his rifle hung off the strap across his front, barrel to the ground,
but his right hand never left the grip. His trigger finger was
straight along the stalk, but very obviously a moment away from
squeezing off a few rounds. He hoped he wasn't going to get a bullet
in his ass for his trouble cause of a jittery civvie.
The man on point seemed to be the leader if there was one. He was
about 6'1", dark brown hair, probably outweighing Lee by fifty pounds,
wearing an athletic shirt with a vest and fatigue pants. He had
noticed that the other twenty two people acting as a guard of some
sort were similarly dressed.
They all seemed to relax a bit when they saw him, obviously the sight
of a man in military attire was somewhat comforting. Lee's
appreciation was notched up a bit when he saw that the man had lowered
his gun, but still looked wary.
Lee didn't show that he had noticed and leisurely walked forward
extending his right hand, which seemed to ease their minds even more.
"Major Lee Adama, Interplanetary Colonial Security."
The man grasped his hand firmly. "Sam Anders, Captain of the C-Bucks."
The light clicked in Lee's memory: the Caprican Buccaneers, a
professional pyramid team. It explained a lot about how they worked.
In his periphery he could see the dark splotch that was Callisto,
guarding his own flank.
Lee wasted no time. "Mind telling me how you guys got out here?"
He could tell Anders wasn't used to his tone, but the military
fatigues went a long way in demanding obedience. "My team were up in
the mountains for high altitude training when the bombs went off, we
started heading to Delphi to see if we could figure out what the hell
was happening, came across a small town that was being attacked and
managed to get some guns and a few people out. Figured we'd find
supplies in Delphi, maybe somewhere to bunk down and decide what to do
Lee had to contain his frustration; it was probably the vaguest report
of events with little to no pertinent info. He was gritting his teeth
asking a civilian this question, but his team needed the info. "Any
eyes on who was attacking the town?"
The balding man huddling the two girls, most likely his daughters,
decided to speak up. "They were Cylons! They killed everyone,
everyone I knew. My friends..."
"Is that true?" Lee demanded quickly. He could tell he wasn't making
many friends by the reaction to the clear dismissal. As far as he was
concerned there wasn't time to sift through everyone's story. The look
Anders gave him clearly showed disdain but he answered just the same.
"Yeah, it's true," Anders confirmed. "We saw silver robots sweeping
through town; pretty sure they were Cylons. We're lucky to be alive.
You mind telling me what exactly you're doing here all by yourself,
He didn't respond for a beat, wanting that bottle of ambrosia.
Figuring that the pretense was over and it was finally time to be
merciful he let them off the hook. "Who says I'm alone?"
The whistle he let out pierced the air, and the rest of his squad came
out into view. The group in front of him was startled and off balance
but fortunately none of them raised their weapons. The look Anders
gave Lee was an interesting mix of frustration, betrayal and relief at
the fact there was more than one soldier around. Lee's face, which had
been impassive and blank during the whole exchange, sagged a bit and
became weary. The decision he just came to sucking the energy out of him.
"How about we rest here for a bit and see if my medic can help any of
you out some."
For a moment the refugees just looked at the major in amazement, which
caused Lee to inwardly smile. A little part of him took some kind of
enjoyment from upsetting people's expectations. He could tell Anders
was thinking it over, deciding which way to go, but in the end agreed
he with a nod.
Lee immediately turned to his Squad. "Alright we rest here for
thirty. Callisto, check them out, patch `em up, make them mobile.
Achilla, breakout some of our reserve MRE's and pass them out. Dion,
Nestor, set up a perimeter, let me know if anything twitches."
And just like that his team went their separate ways. Turning back to
Anders, who was looking at him with a hint of astonishment, Lee tilted
his head, indicating that Anders follow him toward a cluster of trees
out of earshot of the now sitting civvies. Once there he spoke in a
clear voice, losing the obtuse tone that had pervaded it earlier.
"My squad and I were up in the mountains for what we call "hell week."
Basically a training run to test our survival skills. When the nukes
went off we lost contact with our superiors. We were able to get the
indicator beacon on the radio telling us our base of operations was
compromised. We're heading west to a Forrest Ranger outpost that Dion
Anders was looking at him with his arms crossed in front of him.
Clearly more receptive to the tone he was getting but not liking what
he was hearing. "Wait, why are you heading there? Why don't you just
go find another base, find what's left of the military, the
government? Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"
Lee ignored the indignant and accusatory tone, and instead tried to
press the situation. Normally he would be the most tight lipped person
on the planet about what went on in his squad. But things were far
from normal, and he had to make sure Anders was being realistic about
"Listen: technically me and my team don't exist. There are only one
hundred people who have high enough clearance to know anything about
the operations we are involved in. Only ten outside of my squad know
where our base of operations is located. One of those people is the
President of the Colonies. Now if it's the Cylons who attacked us,
then they have access into the highest level of the Colonies government."
He could see the C-buck was starting to understand and made sure to
hit home as hard as he could. "If they were able to destroy our base,
that means they can hit every military base anywhere in the Twelve
Colonies. And by the light show I saw a few hours ago, it looks like
Anders slumped in defeat, the realization that if there was a war
going on, they had already lost. Lee went with him, allowing himself
to finally accept the same fact that had weighed down the athlete's
shoulders. "I'd suggest you come with us, be safer than anywhere else."
The athlete's eyes had drifted down to the moss covered ground. The
light from the morning sun shined down, sparkling the dew that had
collected between the green fronds. "What's your plan?"
"The outpost is going to be stocked with a few weeks worth of food and
ammunition. From there we set up a forward base and see what we can
find out about who the hell nuked our planet."
Anders' eyes drifted back to Lee's face. "You don't believe it was
Lee leaned against the tree behind him, allowing himself a small
amount of rest. "A bunch of walking toasters shouldn't be able to
infiltrate Interplanetary Colonial Security. It just doesn't make
The C-buck seemed to pull what was left of his will off the floor and
moved to settle two feet from the reclining major. "Well, Major,
unless you know of someone else who uses silver robots as foot
soldiers, I'm thinking its Cylons."
Without explanation Anders untangled his crossed arms and extended his
open hand. Lee gave him a quizzical look.
"Swear to me you won't just bail on us. Swear you'll protect them."
He bristled under the demand, but managed to show nothing. "What
makes you think I'll keep my word."
A moment passed, and everything that Lee's father had taught him about
being a man flittered through his head. As much as he disliked his
father, he couldn't help but shake the tall athlete's hand. He
wouldn't go back on his word. Anders nodded and walked passed him to
the huddled group to explain the change in plans.
Lee was left with a moment to himself and looked up. The wind rustled
through the trees, causing the light shining on his face to flicker.
The pulse of the sun warming his face against the cool morning air.
Closing his eyes, he settled in himself, remembering a time when the
sun had felt just as warm.
Waking up, the warm sun screened through golden bangs, shining off the
bob top cropped hair. The sleep smile the lips made. The tiny hairs on
the collarbone lighting up under the light. The warmth of the skin
against his chest.
Opening his eyes, and looking at the rest of the group, Lee moved
forward. There was still a lot of ground left to cover.