Beta: Birgitt, Wadjet
Rating: R because of some swear words.
Category: femslash in upcoming parts, for now HET
Pairing/Focus: Caprica-Boomer/Helo, Sharon Valerii/Chief Tyrol
Warnings:Warning: This story contains a scene of attempted rape. I think it is an important scene for the character development of a certain character.
Summary: This is a rewrite – or should I say a retelling – of the episode "Bastille Day" (1x03) from a femslasher’s point of view
Spoilers/Disclaimers: Battlestar Galactica is the property of Glen A. Larson, Ron Moore, David Eick Sci-Fi Channel, R & D TV, Sky and NBC Universal.
Author’s Note: #Spoilerwarning!# This is a rewrite – or should I say a retelling? – of the episode “Bastille Day” (1x03). It is part of what will become a BSG story covering a long stretch of time. Caprica-Boomer is the leading character and I think it is important for her further development to show how she felt for Lieutenant Agathon (Helo) and how she got pregnant by him. Her love for him was in fact the reason why she turned against the Cylons (or didn’t she…?) and so I start my series by following the canon of the TV-show.
This also goes for Sharon Valerii and her relationship with Chief Tyrol, I think.
So in the first few parts I will take a closer look at these relationships.
The main part of the story will see another woman as Caprica-Boomer’s love interest, of course. It will be... hehehehe. If you want to know you have to read my story...
“Reveille, reveille, morning stations aboard Battlestar Galactica, all hands report to your stations,” Lieutenant Gaeta’s voice blared from the speaker.
Colonel Saul Tigh, second in command of Battlestar Galactica, abruptly opened his eyes. Immediately they watered, pain hammered in his head. He pressed the balls of his hands to his temples and breathed deeply through his nose. He had one hell of a hell of a hangover and to get over it he needed a drink. Tigh swung his legs out of the bunk and stumbled to his locker. He took the bottle out and… Hell, he thought. He couldn’t even remember that he had drunk that much last night. But the remains in the bottle told him to be careful - otherwise he would be running out of his stuff sooner than he had expected.
The first sip made him feel much better. The second got him over his hangover and the third made him ready for another frakking day.
* * * * * *
Thirty minutes later Colonel Tigh marched into the Briefing Room. He felt great, he was the boss, let’s get it on. “So, what do we have?”
Chief Tyrol saluted his superior and kept up a professional fascade. He could smell how the Colonel had started his day as he stepped next to the Chief. “Good news, Colonel. We scouted the ice moon, found an entire subsurface ocean. I’ve got reports and video for you, Sir.”
“Mmm, not exactly Caprica beach down there, huh, Chief?” Tigh bent down to the table and watched the video. It was a little bit shaky and it made him dizzy. Especially as he got upright.
“No, Sir. We’ve registered temperatures 180˚C and below...”
“Hmmm...” Tigh steadied himself.
Cally couldn’t belive it. She had heard about Tigh’s… morning ritual. But this was the first time she witnessed it herself. She glanced at Tyrol and admired him for his composure.
“Venting of methane and CO2. It's gonna be a bitch to work down there, Sir,” Tyrol went on.
“Cheer up, you know how lucky we are that we found this ugly rock? Water riots breakin’ out all over the fleet. Civilians. Whiny, civi’ crybabies, can't stand less than a hot shower every day,” Tigh drawled.
“Yes, Sir.” Well, Tyrol thought, nowadays they had to work with everything they got.
“Even Galactica’s down to 10,000 jps of water. Ever see a man die of dehydration, Chief?” Tigh continued. He had to teach this young bunch a lesson from his experience.
“No, Sir.” What else could he say? The Chief knew death caused by dehydration was quite unknown to the Twelve Colonies. At least that had been the case before the attack.
“Well, let’s hope you never do, it isn’t pretty. So... where were we?”
“We drilled 23 core samples...” Cally stepped in and handed her report to the Colonel. She could smell that he must have hidden some good old stuff somewhere.
Tigh scanned the papers and exploded. “13% sodium chloride? What the hell? We can’t drink salt water!”
“No, Sir. That's why I had Cally test the ice,” the Chief explained. The same stood on page two. He knew this because he had signed Cally’s report.
Tigh looked back at the report. “Oh, ho, well, there you go, pure water. A couple of lemons, we could make lemonade. Oh-hoo-hoo-hoo.”
Cally struggled not to crack up.
The Chief heard Cally laugh quietly and glared at her. Even if the Colonel was not up to snuff, he was the XO. “Uh, yes, Sir,” Tyrol answered. The last thing he wanted to handle was the Colonel coming down on one of his crew. “We will have to melt the ice before we transport it up to the ship.”
“What's that gonna take?” Tigh asked.
Till now Socinus had watched the whole scene without saying a word. “High capacity heater expansion tanks, D-25 plasma torches, myrex hoses, centrifugal pumps...” It would be fun to gossip about the Colonel’s behaviour later, he thought.
“Sounds like a lot of manpower.” Tigh stepped closer to Tyrol, it was time to be serious again. But his little joke had broken the ice he thought.
“Ideally, a thousand men, Sir.” The Chief had it already calculated.
“A thousand men. And where are they gonna come from?”
* * * * * *
Adama left his quarters. The discussion with the President and her assistant Billy Keikeya was over. Adama couldn’t believe what had happened during the talk. ‘Slave labor’? Had the President forgotten about their situation? This wasn’t some kind of philosophical debating club on Caprica where you could sit around and talk while sipping a cup of… of hot chocolate or something. This was reality and the prisoners had done nothing but consume food, water and energy. Now it was time for them to pay back.
And Lee? He glanced at his son who had followed him and now was walking in silence beside him. He had spent too much time in Roslin’s presence, Adama thought. A point system for the criminals to earn their freedom! Maybe that was a good idea to get some votes but… Adama sighed silently. He was a commander, he had his orders and Roslin was the President who gave the orders.
“Something on your mind, Captain?” Adama’s voice was more dismissive than he'd had in mind as he started talking to his son but it annoyed the hell out of him that his son had taken the President’s side.
“I just thought maybe you had something you wanted to say.” Lee was a little baffled by his father’s harsh tone.
“I have nothing to say to the personal representative of the President.”
“I'm still Galactica's lead pilot.” Definitely not good, Lee thought.
“Well, I have nothing to say to him either. Every man has to decide for themselves which side they're on.”
What the hell did this mean, Lee asked himself. “I didn't know we were pickin' sides.”
“That's why you haven't picked one yet.” Adama hurried up a little and left his son behind. He had work to do at the CIC
Lee stared a moment after him. It had to be the stress, he thought. Right after the attack he’d had the impression that they had become closer, but now… Or was it because he had accepted Roslin’s offer to be her military advisor? Every President needed such an advisor, especially in times like these. Lee turned to the hangar deck. He had to assemble his team for the flight to the prisoner ship, the Astral Queen.
If he had known what would happen, maybe he would’ve agreed with his father.
“Hello?! Anybody out there?!” Helo shouted. He didn’t know this city; he had never been in this part of Caprica before.
He looked at the woman at his side. Lieutenant Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii was his friend, his pilot and his superior who had disobeyed orders to come back and rescue him. Unfortunately their ride from this planet had been cancelled by the Cylons as they had found Sharon’s Raptor.
“Anybody wanna help two stranded pilots?” Helo yelled again as he hobbled along the main street. His leg - wounded when he'd been captured by two Centurions and rescued by Boomer - was still hurting. There was no answer. There wasn't any kind of the noise one would expect in a city like this. No voices, of course, because the inhabitants were all dead or would be in hiding. No traffic as well. Helo looked around again. No breeze, no birds chirping. Nothing. It was absolutely silent except from the echo of his voice. This was a dead city. “That’s what I hate about big cities: no one will help you.”
Boomer walked alongside the Human. “No more shouting, you’re making me nervous,” she said. There was something… she could barely hear it but it was there. Her body was far superior to any Human body. She doubted that Helo could hear this as well. It sounded like… whispers. Boomer knew this was impossible. There was no one left who could whisper. It had to be the wind but it did sound like the whispers of people… like the whispers of ghosts. Here in this city she realized for the first time how successful their attack on the Humans had been.
“Feel like I’m in a movie.” Helo listened to the echo of his own voice again. He wanted to fill the silence with something.
“At least it stopped raining.” If they kept talking she couldn’t hear the whispers anymore. It wasn’t professional to let herself get distracted by the wind.
“Where is everyone?” The last time she had been on a Human’s planet was before the attack. It had been full of life. She had been sitting in a café, eating ice cream. Cherry-yoghourt was her favourite and she had watched the Humans walking along, speaking, laughing, and playing. But the emptiness she saw here felt… wrong.
“Somewhere dead... in their beds, at their desks... the ones who weren’t killed outright probably ran into the hills. Won’t do any good. I guess I’m getting a little...” Helo sighed. He didn’t want to think about families, mothers and fathers holding their children cuddled together on a bed or in a corner of a room while dying of radiation…
“Depressing? Morbid?” Boomer chimed in while they walked along the empty streets.
“Sorry. Been here longer than you. Wish I could say it gets easier.” In fact she had been longer on this planet than he but he didn’t know. The city on Caprica she had been before she had been assigned to for this mission was now filled with other human-looking Cylons, with Centurions and Fighters flying around. There had been life but this here was… depressing.
Suddenly something clattered. Helo and Boomer looked around, alarmed. Helo feared there could be some Centurions and Boomer was startled. She had been distracted too much. She quickly stepped into an arcade and caught sight of a rat. Then she saw more rats running to a… “There’s more.”
“Boomer, you might not wanna...” Helo knew what he had to expect. It wasn’t the first time he'd seen rats. There was a human corpse and the little beasts had their lunch with it. He pulled out his weapon and shot at the rats. Helo knew it wouldn’t help for long but at least he had done something. “Frakkin’ rats... let's go.”
Boomer felt her stomach heaving. She had never before seen anything like this. One of the rats looked from the body’s open abdominal cavity right in her eyes. The smell was… She turned away and pressed her hand to her mouth. She was sure she had to vomit right here.
“Hey... hey, come on.” Helo took her in his arms and dragged her away. “Let’s just find a hospital, score some anti-radiation meds. Okay? We’ve only got two days’ worth left. Sharon? We’ve made it this far, we’re gonna make it all the way.”
“Right,” she said. The whole incident wasn’t faked. This was real and as Helo looked in her eyes she sought comfort from them. Just for a second.
“Damn straight, all the way. We're doin' good, real good.” Helo laid his hand on her cheek and he saw how her eyes cleared. “Okay, someone must be watching out for us.”
Boomer nodded. Yes, someone was indeed watching out for them and she had a mission to fulfil.
Helo led her away with his arm around her shoulder.
Right above Helo’s and Boomer’s heads two Humans stood on a roof and watched them. At least the man and the stunning blonde seemed to be Humans. But just a few minutes ago they had ordered a Centurion to throw down the dead Human exactly where Boomer and Lieutenant Agathon had found it. It was a situation created without Boomer's knowledge and so they had gotten a real reaction from Number 8. This incident would strengthen the bond between Boomer and the Human.
The man who called himself Doral watched the Human and Boomer leaving the arcade. “She’s good.”
“So far.” The blonde was known as Number 6.
Doral thought there was something in his companion’s voice. “Jealous?
Number 6 looked away. She, jealous of a Number 8 model? Ridiculous! She was superior to this Boomer model. She let her gaze roam over the dead city. “This all makes me so sad.”
“They would have destroyed themselves, anyway. They deserve what they got.” Doral could still hear a trembling in Number 6's voice but he decided to ignore it. This wasn’t the time nor the place to speak about… feelings. They had a mission to supervise.
“We're the children of humanity; that makes them our parents, in a sense.”
“True. But parents have to die. It's the only way children come into their own,” Doral answered as they walked along the roof.
Great! Just great, Cally thought. She sat in a cell and watched Dee and the President's advisor Billy Keikeya in the cells right beside hers. Thirty minutes ago the prisoners had broken out and overpowered the guards. In a couple of minutes they had taken over most of the ship and had stormed the control room. Before anyone had been able to react a gun had been pointed to everyone’s head who wasn’t a member of Tom Zarek’s bunch of terrorists and murders.
She didn’t know what had happened to Captain Adama but she, Dualla and Billy had been dragged out of the control room and thrown in separate cells. Cally had already checked the lock but without the right tools she couldn’t open it. After all, this was a cell, not a closet.
“Stay frosty there, Billy. Everything’s gonna be all right,” Dualla said as she watched him rattling the bars of his cell.
“I don’t know about that,” he answered, frustrated.
“They don’t wanna hurt us. That won’t get them what they want.” Cally tried to stay calm. At least she and Dualla had a military training but Billy was a civilian. In the end it was always a civilian who did something stupid. All they had to do was surviving till the Marines would deal with Zarek and his men.
“Which is what?” Billy asked. At the University he had never attended a course ‘How to be a hostage’.
“Tell me,” Dualla shot back. “You called him a ‘freedom fighter’, a ‘prisoner of conscience’.” She hoped that Billy would reconsider his naivety about the ‘great’ Tom Zarek. The ‘freedom fighter’, the ‘man who stood up for his beliefs’, the man who had blown up a government building on Sagittarius, the man who had killed innocent people for his beliefs, the man who had made the word ‘Sagittarian’ a curse in the Twelve Colonies.
Billy looked at Dualla but didn’t say a word. He knew it was his fault that Dee was in this mess. He had wanted her to be a member of the team because he wanted to be near her
In the pilots' Briefing Room Lieutenant Kara Thrace, callsign ‘Starbuck’, let Boxey lighten her cigar. Since Sharon had rescued him from Caprica she played the role of the big sister for the boy while Sharon was ‘mom’. In the beginning it had been hard for him but now he was over it. In a couple of days he would be transferred to another ship more suited for children but for the time being Boxey was her personal assistant, thus giving Sharon some quality time with the Chief.
Starbuck faced the pilots sitting on the chairs, awaiting the acting CAG’s wisdom. She peered at them through her sunglasses looking like a frakking movie star. It felt good to be the boss in Apollo’s absence, she thought. “Now, one of you has been coming in a little hot lately, a little too hot. A little, um, oh, I don't know, ‘he’s burning up the deck with his skids because he just can’t pull back on the throttle’ hot,” Starbuck declared with audible irony in her voice. She turned to Boxey. “Now, who is this speed demon, my prince?”
“Flattop, Sir,” Boxey said honestly.
“Flattop!” Starbuck cheered him sarcastically. “You got a need for speed, do ya? Just can’t wait to get back to the big ‘G’ in the lovin’ embrace of your fellow pilots? Or maybe you have a hot date with your right hand.”
Flattop grinned at his laughing comrades. He knew he came in too hot much too often. But Starbuck’s way of rebuking him wasn’t that bad. “Hey, it never gets a headache.”
Starbuck took off the sunglasses and looked at Flattop seriously. “Tell you what, Flattop: you come in too hot today, you may have to start using your left.” She continued looking at him for some moments making sure the message came across - this was business, not fun.
Flattop returned the gaze. He knew this was Starbuck’s way of letting him know: be careful.
“All right, you’ve been fun,” Starbuck finally continued. “You’ve been a great audience. Dismissed.”
The pilots left the ready room and Colonel Tigh stalked towards Starbuck. He had been in the back of the room and had heard the Lieutenant’s words. He couldn’t believe that an acting CAG would speak in such a casual manner about something this serious. In their current situation they had to watch out for every single ship. They couldn’t afford to lose a single screw and here was a pilot whose ship had to be repaired after every single landing!
“There’s no smoking in the Ready Room.”
Starbuck looked at the man. Once again he wanted to play big boss. ”My room, my rules, Sir.”
Tigh realised that he couldn’t bully Starbuck. “Where’s your mommy?” he turned to Boxey.
“Dead, where’s yours?”
“I’m lookin’ for Boomer.” The Colonel tried to stay calm.
“It’s 14:00, Boomer’s in the tool room,” Boxey answered and left the Briefing Room. He would never get along with the Colonel but that he had accepted Sharon standing in for his mom had struck him as surprising. He had never thought of Boomer as his new mom, but… No. Sharon was a friend and his mom was dead.
Starbuck and Tigh watched the boy leaving. “A pilot blows his landings and you make a joke out of it?!” The Colonel hissed at Kara when they were alone. He had to make clear that her way of holding a briefing was inappropriate.
“Screaming at people doesn’t always get the best results, Sir. I learned that at officer candidate school.” Starbuck stepped in front of the Colonel. She wasn’t intimidated by this old boozer.
“You are right on the edge, Thrace. Careful you don’t fall off,” Tigh threatened.
“Speaking of falling off... glad to see you found a way to quench your thirst.” Starbuck left the room. As he had referred to Sharon as Boxey’s mommy she had thought this old bastard had a heart… but just for a second.
Tigh breathed heavily. At last he knew where to find Valerii and the Chief. That was another problem he had to take care of. And Starbuck? He had to deal with her at another time. For now there wasn’t a chance to replace her.
* * * * * *
Commander Adama wasn’t sure he’d understood Doctor Baltar correctly. “A warhead?” he asked. A nuclear warhead in the hands of ‘this’ man, Adama thought. He didn’t like him. Baltar was… Adama couldn’t put a finger on it but the way he acted was… odd. More often than not. But unfortunately Baltar was one of the best scientists in the Twelve Colonies. Adama had to work with him.
A few minutes ago he had ordered Baltar to his quarters to speak with him about the Cylon detector. Baltar had promised a device to distinguish Humans from the Toasters weeks ago but till now he hadn’t provided anything. And now Adama wanted to put a little pressure on the doctor. Adama stared at Baltar with cold eyes.
Baltar flinched under the Commander’s gaze. He felt like his guts were torn apart. He couldn’t… He swallowed heavily. He couldn’t… What should he…?
#Technically, I need the plutonium inside.# Number 6 whispered in his head. It was some kind of consciousness he had in his mind since he had survived the first attack of the Cylons on Caprica. Now he knew it had been his Cylon lover who had stolen the defence plans for the Twelve Colonies. It had been his Cylon lover who had uploaded a virus to destroy the computer systems of the Colonial Fleet. It was his fault that the Cylons had been able to come over the Twelve Colonies like a thunder storm. Fortunately this still remained a secret. He still had his life, he was an important man and he had his Cylon lover appeared to him in his head. Life could have been good were it not for this permanent pressure. But only important people got privileges and so he had to continue to be important, even if that meant to construct a Cylon detector.
“Technically, I need the plutonium inside,” Baltar repeated what his Cylon advisor and lover had told him.
#Figure out the rest for yourself.#
Baltar blinked. That was the problem with her. Sometimes she put him into a certain position and then let him down. “As you may know, the Cylons are susceptible to certain kinds of radiation.” Something made ‘click’ in his head. After all he was a genius and could figure out certain things for himself. “And by taking the plutonium and... embedding it in the carbon nanotube matrix...” Without asking he sat down. The ideas whirling in his head were forming a picture. “…and it really is that simple... I can construct a filter that will preferentially ionize synthetic molecules and, thus, deliver to you your Cylons.” Yep, he thought, he was a genius. He saw Adama’s baffled look.
“We have five warheads left aboard this ship.” Adama had seen how Baltar turned from an uncertain, babbling puppet into something he readily would describe as a ‘man’. Baltar behaved oddly most of the time but maybe, he thought, he was in fact a genius. But he couldn’t hand over a nuclear warhead to this… geek. “We may need them.” Adama stood up and brought some distance between them. He felt uneasy with Baltar so close.
“Well, yes, of course. If you, uh, if you really think that this project has a low priority, then, you know, you’re totally within your bounds to...” Baltar stood up as well and tried to talk the Commander into his plan. He didn't know why Number 6 had given him this information. But if he could build the detector life would be much easier for him and what Number 6 wanted with the warhead didn’t matter to him as long as the Cylons didn’t blow up the ship he was on.
Adama thought through Baltar’s suggestion. One warhead couldn’t destroy a Cylon basestar. But if they could screen the whole fleet for Cylons… “You’ll get your warhead.”
A warm feeling rushed through Baltar’s body. The praise of his lover made him feel so good… “Thank you... Commander,” he added quickly.
* * * * * *
Tool room, Colonel Tigh thought as he headed down the hallway. He had already checked two for Sharon and the Chief. Maybe in the next one…
* * * * * *
“Look, the Master-at-Arms has been over every inch of that locker. She’s come up with nothing,” Chief Tyrol said to Sharon. They had met at their usual place. Tyrol had spoken to Sergeant Hadrian just a few minutes ago.
Sharon had waited impatiently for her lover. She was frustrated. Their own little investigation for the Cylon agent aboard Galactica had been absolutely fruitless. “So they’ve got no idea who took those six G-4 charges or who put that detonator in...
“Hey, hey, hey... don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it, okay?” He caressed her cheeks, trying to calm her down. Since the water tank burst she was… different. He had registered the slow change, from an open-hearted happy girl to a quietly reserved woman.
As he kissed her and took her in his arms she felt relieved. It was hard to watch out for every word you said and be careful with every gesture because it could cause suspicion.
Suddenly the bulkhead opened and Colonel Tigh entered. He cleared his throat and looked at them. So, he thought, this was the right tool room. “I need to speak with the Lieutenant, alone.”
Tyrol stepped back and lowered his eyes. Now he knew how it felt to be caught with the hand in the cookie jar. He passed the Colonel and left the room without a word.
“You don’t honestly think you’ve been fooling everyone, do you?” Tigh accused Sharon as he walked to her.
Sharon’s heart cramped. He couldn’t know, she thought. No one knew about the dets and that she was involved. Only the Chief…
“I know, the old man knows, hell, the whole ship knows about you and the Chief. It stops, now.”
She felt how the lump in her stomach vanished. Tigh didn’t know about the bombs. “Sir, the Chief and I are just friends...”
“Back when the ship was being decommissioned, we let you two get away with it. Hell, we let everyone get away with murder. But that was then and this is now. We’re at war, this is a combat unit and you’re his superior officer. Put a stop to it, that’s an order.” Tigh knew he had gotten away with his drinking like Valerii and the Chief had with their relationship.
“Yes, Sir.” What else could she say?
“Attention, pass the word: Colonel Tigh, Colonel Tigh, please report to CIC,” Lieutenant Gaeta’s voice echoed through P.A.
What now, Tigh thought and left without another word. He had made himself clear to Lieutenant Valerii.
Sharon felt the icy grip on her heart again. Now it would be a lot more complicated to be with the Chief and to find out what happened to her.
* * * * * *
Tigh entered the CIC and heard a voice over the Com. Something about ‘no one will be harmed.’
“Are you recording this?” Adama had expected a report from his son as the Astral Queen had called in but this was… The Commander sighed. This was another crisis they… he had to deal with.
“Yes, Sir,” Gaeta responded.
“What’s this?” Tigh looked at his superior and friend.
“Trouble.” Adama wondered how many times he had used this word in the last months. He couldn’t remember.
* * * * * *
Commander Adama put the phone down. He had just finished talking to the President about the hostage situation on the Astral Queen. Maybe, he thought, this former teacher who wanted to be the President had some guts after all. No negotiations with the terrorists. Roslin had made clear that she wouldn’t give in; not one step. She had made clear that she expected him to take out the terrorists. And regarding Zarek and his sick speech… This murderer had been twenty years in prison and hadn’t had the time to read the Constitution. Even if he himself had his problems with the President, Roslin was indeed the legitimate President. She had been number 43 in succession but now she was the legitimate President.
Adama walked over to Colonel Tigh and Starbuck.
“Three assault teams, Alpha, Bravo, Constellation. We jam their DRADIS, the Raptors cut through the hull here, here and here, without being seen. Once we’re inside, Alpha takes…” Starbuck explained her plan to take back the Astral Queen.
“What’s this ‘we’ crap?” Tigh interrupted. Not only that this woman annoyed him every second of the day and he had to tolerate it but now she wanted to play a movie star like in ‘Space Marine’!
“I’m going, Sir.” Again she had to explain the obvious to this narrow-minded old…
“Like hell.” Tigh objected as a matter of principle.
“We have a few marines left on Galactica; let them handle it, Starbuck,” Adama intervened. He liked the enthusiasm of his top shot pilot but this wasn’t a job for a viper jock.
“They don’t have a sniper. And, with all due respect, Sir, I am the best shot in or out of the cockpit.”
“She’s right... for once.” Tigh couldn’t deny it; as XO he knew about Starbuck’s results in ground combat training. For the moment she was indeed the best they had.
Surprised Starbuck glanced at Colonel Tigh from the corner of her eyes.
“Wonders never cease.” Adama looked at his old friend. Tigh’s trust in Starbuck in this matter was unexpected. But Adama was glad that the success of the mission was his first priority. He turned to Starbuck and looked her straight in the eyes. “All right, you’re goin’ in. You get a clear shot at Zarek, you take it. And I want to control that ship immediately. And I want all the hostages alive.”
“Yes, Sir.” Starbuck liked clear orders.
“I don’t even know how I drew this detail.” Lying on a bunk in her cell Dualla had thought about this over the last hours.
Billy felt embarrassed. He had hoped that Dee wouldn’t ask. “President thought you’d be valuable,” he said lamely.
“The President doesn’t know who I am.” She looked at Billy. Dee knew about his crush for her.
“I told her. Sorry.”
“On the other hand, it’s nice to get out of the CIC Break up the day... meet new people.” For some reason she found it funny… and yelling at him wouldn’t help either.
“You’re not asleep.”
Billy and Dee turned to Cally’s cell as they heard the new voice. It was Mason, Zarek’s second in command and responsible for the cell wing of the ship.
Cally had registered how Mason had stared at her when she had been brought to her cell. She had hoped he would let her alone. “Not any more.” Cally tried to be tough. Maybe Mason would back off.
“Is that your way of telling us you’re not scared?” Mason asked.
“No, it’s my way of telling you I’m tired.”
“You don’t know what tired is.”
“Don’t! Don’t mock me, little girl!” He couldn’t stand it if someone was mocking him. He couldn’t stand it, it made him feel… small… and he wasn’t small. He was the second in command in Tom Zarek’s organisation. He was the boss on the prisoners’ deck. He couldn’t stand it if someone was mocking him.
“I’m not mocking you.”
“Tom and I, we go way back, long time. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll be nice to me.” This little girl had to understand how important a person he was.
There was an organised chaos in the Galactica hangar. The assault teams were checking their equipment for the last time and mounting the raptors.
Tigh walked with Starbuck towards Raptor 478. He gave her the last instructions. “Frequent wireless contact. Keep us informed all the way.” He felt nervous as he always did whenever he had to send men and women into battle. Hopefully they all would come back.
“Yes, Sir,” Starbuck responded. She knew exactly what to do but if it made the old bastard feel better… well.
Starbuck nodded to him. This man was a mystery to her. Sometimes she wanted to throttle him and sometimes he behaved like someone she could respect. She entered the raptor. “Okay, boys! Ready to hunt?”
Starbuck got half a dozen thumbs up.
“Good.” She walked to the cockpit.
Sharon and Crashdown were checking the instruments. Starbuck looked over her shoulder, resting her hand on the back of Sharon's seat. “Are we ready?”
Sharon looked at Starbuck. “Yep.”
“At first the frakkin’ Toasters and now a mutiny on a prisoners ship. What will happen next?” Starbuck asked cheerfully but she saw how Sharon flinched. “You alright?”
Sharon nodded. “Yes, but it is the first kind of ground attack I’m piloting.” It was an excuse but what else should she say? The truth? Or what she thought was the truth? No, not to Kara.
“Maybe some Toasters starting a mutiny?” Crashdown asked before Starbuck could answer.
Starbuck laughed. “As long as they blow themselves up.” She turned and sat down. Starbuck shifted back and forth to adjust the gear that was attached to her and made herself comfortable for the flight. She looked to the cockpit as Sharon and Crashdown started the engines. She wondered about her friend’s behaviour. Sharon was much more quiet than usual.
* * * * * *
Fifteen minutes later Sharon’s raptor hovered under the underside of the Astral Queen. Sharon had banished all thoughts of Cylons and sleeper agents from her mind. She had a job to do. Slowly and carefully she steered the raptor, turned it by 180° and suddenly the Astral Queen was under the raptor and no longer above. Sharon’s right hand was on the stick, her left on the thruster controls. She handled the controls skilfully and lowered the raptor onto the outer hull of the Astral Queen. With a slight jolt the shuttle made contact, the magnetic cramps holding the raptor on place. Sharon switched the engines to stand-by, in order to cut down the engine noise. If it was necessary she could take off in thirty seconds.
The Marines activated the air lock on the underside of the raptor.
“Soft seal. Pressurized,” a corporal reported.
“Eyes,” Starbuck ordered.
A Marine opened the hatch to the airlock while another took out a plasma burner to cut through the hull of the Astral Queen.
Mason paced up and down. This damn bitch hadn’t shown any signs of respect to him. But he deserved respect! She thought she was better than him because she wore a uniform. It made him angry beyond words. He stopped and looked down the hallway to her cell. This bitch had to learn a lecture of respect and he would teach her. Mason walked down the line of cells.
Cally heard the steps and pretended to be asleep. If it was Mason again maybe he would let her alone. He didn’t. She heard the door being opened and sat up.
“I knew you were faking,” he said.
“I’m a light sleeper.” Cally knew it. Suddenly she knew what was going to happen. But not without a fight, she thought.
“I don’t think I have your respect.” Mason grinned. He could see it in her eyes: fear! That was much better than respect.
“I respect you.”
“No, but you will. Get up,” Mason said.
Slowly Cally stood up. She saw Billy and Dee watching.
“Hey, what’s goin’ on? Hey!” Billy yelled.
Mason pulled a gun and aimed at Billy. Cally looked at him and shook her head in the slightest manner. It wasn’t worth it, she signalled him.
“What are you doing?!” Dualla was horrified. Not only about what would happen to Cally. If they were through with her maybe she would be the next.
After a few seconds Mason lowered his gun, grabbed Cally by the neck and dragged her out of the cell. “Move!”
“Where are you taking her?! Cally, it’s okay, Cally. Cally, you’re gonna be okay, they know where we are, Cally,” Dee yelled after her.
“Captain Adama!” Billy hammered against the bars of his cell.
“Captain Adama! Hey! Captain Adama!” Billy cried. But Captain Adama couldn’t hear him
Two Marines used magnetic cramps to hold the piece of metal which was cut off the ship's hull and heaved it inside the raptor. Starbuck and another Marine aimed their guns to secure the opening. Some ropes were attached and Starbuck buckled one to her gear. Before she slid it down following her men she looked at Sharon. “Watch out.”
Sharon nodded. “We’ll do.”
A second later Starbuck was gone and Crashdown left his place. He drew his gun and took position next to the hole.
Sharon turned back to her instruments. She listened to the Marines talking over their coms and watched out for any signs of trouble. There was nothing that indicated the terrorists had become suspicious. Not one hint. Like it was with her and the Chief’s investigation for the real Cylon agent aboard Galactica, she thought. They had tried to find something; they had talked to crewmembers who might know something. But there was nothing. It seemed the Cylon had vanished completely. All they knew was that she'd had a bomb and a timer… Sharon didn’t know what to do. What if she was the traitor? What… what if she was programmed in some way? She wasn’t a Cylon, she knew it; she wasn’t some kind of artificial Human like the rumours said the Cylons had created. But what if they had brain-washed her in some way? If the Cylons had used her in that way she wasn’t responsible… Maybe… maybe, she thought, the Commander would understand it. He would punish her, of course, for blowing up the water tank but if the Cylons had abused her the Commander would understand. Maybe, she thought, she could talk to him…
Suddenly she blinked.
There was something… a dark shadow in the corner of her eyes… Sharon blinked again. It didn’t go away. The shadow became thicker and thicker. She shook her head. Not again, she thought. She had wanted to talk to the doctor about this but she hadn’t. Why? Sharon didn’t know. Again she blinked. She wanted… what she had thought of… something about the Commander… If Commander Adama found out about her he would… No! She blinked again and shook her head. She couldn't trust anyone, not even the Chief, she was alone.
Dualla sat on the bunk in her cell and leaned against the bars. “She can take care of herself.”
“Are you sure?” Billy asked doubtful.
“She’s been trained. We’ve all been trained in capture.” She tried to encourage herself.
They heard a shrill scream.
* * * * * *
Mason dragged Cally down the hallway and shoved her into a locker room. She stumbled forward and turned to face Mason. Slowly and with a sick grin on his face Mason followed her as she moved backwards away from him.
Cally looked around. No way to escape but at least no one else but Mason and herself. Suddenly she stumbled over a bench standing between the lines of lockers. Cally tried to steady herself but she fell on her back. Before she could get back on her feet Mason threw himself at her. She smelled his sweat and reeking breath. It made her sick. Cally struggled, she screamed and kicked at him and tried to get away. Mason grabbed her by the wrists and forced her arms over her head. He bent down and licked over her face and suddenly Cally saw her chance. She opened her mouth and with all force she bit into Mason's ear. She tasted the warm iron tang of blood in her mouth. Mason yelled and let go of her wrists, he tried to sit up but Cally’s teeth were still buried in his ear. She shook her head forcefully and suddenly she felt something tear apart. Mason howled like mad, he jerked away. Pressing both hands on the remains of his ear he cried and yelled, spittle flying from his mouth and blood streaming over his hands. Cally, still on her back, crawled away from him. Mason looked at her, his expression was murderous. He made a step towards her as the door flew open and two other prisoners stormed into the room.
“Leave us alone,” Mason hissed.
The first prisoner shrugged and turned away but the second spoke up. “Zarek had said the hostages shouldn’t be harmed.”
Slowly Mason turned and faced him. “What did you say?” Suddenly he yelled at the top of his lungs, “Look what she had done to me!”
“Zarek had said that the hostages – shouldn’t – be – harmed!”
Mason flinched. He turned back to Cally and walked over to her. He grabbed her by the hair, forced her to her feet and shoved her out of the room.
Mason dragged Cally back to her cell and shoved her in, the prisoner who had talked to Mason in the locker room turned to the command centre to inform Zarek about this.
Billy and Dualla watched Mason and Cally but didn’t say a word.
Cally turned to him and spit out. A glob of saliva, blood and pieces of his ear hit the floor right in front of his feet. Mason stared at it for a second and then he looked back at Cally. “You bitch!” he cried and before someone could react he shot her right into the stomach.
* * * * * *
In the command room of the Astral Queen Captain Adama and Zarek continued their discussion. Apollo couldn’t believe what he had heard in the last few hours. What Zarek had told him about freedom and legitimate governments was nothing but a heap of crap. All what this man wanted was a massacre to stay in the memory of the people. “You’ve been saying how everything you’re doing is for freedom, but the truth is, it’s all about Tom Zarek and his personal death wish.”
Before Zarek could answer, some of his men rushed into the command centre. “Tom, something’s up.”
A voice echoed through the cell section, suddenly a shot sounded.
“That’s Mason, what the hell...?” He stormed out of the room, followed by Apollo and the other prisoners.
* * * * * *
In a hallway Starbuck lifted her fist and her team stopped. They listened to the distant yelling. As a shot echoed through the corridor, Starbuck’s eyes widened. “They're killing the hostages, let’s go.”
They stormed down the hallway.
* * * * * *
“Mason! Mason! Mason, what are you doing?” Zarek yelled as he arrived at the cells.
“She bit my ear off!”
“Frak you!” Cally hissed panting. She lay on the bunk in her cell, hands pressed to her stomach and the uniform soaked with her blood. Even on her face there was blood but that wasn’t hers.
“Open the door, she’s been shot!” Apollo demanded.
“Mason, put down the gun.” If this idiot killed the hostage now his plan of a massacre caused by the Marines was blown.
“You said that you weren’t animals, what do you call this?” Apollo got angry.
“Twenty years? Twenty years, I’ve been waitin’!” Mason said, something no one understood.
“Mason, no,” Zarek tried again.
“He’s gonna kill ‘er, do something,” Apollo hissed.
Cally panted and pressed her hands to the wound. Pain like the fires from all hells pulsed through her body.
“You did this; you put him in a cage! You made him a monster!” Once again it wasn’t his fault, Zarek thought. He was a freedom fighter forced by a criminal government to be a soldier.
“You filthy bitch! You all deserve to die!” Mason yelled and pointed his gun at Cally.
She whimpered and closed her eyes.
“You first,” Mason hissed.
* * * * * *
Starbuck climbed on an overpass and looked down at the chaos in the cell section. She got down and pressed her rifle into her shoulder. Through the telescope she saw Zarek, her primary target, but there was this other guy aiming at Specialist Cally. “All teams, sniper in position,” she whispered into her mic.
* * * * * *
“He’s gonna do it!” Apollo tried again to talk to Zarek.
“You reap what you sow.” It was ever the fault of others and now it was the fault of the military, the government and anyone else but not his, Zarek thought.
“You! Look at me, you see me! Look at me!” Mason yelled at Cally. She would pay for what she had done to him. He lost his ear and the respect of his men because he wasn’t able to handle this bitch. No one took away from him the respect he deserved.
Suddenly Apollo understood that Zarek wouldn’t do anything to stop this. He grabbed the arm of the prisoner next to him, turned on his heel and rammed his elbow into the man’s stomach. In a quick movement Apollo had taken the man’s gun and shot Mason twice in the chest. Before the other prisoners could react he pointed his gun at Zarek’s head and forced him to his knees.
Cally stared at Mason’s body in her cell. She couldn’t believe how fast that had happened. Then she looked at Captain Adama. Shoot this frakking bastard, she thought, kill Zarek.
* * * * * *
“Come on, Lee. Take out the son of a bitch.” Starbuck looked through the telescope but Apollo was in her line of fire. She was glad that Apollo had taken out this guy in Cally’s cell, he had done it just a second before she would have.
* * * * * *
“How ‘bout it, Tom? You still have a death wish? You ready to leave this world, right here, right now?” Apollo looked Zarek in the eyes. If he had to kill this bastard right here he would.
“Yes,” Zarek answered with a firm voice. Captain Adama wasn’t the only one who could bluff, he thought. Mason had had a gun and wanted to kill this bitch but killing an unarmed prisoner was something totally different. And Adama needed him alive if he wanted to leave the ship.
“Too bad. ‘Cause this is what you’re gonna do: you’re gonna tell your men to help us get that water off the moon. They’re gonna work for their points, and they’re gonna earn their freedom, and then... then... you’re gonna get your elections.”
“What?” Zarek was sure this was a trick. These government bastards did everything to get what they wanted, he thought.
“’Cause you're right, Tom. You were right about democracy and consent of the people. I believe in those things and we’re gonna have ‘em. And you can have ‘em too. Or you can have this bullet. Your call.” Apollo was ready to do it. If he had to he would take out this bastard right here even if that meant he and probably Cally, Dee and Billy would be killed as well.
* * * * * *
Starbuck was still aiming at Zarek from the overpass but hadn’t had a clear shot till now. “What are you doing, Lee? What are you doing? Come on,” she murmured nervously.
* * * * * *
“How do I know your father and the President will honour your word?”
“You don’t. You let the rest of the hostages go; we’ll leave this ship in your hands. They try and come after you; you can still have your last stand. It’s your choice. You reap what you sow.” Apollo wished Zarek would take this chance.
Zarek thought about it for a few moments. If he let the hostages go and they came after him it would be a much bigger scandal, he thought. “Alright, alright. Lower your weapons. Lower your weapons!”
His men followed Zarek’s order unwillingly but they complied eventually.
“Back off,” Apollo hissed to the prisoners around him as he let go of Zarek. Apollo shot the lock of the cell and entered. He knelt down and looked after Cally’s wound. “Okay, Cally, you’re gonna be okay. You just hang in there, you hear?” It was bad, Apollo realized. Her uniform was soaked with blood and she was breathing quickly and jerkily.
* * * * * *
Finally Starbuck got her clear line of fire as Zarek entered the cell after Lee. “Gotcha.”
* * * * * *
Apollo looked at Zarek and saw the laser signal on his head. Apollo jumped up and pushed Zarek out of the way. At that moment Starbuck pulled the trigger. The bullet hit the bars.
“Cease fire! Cease fire!” Apollo yelled and waved his arms.
The Marines stormed into the cell section but no one shot.
* * * * * *
“All teams, hold positions. Frak.” What the hell was goin’ on there, Starbuck wondered as she lowered her rifle.
* * * * * *
“Thanks,” Zarek said.
Apollo didn’t answer and turned back to Cally. “I need a medic here.”
Zarek was shocked. Just a second and he would have been dead. He had felt the draft of the bullet. It had missed him only by a few centimetres. And all this because of this moron Mason.
Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies, sat at her desk and stared at her advisor, Captain Lee Adama. He had just finished his report about the events on the Astral Queen. “Gods... I don’t believe this.”
“It’s unacceptable.” For Commander Adama not only the deal between his son and Zarek was unacceptable but the choice his son had made as well. Lee had preferred a ‘diplomatic’ solution instead of taking out this Zarek bastard.
Apollo knew he had to stand up for this against both his father and the President. “It’s done. The prisoners have full control of the Astral Queen. We evac’ed all the guards and support personnel. It’s their ship.”
“They’re a threat to the entire fleet.” Commander Adama already calculated the resources necessary to monitor the Astral Queen permanently and how this would affect Galactica’s capability to defend the fleet.
“They’ve been disarmed. The ship itself has no weapons.” Apollo tried to stay calm.
“The ship itself is a weapon!”
“They’re totally dependent on us for food, fuel, and they’ve agreed to organize the workforce for the water detail on the moon.”
“You’ve committed me to holding elections within the year.” Roslin steered the discussion back to the important point.
Apollo looked at her and straightened his shoulders. “Madam President, with respect, you’re serving out the remainder of President Adar’s term. When that term is up in seven months, the law says there’s an election. I only committed you to obeying the law.”
Roslin got angry. Maybe she wasn’t the typical career politician but had been in this job much longer than Lee Adama. “You are not authorized to make any deal...
“You sound like some kind of a lawyer...” Commander Adama took the same line.
“I swore an oath... to defend the articles. The articles say there’s an election in seven months. Now, if you're telling me we’re throwing out the law, then I’m not a Captain, you’re not a Commander and you are not the President. And I don’t owe either of you a damned explanation for anything,” Apollo burst out.
Roslin sighed and looked to Commander Adama. “He’s your son.”
“He’s your adviser.”
The President nodded. “An election...”
Adama looked at the President and, eventually, at his son. “I guess you finally picked your side.” It felt like a stab in the back. He nodded to Roslin, “Madam President,” and left the office.
Starbuck straightened herself and knocked on the door to Colonel Tigh’s quarters. Maybe, she thought, Tigh wasn't a bastard – well, he was the kind of bastard that could see them through a situation like this – and he would accept her peace offering.
Starbuck stepped inside the room and returned his suspicious look. Without a word she grabbed two cups and poured them some liquid from the flask she had brought with her. She gave one to the Colonel and sipped from her own.
Tigh sniffed carefully, then he took a sip. He blinked, surprised. “What the hell is this, water?”
“Bet your ass. There’s plenty more where that came from. Um, I have my flaws too.”
Tigh was surprised by Starbuck’s words. “The difference is my flaws are personal, yours are professional. Thank you, Lieutenant, that’ll be all.”
Starbuck was disappointed. Tigh was indeed a bastard. She put the cup down and left.
Tigh stared after her. He was the XO, he had to play the role of the bad guy for the whole ship. It was his job to be the bad guy. He drank the last drops of water from his cup and went back to the duty rota.
* * * * * *
Chief Tyrol and his crew waltzed into Galactica’s infirmary. “Specialist Lazy, how ya feeling? Must be nice, lying around, doing nothing as usual.” After he had heard what had happened to Cally on the Astral Queen he felt responsible. He could’ve sent Socinus or another man from his crew. He should’ve considered the fact that the Astral Queen was a prisoner ship. But in that case maybe Dualla would have been the one…
“Sorry, Chief, I didn’t think you’d find me here.” Cally smiled at her friends.
“Oh well, you see, I am so on to you.”
“So, Cally, is it true? You really bite that guy’s ear off?” Socinus asked.
“He’s lucky that’s all I bit off.”
“That’s my girl.”
Cally watched them leave. ‘My girl,’ she thought. If only the Chief knew… But he was with Lieutenant Valerii…