237, 33 ... and 85

By Kylen

The BSG characters belong to their creators and writers. I'm making no profit off of this, which is unfortunate but a fact of life.

Quick summary: A Halloween fic, from Cally. She really hates the jumps. Enjoy. If you get the title, let me know and more power to you.

Gods, there's only so much of this a person can take. What number are we on now? 221? 231? I can't keep track anymore. I lost the ability to keep track ...

Someone save me. I can't even remember how long it's been since I couldn't keep track. How frakked is that?

Working keeps me sane. At least, it kind of keeps me sane. What is sanity anymore? A cup of coffee gulped down once a cycle? A few stolen words between Socinus and I, a joke over the freshly greased viper parts and spanners scattered across the floor? Refueling lines? Pilots? Bright lights? It never ends.

And because it never ends, I keep thinking. I have to think, to ask myself these questions. Because if I reason with myself, and use my mind, I know I'm still sane. I think, therefore I am. Or something like that.

"Why do the Cylons come every 33 minutes? Why isn't it 34 ... or 35?" Lords, all I want is an answer. I mean, the question is there. It needs to be asked, doesn't it? It makes no sense. Why 33? Why that number?

Why do they come back every single time? And why do they bring the ghosts with them?

"Cally!" The Chief sounds pissed. That's okay. He can join the rest of us. And if he's gonna be pissed, then so am I.

"What?" I throw it right back at him in the same tone. Maybe he can answer the question.

"Shut up."

Or maybe not. No one else even seems to be listening. Socinus is sitting right across from me, looking at the same open panel and trying to do half of the same work. But he didn't hear. He's not listening to Tyrol. He's not listening to me.

Why did I ask? What does it matter? It's every 33 minutes, and those 33 minutes are what we have to deal with. We can't do anything anymore. We can hardly do repairs. Our fingers are bleeding ... or numb. Hell, right now mine are both. It makes it so damned hard to hold on. And I don't mean the frakking wrench.

Just seconds away now. I hate this part. I've always hated this part. The world seems to shrink around you, or you shrink and the world expands. I don't know. But every time it happens, every time the world pulls itself to this edge and almost disappears...

There. Right like clockwork. He's grinning. He's right over there by the entrance to the chief's office, smiling and looking so energetic. So happy. So not tired and dirty and so not ready to fall flat on his face from exhaustion.

I only see him here. Nowhere else. No one else sees him, at least I don't think they do. I can't tell anyone about him. I can't let them know I see his smile. Gods, I can almost hear his laugh. Prosna ... he would be laughing. He would've somehow found the joke, and be smiling like he is now. He would've known how to get us through. The Chief's good, but he doesn't understand. He doesn't see the horror like we do. At least, I don't think he does.

I just want to sleep. If I slept, I wouldn't have to see him. Or the others. It's not always him. Sometimes I see Maren, her curly brown hair disappearing around the wing of one of the old Mark VIIs that haven't been fixed yet. Or it could be Paralee, who could slide into places where even I couldn't fit. He used to joke about that ALL of the time. "Cally, you should be a worm ... just like me. Then you could fit in every little hidey hole on this ship."

But it's not him this time, or any of the others who were killed. It's Prosna, and when he turns around...I can't close my eyes, but I can't look anymore. He's not smiling anymore, and he doesn't look like Prosna now. Gods, I can't bear to look at that damned burned flesh again. Or see his face fade and then, as time and space collapse around us, disappear.

And it's over. Everything snaps back to normal. Again. What number is it now? I stop and listen for it over the loudspeaker, and there it is. Gods, Gaeta sounds just like the rest of us. I wonder what he's seeing up on the bridge. If they see anything like I do.

237. And we're back to 33 minutes again. Vipers start descending, and we all swing into motion. It's better this way. Better to be numb and bleeding, rather than seeing those ghosts. Part of me wonders if I'm still sane, because they keep coming back.

And part of me knows it doesn't matter. Sane or not, I'm still here.

And so are they. By turn, all 85 of them. Every 33 minutes.