This will be a series of stand-alone stories which deal with the choices that the characters on Battlestar Galactica have made throughout the first half of the second season (I'll be posting in as much of the order of the season as I can). I want to explore what would have happened/changed if things had gone differently. Some of the stories will be angst, some will be shippy, some will be funny. There will be different pairings throughout. Don't feel like you have to check out each one to understand the others. All I ask is that if it intrigues you, then give it a try. Hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!
There are pivotal moments in one's life where if you take the wrong path everything may change. Those changes may be for the good or for the bad. The possibilities are endless.
Admiral William Adama felt the tug when Galactica pulled out of the FTL jump. He was getting too old for this. No person stayed in the Fleet when they were almost eighty years old. The gods would never ask that of a mere mortal, but he supposed it was necessary. Times were hard. If anyone knew that, it would be the man in charge of leading the remnants of humanity to the elusive thirteenth colony.
He had sacrificed a lot to get his people here.
He turned at the sound of Colonel Gaeta's voice. The young man had been serving as his XO since Saul had succumbed to the consequences of years of alcohol abuse. The loss of his best friend five years earlier was just one in a series of events that would have ripped the will to live right out of his body if only there weren't so many people depending on him. A man of eighty years should not have to keep living after losing most of the men who served under him, including the best Chief Petty Officer the Fleet had ever seen. So many people had given their lives to the cause.
Lately, Adama found himself focusing on the harsh reality that he had been denying. It was time to rebuild his world for a third time. It was time to accept that he would have to make this last fateful decision, and he was going to have to do it without her, the one woman he had found the faith to believe in when the world needed rebuilding twenty years earlier. Laura Roslin had succumbed to her illness a long time ago, but her vision still fueled the Fleet.
Adama cleared his throat and turned to his XO. "What is it, Felix?"
"The CIC crew is reporting that our calculations were on target. If you can believe it, our destination should be right in front of us."
Adama looked at the woman standing over his shoulder at the communication hub. It seemed like Anastasia had always been there in that exact spot every time he needed her. With the dependable things in his life few and far between, it was nice to have here there. "Dee, I need to speak to the CAG."
"You got it, sir." Dee punched a few buttons on the consul in front of her, and the comm link opened on the main speak. "Hot Dog, Galactica Actual wishes to speak with you."
"If you want confirmation, Admiral, you got it," Hot Dog said before the question could even be asked. The sheer joy in his voice didn't go unnoticed. "This is it. It really exists."
Adama turned in a slow circle, taking in all the expectant faces surrounding him. "Suggestions anyone?"
No one flinched to hear the leader of their Fleet asking for input. Things had become awfully lax in the past twenty years. They had been fighting to stay alive for so long that rank no longer mattered. Each person had a right to weigh in on decisions that may change their life.
"We can't just land, sir," Dee pointed out. "It's been on its own for thousands of years. They may have developed defensive systems like ours."
"What Dee's trying to say, sir, is she doesn't want us shot out of the sky," Gaeta interpreted, earning himself a glare from his wife.
"We can't just hover in space," another Petty Officer said. Adama couldn't tell who. It seemed like the faces around him were constantly changing, and the new officers all looked the same.
He drew himself back to consider the man's suggestion and nodded. "Understood. So if we can't try to land and we can't hover in space, what is there to do?"
Hot Dog's voice filtered into the conversation. "If I might suggest something?"
Adama had forgotten the comm line was still open. "Go ahead, Captain."
"I think we should just buckle down and welcome those two space ships currently flying towards us."
Adama looked up at the Dradis and saw the two dots representing unidentified aircraft as they made their way slowly across the screen. Everyone had been too busy to notice them. With sloppiness like that, it was a wonder they had made it this far.
"Admiral, should I launched the alert fighters?" Dee asked.
"Sir, no need," Hot Dog's voice cut in. "The ships… frak me… they're running a flight pattern. It's the one taught in Academy. How the frak could they know that?"
"Focus please, Captain," Gaeta demanded. "We're going to need a little more information."
"The ships are leaving their underbellies exposed to us. It's a sign of trust that the Academy taught should only be used if you know who you are greeting. I think they're welcoming us, sir."
Adama ground his knuckles against the CIC table in anticipation as he watched the blips representing Hot Dog and his wingman as they inched closer to the unidentified ships. He was shocked to see both ships come to a stop, apparently nose to nose with one another.
"Um, sir?" The confusion in Hot Dog's voice filtered over the choppy comm. "They're asking to speak to you by name."
Adama motioned for Dee. "Boost their signal if you can, Petty Officer."
"Signal boosted, sir. Comm line open."
"This is Galactica Actual. Please identify yourself."
"First Lieutenant Parker of the 109th Airborne. Is this Commander William Adama?"
"Admiral William Adama," he corrected. "How do you know my name, soldier?"
A light laugh rang through the whole CIC. "We've been waiting for you for over twenty years now, sir. Permission is given for you to fly to the coordinates I'm sending. You're cleared to land, sir. Welcome to the… I believe you call it the Thirteenth Colony."
Adama shut his eyes as a surge of hope came over him. He had given everything he had to save the people around him. It had been a struggle every day for twenty years as he fought to take the Fleet to this point. He had sacrificed everything including the two people he loved the most.
As the sounds of Hot Dog describing the planet filled the background, Adama shut his eyes and remembered Kara and Lee on the last day he saw them alive. Not having them by his side broke his heart.
William Adama sat in an empty conference room and tried to accept the fact that he still had no idea what was going on.
The young Lieutenant had invited the whole Fleet to land at the air base, but Adama had thought that unwise to leave themselves so vulnerable. That meant the whole of the Fleet, including the Galactica, was left circling the space above the planet while Adama himself took a Raptor down to the surface. Parker offered to lead him into the base and, after a quick shared look with Racetrack, Adama followed him. He was aware that this could be a horrible mistake, but the morale of the Fleet couldn't take another hit. They had been struggling for twenty years now.
Parker silently took Adama to this room and informed him there were a few people who were dying to met him. Then the young Lieutenant was gone, leaving him alone in the quiet.
Adama couldn't shake the nagging suspicion that this situation wasn't as simple as he wanted to believe. This was supposed to be the lost colony of Kobol. There had been thousands of years of no communication, and yet the people on this world knew his name. Even more than that, they seemed to have respect for what he had done by getting the Fleet halfway across the universe.
He hated to admit it, but all these questions reminded him of the Cylons. The toasters had always known things that they never should have. He wouldn't be surprised if this was all just another part of the Cylons' plans to destroy humanity.
The sound of the door unlocking brought Adama to his feet, despite the creaking in his old bones. He braced himself for the appearance of another copy of Sharon Valerii or D'Anna Biers or Billy Keikeya. He was determined not to be surprised when the Cylon stepped through the door to tear away the Fleet's last hope that they had finally found some solace.
That determination was the reason that his breath was taken away when the last person he expected to see entered the room.
Lee smiled. "Hello, Dad. It took you long enough to get here."
"I don't believe it," William Adama spit out.
Lee stepped forward and wrapped his arms tightly around his father. "Believe it. I've been waiting for you for so long."
He tried his best, but for the first five minutes, Adama could not bring himself to speak. He could only grip his son tightly and hope this was not another cruel Cylon deception. When he did find his words, they came at rapid pace. "I don't understand. How did you get here? The last time I saw you was on Kobol over twenty years ago!"
"It's a long story and one that is going to have to wait for a few minutes." Lee pulled back and smiled at his father. "You've gotten old, Dad."
Adama smiled. "I know. A lot can change in twenty years."
"I know." Lee's eyes drifted down to the hand that was resting on his father's shoulders. William Adama was surprised to see a small gold band on his son's left hand.
"You finally found someone?"
Lee's smile widened even farther if that was possible. "Yes, I did. Do you want to meet her?"
"As soon as I can."
Lee put on a look of astonishment before letting out a deep laugh. "It took me over forty years, but I finally got William Adama to forget his military obligations to focus on family."
"I might be eighty, but I can still wipe that indignant smirk off your face," Adama threatened.
"I couldn't help it," Lee laughed. "But seriously, the mission can wait. Trust me. The Fleet is safe here."
"This is the Thirteenth Colony?"
Lee nodded and was about to say something when a brisk knock sounded on the hatch. He sighed. "I should have known she wouldn't listen. I asked her to give me a few minutes alone with you, but she's never been one for patience."
"Your wife?" Adama said.
"She might be the love of my life, but she still annoys the frak out of me," Lee grumbled. He got up to open the door and was greeted by having a small child shoved into his arms.
"Your son insisted on coming with me even though I told him he had to go to school. It seems his Daddy told him he could have the day off. Then again, Daddy didn't know little Zak was going to use his spare time to light the bushes in our backyard on fire."
Adama stared at the woman who had so effectively scolded his son as she stepped into the room and walked over to him. He had truly believed he would never see that smile again. "Kara?"
"Hello, sir," she smirked. "Or should I be calling you Dad?"
William Adama felt his heart tighten. He was too overwhelmed to deal with the fact that the daughter he had in everything but name was actually an official part of his family now. A small voice in the back of his head pointed out that this was all probably a dream.
Kara turned to glare at Lee. "You didn't tell him!"
"You didn't give me time," Lee hissed as he tried to deal with the squirming child in his arms. "You were supposed to wait."
"I was going to. It was Zak that was being uncooperative."
"I'm sure," Lee said, shaking his head. "Sometimes I wonder what I did wrong to get stuck with you all those years ago."
"Don't give me that crap!" Kara yelled. "You thank the gods every night that they saw it fit to take us both."
"Some things never change," Adama said as he sat down in the chair behind him.
Kara stepped forward to rest her hand on Adama's shoulder. "We're ruining the moment, aren't we, sir?"
"First off, you don't have to call me sir, Kara. Secondly, nothing can ruin this. I thought you two were gone."
"Come on, sir!" Kara laughed. "Do you really think something like the Tomb of Athena is going to do in the mighty Starbuck and Apollo?"
"I should have known better," Adama decided. His eyes locked with the young boy in Lee's arms. The little boy hid his face in his father's chest. It was a sight Adama thought he would never see. "That's my grandson."
"One of them," Kara said, laughing. Adama's eyes went wide. "Come on, sir. You have been gone for twenty years."
"How many?" Adama asked.
"Zak is the youngest," Lee said as he moved to take the seat next to his father. "Then there are the twins, Colum and Laura. They're both twelve. Maeve, our oldest, will be sixteen next week. We would have named our next child after you if Kara hadn't almost killed me when she gave birth to Zak here. I couldn't go through that again."
"Shut up!" Kara said, sending him a glare. "I only broke your fraking arm."
"In three places," Lee reminded her. Little Zak turned to look at his mother and held up three fingers.
"Traitor," she said before pulling her son into her arms. "But damn if you don't have that fraking Adama smile, little man. You know I'm a sucker for it."
Lee glanced over at his father and realized he have never expected his father to look so changed. This was the first time in Lee's life where he could physically see the weight of the world was pressing down on his father. William Adama had always been a pillar of strength even under the worst conditions. "This is probably too much for you to take in right now."
"There's so much I can't even begin to understand."
"We lived it and we don't even understand," Kara said with a smile. "But we'll explain it to you in time. For now, I think you might need a break from the Admiral business."
"You heard about the promotion?"
"About fraking time, I say! You'll have to tell me how that came about when you have a spare moment." Kara pulled herself to her feet and set Zak down onto the floor. "For now, I want you to forget that you're a military officer. Lee and I need someone to baby-sit this little rugrat."
"Where are you going?" Adama asked as his grandson dutifully toddled over to grab his grandfather's knees.
"Kara hasn't flown a Raptor or a Viper in years. She was hoping you'd let us go back to the Fleet and tell them where all the ships could land."
"You do trust us, don't you, sir?" Kara asked.
Adama answered by scooping Zak into his arms. "Ask for Colonel Gaeta when you get within range. He'll be happy to hear your voices."
Lee stood up. "Zak, why don't you show your Pappy the house that I built for us?"
Zak nodded and started pulling his grandfather into the corridor. The bickering between Kara and Lee filtered in the background behind him as they started arguing about who got to fly the ship. William Adama managed to glance back at them as Zak pulled him around the corner. His son and daughter might be bickering loudly, but they were walking down the hall hand-in-hand.
Somehow it soothed him to know that some things could never change, no matter how much time has passed.