Miniature Disasters and Minor Catastrophes 4?Author:
Disclaimer: None of these folks are mine. I just play with other people's stuff.
Spoilers: Season 2, through The Captain's Hand.
A/N: This is AU with the events of "Lay Down Your Burdens."
Summary: Where things get a little sad…
"Madame President. Madame President. Laura! He's gone."
On the screen, Admiral Adama carefully wrapped his arms around the President to pull her hands off the bloody mess of some man's chest. The microphones captured her anguished curse and the cameras zoomed in on the tears shining on her face.
That is before Bill Adama's hand blocked the shot. You could hear his low threat, "Get that camera out of her face unless you want it up your ass."
"She's incredibly good," D'Anna Biers murmured as she watched the footage. The reporters on Galactica had broadcast it all over the fleet as soon as they got into range. They'd captured the utter chaos and carnage as the survivors from Colonial One were brought on board. It showed President Roslin helping to carry injured people off the Raptors. It showed her applying bandages and taking orders from medical personnel. It showed her on her hands and knees applying pressure to wounds that were beyond hope and crying silently as one by one, people died around her. It was quite compelling to watch.
"She's a politician," Gina scoffed with annoyance. "And it doesn't matter anyway. Gaius will be president."
D'Anna shook her head, watching a replay of the footage. "She's sincere," she said with awe. "Surely, you can see the potential; especially after her 'cure'. We don't even know for sure what she is. Or what she could become."
Gina turned to her sharply, but whatever she was going to say was lost as Gaius Baltar entered the room.
"Have you seen that footage?" he demanded. "I should be giving my victory speech but instead everyone is watching this!" He gestured angrily to the display. "Grand-tanding is what this is!"
"I'm sure that once things settle down a bit, they'll be ready for your speech, Mr. Vice President," D'Anna placated easily.
"That's Mr. President," Baltar corrected. "And I don't see your camera here. I'm sure you'll want an interview."
Fighting a smirk, D'Anna glanced at a still glaring Gina and shook her head. "Of course. Mr. President."
Saul Tigh, Bill Adama and Laura Roslin sat around a small table in the Admiral's quarters and tried to process the tragedy before them. Of the 352 inhabitants of Colonial One, 193 had survived the Cylon attack. The rest of them had been blown into space or injured and/or irradiated beyond all hope. In addition, they'd lost three Vipers and their pilots and Starbuck's bird would be out of commission for weeks. The loss of life was bad enough but the facts surrounding this latest assault were startling as well. The Cylon attack pattern has been radically different from anything previous.
"So they were going for full decapitation," Laura commented with a shake of her head.
Tigh harrumphed mirthlessly. "Obviously, the Cylons aren't up on the current events," he said, rubbing at his neck. "They should have been targeting Cloud 9."
Laura glared at him but said nothing.
"The question is how did they find us so accurately," Bill observed. "They started shooting almost as soon as they cleared the jump. They knew exactly where we were and where to hit."
"Maybe one of the Cylons in the fleet tipped them off," said Tigh.
"Or they're tracking one of the ships again."
"Or," Laura began slowly shifting her eyes to Adama, "we have a traitor in our midst."
Bill stared at her and she could tell that he, too, had considered the possibility. Perhaps Baltar was looking for a little extra assurance of his presidential victory.
During the long, pregnant silence, Tigh looked back and forth between the Admiral and President, clearly out of the loop. Frustrated, he said "Does anyone care to fill me in on what the frak is going on?"
Bill gave a small shrug. "It's your story to tell," he conceded.
Nodding, Laura turned in her seat to face Galactica's executive officer and told him the story of what she had remembering seeing at the Riverwalk on Caprica the day of the attack.
Astonished, Tigh's mouth fell open. "Do you have any proof?"
Laura shook her head. "If I did, he'd be sitting in the brig right now." Or out an airlock, she added to herself.
Tigh sat back heavily in his chair. "Well, this is a frakking mess! A godsdamn traitor in the presidency!" He shook his head. "We were better off with the prophet."
Laura smirked. "I suppose there's a compliment in there somewhere."
"You're damned right there is. You may be a pain in the ass but you'd never sell us out to the Cylons."
"Saul, a little respect," Bill chastised.
His XO scoffed. "She's not president anymore and that's the heart of our problem, isn't it?"
"He's right, Bill," Laura said, getting to her feet. She looked like she was going to say something else but then suddenly turned back to Tigh. "Interesting that you didn't believe me at all about the Tomb of Athena but you accept this, what some might consider to be a legitimately insane notion, without question."
Having stood when she did, Tigh looked annoyed. "That's because I think it's plausible," he told her gruffly. "There's something about that shifty bastard that has never seemed right. Take his so-called Cylon detection machine. He cleared Boomer and never gave an explanation for that frak-up."
Adama nodded slowly. "And during the initial attack, didn't he seem to have some completely different method for detecting them?"
"Something about DNA or some such," Tigh concurred. "He'd pegged Doral in only a couple of hours, yet tells us that it takes over 11 hours after we give him a nuclear bomb."
Laura put her hands on her hips and started pacing. "But he did identify Aaron Doral as a Cylon and he was right." She paused, lips pursed. "But he cleared Lt. Valerii, which almost proved catastrophic."
"For me, at least," Bill murmured wryly.
But Laura shook her head. "For all of us. Don't underestimate your importance to the fleet." She paused and looked visibly reluctant to say her next words. "Both of you," she ground out.
Tigh's eyebrow rose and Bill Adama had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. "I suppose there's a compliment in there somewhere," he tossed back at her.
Looking him straight in the face, Laura nodded. "You're damned right there is," she said in a dry tone. "You may be a pain in the ass but you'd never sell us out to the Cylons, either."
Now Bill did laugh. "The two of you on the same page is frightening."
Laura shook her head. "You should be afraid, but of Gaius Baltar. It is possible that he knows who the Cylons are in the fleet. And where they are."
"And you know what else bothers me?" Bill said thoughtfully. "How the Cylon that shot Cain got off Pegasus? How did she get the weapon?" He rubbed his eyes under his glasses. "At the time, I think we were a little too grateful for the convenience of it that we didn't ask enough questions, especially since Baltar did have access to her alone for all those days."
Laura nodded. "Lords know I was distracted."
"You were ill," Adama reminded her.
"So you think Dr. Batshit purposely distracted the Marine to give the Cylon a chance to get the gun?" Tigh asked.
"Dr. Batshit?" Bill asked, barely hiding his grin.
Tigh shrugged. "Deck crew came up with it. You gotta admit it's appropriate."
Giggling, Laura nodded. "Yes, yes, it is." But then she got serious. "We have a lot of questions that need answers and while he's president, we'll have to watch him carefully. And limit his power."
"So say we all," both men returned.
"How's Captain Thrace?" Laura asked out of the blue after Tigh excused himself to CIC.
Bill handed her a glass of water. "She's a little banged up but she didn't catch much radiation," he told her. "She should be back on her feet in a few days."
Laura nodded. "I'm glad." And Adama could tell that was true. Laura had been the first one to greet Kara when the Raptor brought her in.
They were quiet for a long moment before she said, "I got the election results." Her voice was very, very quiet.
Bill frowned. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Looking sheepish, she set her glass on the table and turned away. Pulling a book off of his shelf, she leafed through it absently. "I've known it was inevitable but it's still … embarrassing. Especially with you."
"I'm not following."
Still looking down at the book, Laura more-or-less mumbled, "You expect me to be your equal." She put the book back with the others.
Approaching her slowly, he reached up and laid his hands gently on her shoulders. "No. I don't."
Her green eyes flashed with surprise.
Bill shook his head and began a slow massage of her tense shoulders with his fingers. "I expect you to be more than my equal," he told her with a smile that Laura shared.
"That's a problem."
Reaching up to still his fingers, she stared into his eyes. "I'm tired, Bill," she confessed nakedly. "Between the Cylons and living with cancer and almost dying, losing Billy and now this –" She broke off and turned away with her arms folded over her chest. "You know how they look at me," she whispered. "Half of them think that I should be able to make it right because I'm the – because I was the president. The other half thinks that I'm touched by the Gods. I don't even know what to believe but still they look at me." Laura turned back to face him, looking as tired as he'd ever seen her. "All of them look at me with their hopelessness in their eyes and they expect me to fill them back up again one way or the other." She held out her hands, palm up. "I'm empty," she admitted harshly. "How many times can I cheat death and not start to believe that maybe I'm just plain lucky? That the prophecies and scrolls don't mean anything. That there is no Earth or no chance of us ever making it there. That I've been arrogant and delusional and all those things that Gaius Baltar has said that I am."
"Now stop it right there," Bill interrupted. "Baltar has no idea of the courage you've shown since the attack. Don't let him judge you."
Laura pressed her lips together and shook her head. "But they do judge me. The fleet judges me –"
"And some of them have been hoodwinked. Some of them had fallen for the easy promises and the empty charisma and I guarantee you after tonight, they will regret it."
When she didn't respond, he approached her and reached out to rub her arms. "Laura, you say you're empty." He paused until she met his eyes. "If you are, take your hope from me." He brought his hands up to cup her face. "Let me fill you so that you can fill them, because president or not, they will still look to you because they've got nothing else."
She leaned in and pressed her forehead to his.
"And what happens when you're empty, too?"
He wound his arms around her waist. "I never will be because of you."
Laura pulled back slightly, her weary skepticism written all over her face. "Bill, that doesn't make any sense."
Chuckling, he pulled her to him tightly. "Well, maybe this does," he said and kissed her deeply.
AN2: I tried really hard to rework the last part of this story so that it is suitable for posting here but I am patently unhappy with the results. I feel that changing the story (i.e., cutting out the mature bits) damaged it and made it less than what I had intended it to be. Therefore, I will NOT post the last act of this story here. Should you want to read it, the story is available in its entirety on my LiveJournal (please click on the homepage link in my bio). Thank you for reading.