All this, and he doesn't even have to think about it.
Admiral William Adama took one final look at the mission report he'd been reading through, and then put it down purposefully on the desk in front of him. Deliberately, he folded it back to page one, and then pushed it so the report sat squarely in the center of his desk pad. He leaned back into the chair, and tried to control the upsurge of emotion that flowed through him.
That is my son.
It had been less than two hours since the Pegasus had jumped back into fleet space, and the report of the incident with the Cylons - and the demise of Commander Garner - was already in his hands. It was detailed, succinct - and written in such a language that Bill almost would have believe he'd written it himself.
Except of course, it had been written by Lee. Or, Major Lee Adama. He couldn't quite define between the two at the moment, so strong was the swell of emotion. He felt wonder - at the grasp Lee had of the situation and the decisive way he had worked it to his advantage. He felt grief - over losing more crew members and trained military officers, as well as yet another commander of what seemed to be becoming a cursed ship.
But most of all, he felt relief. The emotion didn't surprise him, but its origins did. He could not find the clear, empty space he had forced himself to adopt with his son any longer - the barrier that he'd enacted as soon as he had realized Lee would be forever under his command. The dispassionate commander was replaced - at least by half - by the father Lee had always claimed never existed.
He could be only grateful that he still could claim those rights. So much had happened even before the last month, but Bill had lost a part of himself watching Lee find his way back to the people around him - and back to himself. The idea of losing his son in combat had been a point of reluctant peace within Bill. The fact of almost losing his son to friendly fire in some half-assed hostage situation was something else entirely.
And the small fact of where that friendly fire came from...the Commander inside of William Adama accepted the facts. The father inside of him still seethed at the stupidity of it all. Kara and Lee were both, in a sense, his children. He could mediate as a commander, but after this, what they had needed was a father. And neither wanted to accept him as one - Kara because of her own personal demons, Lee...perhaps for no other reason than the fierce independence he had displayed all his life.
That same independence had left a deep rift between Lee and everyone else for the past month. It had gotten so strained that Adama had finally sent Kara over to the Pegasus just to cut the tension. And of course, just a week later, he'd been forced to send Lee after her to defuse it all again. Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither had ended up in each other's report. Bill could only hope they had finally made peace with each other - and the events of the past month.
There were more important things to address now. Reaching across the desk, Bill picked up the report again, flipping over to the second page to read his son's account of Garner's actions in the rescue attempt. An attempt that, for all intents and purposes, was an act of mutiny.
An attempt followed to relieve Cmdr. Garner of command. Garner exercised control of his crew to retain command. After being escorted off the bridge, the Cylons attacked. Upon my return to CIC, Garner relieved himself to take control of an emergency in engineering. Control of the con given to me. The battle progressed as follows:
The summary belied the impact of the moment. In the span of a few minutes, his son had followed military protocol, been rebuffed, thrown into the heart of battle - and found himself in command of a battlestar. In charge of a crew that had, moments earlier, supported their commander in a situation that had essentially taken the chain of command out of the equation on board the Pegasus.
And in spite of all of that, they followed him without question. Without hesitation.
Did Lee even know what he had accomplished, the talent he had displayed? There was one final, absolute truth about command - it was not given, nor assumed. Command was an instinct, a belief. Men and women would follow - but only if you demanded their respect and attention. Once you lost it, there was little you could do to regain it.
Lee had stepped into the middle of a clusterfrak on board the Beast, and by sheer force of will and personality pulled a ship and its crew out of the fire. Garner would go down as a hero for his act of sacrifice and bravery, but Lee had given them a ship to bring home. The Pegasus and its crew had survived because they had followed their instinct - and followed his son.
All this, and he doesn't even know it.
Adama placed the report back on the desk and picked up the small box he'd retrieved from stores less than an hour ago. He had to make a decision now, one that would, in no dramatic overstatement, affect the lives of the entire fleet. The Pegasus needed a commander, and the admiral of the fleet needed someone there he could trust.
Someone who commanded that crew's respect - and his own. He fingered the box for a moment, and knew that in his mind the decision had already been made - in some ways by the events of the last few hours, in others by the actions of the last six months. This decision frightened him, but also consoled him. More than any other command appointment he had been forced to make, this one had his full trust - in spite of all the events that could have eroded it.
He mutinied once. It could happen again. Bill paused, and then swallowed hard. There were so many old wounds that both of them shared, ones that scarred so deeply he would have sworn nothing would relieve their pain. But something had changed in the past two months - something intangible. It would be easy to say trust had been regained, but it went further than that. He couldn't forgive those actions that had betrayed him, but he could move past them - he had to move past them. There was too much at stake to let the horrors of the past control their future. He only hoped what he saw was not blinded by pride.
He's my son. I can be proud. And we all need what I see in him.
That need would drive the actions. He only hoped love would temper its consequences.