Chapter One

Every time he closes his eyes he sees her face.

Bruised and bloodied, but her eyes are still defiant and full of purpose as they lock with his.

Every time it's quiet he hears her voice in his ears, fierce and insistent.

"Promise me you won't give in, whatever they do. Promise me you won't let them win. Promise me, Lee."

He promised.

His promise to her is what keeps him going.

----

Lee spent most nights at the resistance camp doing sentry duty at the lookout, a platform they'd rigged up in one of the trees. He didn't sleep much these days anyway, only when he was so exhausted that he was willing to risk the nightmares. He might as well do something useful with his wakeful nights.

He liked it up on the lookout. It was nice to sit looking at the glow from the lights of New Caprica town in the distance and feel the wind in his face after being cooped up in the caves for hours on end. He knew the caves were the logical choice for the resistance base, were what had kept them hidden from the Cylons for so long, but he still hated them. Seized every opportunity to get out of them. Sentry duty was a way to escape both the smothering rock walls and the people packed in there with him.

Cally often joined him on those nights at the lookout. She didn't sleep much either, since the Cylons took her baby away.

He didn't mind her company, because she didn't say much. Just stood on the edge of the platform, staring out over the treetops. Some nights she stared down at the ground, and he wondered if he should say something, draw her back from the edge.

He never did, though. It wasn't his place.

Tonight she was staring out over the treetops, and it was several hours before she spoke.

"She's out there somewhere, you know."

Lee didn't have to ask who she meant. He knew.

"I just wonder if I'll ever find her again. Galen says we will, but then he would, wouldn't he?" She laughed harshly. "He thinks I can't cope with anything else."

"You can cope," said Lee. He was sure of that. One night she had told him what happened to her in the Cylons' prison. If she could survive that, she could survive anything.

"I'm glad you think so." She turned to look at him. He could just see the deep shadows under the eyes in the moonlight. "Do you think I'll find her, Lee?"

He didn't know what to say to that. Wasn't sure what she wanted him to say. Did she want comfort, want reassurance? He didn't feel capable of giving her either of those things.

"I don't know," he said honestly, "but-"

"But what?"

"Did you ever expect to get out of that Cylon prison alive?"

"No," said Cally slowly.

"Neither did I." He shrugged. "But here we are."

"Yes, here we are." Her face twisted suddenly, and she turned back to the treetops. "For what good it does us."

Lee didn't reply.

"We're going to make the frakkers pay though," said Cally after a moment, looking at the lights on the horizon. "For what they did to us. Aren't we, Lee?"

He knew the answer to this one.

"Yes. We're going to make them pay."

----

The target was a Cylon weapons cache. The resistance were short on weapons, and even lower on ammunition. As usual.

It was supposed to be lightly guarded, but when they got there they found two Centurions at the entrance and another patrolling the perimeter. There were six of them on the mission, but they only had two guns loaded with explosive rounds.

Tyrol cursed fervently. "We can't take down all three of them. The other one will come running at the first sign of trouble-"

He went on about possible plans of action, pros and cons, getting reinforcements, but Lee tuned him out. There was no need for discussion. He could see exactly what had to be done, and he was going to do it.

"I'll get rid of two of them for you." He picked up one of the guns with explosive rounds.

Tyrol caught his arm. "What the hell are you doing?"

Lee shook him off impatiently. "Distracting the guards."

"Don't be a fool! It's far too dangerous."

"It's the only way we're going to get that ammo. Do you want it or don't you?"

"That's not the point," said Tyrol sharply. "We can find another way to do this-"

Lee cut him off. He'd had enough of this. "Or I can just distract the guards."

"Apollo, stay here!" Tyrol was glaring at him now. "That's an order!"

Lee couldn't help laughing at that. "Orders? We're not in the fleet any more, Tyrol, or hadn't you noticed?"

"Tigh put me in charge-"

Lee didn't bother to listen to the rest. He'd had enough. "Get the ammo," he hissed at Tyrol, and then ran out of cover before the other man could stop him.

Straight across the clearing in front of the cache and into the woods again, in the direction the patrolling Centurion had gone. A few rounds whistled over his head, but they didn't touch him. He made the tree cover, and he could hear one of the Centurions pounding along behind him.

He lifted his pace. He'd always been a fast runner, and he had no intention of being caught just yet. He dodged fallen branches, leaped over dips in the ground. He needed to draw the Centurion as far from the cache as possible.

His pursuer was still firing; a shot took down a branch over his head and he nearly fell over it. Another clipped his arm, but the pain barely registered.

He could hear the Centurion gaining on him; the metal thump as it moved was closer now. He waited; he needed to let it get as close as possible, so he could make sure he got a headshot.

Closer, closer…the noise of the Centurion was louder now, so loud…

He stopped abruptly in front of a large tree and turned.

The Centurion was nearly on him. He quickly took aim and fired.

Dead on target. It exploded, and Lee laughed - then stopped abruptly as the branch next to his head shattered.

The patrolling Centurion, attracted by the gunfire, had found him.

Nowhere to run this time. Lee fired as the Centurion came crashing towards him, but he missed the head. It kept on coming.

Suddenly pain bloomed across the ribs on his left side; he looked down to see a dark patch spreading across his jacket. He gritted his teeth, but kept on firing. Just one clean shot…that's all he needed.

Last round. He took a breath and squeezed the trigger…and the Centurion's head exploded.

Silence.

Lee slid down against the trunk of the tree. His legs were shaking so much they wouldn't support him any more.

Two more Cylons down, he thought, and smiled.

----

Cottle scowled at him and gave him a worn strip of leather to bite down on while he stitched up the two wounds.

"I'm not wasting good pain meds on damn fools like you."

Afterwards Lee put his head down on the pillow and waited for the giddiness and nausea to go away. As his head cleared he realised he could hear Cottle talking to someone the other side of the makeshift curtain.

"He'll be fine, but he's damn lucky to still be here."

"I know." That was Tigh. "I had the whole story from Tyrol."

"I've told you before he's not fit to be going out on missions-"

"I know!" Tigh again, ripe with irritation. "But who else do I have to send?"

"Have it your way. I'm just not looking forward to telling the Admiral we let his son get himself killed."

Tigh sighed. "Can't you talk to him?"

"I've tried," Cottle snapped. "Hell, everyone's tried. Even Roslin, and if he won't listen to her, no-one else has a chance in hell."

"Never thought I'd be saying this," said Tigh wryly, "but where's Starbuck when you need her?"

Lee closed his eyes.

----

He took sentry duty again that night. His wound screamed in protest as he climbed up to the platform, and he could feel something wet soaking through his bandage, but he ignored it. He'd face Cottle's wrath in the morning.

He just couldn't bear to stay in the caves tonight.

For the first hour he stood at the edge of the platform looking down, as Cally had done the night before.

Cottle shouldn't worry about facing his father. The fleet wasn't coming back. When the survival of the human race was at stake, you had to save who you could and move on. Abandon those who fell behind. Just as Roslin had on the first day of the war, when they left the ships without FTL drives behind. It was hard, but it had to be done.

He looked down, at the dark mossy ground far below. It would be so easy. Just one step-

"Promise me you won't give in, whatever they do. Promise me you won't let them win. Promise me, Lee."

He stepped back. No escape that way. He'd promised her he'd keep fighting, and he would. He thought of Cally last night.

We're going to make them pay.

He couldn't let her down either.

It wouldn't be long anyway. They were fighting a losing battle here, they all knew it. Every week they lost more people, supplies ran lower, the Cylons got a little closer.

It would all be over soon, one way or another.