Holy crap. Holy CRAP! It is finished, done – Blurry is DONE! How long has this taken me? *Goes to check dates* 2 ½ years - HOLY CRAP!
Please - read, enjoy, review!
Disclaimer: I own nothing – if I did, there would have been no *poof*
Cottle puffed on his cigarette and grumbled, "I could have you removed from duty and court-marshaled."
Lee's voice was flat and uninterested, "You won't."
"Oh, now you are psychic? Now you can tell the future?"
Lee turned steely eyes to the old man, "You won't. If I were to lose all of that, I might just go beyond insane." A humorless smirk graced his face, "And do you really want two insane pilots on the same ship?"
Cottle forced himself to not role his eyes and slapped a butterfly bandage over the cut on Apollo's eyebrow roughly, "First of all – the other one is currently asleep and will be that way until she is good and ready to wake up. And second - boy, you don't scare me. Nothing does anymore, so stop trying."
He pokes the younger man's ribs with less than tender pressure to gauge if any were cracked, "And if I determine you are no longer fit for duty, you bet your skinny ass I would yank you out of the rotation faster than you can blink. So don't frak with me."
Properly chastised, Lee submitted to the rough examination quietly. His gaze flicked over to the closed off curtain in the far corner, "How is she really?" He asked softly.
Cottle's eyebrow quirked, "The same." He pulled out a cigarette, lit it and tossed the match in a nearby trashcan, "Girls are doing better. While you were going berserk on the entire Marine contingent of Galactica, I drew blood from both – they're stronger. Probably be ready to get out of here soon."
He puffed on the cigarette, watching the younger man thoughtfully, "You thought about what you are going to do when that time comes?"
"Best get to it. Starbuck will wake up when she is damn good and ready – which might not be for a while. For the time being, you have to figure out how to care for those girls."
Lee stepped behind the curtain quietly, afraid to wake the girls up and was pleasantly surprised to see them both awake and alert. A nurse passed by and offhandedly mentioned that they needed to be fed and suggested he get to it.
The medical staff had been expressing Kara's breast milk and freezing it for future use – formula was nearly non-existent in the fleet so it was vital that they store everything they could, not just for his girls, but also for any infants too young for the milk substitute. Luckily, there were two bottles already prepared. Now he just had to figure out how to feed both of them at once.
He eyed Carol and Laura critically. They were both small enough to fit in his lap, together. Might work. He moved the isolette closer to Kara's bed, grabbed a spare pillow from another bed and settled in.
The two looked up at him from the pillow quietly. It was actually somewhat eerie the way they watched everything. He stated at them for several minutes. They were beautiful. He couldn't help but grin, apparently everyone thought they had his ears.
Carol, obviously growing impatient for the bottled, squawked at him. Laura just cooed sweetly. He smiled wryly – he had a feeling this was indicative of how they were going to deal with problems for the rest of their lives.
Marcus was a Cylon on a mission. He needed to gather allies and reverse the idiocy of Cavil's demands. Not only were they selfish but they were also self-serving. Cavil knew very well that the humans would never give into these ridiculous demands – all the excuse Cavil needed to continue to hunt them down like wild dogs.
The problem, as usual was privacy. It was so easy for one Cylon to access another's thoughts and memories. Everyone came in contact with the control stations at various intervals and during that time thoughts could be accessed.
The key would be to pick those who would not arouse suspicion and yet, would still consent to what he was proposing.
No small task.
Hera was scared. She knew that she had to do it, but she was scared and alone. Kasey had been seen as they made their way to the flight deck but Hera managed to slip away. She knew she had only a few minutes to get this done so she knew she needed to hurry, but she felt jittery and like she needed a big drink of water.
She looked down at the grey metal of the flight deck, took a deep breath and made herself move – everyone had a job to do and this was hers. Slipping behind, around and through large piles of shipping containers, plane parts, and scrap metal was easy. No one was really paying attention because the CAP was launching.
Hera finally paused, staring up at the Chief. He had yet to notice her approach, caught up in directing the traffic on the deck. He shouted several orders that made no sense to her then turned, nearly knocking her over.
She glanced up at him, still anxious. She twirled her hair around one of her fingers anxiously and watched him glance around the deck in confusion. "Uh, Hera? Does your mother know where you are?"
She swallowed and shook her head.
"Okay…why don't we find someone to take you…"
Hera lunged, fearing that she wouldn't finish before she got sent back. Snatching his hand she stared up at him and said, "You need to wake up now Galen."
He blinked, suddenly even more confused. "WAKE UP!" Her shout gave everyone on the deck pause. Galen simply rubbed his forehead and motioned for one of the deckhands to get her out of there.
She moved to get away but the deckhand was faster, scooping her up. She, however, decided not to go quietly, "Joker and thief! The Watchtower! Wake up!"
Galen backed up slightly – completely as sea over this strange behavior, nearly tripping. As he moved to right himself a sharp pain flared behind his eye and the song that he had heard in his head for the last few weeks increased in volume…This time accompanied by the words. Though his neck was stiff and it caused him a great deal of pain to turn it, he gazed at the departing toddler with utter amazement. She knew the song. She knew…even when he hadn't .
"Gods damn it you two, Hera – you have worried your mother and I. And Kasey, I can't believe that you would run off like that. Do you know how dangerous some parts of this ship are?!"
Both girls glance at each other appearing only slightly apologetic.
Hera glanced up cautiously at her father, "Bored."
He gave her a stern look, "That didn't give you leave to scare the Hades out of your mother, pulling your disappearing act like that."
He stared at the two little heads and noticed that they were gripping each other's hands as if they were each other's lifeline. He sighed, "You two ever pull anything like that again, I will turn you over my knee – are we clear?"
The two little girls nodded.
Galen lay next to Cally, unable to sleep. Since his encounter with Hera on the deck the strains of the strange music had haunted him. Every once in a while he would mutter some of the tune to himself, wanting to excise it from his brain. Maybe if he could get the song to go away…maybe he could convince himself that Hera was just a little girl and didn't know anything.
He rubbed his face, frustrated. The problem was – he was positive that Hera, and perhaps even Kasey, were a hell of a lot more than either of them seemed. He was also pretty damned sure that he was a fraking skin job.
He glanced toward Nikki's bed and notices that the boy was awake and staring at him. Galen sat up, careful not to wake Cally and moved to pick his son up. He eyed the boy carefully. If he was a Cylon – one of the five unknown, then that made Nikki a hybrid. Like Hera.
He shook his head – now was not the time to think about it. He glanced at the still sleeping Cally and moved toward the hatch. A walk might do the two of them good.
Saul Tigh pounded back another shot of the Chief's rotgut. He hadn't been able to sleep the last few nights because of that damned music echoing in his head. He figured if he just got drunk enough…
Saul snorted, right – drunk enough. Like that had helped last night, or the night before. He shook his head and felt his world twirl pleasantly. Ah, at least he was enjoyably drunk – not shitfaced just yet.
Tory knelt in the lavatory, retching up her dinner. Lately she couldn't keep a Gods damned thing down. The migraine that accompanied that fraking music was making it impossible to do her job. Hell, it was making it impossible to do basic survival tasks.
She leaned back and breathed deeply. Glad that the last of the nausea was past. Though she was sure if she ate anything at all, it would be back in force. She stood up dizzily and stood in front of the sink, staring at herself.
Damn, she looked like a zombie. Her cheeks were sunken, eyes glazed, hair a mess, and she was unusually pale under her naturally tan skin. Maybe it was time to visit a doctor, figure out how to get rid of this migraine…and maybe stop that damn music.
The three Cylons stood, glancing nervously at each other. What they were doing could get them all boxed. It was vital that no trace be left of their interference. Marcus placed his hand in the secondary control panel in the Raider bay with a self-assurance born of the idea that he was saving four innocent beings from a life of torment on this baseship.
An eight, who called herself Tonya, put her hand in the data pool – she hoped she was giving Sharon the help she needed to keep Hera safe and out of Cavil's clutches.
Natalie swallowed nervously. If she did this, if she went through with it…she would lose any chance at all of ever interacting with the infant or Hera. Her lip trembled and her hand shook, hovering above the control panel.
Marcus spoke sharply, "Natalie."
Tonya eyed the two with interest. She had heard of Natalie's hope to raise one of Kara Thrace's twins and was somewhat surprised she agreed to this. For a moment, Toyna was sure she was going to refuse and run to tell Cavil what bad Cylons they had all been – thankfully, she did not. Her hand fell into the gel and she closed her eyes, as if in pain.
The three Cylons concentrated, changing basic subroutines – implanting the belief that the Raiders should protect the final five at all cost. And, since the final five were not among their Cylon brethren, then they must be in the human fleet.
Tonya pulled her hand out first. She shook excess gel off and glanced at her two companions. Marcus nodded at her and Natalie was staring off – looking a little lost.
Marcus pulled the blonde's hand out of the data panel gently, wiping her hand carefully. Tonya watched curiously as Marcus guided the other woman out of the room, presumably to rest.
The CIC was wonderfully quiet. Almost serene, a nice break from the standard half-cocked bustle that usually characterized the atmosphere in the most protected part of the ship. In their previous existence, the saying had been "better busy than bored!" These days the saying was more along the lines of "better bored than running for your fraking lives from homicidal AI technology run amok." Bill Adama would have enjoyed it more if he didn't have so many damned personal problems.
Twins still not ready to be released from lifestation, Kara in the 'not-coma', the return of Laura's cancer, Saul Tigh slowly going out of his fraking mind and he suspected that Lee had something to do with the large numbers of injured Marines. He wanted to slump and sigh – rub the bridge of his nose and have a nice glass of Ambrosia, neat. He wanted one Gods damn fraking thing to go right in this harebrained race across the galaxy.
He allowed himself a small, quiet sigh and glanced at the Dradis consol. At least they weren't fighting for their lives…again…yet.
"Dradis contact! Two baseships coming in hot!"
Frak it all to Hades!
Hera and Kasey watched curiously, as Cottle ran a finger along Carol's foot and watched her toes curl reflexively. "Why do dat?"
He checked off the reflex section of the chart and scowled at the two girls. Muttering to himself about how this was a lifestation, not a daycare center, he went through the list, "Feeding well, reflexes good, sleeping normal, alert when awake." He eyed the two current and two future troublemakers with a slight smile of satisfaction.
"You two, are going to get the hell out of my lifestation soon."
His smirk turned into an all out grin when Laura fussed quietly, Carol yelped loudly, Kasey snickered and Hera grinned at his statement. His grin slipped off his face as he heard the alert – inbound Cylon raiders. "Ishay! Get Thrace strapped down. Martin – help me secure the isolette! Lornez, put those two somewhere out of the way and strap them in!"
Lee was nursing his tightly bound chest when the call went out. He watched as other pilots rushed by and felt…damn stupid. Cottle had grounded him until his rib healed properly. Now he was stuck here when they needed him out there.
"Attention, all pilots report to flight deck. All pilots report to flight deck."
That sealed it. No fraking way was he staying here when he could be out there – making sure his daughters were safe. He quickly grabbed his flight suit and helmet and tore off to the flight deck.
Saul Tigh wandered aimlessly – not sure where the frak he was going. But it was the right direction. Fraking hell he should be in CIC, helping Bill. He even started to turn, but the compulsion to move toward this strange signal was much stronger.
He felt like he blacked out, but he hadn't had a drink in almost 12 hours. He was standing front and center outside an open hatch. The compulsion to move was gone, but the curiosity was now driving him. As he moved through the hatch he glanced up and saw Tory Foster and Galen Tyrol step through their own hatchways.
The damn music in his head stopped an instant before the lights went out.
Ava had been feeling a slight twinge in her back since the start of her shift in CIC. The instant the baseships jumped in she felt the first sharp pain – managing to disguise it in the near panic that ruled for the first few seconds. She forces herself to stand up straight and betray no hurt. Damned if she was going to abandon her post until it was time to fraking push.
The lights flickered and her gaze moved to the Admiral and President. This was not good, with a capital frak. Another pain stuck and she grabbed hold of the center consol. Adama and Roslin were too busy to note it.
Again, she forced herself to stand up straight, "Sir, with the power outage the FTL drives will need at least 20 minutes to spool up."
He stared at her, eyes shining with sadness and a slight touch of fear, "We don't have that much time."
She forced herself to nod at him and ran a hand over her belly. She clenched her jaw, praying to whoever was listening that a miracle was in the works.
Tigh moved with a purpose he had not had in many months. He was his own man. He would choose his own path and he decided that it was alongside Bill Adama and the human Fleet. And damned if he let those mother-fraking toasters blow all that to hell. He strode into CIC with purpose and confidence, stood beside Lt. Ras and pledged himself once again to the Admiral.
He noted Ras' hand gripping the consol in front of her tightly and eyed the short pilot closely for a moment. Noticed when she froze and grimaced and turned to the Admiral, "Lt. Ras is in labor, she should be relieved of duty."
The President and the Admiral turned to look at the woman with utter surprise. She gritted her teeth, "I am fine."
"Lieutenant, you are relieved. Report to lifestation."
"Marine, please escort the lieutenant to lifestation."
The burly marine took hold of her arm gently and guided her to the door.
The trip to the lifestation was an annoying one. The damn marine wouldn't let her stop, even for fraking contractions. Once in the hatch the fraker all but bolted in the direction of CIC.
Ishay's no nonsense voice penetrated her fogged up brain, "How long have you been having contractions?"
Ishay didn't roll her eyes, but she looked like she wanted to, "Right, that's what that one said." She pointed a thumb over her shoulder to where Lynn was lying in a bed sweaty from labor, "And she is about to start pushing."
This was taking way too long. Lynn would admit, privately, that she had probably been in labor for six or so hours…but damn it, it was time for the freeloader to come OUT. Another contraction hit just as the ship rocked from an impact. Lynn watch as Ava was almost thrown out of the bed – would have been if Ishay had been a push over in any sense of the word.
A high-pitched whine pierced through all the noise and bustle and all eyes turned to its source, a monitor in the corner. Kara flat-lined.
Lynn watched helplessly as Kasey screamed Kara's name and threw herself toward the woman who had become a second mother, but Ana was fast – even when in labor. She scooped the girl up, kicking and screaming and held her on Ava's bed. A soft sob sounded from the side of her bed and she saw Hera, tears running down her face.
"Hera, come here up here with me – I need your help."
The little girl glanced up and blinked, sending another wash of tears down her face. Her eyes were far too old as she used the bars and Lynn's help to hop into bed and cuddle, "I don't want her to go."
Lynn winced as another contraction built through her body. She remembered to breath, made a point not to crush the little girl and pushed when the nurse told her to. As the contraction ebbed, Lynn kissed Hera's head lightly, "Nobody does."
Oh Hades no, this woman was not going to die while under his care. No, no, no. He wasn't dealing with any more insane Adamas, he wasn't going to leave the twins crying their hearts out 15 feet away without a mother, and he sure as hell was not letting the legendary Starbuck die on his fracking table!
"Charge!" The high whine of the defibrillator filled the silent lifestation. He placed the paddles on her chest and released the stored electricity. Nothing, not a damn thing, "Again."
Again, and again, and again. Rocked by impacts and getting more and more casualties he was starting to panic. "Come on you stubborn bitch!"
Ava held a sobbing Kasey tightly, felt tears slip down her cheeks as she watched Cottle struggle with Kara only to fail over and over again. None of the new admits said anything – they knew what was happening. It was the most silent she had ever heard the lifestation be. She imagined that it had never been this quiet during battle before, ever.
She heard Cottle practically scream at Kara, watched Ishay stay his hand as he made to shock her again, "15 minutes." Cottle's shoulders slumped and Kasey screamed and tried to struggle again.
"One more." Hera's soft voice was almost like a shout. Ava turned and looked at Hera, standing stiffly on Lynn's bed, "One more." No one moved and her voice got louder and more insistent, "One more!" Still no one moved and Hera finally lost it, "One more, one more, ONE MORE!"
The doctor clenched his jaw and nodded, "Ishay, crank it to maximum."
It was like being shot out of the launch tubes at about 50,000 times normal speed. Kara felt the stinging burn of an electrical shock move through her chest and the involuntary arch of her back. Her eyes flew open and she grabbed for the nearest thing – which turned out to be Doc Cottle's forearm, "What the frak did you just do to my chest?!"
She blinked blurrily, had a hard time making things out but was positive Cottle was staring at her dumbfounded. In fact, she got the feeling a lot of people were.
She heard the girls crying and tried to sit up and go to them, but was easily subdued by three pairs of hands, "We…we'll bring them to you."
Natalie watched the dradis screen as the fleet, minus one destroyed ship disappeared. She supposed her grief would make it easier to convince Cavil that she had nothing to do with the Raider glitch – he thought she was too invested in gaining control of one of the infants. She forced herself to swallow several times, clenched her jaw to keep from crying. She could do that in private – away from Cavil and his allies.
She felt Marcus' gaze on her and felt a brief flash of rage – he took away her only chance…She shook her head. It did no good to second guess now.
He was coughing up blood before the plane hit the deck. And if he thought the launch had hurt like a mother fracker…he was wrong. The sudden stop was much, much worse than the pressure of the tube.
"Frak me sideways, get me in the Gods damn bay!"
"You're third in line Major."
"I'm coughing up blood in here!"
There was a short pause followed by the Chief's dry voice, "You are up next. Sit tight – two minutes tops."
The next few minutes were a blur; he was able to yank off his helmet before another coughing fit deposited his blood on the Chief's clean deck.
"Damn it Apollo, always gotta mess up my pretty deck."
He gasped, surprised he had it in him to laugh, "Yeah, you know me."
He heard Tyrol chuckle merrily before shouting, "Get him to lifestation, RFN."
Lee happily let the two Marines take most of his weight.
It was a Gods damn circus in lifestation when his escort dropped him off. Ishay and another nurse he didn't remember were helping Lynn with the baby, Ava was shouting loudly, Hera and Kasey were sitting in the corner with their ears covered comically, Cottle was running around trying to help multiple patients at once, and one of the twins was crying.
Ishay detached herself from Lynn and moved to him, "What's wrong with you now?"
"Coughing up blood."
She eyed his flight suit with slight derision, "Idiot."
He shrugged, "I do what I can."
"Go sit with your family – Cottle will get to you when he can."
He intended to, really. But he took one step and got dizzy, another and he stumbled. He could have sworn her heard Kara cursing a blue streak at him as he passed out.
He came to with a penlight shoved in his face and winced away, "Ah, decided to join us Apollo? How good of you."
His limbs felt heavy and his voice was slurred, "What'd you gi me?"
"What the fraker refused to give me when I was in labor."
His head whipped around, causing another wave of dizziness. He blinked several times and felt his head sway, "Kara?"
"Damn skippy, you stupid fraker. There is a reason you aren't supposed to fly with a broken rib." She shook her head in disgust, "This just proves two things: I am better than you and you are an idiot."
He let his head thunk back onto the bed, "Right, whatever you say babe."
"Did you just call me babe?!"
Lifestation had finally settled down - Lynn and Ava had delivered healthy baby boys (all sleeping), most of those injured in the engagement were gone, Kacey was snoozing on the foot of Kara's bed, Hera was supposedly tucked in tight with her parents, and the lights were dim. Kara smiled slightly – glad for the peace. She was breastfeeding Laura who kept falling asleep and waking back up. That was fine though, she wasn't tired. Carol lay passed out between Kara's legs, absently chewing on her fist.
A soft groan from the bed beside hers made her giggle quietly, "'S not funny, Kara."
"Sure it is. I am the one supposed to pull stunts like that."
"Had to. Had to make it safe for them."
A soft smile spread across her face, of course he did. Big fraking hero complex. She stroked the back of Laura's hand absently, "What happened?"
"We gotta way, thatz what." She rolled her eyes.
"Thank you Captain Obvious."
He snorted, "That's Major Obvious to you!"
They both chuckled, though Lee winced each time. She eyed the two girls and looked at Lee's bed speculatively. Laura finally fell asleep for real, which allowed Kara to set her down and hop out of bed. Well, climb gingerly like an old woman and shuffle over to Lee's bed.
She whispered, "Lee?"
His eyes popped wide open and he blinked, "Really?"
Her eyes rolled to the ceiling, "No frakwit, I only said that to get your attention." She pinched him semi-lightly,
"Ow!" He frowned at her, rubbing his bicep.
"Gods Kara…punctured lung here!"
She quirked her lip and shrugged. She examined him closely, noting the lost weight and hollowed eye look, probably not getting enough sleep. She noticed that his eyes were drifting shut again, but he had a satisfied smirk on his face. She couldn't help it, she giggled…Kara Thrace, giggled.
"Frak, Kara – I love you too! Now can I sleep?"
Her voice is both bland and amused, "Oh the romance, Lee – I feel faint." She put a hand to her forehead dramatically.
He sighed, "Kara – I love you with everything I have. I also would love to get some sleep – the girls are early risers."
She huffed quietly, "Fine, but I have to tell you something first."
His lids drift open slightly and he regards her with amusement and a tiny bit of arousal, "What?"
She leaned in to whisper into his ear, "Lee, I've seen it. I've seen Earth."
A perplexed look passed over his face, "Yeah, I know. We saw it together."
She shook her head and gave him a very Starbuck grin, "No, I know where it is – and I'm going to take us there!"
Well, there you have it. Blurry is done. I might add an epilogue later – haven't decided yet. I would also like to thank all of my lovely reviewers – ya'll rock, especially those that commented on multiple chapters (a lot of you did, so…I won't list you all out - cause my brain is completely fried – just know that I love you all!). I enjoyed hearing what you all thought (psst. You still have to review this chapter!)
Anyways – now I am going to take a few days to rest my poor brain and then get to work on Betrayals and Chiron...and maybe something else that I have running around in my head.