A/N: I was originally planning to have this thing done in May or June, but a whole 'nother couple of scenes popped into my head and WOULDN'T GO AWAY, despite how monumentally silly they were (you'll see what I mean). Hence, the chapter is about twice as long and thrice as late as I first intended.
Zarek smiled his most charming smile at Cottle. "Doctor, could I speak with you alone for a moment?"
Cottle frowned at him, then nodded and led him over to a more secluded corner of the infirmary. "All right, Zarek, what can I do for you?" he asked, lighting a fresh cigarette. "I'll tell you right now, if surgery is what it takes to get that thing off your face, I'll clear my schedule."
Sighing, Zarek removed the moustache and tucked it into his shirt pocket. Rest easy for now, my friend, he thought. You shall be avenged.
Cottle started to say something, doubtless cutting and moustache-related, but this time it was Zarek who interrupted him. "Doctor Cottle, can we be honest with each other?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Sure, why not. I know that most of the time I repress too much."
Zarek smiled good-naturedly as he inwardly retained a death-grip on what little remained of his patience. "Indeed. Look, I see that you're busy, Doctor, so I'm just going to tell you what I want so you can give it to me, and then I'll be on my way. Does that work for you, Doctor?" Just the faintest hint of patronization crept into the Vice President's voice.
Cottle eyed him suspiciously, and not just because it had been a long, long time since anyone had been stupid enough to patronize Doctor frakkin' Cottle. "Depends on what you want."
"The confidential medical records of the senior members of the Galactica crew and the civilian government."
A long, long drag on the cigarette, and an equally long exhalation. "That's it, huh?"
"I assure you there's a vitally important reason for it, but unfortunately it's very, very confidential," Zarek said in the most gravitas-loaded tone he could muster, which, considering that it was Tom Zarek talking, was a hell of a lot of gravitas. "Government business, you see. I'm sure you'll understand."
Cottle nodded contemplatively, put out his cigarette in a nearby ashtray (the Galactica's infirmary was unique in the annals of Colonial medical history in that it was the only medical facility ever to have more ashtrays than medical equipment), straightened his white coat, and cleared his throat. He didn't get many opportunities to tell Vice Presidents where to shove it (although the last holder of that position had provided him ample opportunities for ordinary insults), and wanted to make this count.
"Mr. Zarek, considering that I was aware of the President's cancer before most of the human race, was in on the President's plan to escape this ship and her plan to get rid of the hybrid kid, and have seen the inside of Adama's intestines (the man needs to eat more fibre, if you ask me), I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty much in the loop on most of the stuff that goes on around here. I definitely would have been told about any secretive medical stuff. Which makes me think that you're pulling some crap with me, Zarek. So let me ask you this: can you give me one good reason why the hell I would give you the confidential records on anybody?"
Zarek smiled again, a bit more toothily this time. He'd hoped it would come to this. "Let me put it this way, Doctor," he said smoothly. "Have you ever heard the phrase, 'physician, heal thyself?"
"All the time, usually just before some idiot makes a crack about my smokes. You don't wanna do that, Mr. Vice-President, trust me."
"I see. And what about the phrase, 'physician, heal thyself from a point-blank gunshot wound to the head delivered when you least expect it?' Is that one familiar?"
"That's a new one on me," Cottle admitted.
"Yeah, there's a reason for that, Doctor." Another smile. "Do we understand each other?"
"I'm starting to understand that you're the sort of guy who makes sticking to the Hippocratic Oath awful hard." Cottle looked long and hard at the Vice President. "Say, you wouldn't happen to have been experiencing any back or neck pain, stiffness, anything like that?"
Tom was taken aback by the apparent non-sequiter. "Um… well, I'm not as young as I used to be, and there are the occasional cricks, but…"
"That's good enough for me. I happen to be a fully licensed chiropractor, and I'm prescribing an immediate spinal readjustment." Cottle cracked his knuckles. "You may feel a small amount of pain, followed by a really large amount of pain and a temporary inability to pull any more crap with me."
"Don't even think abo-" Zarek's words were cut off as Cottle's rough, strong hands suddenly seized him by the back of the neck and pulled. Tom gasped as his felt his spinal cord pop and stretch, none too pleasantly. Reacting swiftly, he stomped hard on Cottle's feet as the Doctor shoved him against a wall and began uncomfortably probing his backbone, but the multiple layers of tapped-off cigarette ash on Cottle's shoes had formed a sort of sedimentary substance comparable to rock, shielding his feet from Zarek's flailing. Around them, the patients and medics of Galactica's infirmary went about their pantless business without batting an eye at two of the most important people in the Fleet locked in mortal struggle.
Trying to strike back, Zarek spun around and reached for Cottle's neck, trying to catch him in Tom's patented, worlds-famous Sagittarion Soul Strangler. But before Zarek's hands could achieve a suitably trachea-crushing purchase, Cottle's hands found a vertebrae in the small of his back and pushed it inwards as though it was a button. A very, very painful button.
Suddenly, Zarek couldn't move. His limbs were stiff and every inch of his body tingled, courtesy of Cottle's ministrations upon one of the more sensitive nerve clusters. But he was not numb enough to be spared pain and agony as the Doctor turned him back around and began to do things to his spine and nervous system which Zarek would have previously thought impossible. Pinned helplessly, the Vice President of the Colonies could do nothing but open his mouth and begin to scream.
Meanwhile, aboard Colonial One, Admiral Adama listened intently to Lieutenant Gaeta on the phone. In front of him, President Laura Roslin sat patiently as she waited to resume their meeting, which, so far, had been like all their other meetings: an excruciatingly awkward attempt to conduct the business associated with the survival of the human race without being distracted by any sort of tension, sexual or otherwise. Like all their other meetings, the second part of this attempt had been a complete failure.
"I understand, Lieutenant. Evacuate the infirmary, tell no one to interfere and keep me informed. Adama out." He set down the phone and sighed.
"Trouble?" Roslin asked.
"My ship's doctor appears to be beating the living hell out of your Vice-President."
"Admiral, do you ever worry that we pretty much let the Doctor do whatever he wants?"
Roslin smiled. Adama hated it when she smiled. It was the kind of smile that made it impossible for him to be badass. In fact, sometimes when she smiled that smile the Admiral got a sudden, inconceivable urge to give up his entire career, never again roll the hard six, and spend the rest of his life doing things to Roslin that the electorate would probably rather not know about. "He has saved both our lives," she said. "Besides, who would stop him?"
"Mm-hrrm." Adama nodded, and sipped his drink. "And I can't muster a lot of emotion on Tom Zarek's behalf." He scowled suddenly, and picked up the phone again. "Lieutenant Gaeta? If I remember correctly, I wanted this scotch neat." Faintly, Roslin could hear frantic excuses, pleading, and then sobbing coming over the phone. "We'll discuss this upon my return, Lieutenant, during my foot rub." Adama said. "Now then, where were we?"
Roslin cleared her throat. "Actually, Admiral, this reminds me. Specialist Cally came to see me today about her husband's workload."
"Really?" Adama frowned. "I didn't know Cally was enough of a big shot to get an appointment with the President."
"She was… insistent." Roslin's hand reached up to touch her ear, making sure her hair concealed the teeth marks. "Apparently, as a favour to you, Chief Tyrol is currently cleaning Galactica's entire small ship complement with a single handkerchief."
"Yes he is. Doing a good job too," Adama said. "You know, if Cally gives you trouble, you can always airlock her. There's not many who'd miss her."
"Bill…" Roslin said softly. She leaned across the table and took his hand. "I know that there is almost no one in the Fleet who has worked harder to ensure the survival of humanity than you. I know that every one of us owes you his or her life at least once or twice over. I know that you're one hell of an Admiral, and that dropping the Galactica into New Caprica's atmosphere was, quite simply, awesome. And I know damn well that you're fully entitled to indulge yourself a little and expect some gratitude from everyone as a result of all this."
"But…" she continued as she took Adama's other hand, which was notably sweaty at this point, "One of the reasons I've always admired you is your selflessness, and your absolute responsibility… how you never, ever flinch at all the stuff that gets put on your shoulders, and never ask for any reward." And then she smiled.
Adama knew resistance was futile against that smile. He let go of her hands- reluctantly- and picked up the phone again.
"Cancel my foot rub."
"Cancel filming on Pimp My CIC and Pimp my Quarters, as well as Pimp my Log Book."
"Remove the chandelier from CIC."
"Return all suits, alcohol, furniture, and bling to their respective owners."
"Right away, sir."
"And dispose of the… exotic herbal collectio-ow!" Roslin kicked him under the table. He looked at her, and she shook her head.
"Belay that last, Lieutenant Gaeta. The herbs stay." Roslin smiled. "Finally, tell Chief Tyrol to take the rest of the day off."
"Very good sir." Gaeta paused. "Um… will there be anything else sir?"
"Hrm? Oh, yeah. Tell everyone they can put their pants back on."
"Thank you, sir," said Gaeta, whose legs had been getting rather chilly.
"That'll be all, Lieutenant."
Zarek awoke slowly and painfully. Every single part of his body was in exquisite agony- except for his spine, which felt younger than it had in years.
The last thing he remembered was Cottle talking, no doubt saying something witty and triumphant, while turning Tom's spine into a pretzel. Apparently someone had been considerate enough to return him to his quarters aboard the Astral Queen after he'd lost consciousness. Upon careful consideration, Zarek was unable to think of a single other thing which had gone right in a scheme which had pretty much hit rock bottom.
Tom hadn't gotten to where he was today by being stupid. He had nothing to show for his clever planning and fashionable moustache except major physical trauma and a bunch of dirty secrets too unspeakable for even Zarek to contemplate. Clearly it was time to give the whole thing up and focus on more important things.
Despite his body's strongly expressed wishes to not get up, nor, in fact, to do any sort of movement ever again, Zarek got up. He went to his desk. He got paper and a pen. And he started getting some real work done.
I like you. Do you like me?
MEANWHILE, ON THE BASESTAR CYLONICA…
"All right," the Cylon known as Boomer said to her assembled compatriots on the Basestar bridge, "before this meeting gets underway, we have a minor issue to address. Caprica? D'Anna?"
"Yes?" The two blondes said in way-too-innocent unison.
"Your sisters have been complaining again. This has to stop."
Caprica-Six and D'Anna Biers exchanged looks. "We really don't see the problem," Caprica said.
Boomer frowned. "Look, it's bad enough that you're in this messed-up threesome with a human-"
"A human who talks to himself," Cavil put in.
"-with a human," Boomer continued, "who quite possibly exemplifies all the reasons we tried to wipe them out in the first place. But for the human to be constantly mixing you up with the other Sixes and Threes? They don't like being randomly groped, and he doesn't seem to like being kicked in the crotch. Maybe if the two of you wore name tags or something?"
"Name tags?" asked Caprica.
"Or something," Boomer said. "I mean, it's not as though you enjoy seeing Baltar constantly embarrassed, confused, ostracized and terribly… amusingly… hurt…" Boomer looked thoughtful. "Hmm."
"Hmm indeed," said D'Anna, smiling.
"Moving on then," said Boomer. "It's been a while since the humans escaped New Caprica, and I think we've all noticed a certain lack of direction in our attempts to exterminate them since then. This isn't acceptable. We're the Cylons, and we're supposed to Have A Plan."
"Excellent point," Leoben said. "And do you know what's a fantastic way of gaining direction and guidance? Divine inspiration. Which I just happen to have a lot of."
"Oh, not this again," sighed Cavil, putting his head in his hands.
"Now, I have been in regular touch with the Almighty from the get-go," Leoben said. "We're totally tight. And He, in His infinite wisdom, has been beaming me miraculous messages directly into my brain which have one, single, overriding theme. What God wants from us right now, people, is-"
"Leoben, I am telling you right now," D'Anna interrupted. "if the words 'Starbuck', 'Kara', 'Thrace', 'destiny', 'frak', 'love', or any variations on them come out of your mouth, I'm calling an airlock vote."
"Yes, please," said Caprica. "You're not the only religious fanatic around here, you know. God never seems to tell the rest of us that your perverted stalking carries with it divine blessing."
"You just aren't as immersed in His will as I am," Leoben said. "I'll have you know that the Hybrids always back me up on this. God. Wants. Me. To. Bone. Thrace."
"Bone her hard."
"It's destiny, you see."
"That does it, we're boxing him," Declared Caprica.
"One moment, Caprica," Doral said. "Leoben, how can you claim that the Hybrids share your obsession? They always speak gibberish."
"Maybe to someone who's not God's bestest friend in the whole world they do," Leoben scoffed. "But to someone with divine favour- like me- it's obvious that 'hydrogen cosmic puppy line goop quintillion duckie' translates to sweet, sweet Starbuck lovin."
"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you yet more proof of my "There Is No God" thesis," Cavil proclaimed. "Now, if you'd all just listened to me and not gotten on this god-kick-"
"Okay, enough," said Boomer. "Leoben, traumatize us on your own time. Cavil, no blasphemy at meetings. Moving on..."
"I actually got her to kiss me, y'know. All it took was trapping her for months in a hellish, perverted fake marriage, plus a fake kid and me being stabbed to death a few times. Not a bad deal, as far as I'm-"
"Leoben. Shut up. Now. Does anyone have any non-insane suggestions to get our genocide back on track?"
"I have some suggestions, if I may," Simon spoke up.
Boomer wrinkled her face. "Um… which one were you again?"
"I'm Simon. I'm the guy who took Thrace's ovaries?"
"Which makes you a wonderful person," Leoben said dreamily.
"Leoben, shut the frack up. Random guy, go back to your corner and don't say anything else," Boomer said.
"This is ridiculous," Simon protested. "There are only seven of us, and I'm the only black guy! How can you not-"
"Hey! Corner! Now!" Boomer ordered. "D'Anna, if there's any more outbursts from the psycho, the heathen, or whathisface, you know what to do."
"I think this is very unfair. It's not my fault I've been underus-"
"AY-YI-YI-YI!" Three screamed as she hurled a chakram into Simon's chest.
"Thank you, D'Anna," Boomer said as Simon crumpled to the floor. "Now then…"
Doral cleared his throat. "People, I think it's clear by now that we're getting nowhere." He paused to look around for dissenting opinions, and saw none. "Now we can stay here killing each other until the season finale, or we can try something drastic to improve our focus and boost our creativity."
"What are you suggesting, Doral?" Boomer asked.
"Well… none of us are going to like it," Doral admitted. "But the good news is, it involves freaking out Baltar."
Agreement came swiftly after that.
"Look, all I am saying," Gaius Baltar said to the empty air in his quarters, "is if you can see the bloody future, it really shouldn't be that hard for you to, to help me out a little with telling the Threes and Sixes apart. I mean, it's not like you enjoy seeing me kicked in the crotch, right? Right?"
"Crazytime's over, Gaius," said Boomer as she marched into the room at the head of a procession of skinjobs and Centurions. "Here, take the kid for a while." She shoved a very confused Cylon-Human hybrid baby into the arms of a very confused Baltar. Things were not helped any by the fact that every non-metal Cylon was dressed fit for a Broadway revue.
"What… what's going on?" he stammered. Hera burped a similar sentiment.
"It's the end of the fanfiction, Gaius," Head-Six whispered in his ear from out of nowhere. "Time for the big musical finale."
On cue, an entire wall of Baltar's room slid aside to reveal an old-fashioned wooden stage, which the Cylons promptly mounted. The Centurions' armoured chests opened up to reveal state-of-the-art speakers throbbing within.
"What?" Gaius said again. Hera gurgled.
And then the guitars started.
And the Cylons started dancing. Even the Centurions.
(Incidentally, the stage and speakers were installed before the attack on the Twelve Colonies for the planned Cylon Victory Bash which was supposed to celebrate the reduction of human civilization to radioactive ash. The party was eventually called off on account of the Cylons realizing that, infinite copies or not, a party with just seven people is still going to suck.)
"This- this is astounding," Baltar stammered. "Look, time is fleeting… and, and this madness… it takes its toll."
"Listen closely, Gaius," Head-Six murmured insistently.
"Not for very much longer," Baltar warned halfheartedly, eying the showgirl outfits the female Cylons were wearing. "I've got to keep control," he reminded himself before he did anything foolish.
Suddenly, Boomer burst into song.
"I remember," she proclaimed,
"doing the mind warp,
Drinking those moments when
I was the angstiest Cylon,
And everyone was watching…
Hey! Let's do the mind warp again!"
The assembled Cylons immediately took on Boomer's enthusiasm. "LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!"
As they began discussing improbable mindraks to throw at the Colonials, Head-Six began whispering to Baltar, pointing at Leoben.
"He causes Thrace's death,
But she'll be alright!
He'll kiss her on the lips,
While she dreams in the night!
But it's her Mommy issues,
Which really drive her insane-"
"LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!" Another bellowing chorus from the more tangible Cylons, who were really getting into it.
"Three should die!" Simon said. He was immediately decapitated by the Cylon in question, but the damage was done.
"While looking for the Eye!" They chorused. "She'll be seeing signs…"
"And Cavil will get all the best lines!" Doral suggested. The clergyman promptly celebrated this by throwing up the horns, as the rest of the Cylons finished off:
"Boomer will go crazy,
And try to off the baby… Yeah!
LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!"
All this chorus work was depriving Caprica-Six of her rightful place as centre of attention, so she seized this moment to launch into a solo:
"I'll pop over to the humans, turn into a fink,
'Cause Boomer's mind is on the brink!
Baltar will haunt me, tell how did Ellen die,
And I'll get a slap-fight with Colonel Tigh!
I'll have three-way visions and that'll be strange,
And Hera will be the centre of the story again!"
"LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!" The Cylons rang out.
"Don't forget the dirty tricks,
Courtesy of Jimi Hendrix!
They cause four of the Five,
To finally come alive!
And most of the time nobody sees us,
While Baltar starts to look like Jesus!
A great big speech by Lee,
And that's all for Season Three! Yeah!
LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!"
Head-Six began whispering to Baltar again.
"Starbuck comes back from her death,
And it's a hell of a sight!
She appears with the Fleet's ships,
Says she's a guiding light!
But it's Earth's pull-out shot,
That really drives you insane!"
She was suddenly drowned out by the Cylons building to a climax.
"LET'S DO THE MIND-WARP AGAIN!" They cried.
"LET'S DO THE-"
"Wait wait wait wait wait!" Cried one of the Leobens suddenly, arms in the air. "Hold it! Hold everything! I just got an IM from God." He paused, took a deep breath. "He says that although 'All Along the Watchtower's' definitive cover version was recorded by Jimi Hendrix, the song itself was originally written and performed by Bob Dylan."
"Oh." Caprica-Six looked crestfallen. "Well, that doesn't work at all then."
Doral agreed. "Might as well forget the whole thing." Apparently This was the cue for every single Cylon in the room to collapse on the floor and stop moving.
Baltar looked at them. They very obstinately did not look back. He tried to think of something intelligent or even sane to say, but all that came out was, "Say! Do any of you guys know the Madison?" Which, given the context, didn't even make sense.
No one answered. Baltar lifted up Hera, who had remained blessedly silent through the whole performance, and looked in her face for an answer. To his surprise, he got one.
She spoke to him in a deep voice. "This is indeed a disturbing universe."
This was the last straw for Baltar. He fainted.
A/N: That's about as far as I can drag this particular parody without having it fall into insanity… although that line may have been crossed when Rocky Horror got mixed with Cylons. Oh, well. There'll be a sort-of sequel picking up on Zarek's hopelessly cute crush on Roslin… hopefully before Season 4 starts. Because like I said, shit happens too damn fast on this show for me to keep up.
Thanks to everyone who read this story and especially those who took the time to tell me they liked it; looking back on its silly beginnings with Zarek and a stuffed daggit, I'm glad that I was able to make this many people laugh with this story.