Title: Half Life - 25/27?
Author: Elise/Ringred
Date: 8/28/2007
Rating: M or R for violence
Category: AU, Angst, Drama, possibly with some humor mixed in.
Warnings: Angst, Language, Violence
Spoilers: Anything that's been aired in the US. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Pairing: Lee/Kara, we're getting there. Lee/Dee sank. Sam/Jean are also married. Helo/Athena are still married. Hints of Roslin/Adama.
Word Count: Microsoft Word says…2632
Disclaimers: Alas, I own nothing...but we all have our dreams.
Summary: Starbuck died tragically over five years ago. The Fleet mourned and moved on with their lives. What happens when the lost daughter is returned to the Fleet? Will she ever find herself again? Is there anywhere she belongs?

Notes: Thanks to everyone who reviewed last chapter. I really appreciate it. I tried to reply to everyone. I'm so thankfully for all of you that have been reading since the beginning. It's hard to believe that I've been working on this for so many months now and we're finally getting to the end. I hope you like the end of the ride.

This chapter is kind of the beginning of the end. We're not quite to the REALLY deep emotional resolution yet, but we're getting there. I'm trying to show that Kara has made the majority of her journey now. She's finally accepted herself and her new role. And I had to throw a few more revelations in there...lol...but keep in mind that I am a happy ending kinda girl.

Please let me know what you think! You guys keep me writing. Thank you for your support.

Here goes...

Chapter Twenty Five

Location: Colonial One

Admiral Adama wasn't surprised to find President Roslin leaning over her cluttered desk when he entered her office on Colonial One. He knew she'd been working obsessively on translating the logs from the beacon over the last week. She was currently arranging the massive heap of papers on her desk into two more-manageable piles. Laura paused and sighed. She reached up to take off her glasses and rub her eyes. The Admiral took the opportunity to clear his throat and draw her attention.

After jumping slightly, Roslin regained her composure and turned to face him with a weary smile. "Bill."

Returning Laura's smile and resisting the urge to reprimand her for overworking herself, the Admiral walked forward. "You needed to see me?"

Roslin opened her mouth to reply, but then stopped herself. She wasn't sure where to begin. Waving her hand, Laura indicated the stacks of translations she'd been working through. "All of this has happened before and will happen again."

The Admiral clutched his left wrist with his right hand in front of him and waited for Roslin to continue.

Laura took another moment to gather her thoughts. She folded her reading glasses and sat them down on an open spot on her desk. Turning once more to face the Admiral, Laura leaned back against the edge of the desk and spoke. "It seems your Captain Thrace is not the first human to be a chosen vessel for the gods' will. When the Thirteenth tribe made their great journey across the stars in search of a new home, they carried with them a guide as well."

The Admiral blew out a long breath. He shook his head. "This information was in the beacon?"

Roslin nodded slowly. Her eyes were carefully guarded. "At the Chosen One's instruction, the Thirteenth tribe chronicled their journey and stored the information inside several beacons they dropped along the way. She told them the beacons would serve a higher purpose, that they would guide a future group of their brothers and sisters home. The tribe didn't fully understand the Chosen One's meaning, but their trust in her vision was absolute. They followed her instructions to the letter and dropped the beacons at each point she indicated. Each beacon containing more information, more logs of their trials and struggles, than the one before."

He needed to sit down. The Admiral moved to the closest chair and took a seat. He lifted his hands to rub his face. This was so much to take in. William Adama had never been a religious man, but it was becoming quite obvious that his life and the lives of his people were in the hands of the gods. His daughter was their tool. His mission to follow a path of their design. The gods didn't seem to care if he believed in them or not.

Forcing the shock of these revelations away, the Admiral motioned for Laura to continue. "What more can you tell me about their Chosen One?"

Laura looked away. She turned to pick up one of the stacks of papers and flipped through them as she spoke. "She was born to a family of good standing in the tribe. She was extremely religiously devote. Her calling as Chosen One was known from early childhood and she was raised and prepared to fulfill her role as vessel to the gods." Laura paused and almost fumbled the papers. She sat them back down on her desk and clasped her hands together before her. "She exhibited miraculous powers and knowledge. The logs make several references to a word we can only translate to mean sensitivity or empathy. She was revered by the tribe and she laid down the path they would come to follow in their journey."

A knot formed in the Admiral's stomach as he read between the lines. "What happened to her, Laura?"

The President's eyes flickered briefly to meet his before once again darting away. She opened her mouth to reply, but the Admiral cut her off. "Laura," he waited until she reluctantly faced his stare, "what happened to her?"

Roslin took a deep breath and answered. "Shortly after the Thirteenth tribe began their journey, the Chosen One started to show signs of mental deterioration. It was believed that her direct connection to the gods was too much for her mind to handle. She succumbed to madness."

- - - - - - - - - -
Location: Situation Room

Kara carefully studied the scout image in front of her. She fought back her irritation at the situation and gave the image her full attention. After counting to sixty three times in her head, Kara looked up at Lt. Felix Gaeta. "Nope." She once again pointed to the scout image she'd picked out earlier. "That's the one."

Gaeta's mouth tightened in irritation. "Captain Thrace, I mean no offense..."

Kara smirked. "Somehow I doubt your sincerity, Gaeta."

Felix paused, snapped his mouth shut, and took a deep breath in through his nose. After slowly blowing it back out, he tried to reason with her once again. "All I am trying to say, Captain Thrace, is that I don't understand how you can know if that system is the correct system for our next jump without taking the time to look through all the options available."

Kara rolled her shoulders and neck to disguise the fact that she was also rolling her eyes. "You're just pissed that it was the second picture you shoved in my face, Lieutenant. If it had been number twenty we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Gaeta's expression was unimpressed. He pushed another image across the table toward her and crossed his arms over his chest. "What about this one?"

Kara thought Gaeta was starting to look a little smug. She wondered if this was payback for her many past transgressions. Grumbling under her breath about stuck-up little OCD freaks, Kara bent over the newest image and tried to ignore the pesky ache in her head assuring her that this was NOT the right system.

- - - - - - - - - -
Location: Hanger Deck

After three and a half fun-filled hours of 'pick-the-system' with Gaeta, Kara had the worlds' worst headache and a bad mood to match. She'd stomped her way onto the hanger deck twenty minutes ago determined to crawl underneath the nearest viper and forget about everything else for a while. Now someone was kicking her frakkin' foot. Kara vowed death to whatever frakwit knuckledragger had decided today was a good day to get friendly. She timed the next kick and struck out with her foot. Catching the swinging ankle with the toe of her boot, Kara tried to unbalance them and land them on their ass. Unfortunately the idiot just jumped backward out of reach and cussed.

Kara recognized the voice and her eyes narrowed. She'd better be hearing things. When a hand grabbed each of her ankles and yanked her out from under the viper, Kara came out ready for a fight. She snarled up into Hotdog's grinning face. "You like life, Constanza?"

Hotdog's dopey grin just widened. "Aw...that wasn't very nice of you, God." He motioned to his ankle. "I could've been seriously injured."

Kara planted her hands against the deck and pushed herself into a sitting position. "I'll try harder next time." Looking to the side, Kara noticed one of Hotdog's nuggets shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot beside him. She frowned at the nugget before glaring back at Hotdog. "What the frak do you want, Constanza? You got a problem with your bird?"

Hotdog shook his head. "No sir, God. Today we are in need of your flying expertise."

Now the nugget looked even more uncomfortable. His face turned red and he started staring at his feet. Kara's eyebrows shot up and she grinned. She always had loved a boy with a pretty blush and this was a cute one. At least six feet, jet black hair, big blue eyes, and a body more muscular than lean; there was a time when Starbuck would've eaten this nugget alive. And there was enough of Starbuck still in Kara to curve her lips into a smirk and eye him hungrily from head to toe and back again. "Really?" Kara purred, "How may I be of service?" She blew the big boy a kiss.

The nugget's mouth dropped open. His eyes widened in something close to horror.

Hotdog snickered at the kid's expression. He slapped the nugget on the back and pushed him forward a few steps. "Don't let her scare you off, BS. She only bites if you're very...VERY lucky."

Kara rolled her eyes. "Like you'd know."

Constanza winked at her. "Anyway, as I was saying," he took a step forward and wrapped his arm around the nugget's shoulders, "BS here needs to benefit from your flying expertise. We bow before the magnificence that is God."

The boy was still gaping at Hotdog. "But she's a knuckledragger," he hissed the words in a low voice and darted his eyes from side to side to make sure no one was watching them.

Kara snorted with laughter. She rocked back against her hands as a chuckle rumbled up her throat.

Hotdog rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air as if to say 'why me?'. Finally he turned to face his nugget. He spoke slowly as if he was explaining something to a child. "This is no ordinary knuckledragger, BS. THIS is GOD! God taught your considerably talented flight instructor everything he knows. If there is anyone who can help you overcome your current dilemma and earn the wings of a viper pilot it is God!"

Now the kid frowned in confusion. "I thought we were supposed to call you God, Lieutenant?"

Hotdog grinned at the return of Kara's death glare. He shrugged without apology and answered BS. "You can just call me God Jr."

As her glaring just seemed to tickle Constanza more, Kara shook her head and reached up a hand to rub the bridge of her nose. "You're the frakkin' flight instructor now, Hotdog. What do you need me for?"

Hotdog's expression turned serious. "BS is having some problems with depth-perception. I've been working with him for weeks but we're not getting anywhere. If he can't hit the trap on the first go by next week, I'll have to wash him out." Hotdog nodded toward Kara. "I thought you might know some tricks, some exercises he can try."

BS looked cautiously optimistic. "She's really a pilot?"

Hotdog cocked his head to the side and waggled his eyebrows. "What do you say, Buck?"

Kara thought it over. She was comfortable where she was. She'd found a place on the deck crew and she really didn't need anything more than that right now. On the other hand, Laney was constantly preaching that she needed to take more chances, that it was time for Kara to stop just surviving and start trying to live again. Just the thought of flying again made Kara's stomach jump in excitement. She knew she wasn't ready for that yet, she had too many demons left to face, but she had to start somewhere and maybe she could help this kid in the process. Taking a deep breath, Kara climbed to her feet. "Yes, BS, I'm really a pilot," she smiled at the cute blue-eyed nugget, "and apparently I'm your new secret weapon." She gave him a moment to digest the information before speaking again. "So what can you tell me, nugget?"

The kid's face flushed again and he looked back down at his feet. "What do you need to know, um...God?"

Hotdog smiled proudly and Kara chuckled at the old joke. She shook her head. "You can start off by telling me what you did to earn a callsign like Bullshit. That one has got to have a good story behind it." Kara turned on the charm and did her best to put the kid at ease. If he was going to be any kind of a viper pilot he had to learn to relax.

- - - - - - - - - -
Location: The Admiral's Quarters

Dr. Laney West frowned and bit her lip. The Admiral watched her reaction from behind his desk. He'd just debriefed her on the newest information from the beacon. Laney tried to keep her expression neutral. "I understand your concern, Admiral. This information can seem quite dire on the surface."

The Admiral's eyes narrowed. "Only on the surface? I've just informed you that my daughter might be facing a battle with madness, Dr. West. I believe that's dire on any level."

Laney shook her head. "I don't believe that, Admiral. I don't believe Kara's sanity is in jeopardy any longer. I truly believe we won that battle months ago."

"It's not a chance I'm willing to take, Laney," the Admiral's voice was gruff with emotion. "I will not lose my daughter again."

Laney nodded. "I understand."

"I want you to continue your weekly sessions with Kara, Dr. West, and I want to be notified immediately if you see any deterioration of her mental state. Am I understood?"

Laney nodded again. "Of course."

When the Admiral looked down at the paperwork on his desk and didn't look back up, Laney realized she was being dismissed. She pushed herself to her feet and started for the hatch.

The Admiral's voice stopped her and she could hear the apology for his rudeness in his tone. "We've come too far, Laney," he sounded tired and concerned, "we can't lose her now."

Laney turned back to throw him an encouraging smile. "We won't, Admiral," she said. "Kara is making more and more progress every day. She's taking her life back step by step. Besides," she told him, "I think you're overlooking one very important fact about this first Chosen One."

The Admiral lifted his brows. "Yes?"

Laney's grin turned mischievous. "The first Chosen One wasn't Kara Thrace, Admiral, and if there's anyone stubborn enough to fight the gods and win it's Kara Thrace."

The Admiral smiled and nodded his agreement. "So say we all."

End of Chapter