"I know your secret," Gauis Baltar stage whispered, loud enough for the recording system to pick up.
For one horrible moment, Felix Gaeta wondered if he had slipped. Said something, maybe while drunk, in front of Gauis Baltar. He had liked Gauis Baltar. Baltar reminded him of so many things, of so many people. His father, most of all. It was possible that he had let his guard down.
It had been so long since he had let his guard down.
Baltar leaned in, touching his hair. " I saw you in the temple. I know you're a Cylon, Felix."
And in an instant Felix realized just how low Baltar was willing to sink in order to save himself. Baltar was going to throw him on the fire and try to pin all of the New Caprica mess on him. Worse, he was going to use a Cylon accusation to get Felix killed. Why on earth did I ever think this man was the key, Gaeta thought tiredly, and why does he think I won't do what's necessary.
The fleet had to find Earth in order to save what little they had left. He'd given so many hints to Baltar. He wasn't allowed to do more, although he had carefully used the FTL calculations to take the fleet in the right direction. He had hoped that Baltar would be the one, the one who would take the clues and put them together, and when he had noticed the readings on New Caprica, it had been all he could do to not just draw Baltar a diagram.
That was against the rules of course.
And now Baltar… who had betrayed every trust he'd ever been given, was trying to get him killed. For spite. To get petty revenge because Felix hadn't rolled down in the filth with him. As if it had been easy to get past the Cylons. They were good with computers. Eerily good. Good enough that even with their deceptively low tech ships, they could infiltrate a world and set up another holocaust.
It was hard when one's loyalties were split. He had gone native enough among the colonials that he knew when they discovered his true secret, most of them wouldn't understand. They were good people, but not exactly evolved, the colonials. There were times he wanted to scream his secret at them.
There were times that keeping the secret was the only thing that kept him sane.
And there were times that Felix Gaeta embraced the morals of the people he had learned to love after being with them so long. He grabbed the pen and stabbed Gauis Baltar in the neck.
Because Felix was tired of living with humans who acted like savages. He missed his home, that he was most likely never going to see again, and no one at Starfleet Academy had ever mentioned how difficult upholding the Prime Directive was.
He missed Earth.
" You were under incredible pressure," Counselor and Starfleet Commander Deanna Troi said quietly. It was a difficult case. Murder, or attempted murder, was a crime in the Federation, but what Lt. Cmdr. Felix Gaeta had described had already made her mentally check off the box marked "not competent at the time of the crime". And also the "justifiable homicide" box, although she knew that was more of a gut reaction.
She had met Dr. Gauis Baltar briefly. It hadn't been pleasant.
And she didn't envy the counselor stuck with the chore of attempting to heal that bundle of sociopathic and narcissist attributes, but it wasn't her problem. Her problem was Felix Gaeta. Lt. Commander Felix Gaeta, who had been Ensign Felix Gaeta when he had been caught in an unstable wormhole while running a scientific experiment. The runabout had been damaged, and the wormhole closed. He had time to transmit his position, deep in the Beta Quadrant but not time to get back through the wormhole. Lost, in other words, and duty bound not to reveal higher technology to more primitive cultures.
She hadn't planned to start their first session with such a heavy topic. It had only been forty eight hours since Felix had been brought on board the Enterprise. He had spent most of the previous day being debriefed and would likely spend a good portion of his time being debriefed, assisting with the newfound "colonists", and helping the Federation scientists with assessing the threat the new enemy, the Cylons posed. She had planned to make sure he was comfortable, not overwhelmed by the situation, help him start the reintegration process. It had been ten years. Things would be awkward for him. Awkward and painful.
But the moment he walked into the room, she knew she had a bigger problem than helping someone who had lost ten years of their life living on a backwater primitive world. Gaeta's mind rolled with guilt and self loathing, it was like being hit by a baseball bat. She had expected some depression. Depression was the overwhelming feeling in the colonial fleet, so much so that she had felt it necessary to warn off some of the emergency relief offered. Gaeta though… She was worried. So she asked him what was bothering him.
Now she had to help him deal with it.
"Going into deep cover, it's a possibility that everyone in Starfleet considers, but very few ever have to face." It was basically a platitude, but Troi wasn't going to commit to much more than that until she had a better idea of what had actually happened. Not that she thought Gaeta was lying.
She thought he was too overwhelmed with guilt to think he deserved forgiveness. He was self destructive and wanted people to be angry with him. Which meant he was going to exaggerate his culpability.
" I tried to kill a man," Gaeta said after a moment. He leaned forward, and Deanna was struck by how unwell he looked. " I tried to kill a man, just because I was angry. Don't you care?"
"Yes, I do care, Felix," she said easily as she moved closer to him. She noted the slight flinch and added that to the list she was making in her head, and then she took his hand. "It's not my job to punish you. It's my job to counsel you. From what you describe, you were under unbearable pressure. This man was your friend, someone you respected, and he was not innocent. What happened to Cylons when they were caught?"
He looked down and nervously rubbed his fingers against the cuffs of his new uniform. "It doesn't matter…."
" Yes it does. What would happen? To traitors and to Cylons?" Nothing good, Deanna was certain of that. She could feel Felix's anxiety ramp up.
" Cylons were locked up. In the brig. Sometimes they were tortured. Or shot." He hesitated. " On the Pegasus, it was worse. They raped their Cylon prisoner."
The Pegasus? Deanna wondered but kept silent on that, and on his interesting avoidance of traitors. " He was trying to divert attention away from his crimes onto you. So that you would be tortured and killed." And it was interesting to say the least that Felix was confessing to attempted murder, when the people in charge of the rag tag fugitive fleet had said nothing of the sort. " The stress… the situation… You may have had a psychotic break. You may have acted on rage, or out of self preservation, but you need to understand that you did have a right to feel anger. But this isn't the only thing that's bothering you, is it?"
He shrugged. " I don't know why anyone bothered giving me a uniform. I've been in the Colonial Fleet for longer than I was in Starfleet. And I'm a lieutenant commander? It feels like a joke."
" You were listed as missing in action." Which under Starfleet regulations meant he was promoted as soon as he made time in grade. It was a little silly but the reality was that it was done for the families. It was almost unheard for someone lost the way Felix Gaeta had been to return.
He smiled wryly at her. " It's meaningless, Counselor Troi. Especially since we both know I'm going to spend the rest of my life in some penal colony."
Deanna shook her head. " You don't know that, Felix."
" I violated the Prime Directive. Repeatedly."
" It's not your call. Many Starfleet officers have committed what they thought were violations and were only reprimanded. Some were even rewarded." Deanna allowed herself to chuckle, although it was a serious concern. " If I remember my Federation history, Admiral Kirk made a career out of Prime Directive violations."
Gaeta rolled his eyes at her. " I'm not James Kirk, my luck doesn't run that way."