Helo was the one to read Starbuck's will. Dee was privately astonished that Kara Thrace had even taken the time to think to leave a will, but she kept her surprise to herself. She held Lee's hand, and tried not to meet anyone's eyes. She knew what they expected.
Helo's voice trembled as he told each person what they'd been given. A bottle of Ambrosia for the Chief, and for Colonel Tigh. A pyramid ball for a tiny, fairy-like little girl, who Dee realised with a jolt, was Kacey, from New Caprica. A small bronze idol of Artemis, for Sharon Agathon.
There were two things for Admiral Adama – a creased, battered photo of Starbuck, Zak Adama, and Lee, and a set of piano recordings that Helo said had been made by Starbuck's father. Dee saw the Admiral's face crack as he stood to take them from Helo.
When Lee's name was called, Dee watched him stand, his face contorted for a moment by the effort of maintaining his composure. He nearly cracked when Helo handed him his 'inheritance' – Kara's statue of Aphrodite. Proof after all, the proof Lee had always sought, that Kara did love him.
Watching him, Dee wondered about her own reaction – she didn't feel angry or bitter…just resigned. Perhaps it would give Lee some kind of peace, perhaps it would help him, and if not… For better or worse, Starbuck was gone. Whatever feelings she'd harboured for Lee could never threaten their marriage again.
Lee walked back towards her, finding his way with his hands like a blind man. Dee held out her hand and helped him sit – an anchor for her husband as he mourned another woman. She only dimly heard the other bequests – a leather jacket for Helo, a box of cigars, some clothes and photographs and Starbuck's dog tags for Samuel Anders.
It was a surprise when her name was called, and Dee looked at Helo questioningly as he handed her a bottle of Ambrosia. There was a note attached, with the words Anastasia Adama Dualla Dee written on the outer sheet. It was somehow fitting that Starbuck, like so many others, had been uncertain as to Dee's name post-marriage. She'd never had a particularly secure grip on the name Adama.
There was no time to read the note, or ponder the significance of the gift, and Dee set it aside.
Galactica had been her very first assignment. She'd spent the first days terrified she was going to send one of the Viper pilots the wrong way and cause a massive crash, but once she'd got the hang of it, her job actually became rather satisfying. It was nice to be in CIC, to see the Commander everyday, to know everything that happened around the ship. It helped that Felix Gaeta took her under his wing – Dee was only just twenty-one, and away from all her family and friends, and it was Felix who helped her to settle in more than anyone.
But, Felix wasn't exactly sociable back before the Cylon attack – and after a week or two he brought her down to the pilots Triad game and retired to his rack to brush up on command protocols or something similarly boring. The pilots had made a few cracks about Dee 'slumming it' away from CIC, but they'd been friendly enough, and one blonde woman, with an obnoxious smile and an infectious laugh, had poured Dee a drink and introduced her round, warning her away from an ECO named Karl – apparently he could be a bit of a player.
After that she played Triad with the pilots once or twice a week – it made telling them apart over the wire easier for one, and it was a good way to relax. She learned that Starbuck smoked stoogies, played a vicious game of Triad, and was the best person to go on shore leave with – whatever club Starbuck went to was always the club with the best music and handsomest men.
Dee wasn't exactly friends with Starbuck – aside from Helo and Boomer very few of them were close with her – but over the year and a few months before the Cylons attacked, they wound up spending quite a bit of time together.
She'd known Kara longer than she'd known Lee.
About five weeks before she died, Starbuck got drunk in Joe's Bar. They were all there, drinking, playing Pyramid, and trying, somehow to relax, and Kara seemed fine. Dee had seen her talking to Hotdog and Cally before she walked over to their table to talk to Sharon. It was Helo who got her started.
Fresh out of Dogville, he'd cocked an eyebrow and said, "Starbuck – who's Kacey?"
Kara's face changed so quickly Dee almost thought she might faint, but she merely took a gulp of her drink, and said, "How did you meet Kacey?"
Helo noticed her reaction and said quietly, "She's staying with her mother below decks – she was asking about you. How'd you meet a little kid, Kara?"
Starbuck smiled at him – a smile made all of angles and bravado – and said, "I met her on New Caprica."
Sharon started and said, "But you were in solitary confinement – that's what…"
Starbuck shook her head, something ugly and painful showing in her face, and said, "Not so solitary – Leoben was there."
Sharon went suddenly still, staring at Starbuck as though a puzzle had abruptly resolved itself in an unexpected and horrible way. Helo, not quite as astute as his wife, pulled out a chair for Kara and said, "Tell us the story. That woman said you saved her kid – must be a pretty good one."
Starbuck, who must have had far more to drink than any of them realized, sat down beside him, swallowing still more of the Chief's rotgut. Her knee brushed Dee's for an instant under the table, and Dee wished she'd go away.
But Kara wasn't paying any attention to Dee, or Lee either – she'd gone back in time, back to something none of them understood. She clenched her fists on the table and asked Helo, "What do you know about Leoben, Karl?"
Comprehension dawning in his eyes, Helo looked at Sharon for a moment and said, "Not very much."
Kara laughed shortly, and said, "Lucky you."
Helo just stared at her, and after a few moments Starbuck continued, "He showed up in my tent the very first day – only a few minutes after they arrived. Still don't know how the bastard knew I was there. He said he'd…he'd shoot Sam if I didn't…And he would have – ruthless isn't the word, you know that."
She fell silent and, an insane curiosity seizing her, Dee said, "What happened then?"
Starbuck laughed harshly and said, "He thought he was in love with me." Her face tightened as she continued. "So he brought me to this…flat, this pretend house inside the prison they built, and played houses. He showed up every night for dinner, and slept there in this huge bed and kept asking me…when was I going to join him?" She paused and gulped down more of her drink. "I must have killed him…five times, but he was so convinced I was going 'take him in my arms, and tell him that I loved him'."
"Only five?" Lee said, trying to bring some levity to the conversation. He looked more uncomfortable, more unhappy, than Dee had ever seen him.
Kara shook her head. "You don't know Apollo," she said, "I couldn't…he was stronger, faster, and I couldn't surprise him, most of the time. It was hard to find something sharp enough after he took away all the knives, and the needles, and… And then there was Kacey."
Her voice almost cracked over the last word, and she laid her head on the table. Helo stroked her hair for a moment, and that seemed to soothe her, for she didn't bark at him when he asked, "What did he do with Kacey?"
Starbuck stared at the table as she spoke, her voice a horrible monotone. "He brought her in one day – maybe a week before…I don't know, the days sort of…drifted into each other. He said she was my daughter."
"What?" Lee said, and for the first time he sounded angry. "How is that even possible?"
Helo echoed his question, and Kara smirked, painfully, and said, "The Farm, remember Helo?"
Helo looked horror-struck as she continued, "They took one of my ovaries, they said, and used that to…to grow Kacey. Half me, half Leoben."
"You were in one of the farms?" Lee's voice was shocked, and Dee looked at him questioningly. While he was still friends with Starbuck, and she didn't exactly like that, Dee felt entirely out of place in this conversation.
Kara nodded, and Lee said sharply, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"It was frakking horrible, Lee – it was Cylons wanting to hook me up to machines to grow their frakking babies, so pardon me if I didn't feel like sharing the gory details." Starbuck's tone seemed more aggressive, more normal than it had been, and Dee sighed with relief. Lee looked at her and silenced himself – though Dee could tell he had a dozen other questions.
Kara slammed her mug down on the table, and might have left the table then, if Sharon hadn't said, "What happened with Kacey, Kara?"
For an instant, it seemed that Starbuck might cry, but she shook her head and said, "Well…the last day came, and…and he had her, he wouldn't let us go unless…so I gave the bastard what he wanted, and I killed him, and then we left. But she wasn't mine – just another one of their tricks."
She laughed and said, "Probably better off, too. Last thing any kid needs is me for a Mom."
Helo offered to walk her back to her rack, and for once Starbuck accepted, seeming grateful for the half-hug he gave her as they left. Lee looked at Sharon, and for the first time ever, probably, they had the same thought, for Sharon said, "Will you call Sam, or will I?"
Lee half-smiled and said, "I'll do it." Dee knew he wanted nothing more than to run after Starbuck, talk to her and comfort her and help her – but he wouldn't do it. He respected her too much to act on the desire that was written all over his face.
That was how they learned about Starbuck's New Caprica.
Lee really did his best to handle losing Starbuck – not to display his grief for Kara to openly in front of her – and in the end that was all Dee wanted. It was hard enough to see the Old Man practically falling apart in front of her.
Dee wasn't glad Starbuck was dead. Aside from the whole horrible mess with Lee, there'd been a time when she rather liked Starbuck. They were never going to be close – they were just too different – but Dee had liked…viewing Kara's display. If nothing else, she was never boring.
They had dinner with Samuel Anders one night, and he drank too much, and started rambling about Kara's mother – about broken fingers and shattered skulls – and Lee had stiffened in the chair beside Dee. Dee thought of her own mother – who'd been cool and calm and loving – and felt sick at the very idea. Parents did not do that to children.
Lee, who she barely knew any more, who was defending Gaius Baltar in court, apparently because he could, and because it would make his father angry, Lee, she realized was furious.
But he said nothing, still too constrained by his respect for her to declare his love for Kara openly. He walked Sam, who was too drunk to be left alone, to his rack, and then went to 'read papers', or confer with Romo Lampkin, or do some other thing that Dee couldn't even fathom.
And Dee, Dee walked back to their room, found her bottle of ambrosia, and started drinking. She'd never been one to drink heavily before, but there was something oddly liberating about piling shot upon shot, waiting to see how far she could go.
It took three and a half shots before she felt ready to read the note that had accompanied Starbuck's last gift. In a thick, forcible scrawl Dee could just make a few short sentences
Know this – Lee chose you.
I hope you can drink to me with this.
She had to laugh at this blindness – Lee had never chosen her, he had failed to choose someone else, and she was finally beginning to see the difference. Kara had loved Lee – loved him even when she hated his guts – and the truth was, Dee didn't.
She'd thought Lee was…good, and honourable, and…and she'd assumed that any problems they'd had were because he loved Kara, because he was still attached to Kara. But that was a blind, a trick that had kept her from seeing the real problem.
As long as she could focus on Starbuck, and how cruel and unforgivable her behaviour was, how it was destroying Dee's marriage, Dee could avoid the fact that, in the end, her marriage wasn't really worth all that much after all.
Lee was lost, so much more lost than she'd ever realised, and so far from being the man she'd thought he was that Dee couldn't even put it into words. She drank more and wondered why she wasn't devastated.
It would have been nice to be heartbroken. Easier. But she wasn't – just disappointed. Knowing that Lee could, in good conscience, defend Gaius Baltar – defend him because he was so driven by grief his only other option was to lose his mind – knowing that, had finally broken Dee's resolve.
She finished the bottle of ambrosia, knowing she would pay for it in the morning, and took off her wedding ring. For the first time since Billy died she felt…clear somehow. She'd leaned on Lee for so long – depending on him to be brave and strong, so she wouldn't have to be.
But she didn't have to do that any more. She saw Lee for who he was, at last, and she didn't need him. It would be simpler alone.
She moved out a few days later.