Some way out of here
Spoilers: Crossroads Part 2
Note: This story begins during the closing moments of the episode."Diana" refers to Diana Seelix, for those that might not recall that's her first name.
And the title is obviously from "All Along the Watchtower" by Dylan.
He knew it was true, knew it down to some elemental core of his being.
It was all a lie. All of it. The resistance. Caprica. Growing up in a small apartment in a sea side shanty town on Caprica. His parents killed in the earthquake. Finding solace in pyramid.
He yanked his thoughts from her so fast he was nauseous. He was almost glad she was dead because now she would never know.
He was fake.
It was easy enough for the others to go back to their jobs. Easy enough for them to pretend to be human.
But he couldn't. He couldn't pretend nothing had changed.
So he wandered the Galactica, mind churning, circling to the same thing, over and over again.
He wanted to find Sharon and talk to her, but of course she was out, preparing to fight the Basestars. He thought about going to talk to the Six in the brig. He thought about marching up to Adama and telling him the truth.
He considered going into an airlock and punching the outer door open. Get it over with.
But it wouldn't be over, would it? There were four Basestars in the system; there had to be a resurrection ship nearby for them. He'd just wake up in a new body, memories intact. Even death wasn't his own choice.
Was anything he'd ever done his own choice? Playing pyramid? Accepting the C-Bucs' offer? Not killing Kara when he'd had the chance on Caprica? Loving Kara? Staying alive? Destroying the farms? Was any of it him, or was it all some clever counter-plot by the Cylons to get him on the inside?
Was becoming a pilot a part of his programming, too, putting him into position to do harm to the fleet later, as the first Sharon had?
He didn't know. Maybe none of it, maybe all of it. All he knew was what he was and that it made everything else he'd ever done a question or a lie.
A man couldn't live that way. He couldn't. He'd always felt comfortable with who he was -- now none of it was true. He had to find out where the lies ended and the truth began. He had to find out why.
He ended up in the pilots' ready room. It was mostly deserted, since all available rated pilots were out.
But Diana was there, listening to the wireless. She glanced up at him, automatically smiling to see him. "Sam!" The smile slipped away when she saw his face. "Hey. Are you all right? You look ..." she trailed off, and added hesitantly, "sick."
Looking at her bright eyes and warm smile and remembering how cold and focused she'd been on New Caprica, fighting the Cylons, he knew he couldn't tell her. He didn't want her admiration to turn to confusion and then to loathing.
He didn't want to see anyone change that way.
He forced a bit of a smile at Diana, and dug under his shirt for the two chains -- one with his own dogtags and the other holding the one Kara had given him. He pulled them over his head and clenched them in a fist, unable to let go for a long moment.
But he knew what he had to do and forced himself to hand them to her. "Here, I want you to hold onto these."
She took them automatically, frowned as she realized what they were, and then glanced up, alarmed. "Sam? What's this about? You're not giving up so soon?"
He shook his head once. "No. Not like you mean. I -- " his voice caught in his throat and he stopped before he spilled everything. Very carefully, he said, "I thought this would give me answers. But it doesn't. Not the answers I need."
"Because of Kara?" Diana asked softly, head slightly to one side and a look of pity on her face.
He nodded, not able to meet her eyes. "In part."
"But," she glanced down at the tags in her hand, "one of these is hers. I know what this means to you. I can't take it."
He wrapped his hand around hers, forcing her to keep it. "She's gone." He heard the harsh note in his voice but couldn't keep it back. "I can't walk in her footsteps, trying to be her. Trying to stay close, when she's someplace I can't go." He laughed once bitterly, realizing how true it was.
Kara, you're the one place I can never follow you. Wherever you are, you're safe from me. I hope in the end the Gods -- your Gods -- were kind and took you where humans go. And I hope when you get there and discover what you married, you'll find some corner of your heart to forgive me. I didn't know, I swear.
Diana put her other hand over his, and she was frowning at him. "Something's wrong," she murmured. "What happened, Sam? You've been acting strangely for several days, and I don't think it can all be Starbuck."
He pulled free of her hands and took a step back. "I don't belong here. I've known it from the beginning, I think, but I couldn't help it." He looked away, and his gaze fell on the corner table. He remembered sitting there with Kara on his lap while she played triad, in those wonderful carefree, happy days before they'd decided to go down to New Caprica. His voice fell to a murmur, "I was holding onto a dream of something that was never mine to begin with. This isn't where I belong."
She looked up at him in confusion. "Are you going back to the Rising Star?"
He just laughed again. But his amusement was cold and sharp, cutting him on the inside. He'd hoped Kara's death had made him immune from pain, but it had made him raw, instead. Everything he saw sliced off a little deeper, as it reminded him of another thing that he couldn't believe in anymore.
He summoned up the ghost of Sam from Caprica, before Kara had landed in his life, back when blowing up Cylons had been all in a day's work and he didn't give a frak about anything. That numbness settled over him and he could almost smile at Diana.
"I'm going to a place I can find out what I need to know. See you later, Diana."
He heard her calling him back as he left, but he ignored it.
In the locker room, he spun the hatch lock to give himself a few minutes of privacy and went to his locker. He'd put it a pulse pistol in there two weeks ago, and no one knew it was there. Every time he changed clothes, his fingers caressed it. Yesterday he'd considered putting it back in the arms locker. But today, he was glad he had brought Tory back to the rack instead, because it was still here.
His fingers wrapped the grip and pulled it out. He slipped off the safety and raised the gun, putting the barrel right under his chin. The cold feel of the metal made him shiver once, and he closed his eyes.
His fingers tightened, and one touched the trigger, ready.
Resurrect this, you mother frakking toasters. Bring me to you. Explain to me why my whole life had to be a frakking lie.
His finger twitched, but wouldn't pull the trigger. He focused, tightening his grip, but not enough to fire. He shoved the barrel deeper into his skin, trying to pull the trigger. His arm started to shake, and a piercing pain shot through his head.
Gasping, he lowered the gun.
"FRAK!" He hurled it across the room and slammed his locker shut. He couldn't do it -- cowardice or programming, which one, he didn't know. Couldn't tell which.
Just like every other damn thing in his life.
He changed into his brand-new flight suit and limped down to the main deck, not quite sure what he was going to do. But there had to be something. If he couldn't do it, then he'd have to find someone who could.
The flight deck was chaos. Chief and the other deck hands were trying to put out a smoldering fire under Racetrack's Raptor. Skulls was being wheeled out on a gurney. Racetrack appeared through the smoke and spied him lingering in the shadows beneath the catwalk. "Anders!" she called, gesturing him to come toward her, "I need an ECO. You're it. At least I know you won't freeze in combat like some of them. Let's go."
Panic struck -- this was perfect, but not if she was with him.
He very carefully avoided Tyrol's eyes as the chief reported the fire being out. Sam entered the Raptor and sat at the ECO station, waiting for Racetrack to do the quick external check. He thought furiously about how to get her off without being seen, while they went through pre-flight checks and sealed their suits and helmets.
The lift took them down through the floor into the flight launch tube, and while she was busy prepping the flight, he rose and went over to her.
"Margaret," he murmured into the helmet wireless. "I'm really sorry, but I have to do this."
"First, it's Racetrack in combat, nugget," she said sharply and turned, "Second -- What the -- " she blurted, finding him right behind her chair. "Anders?"
He held her eyes for a moment. "You were a good teacher. Thank you." Then he gripped her under the arms and lifted her away from the console.
"Anders! What the frak are you doing?" she demanded, but didn't struggle until he started dragging her toward the ramp. But he was much bigger and stronger, and in their flight suits she couldn't do much damage. He punched the ramp release with his elbow, not letting her go.
"Are you nuts?" she demanded, and tried to toggle her suit wireless for Galactica, but he held her fingers tightly.
"No, something much worse," he answered. "I don't want to be responsible for anyone else dying. So I'm sorry, but you're going to sit this one out." He threw her down the ramp, punching the door to close before she'd hit the deck.
He returned to her chair and sat down. He kicked in the lift engines and pushed the stick to go forward. It was exactly like the simulator, racing toward the black at the end of the tunnel.
Galactica fell away behind him and he flew into the night sky. He'd expected space to be more disorienting but it wasn't. He focused on the Basestars sitting so ominously on the far side of the nebula and set his course toward them..
About thirty seconds later the wireless clicked and he heard Dee's voice, "Galactica, Ensign Anders. Galactica Actual orders your immediate return to the barn. Repeat, Galactica Actual orders your immediate return. Acknowledge."
He didn't answer, not even when her voice softened, grew more urgent, "Anders, what are you doing? Please, Sam, answer me. Racetrack said you threw her from the Raptor. What's going on?"
A moment later Tigh's voice came over the wireless. "Anders, no. I understand - I do and you know it. But this isn't the way. Come back to the barn right now. We'll figure it out."
Anders did answer that one, flicking the switch "I tried to do it myself, but I can't." He took an unsteady breath, adding, "I can't deal with it, I can't pretend. I have tofind answers, and I'm not going to find answers on that ship. If I can take some with me, I will. I promise."
He turned off the wireless, cutting off any voices from Galactica and the chatter of the other pilots. They didn't matter.
Removing his helmet, he put it on the floor and stomped his foot through the plexiglass so he couldn't be tempted to put it on later and use it as a pressure suit. One way or another, this ended today.
Somebody flew close in a Viper, waggling wings and nearly knocking on the canopy, but he ignored it. If they fired on him to stop him, he got what he wanted. And he didn't think Adama would order him blown up. He, after all, still believed Sam was one of his own kind.
His smile was bitter as he sailed straight on toward the nearest Basestar.
All around him battle raged, Vipers and Raiders firing at each other furiously. But nothing hit him. He realized the Vipers were protecting him.
Frakking idiots. He was tempted to turn on the wireless to tell them go away. Gods, what if someone got killed tryinig to save someone who couldn't die?
So he'd just have to do something that they couldn't, and go a place the Vipers couldn't follow, His hands scrambled on the console, plotting a short jump. He slammed the activator. The universe turned inside-out briefly, leaving him freezing and nauseous, but when he looked he saw that he'd done it right.
The Basestar loomed right in front of him -- immense up close, a giant in the vastness of space. He was relieved that there was no sense of homecoming inside him, only the cold burning of rage lodged in his chest.
He was behind the main battle lines, but there was a group of Heavy Raiders on station near the nearest arm. They turned as one and headed for the Raptor.
He kicked in the engines to full power, heading directly for the center of the ship, where the arms joined. The Raptor was now a bomb aimed at the mother ship and nothing could stop it, except those Heavy Raiders.
Taking his hands off the controls, he waited.
He should be scared. What if he was wrong? What if this was futile, and he was going to cease to exist?
But although his heart was beating quickly, he wasn't afraid. He felt... content.
Lee had said that Kara hadn't seemed afraid when the gravity well had caught her. Was this what she had felt? As if everything that had happened had led to this and he was doing what he should.
He wasn't wrong; he felt it. This was the path.
The Heavy Raiders closed in on the defenseless Raptor and the two in the lead locked on. He looked back at them steadily, matching them stare for stare in challenge.
Come on, do it. And when I wake up in a new body, I will dedicate the rest of my life to tearing you down from the inside. Piece by piece, I will take you apart.
For Kara, for Sue-Shaun, for Charlie junior, for Duck, for Nora, for Ellen and Saul. For all the Humans butchered and lost because of you.
Eyes open and dry, he watched as both Heavy Raiders fire their weapons, straight at him.
There was time for one last thought:
But most of all for me.
Agony burned every cell of his body and white light seared his vision.