"Bird, coyote, cowpie… Don't make no sense to me nohow."
"My name is Nobody"
"I didn't do anything wrong!" The officer was standing in front of her desk, his hands deep in his pockets.
That wasn't a growl, not as such, but Laura Roslin sensed his concealed anger.
He was silent for a while, apparently counting to ten, then continued in calmer tones, "I'm not trying to defy you. I just don't understand what do you want from me. 'You must be screaming inside' – what's that supposed to mean?"
Strange, but Laura's first thought was of Boomer, no – Number Eight, and did the Cylon know what that expression meant. Then her mind leaped to Lee's suicide attempt. The poor boy, torn between the loyalty to his friend and an unyielding demand of his ethical code, the scream of his radio silence lost in emptiness of the space…
Laura caught herself rubbing her left temple, tip of the finger sliding along the eyebrow, back and forth. She placed both hands on the desk with fingers intertwined, and looked up at the officer.
"Once we were chased by an enemy," she began softly. "A very strong, very persistent enemy. Some ships in our fleet had only sublight engines, and I had to decide whether we should jump immediately, or try to evacuate the people to the ships that had hyperdrives." She fell silent, her finger rubbing her eyebrow again. "We jumped, leaving thousands people to a certain death. And then my assistant, Billy, oh, he is dead now," she gave the officer a light smile, her eyes empty and transparent as if reflecting an autumn sky. "He told me that the little girl I met earlier that day, her ship couldn't make it…"
How to explain this to a stranger? "Shut up, Billy!" dying somewhere at the foot of a mountain that is your soul, lost in a thunderstorm of helpless guilt, rain and thunder, flashes in the clouds like a Cylon bombardment. But all that is far below. Here, at the top of the mountain, is quiet. Here's only fog, droplets of condensation sliding down dark wet stone surfaces...
Laura looked up. The officer, stubbornness and suppressed annoyance on his face, was staring at her across the ravine of utter incomprehension.
With a sudden pang of fear she thought of the soulless machines that stepped over that ravine without hesitation, then fear was gone, replaced with helpless, dry-eyed pity. She smiled at her visitor – a pale, little smile.
"I'm sorry. I'm sure you have something better to do. Thank you for your time."
"Damn right!" Sheppard kicked an imaginary rock out of his way. "I have something better to do!"
God's witness, he liked female bosses, they were way more malleable and convenient than males. Weir or even Carter were all right, but this…
"An internal scream," he snorted. "What's next? Eternal love? The old hag must be nuts."
He stuffed his hands deeper in his pockets and continued down the corridor.