Bright, Shiny Futures
She pushed her way through the throng, desperate to get to the action. Kara Thrace was not one to sit by and just let things happen, particularly not when they involved the one thing she'd been waiting and hoping for for eight long years - Galactica's arrival.
"Excuse me!" she called out repeatedly, roughly pushing paparazzi aside to get to the front of the crowd. She ignored their cries of 'hey, watch where you're going lady!' and 'you don't have any more right to this story than we do!' No, it was true she wasn't a member of the media but she did have more right than anyone on the whole damn planet to get to the two people standing on the steps of the US legislative building - they were her family.
Bill Adama and Laura Roslin.
Fierce hands grabbed her just as she achieved freedom from the crowd. "I'm sorry lady, you're going to have to stop right there." The officer's voice was as firm as his grip.
"I know those people!" she cried. "I need to see them!" Her worst fears were being realized - the Government thought they were aliens from outer space ... a threat to the human race.
"I'm sorry. No one gets through."
"I have to! It's a mistake - those people are human!"
She became aware of a voice booming over the loudspeaker. " ... that we, the people of the United States of America will take actions to protect the world against alien threat ..."
Kara's blood froze at the President's words. He was a man known for acting first, thinking second ... if he even got that far. She had to get to them and prove they weren't aliens here to destroy the Earth before it was too late. She redoubled her efforts to escape. The officer holding her must have thought she'd given up as he'd loosened his grip on her. She pulled free and ran towards Bill and Laura like the hounds of hell were at her heels.
"Admiral!" she shouted as she ran, hoping to get his attention. "Admiral Adama! President Roslin!"
Their heads turned her way and she saw the fear in both their eyes turn to joy.
"Kara!" Adama yelled back. "Thank the Lords of Kobol!"
She ran straight into him, noting at the last minute that his hands were shackled behind his back. As were Roslin's. She hugged him like she'd never let go and she felt the return warmth from him though he couldn't reciprocate.
Another set of arms pulled her away.
"Mr. President, these people aren't aliens," she said, cringing inwardly as she heard her voice echoing through the loudspeakers.
"How do you know that young lady?" he asked.
"They're human - from the other side of the galaxy. They're part of the legend of Kobol and the Twelve Colonies."
"How do you know that?"
"I was one of them," she said simply. "Something brought me here ahead of the others, but we're all from the same place and time."
The President nodded almost imperceptibly and men in black surrounded her.
"It's true!" she pushed on, knowing what was coming. "I've lived on Earth for eight years, I'm no different than any of you. Neither are they."
"Can you prove that?" His voice was still defiant but there was a hit of uncertainty in his eyes.
"Do a DNA test," she begged. "It'll prove we're all human."
"We'll tell you everything," Roslin added. "It's a long story," she went on.
"The stuff of legends," Adama muttered under his breath.
" ... but we're willing to tell you where we started from and how we got here."
"The President seemed to consider her words carefully before nodding at his men to take them away.
"People of Earth. We, the United States of America have on our soil, people who claim to be human and insist they've come from elsewhere in the galaxy. They say they don't wish to harm us. You can be rest assured that we will keep them secure until we've verified their story ..."
The doors closed behind them and there was silence in the large hallway. No words were spoken till the three of them were locked in a small cell.
"Kara, I never thought we'd see you again," Adama said warmly, traces of wetness at the corners of his eyes. "We thought you were dead."
" 'Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated', " she quoted, a lopsided smile lighting up her face.
"Thank the Gods!" The exclamation was heartfelt.
Outside, a mann with a small girl in his arms and an older boy clinging to his hand did his best to put on a brave face.
"It's okay, mommy's going to be just fine. They'll ask her some questions and then she'll come back home to us."
"Promise?" the little boy with the solemn blue eyes asked, face turning up to meet the man's.
"How the hell did you get here?" Laura Roslin's first words were predictable and they made Kara smile. She shrugged.
"I have no idea. One second I was flying head on into an electrical storm and everything went black. I honestly thought I was dead. Then I crash landed here. I've done some research but never figured out exactly what happened."
"If you had to guess?" Roslin prompted.
Adama gave her a narrow-eyed glance and Kara was reminded suddenly of how much he hated guessing. There were a lot of things she'd likely forgotten about him over the years.
"Wormhole. Best explanation I've ever been able to come up with. Not that it explains anything."
Roslin nodded, curiosity sated for the moment.
"You've been here eight years," Adama mused. "Ever since you disappeared and we though you'd died. What's happened to you since then? What have you been doing?"
"It's a long story." She waved it aside. "I'll tell you all about it later. What happened to you while I was gone? Is everyone okay? Is Lee ..." She stopped, the words frozen on her lips.
"He's fine. Locked up at another facility with everyone else."
She sighed, tension dropping away from her shoulders. She'd so feared ... not that he couldn't take care of himself but she hadn't been there to watch his back and she'd felt that loss keenly. When the news had broken that a fleet of alien ships had landed on Earth, she'd known at once who they were and her heart had already begun the prayer for survivors, hoping against hope that Lee and his father had been among them.
Earth had proven to be a lucky place for her it seemed.
"I hope you've got some pull with the local government so we can get out of here soon," Roslin said, giving their cramped quarters a dirty look.
Kara laughed. "Uh, not really. I'm not the most diplomatic person around if you recall. And the few people I told the truth to when I arrived didn't believe me and threatened to lock me up as being crazy, so I just tried to blend in the best I could." Her cheeks began to heat up under Roslin's scrutiny. "You shouldn't have to worry long, the DNA tests will prove you're human and they'll let you go." She sounded braver than she felt.
"I certainly hope so," Adama said gruffly. "I'm not fond of being locked up like a prisoner."
"Aw come on, the brig isn't so bad," Kara teased, trying to make light of the situation. "Why do you think I spent so much time there?"
"Privacy?" Roslin muttered, having seen how cramped the pilots quarters had been. Kara snickered.
"I've done my time in the brig girl, probably spent as much time there in my youth as you did. I prefer five star hotel accomodations now though."
"Once they let us go I can promise you the best," Kara said solemnly. "Cross my heart."
"I'll hold you to that," Roslin countered, pretty face breaking into a smile.
The approaching sound of feet ended the moment of jocularity. A guard opened the cell and ushered in a white lab-coated individual with an assortment of medical paraphernalia.
"Who wants to go first?" she asked, no sign of amusement on her face.
"I will," Kara volunteered, and proffered her arm for the impending blood test. Adama and Roslin both followed suit, not a word spoken during the entire proceeding.
"When will you get the results?" Kara asked quickly as the nurse made to leave.
"Two hours," she replied, not looking back as she exited the cell.
"That's not so bad," Kara said encouragingly, noting the dark look on both of her companions faces.
"It's better than eight years," Adama conceded grudgingly, pulling up the one chair and offering it to Roslin. She took it and smiled at him graciously but Kara could tell she was not at all amused by the situation.
Neither was she, truth be told.
The constant pacing was driving him crazy.
Lee watched as Galen Tyrol made what had to have been his ten-thousandth circuit around the cell that currently housed them. "How many times?" he asked, breaking the silence.
"Six thousand four hundred and twenty six."
"Hmm. Feels like more," he murmured, irritation creasing his face. "Stop it already."
"Can't. Have to do something."
"And wearing out the soles of your boots is going to help us how?"
Tyrol gave him a dirty look. "At least I'm doing something Mister Adama. Not just sitting around on my ass ..."
"I'm thinking dammit!" Lee said angrily, getting to his feet quickly. "What am I supposed to do? Make up some crazy-ass plan to break out of here and save everyone's lives? That's Starbuck's forte, not mine!"
His face fell suddenly. He hadn't spoken her name, her callsign, aloud in years. Almost since quitting the military. He'd whispered her name, Kara, when he was alone in the dark, like a mantra, almost believing that if he said it often enough he could change the past and she'd be alive and with him again.
He sat heavily, pressing his lips together and locking his arms around his pulled-up knees. It wasn't gentlemanly but then again who needed to be gentlemanly when you were stuck in a POW camp, overseen by a group of people who thought you were hostile aliens come to take over their planet?
"Hey, hey, we have to stick together if we want to beat this," Helo said, stepping into the conflict, hands outstretched. "Didn't we learn that fighting against the Cylons all these years? United we stand."
"Yeah, but who ever thought that we humans would turn out to be our enemies?" Hotdog's voice was dry.
"Remember Baltar?" Tyrol shot Lee a dirty look as he spoke. "Oh that's right, some of us didn't believe he was the enemy."
Helo turned on him. "And some of us don't believe the Cylons are all our enemies either," he said coldly.
"Godsfrakkingdammit! How did you people ever unite long enough to win a war?" Sam shook his head. "Bunch of bickering idiots."
"It's called close quarters Sam," Lee said wearily, staring off into the hills.
"We lived in close quarters for a decade, some longer, don't you think we're used to being in each other's faces?"
"That's the point. We lived like sardines for too long. The hope when we reached Earth was that we would spread out. Have privacy and a space of our own, not be locked together in even closer quarters, under threat of death with no way to fight back."
"Who says we can't do anything but sit here and wait to die?" Tyrol argued. "Let's find a way out."
Lee sighed wearily. "I heard one of the guards talking as they escorted us in. This is one of the most secure facilities in the world. There's no escape."
"Try! Think of something!"
"You used to be a fighter pilot. You came up with plans on the fly all the time." The Chief's mouth twitched in a smile at the unwitting pun.
Lee rose to his feet rapidly. "I'm not a pilot anymore! I'm a lawyer now, not a frakking escape artist! Any skills I might have had would only be useful in the cockpit. I haven't got any frakking idea how to break out of this Godsdamned jail so I'm going to sit and wait to be let out, okay?"
He knew he was being too antagonistic and that Tyrol was just worried for his family but he couldn't help himself. Just thinking about Kara, the fact that she hadn't made it to Earth with them - no bright shiny future for her - was enough to send his soul back into the abyss he'd fallen into when she'd died. He'd pulled himself out inch by inch with Romo Lampkin's help and guidance but he'd never quite returned to the man he'd once been. He couldn't - a vital part of him was gone forever and without it he might survive but living was impossible.
They stood face to face, hostility mounting till Helo walked between them, breaking eye contact. "Let's all just stand down okay? Before we start tearing each other's throats out. No one likes being locked up. No one likes being away from their families," he looked meaningfully at Tyrol, "and no one likes the fact that the brothers and sisters we'd hoped would welcome us with open arms think we're the enemy. But the Admiral and President have served us well and we can trust them to do everything in their power to get us out of here. In the meantime everybody just chill."
There was silence for a moment as people drank in the wisdom of Helo's words. Then a quiet voice spoke. "It's hard to chill when it's so frakking hot here."
A ripple of laughter broke the tension. "I know what you mean. I'm sweating buckets," came another.
More laughter. Helo sat down beside Lee and exhaled slowly.
"Thanks man," Lee said softly, still looking straight ahead, apparently at the scenery on the other side of the chain-link fence.
Helo just nodded, lips drawn into a thin line, the moment's tension already forgotten in his worry for his wife and daughter.
Galen Tyrol began pacing again. "Six thousand four hundred and twenty seven, six thousand four hundred and twenty eight ..."
A/N: It's another year and I've decided to try again. The Light Inside Your Dreams has been giving me problems lately and so I've put it aside for the moment and been working on a different story. I hope you enjoy it.