Chapter 80

Faith

Two months after Laura Roslin took office as President, two Viper pilots disappeared during what was rumored to be the secret test flight of a Cylon-designed ship. Both pilots, one of whom was later identified as the daughter of Roslin's late husband, were listed as missing instead of killed. President Roslin steadfastly refused to comment, deferring all questions to the military. A spokesman for Admiral William Adama's office said that an explanation of the pilots' current status would compromise an ongoing military operation.

- Bartell, History of the Second Cylon War

.

On Friday afternoon three days after the inauguration, Kara sat with Karl on the front pew of Elosha's temple.

"I think I'd better go check on Sharon," Kara finally said. "She's been in the bathroom a long time."

"She's been sick so much. She was hoping she could make it through today. Who wants to be sick on her wedding day?"

"Is anybody else coming?"

"I mentioned it to Flat Top since I've been flying as his ECO the last six weeks. I didn't say anything to anybody else. I doubt he'll show up."

Kara stood. "Lee said he would get here if he could. He has physical therapy this afternoon. They always run late. But you've got me. All you need is one witness. How are the rest of the pilots treating you now?"

He shrugged. "About like you'd expect. Some avoid me, some are all business. Nobody's kicked my butt…yet."

"Not even Maggie?"

"She's in the group that avoids me when she can."

"Maybe it won't be that way forever, especially since Sharon's out on leave."

"It doesn't matter. They know I'm still with her. That's not something everybody will forget in a couple of days."

"I heard somebody wrote Cylon Lover on your locker in permanent marker."

"Colonel Spencer almost blew a gasket, but I asked him not to go off on everybody about it. It's not exactly like he's sympathetic to me. He saw it as a discipline issue."

"It is a discipline issue. Any idea who did it?"

He shook his head. "I don't really want to know. I've got to be around these pilots every day."

"If I find out, I'll kick his butt for you…or hers. Now I'd better go see how Sharon's doing."

Karl reached up and squeezed her hand tightly. "We really appreciate what Laura did to get Sharon set free and her help getting us the marriage license."

"She was glad to help."

"You talked to her about it, didn't you?"

"You're my best friend, Karl. So Sharon's a Cylon. You love each other and she's going to have your kid. You need to be together."

"Sharon said she couldn't get pregnant."

"That's what Laura told my dad…right before they made Braedon."

"At first I was in shock. Now I want Sharon to have the baby. I want to be a father."

"You know something could still happen, don't you?"

"The doctor was honest with us. She said Sharon would be lucky to carry the baby to term. Their creators or whoever made them were so careful about making the outside look human, but they really scrimped on the reproductive parts."

"You're going through a lot for her."

"I know. I love her."

"I just want you to know I'll always be your friend, no matter what."

He squeezed her hand again, a look of gratitude in his eyes.

As Kara walked toward the back of the temple and the short corridor to the restroom, she knew that without Laura's intervention, Karl and Sharon would not be getting married today. One of the Quorum's first acts as soon as the fighting was over and control of Caprica was again in the hands of the Colonials had been to rescind Cavil's legislation granting citizenship to the humanoid Cylons.

Without proof of Colonial citizenship, Sharon and Karl could not obtain a marriage license. On Wednesday morning, her first full day in office, Laura had granted a special exception to Sharon. Laura had told Kara that the child was important and its rights must be protected. In order for that to happen, the parents had to be married under Caprican law.

Laura's had been the one dissenting vote on rescinding Cylon citizenship, not because she thought that the Cylons should be considered citizens but because she was afraid the move had been made so that the Cylon prisoners could be treated cruelly, even tortured. As much as she despised Cavil and Doral and Simon, as much as she felt betrayed by D'Anna Biers, she could not sanction their torture. She knew that few on Caprica agreed with her.

Laura believed that stooping to the abuse of helpless prisoners lessened them as humans. Kara knew that years earlier the Cylons had conducted horrible experiments on their human prisoners on the ice planet. Kara was sure the Cylons on Nereid had tortured some of the humans who had disappeared during the last five years.

Since realizing that her father was on Nereid, Kara's biggest fear had been that he had fallen into Cylon hands. It was one of the things that that was causing her nightmares.

On Wednesday night over dinner, Laura had told Kara of her decision to help Karl and Sharon get married.

"I did it because of the baby. There's a possibility that the rest of the hybrid children died on that basestar and there won't be any more. We've already shut down the lab here, but Bill and I both think the experiments are continuing on Nereid."

"I don't think destroying the planet and killing all those humans is the way to do it."

"You sound like your father."

"My father would never have stood by and let Admiral Adama kill all those humans," Kara had said stubbornly.

"We can't afford to have the Cylons come back to Caprica. There would be no treaty for us if that ever happened. They would not spare a single human. Think of all the innocent children on this planet who would die along with the rest of us."

"But if we could destroy the Cylons and still save the humans?"

"If we could do that, then it would certainly be my first choice, but it doesn't sound like we can do it without the loss of a great many of our pilots and Marines and possibly our battlestars as well. It all comes back to protecting the humans on Caprica. That is and always will be my primary concern."

"Would you talk to Admiral Adama about it?"

"When the time comes Bill and I will discuss it again, but I don't know that I'll be able to change his mind. I can understand why he doesn't want to risk our battlestars and personnel when he doesn't know how many lives we could save on the planet. Do we risk all of humanity to save a few humans?"

Kara's thoughts came back to the present as she knocked on the door of the restroom. She heard the lock click and Sharon opened the door. There were tears in her eyes. Kara stepped inside and closed the door. Sharon went to the sink where she ran cold water and rinsed her mouth. Except for being pale, Sharon looked good in a pair of dark slacks and a soft, off-white sweater. She didn't look pregnant at all.

Kara handed her some paper towels. "Are you all right?"

"Is it like this for everyone?"

"I don't know. Laura was sick in the morning. It went away after a couple of months."

"So I've got another month of this at least."

"Are you ready to go out and try to say your vows?"

"Give me a few more minutes. I don't want to puke on Karl's feet."

Kara walked back into the temple. Dwight Saunders and Noel Allison were sitting on the opposite pew from Karl. Both were wearing their duty blue uniforms.

"Flat Top, Narcho," Kara said.

Saunders grinned. "I came to laugh at my ECO for getting caught like this. Helo, I thought I taught you better."

Karl smiled. "What's Narcho's excuse? Why is he here?"

"We took a transport together." Allison said. "I didn't want to wait outside in the cold."

"You break my heart," Karl said, still smiling. "For a minute I thought you were here because you're my friends."

"Naw," they both said in unison.

Two minutes later Sharon walked down the aisle. Karl stood. Elosha motioned them to the altar. They said their vows in the brief ceremony. When they turned around, they were husband and wife.

"Let's go to Zeno's and celebrate," Kara said. "You're the first pair of pilots in our graduating class to get hitched."

Karl looked at Sharon who was still ghostly pale. She shook her head.

Flat Top grinned and shook Karl's hand. "We'll go celebrate for you. How's that?"

"Yeah, okay. I'm going to take Sharon home. Thanks for coming today. It means a lot."

Narcho turned to Kara. "You want to ride with us to Zeno's?"

"I can't. I'm on the motorcycle. I'll meet you there."

When they were gone, Kara walked up to the altar and put coins in all the bowls. She thanked Elosha for performing the ceremony.

"Laura spoke with me. I did it for the child. If the gods have allowed its creation, then who am I to deny the sacrament of marriage to its parents."

Kara smiled. "One day, when the time is right, I want you to marry me and Lee."

Elosha also smiled. "I will be honored."

"I talked to Keshia. She's working at a shelter for abused women and their children. She has a room there. She said it's all she needs. She really misses Yolanda."

"Her heart will heal in time as will yours. I will say a prayer for her and for you, too."

"And Laura. Don't forget Laura and my brother…and my dad."

"Laura is in my prayers daily. She has such responsibility."

Before Kara left, she knelt at the small altar rail and said a prayer for her father, for his safety on Nereid, and then she said a prayer that she would have the courage to do what she had to do to save his life and the lives of the other humans there...or for the courage to die with them.

Narcho was sitting by himself in a booth at Zeno's when Kara got there. Flat Top was throwing darts at the newly installed board. Kara waved at him and went to the bar for a beer before she sat down in the booth.

"It was nice of you and Saunders to show up today," Kara said. "I know Karl really appreciated it."

"It could happen to any of us, I guess. Karl's a nice guy. I don't see how he can be with a Cylon, but that's him, not me."

"He'll make a good father."

Narcho grinned. "When are you and Lee going to take the plunge?"

"Marriage or a baby?"

"Either one."

Kara looked down at the gold braided ring on her right hand. "Not anytime soon, but someday."

"How's he doing? I haven't seen him at the base in a couple of months."

"The doctor hasn't released him to fly, yet. Lee's still doing physical therapy. He's about to go nuts."

"I'll bet, especially with you flying almost every day. No more secret projects right now, huh?"

Kara looked at him. "You know I can't talk about some of the things I've been asked to do."

"I know."

"You believe in the gods, don't you?"

Narcho turned up his beer. "It's hard to believe after everything that's happened, but yeah, I still believe in the gods. Why?"

Kara sipped from her beer. "You remember me telling you about an Oracle who used to be a priest in Delphi? She probably knew your sister."

"Vaguely."

"She died. Cavil was holding her prisoner questioning her about the future. She got sick. By the time our soldiers rescued her, it was too late."

"Son of a bitch," Narcho said.

"Do you believe that Oracles can…see things that others can't?"

"I believe Oracles have powers the rest of us don't or they wouldn't be Oracles. What's this all about, Kara?"

"I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one who believes in them. Everything Yolanda ever told me turned out to be true….except one thing and I'm still waiting to find out about that one. I believe her, though. She was never wrong."

"Something's bugging you. Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not right now. Soon."

"What does Lee say about this Oracle thing?"

"He thinks Yolanda was just after my cubits. If I told him what she'd said to me and what I think it means, Lee would tell me I'm crazy...as in lock-me-up crazy."

Narcho grinned. "You mean you're not?"

"Funny, Narch. My wingman is funny."

They sipped their beer, the easy camaraderie evident between them. Kara knew that when the time came he would help her with her plan. He believed, not only in the gods, but in the words of an Oracle as well. He might think she was crazy, but if she asked him, he would help her.

Lee sat in his underwear in the doctor's examining room and waited. That's all he seemed to do when he had an appointment. Wait. He was walking a lot better now. The limp was gone. He was driving his car again, but the doctor still wouldn't release him to fly.

The doctor finally came in, greeted him briefly, and scanned quickly down his chart before he began examining his leg.

"How's the physical therapy going?"

"Fine. I want to get back in my Viper."

"That's what we're working toward."

"No, that's what I'm working toward," Lee said irritably.

"How long have you been off the painkillers?" The doctor asked, pressing on a spot that caused Lee to wince.

"Two, almost three weeks."

"How are you sleeping?"

"I'm sleeping fine. What's that got to do with my leg?"

"Lack of sleep can lead to impatience and irritability."

"So can being kept out of the cockpit when I should be cleared to fly."

The doctor said evenly. "I'll decide when you're ready to fly, lieutenant. How's your appetite?"

"Fine? Why?"

The doctor glanced at his chart again. "You've lost nearly ten pounds."

"I thought I'd gained weight."

"No. Any nightmares?"

"None," he lied. "What are you asking me? Just spit it out."

"You had a very traumatic experience. I just want to make sure we don't have something else going on here."

"The only thing we've got going on here is you keeping me out of the cockpit when my leg is fine."

The doctor wrote something on his chart. "Let's give the physical therapy one more week. Come back then and we'll see about releasing you to flight ready status."

"Does my father want to keep me out of the cockpit?" Lee asked, the irritability again creeping into his voice. "

"I can assure you I haven't spoken with your father about your leg or anything else." He smiled briefly. "When it concerns your medical records, I outrank the admiral. I'll see you in a week."

When the doctor left, Lee put on his uniform. He was still angry when he went to the check-out window.

The young ensign looked up and smiled brightly. "I've got you down for next Wednesday, same time."

Lee didn't answer her. He didn't even take the appointment card she pushed across the counter to him. He'd been doing this every Wednesday now for four weeks expecting each time to be released to fly again. He wasn't going to forget.

Out in his car he sat and tried to calm down. He was irritable and impatient. Even Kara had commented on it. For the last month he'd felt like something was gnawing in his gut and he didn't know what to do about it. He believed it would go away as soon as he was back in the cockpit, as soon as he got a chance to prove to himself that he could take a ship up and bring it back down in one piece.

A week ago Kara had finally gotten fed up with his moodiness. She had shoved her father's laptop into her backpack and gone to Marble House for a few nights. It had all started when he'd said something about what he had dubbed her Nereid obsession. Several nights a week now she spent hours sitting at the kitchen table pouring over images of the planet's surface, images which Lee wished Kevin had never given her. She'd loaded them onto John's laptop and was making notes in a journal that she was also keeping on the laptop.

A few days before the fight, he'd gotten home early and had decided to look at what she poured over on a nightly basis, but when he had tried to open her notes, he had found she had password protected them. Even though he had known he had no business snooping, he had still been angry and hurt.

He had shut down the laptop and gotten a beer. He hadn't mentioned it to her, though. Instead he had started brooding about it.

Matters hadn't gotten any better when his physical therapy session had run late on Friday afternoon. He'd missed Karl and Sharon's wedding, and when he'd finally gotten to Zeno's, he'd found Kara talking to Narcho about something that she'd immediately shut up about as soon as he had walked up to the booth.

Maybe it had gotten to him because he knew Narcho was flying Kara's wing in their training sessions now. Lee knew that all the banter and kidding between them was just part of the bond that existed between pilots who had fought and trained and gone to the Academy together, but something was going on with Kara, something she wouldn't share with him and it was getting to him. That night he had begun to wonder if she had shared it with Narcho. But that was probably part of his newly-minted paranoia, too.

As he now sat in his car, Lee took several deep breaths. Maybe the doctor was right. Lee had lied about the nightmares. Since he had stopped taking the painkillers, the nightmares had started. Most of them involved being in the water in the dark. A lot of times the unseen hand grabbed his ankle and began pulling him under, down into the darkness where he knew he was going to die.

Several times he'd awakened with his heart pounding and found Kara's side of the bed empty. Once he found her in the kitchen. Her explanation was that she'd gotten thirsty. He told her he had, too. Another time he'd found her standing at his bedroom window looking at the stars. He'd gotten up and gone to the bathroom. When he'd returned, she was back in bed. She'd mumbled something about a leg cramp. They hadn't talked about it.

Now he realized they should have. They should have been talking all along.

Lee started the car, but instead of driving out to the base, he pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the University. He parked in a commercial lot four blocks from the bookstore. He needed to walk. He needed to clear his head.

Lee waited for Leoben to finish ringing a sale. He had a black eye that had almost healed.

"Lee Adama. Are you looking for a book or do you need some help with an unruly Cylon?"

"That's good, Leoben. I didn't know you had a sense of humor."

"I told your friends I couldn't help them. I'll tell you, too. Save you the trouble of asking."

"My friends?" Lee asked.

"Parker and Darren. They've called on me a few times with a couple of Darren's thugs. Parker's okay. Darren's another story. He told Parker to watch the store while he and his boys took me to the back for a chat. If it was up to him, I'd be keeping Cavil and the others company in that prison…or I'd be at the bottom of the bay."

"Is that what happened to your eye?"

"I'm surprised you didn't know. But maybe you do. Are you the good cop of the routine?"

"No. And I didn't know they had been here. Parker doesn't discuss everything with me. I work for him, not the other way around."

"I don't know the answers to their questions. I don't know if there are other baseships out there somewhere. I don't know how many there are. I don't know what they're planning. I don't even know if what's in my brain is the truth or something Cavil planted there."

"That's not why I'm here. Have you seen Kara lately?"

"Why? Has something happened to her?"

"No. I just thought maybe she'd dropped by."

"I haven't seen her in almost three months. She came by shortly after Laura Roslin let me go."

"You wouldn't know how long it takes to make a basestar, would you?"

Leoben snorted. "I'm sure I've got a manual somewhere in the back. Basestar Construction for Dummies."

Lee's impatience and irritability returned with a rush. He could see why Darren had punched Leoben. He felt like doing the same thing. He turned to go.

"Forget it."

"Wait. Are you sure Kara's all right?"

Lee whirled. "No, I'm not sure. She lost her father. She lost some classmates and fellow pilots and she lost Yolanda Brenn."

"Yolanda Brenn is dead? How?"

"Cavil had her locked up in his basement. She died of pneumonia. Kara and I were with her in the hospital the night she died. Kara took it hard. She still won't talk about it. She won't talk about her father either."

"And you thought she'd come and talked to me."

Lee shrugged.

"Sorry. I can't help you. I haven't seen her."

"Then tell me about your basestars."

Leoben was silent for a minute and then he said, "I don't know if I can trust what's in my head."

"Tell me anyway."

"With all the right…building materials, a new baseship can be created every eight to ten months. Creating the Hybrid might take longer…unless they've perfected the process."

"What are you talking about…the hybrid?"

"The Hybrid is the one who controls a baseship. It looks partly human. Its origin was part of a human, but it's so much more than that. The Hybrid can see the face of God. The Hybrid is our interface to the Divine."

Lee had forgotten that Leoben was a monotheist. He ignored the last remark.

"How do you make these Hybrids?"

"The creators make them. Every baseship has one. Among other things they control the life support systems of the ship. No baseship would be launched without one."

"I'd better go. I need to get to the base."

"Tell Kara I said hello and that I'm sorry about Yolanda. Tell her to stop by sometime for a chat and a cup of tea."

"Sure."

Walking at a fast pace Lee left the bookstore. His next stop was not the base. His next stop was his father's office. If the Cylons on Nereid had managed to produce a basestar every eight months, then in the last five years they could have produced as many as eight basestars. If it took ten months, then they could have produced six new basestars. Three had been over Nereid when Kara had been there. Then again, Leoben had said they all needed something called a Hybrid that only their creators could make. So there might be fewer ships. The three over Nereid might be all or there might be more.

He father needed to know that right away.

Kara stood in the hall outside of Hugh Connelly's office. She hadn't seen him since her father's wake almost two months earlier. She could tell when she called the day before that he was surprised to hear from her.

She only had to wait ten minutes before he rounded the corner and started up the hall.

"You look good," he said.

"So do you. How's this year's crop of students?"

"Not as good as last year's."

She grinned. "I knew we'd be a hard act to follow."

"I was surprised to hear from you."

"I need your help with something."

He smiled. "You know I'll always do what I can to help you."

"I need to get into wherever the things from my father's office were taken."

"Why?"

"You know what he was working on."

Connelly nodded.

"I've been there," she said softly. "I've been to Nereid. I'll probably be going back soon."

"Are there Cylons on the planet?"

"It's crawling with them."

"How were you able to…"

"I was in a Raider. It's a long story. They thought I was one of them."

"What does this have to do with the things in your father's office?"

"I need to find out if he discovered anything about the second Hyperion mission. I've been through every single bit of information on his laptop and couldn't find anything."

"I still don't understand what you're looking for."

"There are humans on the planet. Some are prisoners, but there's a group living free. We don't have positive proof about the free ones, but we're almost sure."

"You think the second expedition wasn't lost. You think they made it to the planet. But they'd be…"

"Old. I know. But I'll bet since they realized they couldn't get back to Libran, they made babies."

"Is this a new theory, or did your father know about it?"

"I wrote him about a month before I came home on leave. I don't know if he did anything about it or not. I forgot to ask him. None of us knew what was about to happen."

"Colonel Burgher hasn't done anything with your father's office yet. He would probably let you in to get his personal things."

Kara stood. "Okay, I'll go see Burgher."

"How is Laura?" Hugh asked.

"She's so busy now I hardly see her, even when I stay at Marble House. Of course that's nothing new. I didn't see her much at the apartment, either."

"When you see her, tell her Stacey and I have some good news. We're having another baby. We just found out for sure last week."

Kara grinned. "Congratulations. My dad will be glad…would have been glad. Maybe you'll get a little boy this time."

"I'll be happy no matter what."

"I went back to the camp with my dad and Karl and Lee last summer. I saw…on the wall…I saw your little boy's name."

He nodded. "Stacey and I made the pilgrimage, too, not long after the memorial park opened."

"Going back was the right thing to do," Kara said softly. "I didn't want to at first, but now I'm glad I did. I'd better go if I want to catch Colonel Burgher between classes."

"Take care of yourself, Kara. Let me know if you don't find what you need in your father's office."

"I will." At the door she turned. "Have you ever made a decision to do something because it was the right thing to do…maybe not the easy choice, but the right one?"

Their eyes locked. His were still as blue as the sky at twilight.

"Yes," he said softly.

"Then you'll understand why I have to do this."

Connelly followed her into the parking garage at Lee's apartment and waited while she parked the motorcycle. She opened the door of his car and got the big cardboard box from the back seat.

"Are you sure you don't need any help with that?" He asked.

"I'm good. A quick elevator ride and I'm there."

She carried the box to the elevator and rode up to the eighth floor. She had to put it down to unlock the door. As it swung open, she heard voices. Lee's and Zak's. She picked up the box and pushed the door shut with her boot.

"Hi, guys," she said as she carried the box to the kitchen.

Shedding her jacket, she walked back into the living room. Zak was on his feet. His hair was buzz cut, he had bulked up. He stood straighter, too. He was wearing a long-sleeved black t-shirt and black cargo pants.

"Wow," she said as she hugged him, "look at you, all soldiered up on us."

"I just finished basic training. My unit is being sent to Sovana."

She grinned. "Leave it to you to get an easy assignment."

"That's just what I was telling Lee. He's gone all mother-hen on me."

"So what are you going to be doing? PR?"

"No PR this time. I'm just a grunt."

"When do you leave?"

"Day after tomorrow."

She snickered. "At least you won't have to worry about Cylons. Even the centurions were afraid to go to Sovana."

"If you want my opinion," Lee said, "there are more important issues facing the government than Sovana right now."

"Like?" Kara asked.

"Rebuilding what was destroyed in Caprica City for one thing. There's thousands of homeless, not just here, but in Delphi, too."

"Laura can't do everything at once."

"I've got to go," Zak said. "Maggie and I are going out tonight."

Lee stood. He and Zak hugged. "Keep in touch, little bro."

"Your contact info is in my phone."

Kara hugged Zak again. "Keep your head down."

"And wear my bullet-proof vest. Yeah, I know."

She and Lee walked with him to the door.

"Good luck with getting back in the air next week," Zak said to Lee.

"I'll believe it when I'm sitting in the cockpit."

After he shut the door, Lee turned to Kara. "What's in the box?"

"Some personal stuff from my dad's office at the Academy."

"Whew. For a minute I thought you were going to say more stuff on Nereid."

"It's mostly stuff he had started working on for the second Hyperion mission."

"Great. I guess that means more hours spent at the kitchen table."

"I'll be glad to take everything back to Marble House," she said quickly. "Of course I go with it."

Lee sat down on the couch and picked up his beer. He patted the couch beside him. Kara walked into the kitchen and got a beer before she sat down.

"I'm just concerned…" he started.

"That I'm obsessed. Maybe this keeps me occupied, keeps my mind off other things."

"I went to see Leoben today. He gave me his thoughts on how long it takes to create a basestar. I went straight to my dad with it. If Leo is right, there might be more than three basestars if they managed to create something called a Hybrid for each one. It's something that controls life support on the ship."

"But you don't know for sure about the extra ships?"

"No."

Kara felt a cold lump begin to grow in her stomach. Her immediate fear was that the admiral would want to go to Nereid right away and destroy it. She sipped the beer and tried to keep her voice even.

"What's your father going to do?"

"Nothing right now. The repairs were just completed on the Valkyrie. The Atlas will be out of commission for two months. He'll probably do whatever he's going to do after that. Right now he's keeping all his battlestars around Caprica just in case any of those basestars show up here."

"And we keep doing our drills. Keeping sharp for the day we go to Nereid."

"He needs more nukes and conventional missiles, too. The munitions factory is running twenty-four seven now."

"Why conventional weapons?" Kara asked sarcastically. "I thought he was just going to nuke the rest of the known universe. That will take care of the Cylons, won't it?"

Lee got up and walked into the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and then closed it. He knew exactly where their conversation was headed and he didn't want to go there. He walked to the kitchen door and managed to control his voice.

"What do you want for dinner?"

"I'm not hungry."

"I'm going to order a pizza."

"Fine."

Kara wanted nothing more than to go into the kitchen and start going through the information that was on the USB drive she had tucked under the pictures and other personal items she had taken from her father's office, but she knew that she would have to explain too much to Lee. She knew that it would probably start another fight and the gods knew they'd had enough of those lately. They'd almost had one just now but for some reason Lee had backed down. His temper had been in ample evidence for weeks, brought on by his doctor's refusal to return him to flight ready status. She knew the amount of time she had spent studying the images of Nereid's surface hadn't helped either.

He'd told her she had become obsessed. He was probably right. But she had started making a plan. For the first time ever, she had a lot of admiration for Admiral Adama. To pull off everything he had done in the amount of time he'd had to accomplish it had been nothing short of military genius. If Cavil hadn't forced his hand, they would be free of the Cylons right now and she wouldn't be obsessing about Nereid because her father would still be on Caprica.

Lee came back into the living room and sat down beside her on the couch. He put his arm around her.

"How long have you been having nightmares?"

"I'm not…" she started and took a breath.

"I'm having them."

"Off and on since that night. We're not the only ones. Narch told me he's having them, too. He said Saunders prowls around the apartment half the night."

"I've been in a bad mood lately."

Kara looked at him, searching those blue eyes she loved so much. "You think?"

"I'll feel better when I can fly again. I've got to know I can get back up there in a Viper."

She put her head on his shoulder, afraid that if she continued to look at him, he would see the truth in her eyes.

"While I'm confessing," he went on, "I looked at your laptop a week ago. I was wrong to do it and I'm sorry."

"What were you trying to find out?"

"Why you're so obsessed with that damned planet."

"Obsessed is your opinion. What if I'm doing homework for the next Nereid mission?"

She kissed him softly. He pulled her to him. He knew they would always have this, the quick and deep passion that existed between them. He began to unbutton the jacket of her duty blues.

Kara smiled. "You'd better wait until the delivery guy gets here with the pizza."

"And then we'll let it get cold."

"It won't be the first time."

The call about Kara's next Sadie mission came two weeks later, two days after Lee's doctor cleared him to fly again. He did fine on his first flight in almost four months. She joked with him when he got back, making a big deal of inspecting his Viper, finally declaring that it was in one piece. They left the hangar with their arms around each other, the feeling between them the best it had been in a long time. Back at the apartment, they ordered a pizza. It got cold just like the last one had.

She was to take Sadie back to Nereid on Saturday morning. She had Friday afternoon for the briefing and to familiarize herself once again with the Raider's controls. Bill met her after lunch out at the hangar. They sat with Rick and Kevin in the plastic-walled room.

The admiral was brief.

"You have one goal on this mission. I want to know how many basestars are still over the planet and I want to know if it looks like they're still working on the same basestar at that shipyard."

"Yes, sir."

Kara didn't ask about going anywhere else on the planet. If she asked and he told her no, then she would be disobeying an order.

"Stay away from the forest, Kara. We can't risk having anything happen to the Raider."

She smiled. "Or me, sir?"

He smiled, too. "Or you."

"Then you believe me now about getting shot at?"

"We take no chances. No recon over the forest."

Kara waited. He had no other warnings for her. After the admiral was gone, she went over to Sadie and climbed inside. She noticed that Kevin had put a thin layer of padding where she had to lay. It was much more comfortable.

When she finished the sim run and climbed down, Kara looked at the underneath of the right wing. She ran her hand carefully over the spot where the bullets had hit. The places were barely visible, tiny dents in the organic metal.

Kevin was standing behind Sadie when Kara walked out from under the wing. "You heard what Admiral Adama said. The forest is off limits."

"I heard him. Thanks for getting me something softer to lie on."

"I finally found some organic glue that would work on Sadie that didn't have toxic fumes. Rick said we had to make sure any kind of padding wouldn't slide around. It has to be fire-proof, too."

"It's feels great."

"Is Lee going to bring you out here tomorrow?" Kevin asked.

"I'm sure he will. Are the two of you going to pace around outside the hangar the whole time I'm gone?"

He blushed and looked down. "Probably."

"Hey, Kev, in case I forget to mention it later, I really appreciate everything you've done for the mission…and for me, too."

"Just doing my job."

"Are you and Rick still working nights?"

He shook his head.

"So what happens to this place when nobody's here?"

"It's locked up tight."

"Alarm?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Security?"

"MPs from the base patrol it as part of their route."

"How often?"

Kevin laughed. "Are you thinking about stealing Sadie?"

Kara laughed, too. "Sadie saved my life on the last mission when she let me know something was wrong. I'm glad to know she's being kept safe. See you in the morning."

As Kara got on her motorcycle to leave, she had another bit of information vital to her plan.

"Tell me again why we have to be here at 05:00 in the morning?" Lee asked grumpily. "Nobody else is here. Your mission isn't until 07:00."

"I couldn't sleep," Kara said. "And you didn't have to come with me."

Lee started to reply, but in light of his recent promise to himself not to argue with her, he kept quiet. He slid down in the seat, got comfortable, and shut his eyes.

Fifteen minutes later Kara saw headlights. Rick Rafferty pulled into the parking lot. She got out of the car and was waiting at the door for him.

"You're here early," he said as he keyed in the alarm code.

"Nerves," Kara explained.

He smiled. "You're an old pro at this now."

She heard the car door slam behind her. They waited on Lee. Kara watched how Rafferty turned on the lights and deactivated the interior alarm. They walked through the maze of boxes.

When they reached Sadie, Kara walked around swinging her arms, trying to calm her nerves. Rick went to one of the tables and started coffee before he went to his office. Kara followed him.

"I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention my crazy theory to Lee today."

"You haven't mentioned it?" Rafferty asked in surprise.

She shook her head. "Lee already thinks I'm obsessed. I don't want to make it any worse."

Rafferty smiled. "What crazy theory was that anyway?"

She heard Kevin's voice out in the hangar talking to Lee. "I thought I'd be the first one here."

"Kara couldn't sleep," Lee's replied tersely.

At 07:00 she was on the runway. Ten minutes later she was over the ocean and jumped.

The three basestars were still over Nereid. She watched her long-range sensor sweep several times. It never picked up more than three. She keyed the coordinates for an area close to the city and flew a quick grid pattern. Then she turned the Raider northwest. The basestar was still under construction. The stubs of the long starfish arms were now visible. They were definitely making progress.

She turned the Raider due north and crossed a plain that looked patchy in the early morning light, possibly some kind of farming or agricultural area. She saw green and ochre. The land became hilly and covered with trees and then rocky before tall mountains rose steeply in front of her. She kept the cameras recording as she climbed to thirty thousand feet. The mountains went on for a hundred miles. She saw what had to be a huge glacier cleaving two massive peaks and then she was over a snowfield, a thousand miles of white.

She knew that Lee and Kevin and Rick would be expecting her back by now, but she had another idea and she knew this would be her only chance to prove she was right. She knew that during the fighting five years earlier, a number of Colonial ships had disappeared. She and her father had talked about them on several occasions. Her father had felt like the Cylons would not destroy them. He had felt like they would take them somewhere that the ships couldn't be reached except by air. That meant the north or south polar regions.

Kara had chosen to go north because based on the surface maps, it was the longest distance from any inhabited regions. If she was wrong, she wouldn't have a chance to check out the southern polar region. She would not be out of oxygen but she would be out of time.

The sunlight was at a steeper angle here. The land underneath her sparkled. The smallest rise in the snow cast a shadow. She thought of her dream about the Hyperion. Please be here. Please let me find you.

She began to fly a grid pattern, looking for anomalies in the mostly flat snow-covered terrain. Five minutes before she was ready to give up, she spotted the first big mound in the snow. There were others, so many others, far too big to be bodies. They were the size of ships.

Carefully she eased Sadie lower. She couldn't put the Raider down. She didn't trust the crusted snow. It could be filled with crevasses, but she still had to know. She picked the largest mound and flew several low passes over it, letting the backwash of Sadie's propulsion system hit it. Enough was uncovered to show her that it was definitely a ship, definitely Colonial in design.

An alarm sounded in Sadie. She glanced at her dradis. Five blips were approaching fast from the south. Raiders. She hoped the cameras had recorded enough. Her coordinates for Caprica were already in the computer. Long before the Raiders had cleared the horizon, she jumped.

Sunday morning at the meeting in the plastic-walled room, Admiral Adama looked at her. She could tell he was trying to control his temper.

"I thought you understood the parameters of your mission, Starbuck?"

Not Kara. Starbuck. Less personal.

"I performed my mission, sir. I got the information on the city and the basestars around the planet. I got the information on the shipyard. I didn't fly over the forest."

"You may very well have given us away to the Cylons on that planet."

"They never saw me. I was still too far away from them when I jumped."

"That's not the point," Lee said. "They know something was there. They didn't have to see you."

"Even if they had seen me, I was just another one of them."

The admiral's temper finally bled into his words. "Like Lee said, that's not the point! Something triggered them to come check you out. Now they know that someone else has access to the planet."

"Not necessarily. By the time they got there I was long gone. The probably wrote it off as a malfunction in their sensors."

Bill said, "I wouldn't bet my next paycheck on that."

"Is that what's bugging you, sir, or is it the fact that I brought you proof that there's about fifty Colonial ships under the snow at Nereid's north pole. Fifty ships would have meant a lot of human prisoners for them."

Kevin said tentatively, "We're almost certain the ship that Kara partially uncovered is the Bellicose, a transport ship with a crew of thirty-eight."

Bill was staring at the image on the screen in front of them. "Transporting what?"

"She was a container transport. Mostly furniture and dry goods, clothing, shoes, that sort of thing. She was bound for Picon from Virgon and was reported lost during the fighting five years ago."

"We've got no proof the Cylons ever took prisoners from those ships. They could have executed all the humans on board."

"You're wrong, sir," Kara said passionately. "Why would they go to the trouble of taking the ships if they didn't want the passengers and crew?"

"Kara is right," Lee said. "They were after the humans…and possibly the cargos as well. Why else would they have gone to the trouble of taking the ships and then dumping them at the north pole?"

"The humans aboard those ships may or may not still be alive," his father retorted. "That's my point. We have absolutely no proof that they kept the humans alive."

"What about the lab-prison complex on the plateau? The photographs clearly show a building with a wall and a razor-wire fence around it."

"But no humans," Bill answered her. "We've never seen a single human on the surface of the planet. Not one."

Kara couldn't argue with him. He was right. She gave up trying to further convince the admiral. She had known all along that he had made up his mind to destroy the planet. Even this last bit of proof she had brought him was not going to sway him. The two things he was interested in, the only two things, were the three basestars above Nereid and the status of that basestar under construction at the shipyard.

There was nothing else to be said. She knew that the admiral would make his move soon. He could make it any time now.

Kara was silent on their way back into the city.

After they dropped Bill at his office, Lee said, "I'm sorry. You did your best."

"Does that mean you agree with me?"

"I think there were once prisoners on Nereid. I think that's what the wall and fence are all about. I don't know if any are still there. There's no proof and without it, my father is right to pursue his plan."

"Killing innocent humans."

"All we saw in the city were skinjobs and centurions. All we saw at the prison were centurions."

"It wouldn't have mattered. I know how he feels. He thinks we have to sacrifice the few to save the many."

Lee didn't say anything. There was really nothing left to say. Kara was right.

She took a deep breath. "Okay. I'm through talking about it. Let's go to Channing's and eat lunch and then go to Marble House and spend the rest of the afternoon with Braedon and Maya and Laura, too, if she's there. Maybe we can all go to the park and take a walk. It's a beautiful day. Then we'll go back to your place and order a pizza for dinner."

Lee reached over and gently took her hand. "I'm sorry."

She curled her fingers through his. "Not nearly as sorry as I am. But I'm putting it behind me. I'm not going to talk about it again."

On Monday morning Kara entered the ready room, spotted Noel Allison and went to sit beside him.

"How was your weekend?"

He shrugged. "Nothing memorable. What about you?"

"Busy. I need your help with something. You think Crash would let you borrow his car tonight?"

"Probably. Why?"

"I need a ride somewhere?"

He grinned. "I thought you were married to that motorcycle."

"I've got something to carry that won't fit on the motorcycle."

"Should I ask why you aren't asking Lee?"

"No."

"Am I going to get my butt kicked?"

"He'll never know. This will always be our secret."

"What time and where?"

She took a small piece of paper out of the pocket of her flight suit. "Be there at 22:00. I'll be waiting."

"Where are we going?"

"About twenty miles north of the city. I need you to help me do one thing after we get there and then you can leave."

Jackson Spencer walked down the aisle.

"What's this about?" Narcho whispered.

"I'll tell you on the way. Can I count on you?"

Narcho nodded.

It was almost too easy. After they ate dinner at Zeno's, she told Lee that she was spending the night at Marble House. Laura thought she was with Lee. Instead of going to Marble House, though, Kara rode her motorcycle to the apartment and parked in the garage beside her father's car. She rode the elevator up to the eighth floor.

She took the new backpack out of her closet. She had been collecting supplies for weeks now. She put her mother's pistol in the bottom and began packing. She finished long before it was time to go downstairs. She looked around the bedroom and then took the picture of her father and Braedon off the dresser and took the photograph out of the frame. She slid it into a side compartment of the backpack just behind the new slingshot she had bought. She checked the pocket on the other side. The small handheld computer that had cost her half a month's salary was wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap. It easily held everything on her father's laptop about Nereid.

She tried looking at television but found she couldn't sit still long enough. She walked out onto the terrace. The late winter night was cold and crystal clear. She looked at the stars and knew that what she was doing was the right thing. If she survived she knew she would pay a price. She would probably pay with her freedom, possibly lose the heart of the man she would love for the rest of her life, but she also knew she couldn't sit by and do nothing. She couldn't wait for the admiral to take his battlestars to Nereid and give her an order that she wouldn't be able to obey. She had made her choice and there was no turning back.

Noel Allison was right on time. Kara threw the pack into the back seat and got into the front.

"Take me by the base, first. I've got to get my flight suit."

"I think I deserve an explanation."

"Will you just let me talk for a couple of minutes and not ask any questions?"

He pulled away from the curb. "Talk."

"Will you swear on your honor you'll never tell anyone what I'm going to tell you?"

"Okay."

"We found the Cylon homeworld. It's a planet in the Prolmar Sector thirty light years from here. We call it Nereid."

"So much for urban legend, huh?"

"Let me finish. I've been there twice in a Raider. The details aren't important. There are humans on that planet, some prisoners, some living free. There are three Cylon basestars above the planet. There's another one under construction on the planet. In two months or less, Admiral Adama is going to jump some of our battlestars into the atmosphere and nuke the basestars and the planet. He's not going to try to rescue the humans. This is the only way I can think of to stop him. It might work. It might not."

Narcho took a deep breath. "That's an incredible story."

"There's more. My father is on the planet. The Oracle saw it. She told me before she died. One of the geniuses who worked on the Raider told me it was possible."

Narcho stopped at a red light and looked over at her. "Are you on something, Kara?"

"Drugs?"

"Anything?"

"No."

The light turned green. He accelerated and got in the lane leading to the freeway. He didn't speak again until they were on the I-6.

"You're willing to bet your career on what you've just told me?"

She snickered. "My career? It's more like my life. I'm willing to bet my career and my life on it."

"I guess Lee doesn't agree."

"Lee's the admiral's son. He would never do what I'm getting ready to do even though he's got reservations about nuking the planet and killing the humans along with the Cylons. If I'd told him, he would have had me locked in a psycho ward."

"What exactly are you getting ready to do?"

"I'm stealing the Raider and going to Nereid."

"Holy frakking Hera! You are crazy!"

"The Raider's FTL drive will do it in one jump."

They drove the rest of the way to the base in silence. She knew he had questions he wanted to ask, but he didn't ask them.

Finally he said, "So the admiral is going to nuke the planet and kill a bunch of innocent humans just to make sure he gets the Cylons."

"That's right."

At the gate to the hangars Narcho put his ID into the reader, pulled through and parked outside the Viper hangar.

"I won't be long," Kara said.

There was no one in the women's locker room. She quickly undressed and pulled on her flight suit. Her heart hadn't been pounding nearly as hard the night they'd fought the Cylons. She put everything in her locker except her mobile phone. She had one last call that she would have to make.

When she got back to the car, Narcho was sitting behind the wheel wearing his flight suit.

"What the hell?"

"How long do you think it will take them to figure out I helped you. I'm going to get court-martialed anyway. I might as well go all the way with it."

"No you're not. You're…"

"Kara, do you think I could nuke a planet knowing there are humans on it?" He backed the car out of the parking place. "Which way?"

"North on the I-6. I'll tell you where to exit."

They reached the boneyard fifteen minutes later. They sat in the car and waited until the MPs had driven by twice. They had roughly twenty minutes between rounds.

Narcho carried the backpack. Kara was almost certain she could keep him from getting into the Raider. She wasn't going to risk the life of a friend.

She keyed the security code into the front door and the second code into the pad just inside the door. The blinking light on the panel switched from red to green. She let out the breath she was holding.

She no longer needed the spray-painted arrows to navigate the maze of boxes. They emerged into the whitewashed section. The only lights were two low-level florescent lights high in the ceiling. She went over to Sadie with Narcho following her and opened the hatch. Carefully she stowed her pack out of the way. She had measured carefully. It just fit.

She turned to Narcho. "There's a tow outside. We're going to have to get the ship out to the runway."

She walked to the huge double doors and pressed the big red button that opened and closed them. The doors began sliding back.

"It's still not too late to change your mind," Narcho said.

"Not a chance. I hope you know how to drive a tow."

He grinned. "I'll figure it out."

She saw the tiny red beam a foot off the concrete between the door frames a second before he walked through it.

"Stop!" she shouted at Narcho.

"What?"

She pointed down. "I don't know what this red beam is. I've never noticed it before."

"It's probably to keep the doors from shutting on anyone."

She walked to the side and studied the metal box that projected the beam. She didn't see any way to turn it off. Nevertheless Narcho stepped over the beam. Kara knew there was no way to get the tow inside or the Raider outside without interrupting it, but hopefully it was not an alarm. If it was, she had to be long gone before anyone got there.

Narcho started the tow. She stepped back inside and watched the beam as he drove through the door. Nothing happened. No alarm went off. She breathed deeply in relief.

She showed him how to hook it to the Raider. What Lou did in half a minute took them almost five. Narcho carefully pulled the Raider outside. Kara pressed the button to shut the big doors and jumped over the beam of light.

The Raider was at the runway. Narcho disengaged the tow and backed it out of the way.

"Go!" she said to him. "Get out of here! I've got to make a phone call."

She walked away from him a few steps and turned her back. She took out her mobile phone and called Lee. It was nearly midnight. She knew he would be in bed.

"Hi," he said, the sleep evident in his voice. "Is something wrong?"

"I'm at the boneyard, Lee." It was all she needed to say.

"Oh, frak no! No Kara, no!"

"I just want you to know how much I love you. I'll always love you."

"Kara, please don't!"

"I'm counting on you to stop your father from nuking the planet. You and Laura."

"Kara, I'm coming out there. We'll talk about it. There's another way."

"No, there's not. I left you a letter. It's under your trophy. I'm counting on you to stop your father. It's up to you, Lee."

Narcho's voice interrupted her. "We've got company."

Kara turned. She heard sirens in the distance and then saw the reflection of flashing red and blue lights on the old ships around them.

"I've got to go," she said to Lee. "I love you, but I can't compromise on this."

She closed her phone, slid under the Raider and boosted herself up. She started the computers booting. The red beam must have set off a silent alarm.

"Move over," Narcho said. "If I stay here, I'll spend the rest of my life in a military prison. I'd rather take my chances with you."

He was right, and she was responsible for him being in that position. Kara slid over as far as she could. He boosted himself up beside her.

"Close the hatch. Spin the wheel until it seals. You'll hear it."

"Damn, it's crowded in here."

"Watch where you put your hands and feet."

There were no lights on the runway. She was going to have to do this by the glow from the security lights positioned around the perimeter of the boneyard. She switched on the cameras and watched the ground. It took longer to get the Raider into the air with the extra weight, but she did it. She banked sharply and began to climb. She had no doubt that the MPs were calling the base for support. A Raider meant only one thing to them…Cylons. Someone was probably scrambling Vipers right now. Still climbing she headed toward the ocean.

She was right about the Vipers. They showed up on her dradis a minute later.

The coordinates were in the computer. She pressed the Ctrl and Backspace keys and vanished from the sky over the bay in a diamond-bright wink of light.

Lee sat sideways on the seat of one of the MP's jeeps out at the boneyard. Bill paced in front of him. Lee didn't think he had ever seen his father so furious.

"I'll ask you again. Did you know about this?"

"For the third time…No!"

"You've been living with this girl for months and you didn't have a clue?"

Lee rubbed his hand across his face. "For a while she was obsessed with the planet, but that leveled off. The last couple of weeks she hasn't mentioned it. I thought it was just something to occupy her while she dealt with losing her father."

"Well you were wrong."

Lee almost choked. "Yeah, I was wrong."

"What the hell is she trying to accomplish?"

"She's trying to stop you from nuking the planet and killing the humans. She's willing to put her life on the line to do it."

"Well, she's sure done that!" Bill said before he stalked away. He talked to the MPs for a long time.

Lee sat with his face in his hands, fighting nausea, fighting tears. He should have seen it. He should know Kara well enough by now to know she hadn't accepted Nereid's fate. He should have known that she would have pulled a crazy stunt like this.

His father walked back to him.

"She's not alone. The car out front belongs to a Lieutenant Alex Quartararo. One of the MP's just spoke with him. He said he loaned his car to a roommate tonight, a Lieutenant Noel Allison. Would he have helped her do this?"

"Probably. They went to the Academy together. He's been flying her wing for months."

"Come on," Bill said. "You and I are going to have to go tell the President. I'll ride with you."

In the car Lee said, "Kara thinks John is still alive and on Nereid. She's basing it on something Yolanda Brenn told her before she died. That's another reason she did what she did tonight. She's got an insane idea that she's going to find him and rescue him."

"Lords of Kobol! How long have you known that?"

"I just found out tonight."

Two hours later Lee walked back into his apartment and threw his keys on the kitchen table. The box from John's office still sat on the floor. The laptop sat beside the box. Lee got a bottle of ambrosia from the cabinet above the refrigerator. He didn't bother with a glass. It hadn't been as bad as he'd thought it would be when they'd told Laura, but it hadn't been good. Lee had seen it in her eyes. She was reliving Bill telling her about John's death.

Lee took a drink. Bill had not mentioned Kara's belief that her father was still alive. He had warned Lee not to mention it. They both knew it wasn't possible. Bill hadn't wanted to put Laura through even hearing something that far-fetched.

Telling her that Kara had stolen the Raider and jumped back to Nereid had been bad enough.

"Oh, dear gods, this is my fault," Laura had said, the anguish clear in her voice.

"How is it your fault?" Bill had asked.

"She talked to me about it over a month ago. I should have done more to assure her that we were going to…look at all the options before you went to Nereid."

Lee had said. "I think Kara had made up her mind to do this a long time ago. I think she planned it very carefully. I just hate she dragged somebody else into it with her."

"I'm glad she's not alone," Laura had said.

Lee took another drink and sat for a long time, his thoughts still a jumble.

Kara had won. Her act, born in desperation and courage that Lee could barely comprehend…or insanity…maybe both…had done what no amount of talking had been able to do. The President of the Colonies had spoken. They would not nuke the planet of Nereid. Bill would plan a mission that would make an attempt to rescue any humans even as he destroyed the Cylons.

"I will not condemn my daughter to death," Laura had said to both of them, tears in her eyes, her voice edged with steel. "I will not tell my son one day that I could have saved his sister and did nothing. There has to be another way."

"The price will be high," Bill had said.

"Then we'll pay it." Laura had replied, the determination clear in her voice.

Now Lee stood and walked into the living room, the bottle still in his hand. He took Kara's letter from underneath the trophy and read it again.

Dear Lee,

I've tried all the ways I know and none of them worked. I tried talking to your father and Laura. I went looking for the Hyperion and I found proof that Colonial ships are on Nereid. Still your father wouldn't listen so I'm going there. It's not just all the human prisoners. It's my father, too. He survived because he jumped the Raptor inside that basestar. Yolanda Brenn saw it and told me. I've explained everything in the journal on my father's laptop. The password is karaluvslee.

I don't want Braedon to grow up without a father. You of all people should understand why. I can't spend the rest of my life knowing there was something I could have done and didn't do it. And I would never be able to sit in my Viper and send a nuke to that planet knowing I was killing innocent humans including my father. So if that's what is going to happen, it's better for me to die with them.

I knew the day I met you that I would never love anybody but you. I know we've fought a lot lately, but you're still the prince of my dreams and I will always love you. Always! I have the strongest faith that we'll see each other again one day. Kara

Lee sat on the couch, the letter still in his hand, and closed his eyes. He knew that he would read it again and again until he had memorized it. He knew he would study the maps of Nereid as much as she had done. He would read her journal. He would decipher her plan. The fleet would go to Nereid one day and he would find her. They would be together again. He had to believe that. He had to.

At the boneyard tonight he had felt only dark despair. Now he felt the smallest flame of hope flicker to life and begin to burn inside of him. His love for Kara was the deepest and most meaningful thing in his life. He would find her. He would touch her face and look into her eyes and he would kiss her. He would tell her of his love for her and his faith in her. They would be together again.

He was absolutely certain of it.

.

.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is obviously not the end of Lee and Kara's story. Siren's Kiss has taken over twice as long to tell and twice as many chapters, but it is ending exactly where I originally planned. A now-completed sequel, The Torches of Other Worlds, continues their story.

I cannot say Thank You enough times to my faithful readers and reviewers. Your comments and encouragement have kept me writing the sometimes seemingly impossible weekly chapters since I began this story in April of 2008. At the beginning of the television series Number Six told Gaius Baltar, "All of this has happened before and will happen again." The Alternate Universe created in Siren's Kiss is simply one more telling of the Human-Cylon story…one in which we are not bound by series canon or series outcomes. The story will continue for all of our characters...for those who stay on Caprica and those who journey to another world.

I look forward to writing for all of you again soon. Jane. October 28, 2009.