Lieutenant Lee Adama wearily jammed his key into the lock of his apartment door. With only a slight movement of his wrist, the deadbolt slid open, and he opened the door to step through. He kicked it shut behind him with one foot while balancing all of his weight on the other. Without really thinking about it, he placed his bag on the table beside the door. The quiet thump of textbooks hitting wood, muffled only by cloth, was the lone sound in the small space.
He then toed off his boots, letting them sit askew on the floor. For once he was actually too tired to bend down and straighten them. Instead he headed over to the small fridge and pulled out a beer, not even bothering to turn on any of the lights. Picon summer days were long, and even though it was nearing 21:30 there was plenty of light shining past the blinds covering the two windows.
Lee flopped down onto his couch, the only piece of furniture other than the desk in the room. He didn't normally find it that comfortable, but after the kind of day he'd had it felt wonderful.
It was the last week of the term at the Academy and that meant exams, lots of exams. His most recent had been for his tactical course. He hadn't found the exam that hard, but it was probably because he'd spent hours upon hours studying for it. The best part about the exam was that it had been his last one. Well, he had a practical flight test the next day, but that didn't really count.
Flying came naturally to him and he didn't even need to prepare for that test. It wasn't arrogance; it was just the plain and simple truth. They had the list of maneuvers that they would be performing and Lee had mastered all of them a long time ago. Lots of other students would be using the sim rooms, possibly all night long, just so they could prepare. Lee knew that his time was better spent doing something else, like sleeping, and that way it freed up more space for others to practice.
Sleeping. Lee sighed as he realized that was the best thing he'd thought of all day. With a groan he twisted the cap off his beer and raised it to his lips, downing nearly two thirds of it without taking a breath. He wished he could sleep, but he had one very important phone call to make before he could. It was one that he'd been putting off for weeks.
He finished off his beer before he pushed himself up off the couch, and walked across the room to the desk. Lee stared at the phone for a few moments before letting out a sigh and picking it up. He'd left this until the last possible second, and it wasn't something that he could opt not to do at all.
He dialed the familiar numbers and then he waited, the phone pressed tightly against his ear. After two rings he heard the subtle click that meant someone had picked up.
"Hello?" came the soft feminine voice over the phone.
"Hi," Lee said quietly, turning so that he could lean back against the desk.
"Lee?" the woman questioned, her tone a mixture of surprise and happiness. "I haven't heard from you in a long time. How are you? Is everything all right?"
Lee sighed. This wasn't going to be easy. "Yeah Mom, but there's something I need to tell you."
She'd taken it better than he'd expected, although she still wasn't happy about his decision. He didn't expect her to be though. He doubted that any mother wanted to know that their son wouldn't be returning home during their summer break from school. But Lee just couldn't, not when he knew that his father would be there.
As soon as he'd heard that the Galactica was due in for a three-month overhaul during a time that coincided directly with his summer break, he'd started looking for a place to stay. If he didn't find a place, he could have always stayed at his apartment on campus, but that was his second to last choice of places for where to spend his vacation. He needed a break from anything and everything military, at least for the next two and a half months.
The solution to his problem had come with a phone call from an old friend. Michael had called him up a few weeks back and had asked if he had plans for the summer. They hadn't seen each other in a year, but had managed to keep in touch as much as they could, given that Lee was in his first year at the Academy and Michael was in his first year of med school. When Lee had mentioned that he was looking for a place to stay during the summer, Michael had been quick to offer him the spare room at his house, or more accurately his father's house.
They'd made plans and everything was all set, with the exception of Lee telling his mom that he wouldn't be coming home. But having done that, Lee was now free to pack up anything he needed and head off to Caprica as soon as his flight test was over the next day. He'd catch an interplanetary shuttle to the spaceport in Caprica City, and then he'd catch another shuttle to Delphi. From there it'd only be a cab ride to Michael's place, and consequently his summer refuge.
Less than eighteen hours later, Lee was boarding a shuttle at the Picon spaceport. It was due to leave for Caprica within the next thirty minutes and all of the passengers were just settling in. He had only bought his ticket minutes before, and had therefore paid quite an extreme price, but he didn't care.
Glancing down at the slip of paper, Lee made his way down the main aisle to row twenty-two. Seat number one, it was a window seat. He slid in past the empty space and sat down in the plush chair. The Colonial Heavy passenger liners were definitely nice ships.
Lee made himself a bit more comfortable before looking out the window. Rain was drizzling down, but it wasn't enough to delay his flight and for that he was grateful.
He thoughts briefly drifted back to his phone conversation from the previous night. His mom had been disappointed, but at least she understood. After the way he had left things with his father it was better that he didn't see him any time soon. Their fight had been… vicious. That was the first word that came to mind. Lee still wasn't sure what had caused him to lose control like he had. But years' worth of anger had come directly to the surface, and looking back on it, Lee was surprised that it hadn't ended with an exchange of blows.
Lee was just glad that Zak hadn't been there to witness it; if he remembered correctly he'd been over at a friend's house or something. His little brother looked up to him, and Lee always did his best to emulate the best kind of man that he could, but when it came to their father… Lee couldn't be the better man.
Unfortunately his mother had been present, and if he could have, Lee would have spared her that. He didn't want her getting caught up in something that wasn't her fault, but she had anyway. He still remembered the horrified look on her face as he'd stood toe to toe with his father in the living room, yelling at the top of his lungs.
He remembered the look on his father's face too, especially when Lee had pointed out every single one of his flaws. Lee was certain that he had never seen his father so angry. There had been an element of surprise on his dad's face. Lee knew it was because his father had finally realized that Lee had grown up.
Their fight couldn't finish with a reprimand and a trip to his room, followed by an intense grounding. His father couldn't control him anymore. He'd finally gotten the chance to see that first hand, along with a look at what kind of person his son had become while he was off chasing shattered dreams.
That had been nearly five months ago now, but that didn't mean Lee was ready to face him again. Actually, it was quite the opposite. Having spent five months with the memories of their fight nagging at the back of his mind, Lee had only grown more bitter about it.
The thing he regretted most about not being able to go back was that he wouldn't have a chance to see his mother or Zak. He hadn't seen either of them since his semester break; he'd just talked to them on the phone, and only a few times at that. Zak had even asked about why Lee had packed up his stuff and left before his break was over, but Lee wouldn't tell him. Zak was smart though; he'd probably figured most of it out.
He knew that his brother would be disappointed that he was not coming home for the summer, but it was for the best. Plus, he was staying on the outskirts of Delphi, which wasn't too far from Caprica City and his house. Zak could catch a shuttle down there and meet up with him if he wanted to.
Just then, Lee heard the unmistakable sound of the engines being turned on. He turned to look back in toward the cabin of the ship and sure enough, all the passengers had stopped milling about and were sitting in their seats. There was an older woman, maybe sixty, sitting next to him. She had already closed her eyes, and Lee figured that she was probably asleep.
Lee only half listened to the pilot's welcome and safety announcements as they filtered through over the intercom. It wasn't anything he hadn't heard before. When the pilot was done talking, Lee felt the vibration of the engines preparing for take off. He repositioned himself in his seat again, getting comfortable for the upcoming flight.
Lee awoke with a start upon hearing the pilot's voice over the intercom.
"Attention all passengers, this is your pilot speaking. We've just entered into a stable orbit around Caprica and we'll begin our descent to Caprica City within the next few minutes."
Turning his head, Lee saw that sure enough, they were in orbit around the planet. He could barely make out the outlines of the continents, seeing as Caprica City and the surrounding area was just experiencing sunset. With a sigh, Lee pushed himself upright in his seat, having slouched down when he slept. His neck was a bit sore, so he twisted it from side to side, trying to relieve some of the tension. It wasn't from his sleeping position, but from his flight test earlier that day; something that seemed to have occurred weeks ago.
By the time the ship landed in the capital city, Lee was fully awake. Even though it was just after 22:00, the spaceport was filled with the hustle and bustle of people. Lee picked a route through the crowd and made his way over to the luggage retrieval area.
Nearly half an hour later, duffel bags in hand, Lee exited the spaceport. There were no other shuttles leaving for Delphi that night, so he'd find a hotel and then leave in the morning.
Lee was in Delphi by 9:00 the next morning. It didn't take him nearly as long to get his luggage as it had the previous night, and before he knew it he'd hailed down a cab and was telling the driver where he wanted to go.
When he'd contacted Michael the night before to let him know when he was arriving, he'd offered to come and pick him up at the spaceport, but Lee told him he'd just catch a cab. He didn't want to seem like a burden.
The drive was long and it took Lee directly through the heart of the city. It was only as they were driving through that he realized how much Delphi had changed since he'd last been there. Thinking back on it a bit more, Lee realized that he hadn't been there in nearly eleven years, not since he'd lived there.
They had moved there when Lee was maybe three or four, and Zak was just a baby. His father had been bound and determined to find a way back into the military after the war had ended and he figured that Delphi, being home to one of the largest military bases of the colonies, was a good place to start. In the end it turned out he was right.
After nearly six years of working on civilian freighters, Bill Adama had managed to get himself reinstated into the Colonial Fleet. Lee didn't know the specifics on how his father had managed it; he only knew that that's when things had turned bad for his family. Working on freighters had at least allowed his father to be at home quite often, but that wasn't the case with work on a battlestar.
As the cab drove past the Delphi Museum of the Colonies, Lee couldn't help but smile. It was on a school field trip there that he'd become friends with Michael. He had been in year four of school and they'd been paired up for the day. Something about making sure none of the students got lost. Lee didn't even remember exactly how they had become such fast friends, but they had. And after that they had always seemed to be at each other's houses, doing whatever it was ten year old boys did.
They were inseparable for the better part of three years, and then Lee's parents had announced that they were moving to Caprica City. There was a private junior high school there that both his mother and father had wanted him to attend. He'd had no choice but to agree.
He'd spent most of his last summer in Delphi at Michael's place, and they'd had a great time. Lee vaguely remembered that that was the summer Michael's half-sister had come to live with him. She'd barely even talked to them and Lee honestly couldn't remember much more than that. But seeing as that had been eleven years ago, he wasn't surprised.
In the fall he'd moved away and Lee hadn't seen Michael again until year ten when he moved to Caprica City to attend the same private high school as Lee. Michael had stayed with his mother who lived in the city, and for those three years they were the same best friends they had been before.
After that they had gone their separate ways. Lee went to university on Picon and Michael stayed to get his science degree from Caprica University. They'd managed to keep in touch and had seen each other occasionally. If Lee remembered correctly the last time had been when Lee flew in to Caprica to see Michael get his degree.
It was nice and Lee was glad that he'd been able to make it. Besides Michael's father, Lee had been the only person there to see him graduate. About a year before that Becky, Michael's mom, had died from cancer and his sister had also absent, something about a knee injury keeping her in the hospital.
Lee was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize they had made it into the country surrounding the city until the ride became more bouncy, and he heard the ting of gravel hitting the underside of the cab. Looking around, he recognized the less traveled road and smiled, knowing that he would be there in less than five minutes.
The cab driver pulled up the long driveway to the house and parked when he got to the top. Lee paid the man with a handful of cubits before opening the door and sliding out, bringing his two duffel bags with him.
As the cab was turning around and driving away, Lee took a few moments to take in the sight. The acreage looked exactly the same as he remembered it. Everything from the sparse trees over to his left, which he knew grew thicker the further in you walked, to the open field that he could just see peeking out from behind the house. He nearly laughed as he saw that the old tire swing was still hanging form one of the larger trees in the yard.
Delphi might have changed a hell of a lot in the past eleven years, but the Thrace house had stayed the same.