If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.

- Mirabai, 'The Heat of Midnight Tears'


She's in the brig again.

'You're not under arrest, Kara. You're too important,' says Lee, sounding pained. Flanked by armed marines, his jaw clenched. 'Just...take a minute. Think about our situation. Think of the future. Reassess. We can't stay down there, not right now, things being as they are.'

She didn't leave Earth easily. Kara can see the angry-looking swelling beginning to come up on Quorum Delegate Adama's face where she socked him as they dragged her onto the President's raptor. When Lee turns to go, the barred door swinging almost apologetically into position, she remembers vividly the last time she was here. The gun, cold and inanimate in those hands that did not feel like they were her own.

Where are the horses now? Those noise-fueled beasts tethered to rip apart the corners of her mind, like they did to the limbs of heretics long ago? Is she really here, or is she strewn in pieces all over the universe, an anemone that grows back identical copies of itself.

'"...gods and scriptures disappear, thief disappears, murderer, rich man, beggar disappear..."'

The radio crackles to life with a man's voice. A familiar voice, calm and assured as he'd been with a knife pointed at his heart.

'"...world disappears, good and evil disappear; she has passed beyond sorrow."

'Paradise is a place. Peace and freedom from suffering is a place. But you will not find it in fantasies or make-believe, in illusions of permanence, in doubt or hatred. You find it in yourself. You will know it once you know yourself.'

Just as suddenly, she is back in the pilot's seat, hearing that voice; it fills every corner of the cell, her life-line:

'"...Perceiving Self in all creatures, she forgets herself in the service of all; good and evil both vanish; delighting in Self, playing like a child with Self, she does whatever is called for, whatever the result."'

Kara lies down on the hard, narrow cot. From the severe grey ceiling, her mother's face, and her father's, look down at her like constellations amidst a galaxy of painted stars and swirling nebulae.

'Let us have a moment of silent prayer...'

'The frak is that?'

'...who have known hardship, who have agonised for so long about what the future holds, you are not alone. Human, Cylon, brought together at last, our paths merging in a blessed union...'

Seelix zeros in on the pilot who is handling the dial on the wireless. 'What,' she repeats, more loudly this time, so the entire rec room hears, 'the bleeding frak is that? Tell me that's not a frakking Cylon I'm hearing.'

'"...the goal, the root, the witness, home and refuge, dearest friend, creation and annihilation, everlasting seed and treasure..."'

'Hold on.' Stinger, formerly of the Pegasus, makes an arresting motion with one arm, as Seelix is about to change the frequency on the wireless. 'Let's see what the crazy frakker has to say.'

'My name is Leoben Conoy. And I have the terrible stain of genocide on my hands.'

'"...Passing through excruciating transformations, they find freedom and their hearts find peace within them."'

As the broadcast finishes, Leoben's voice replaced by a low humming sound, Samuel T. Anders - pilot, Cylon, husband - switches off the radio in the brig.

The marine in the chair beside him hasn't made any moves to intervene, probably on Adama's orders, for which Sam is grateful. Together, in companionable silence, they watch the security screens; the marine dutifully, and Sam because he cannot think of anywhere else to be but here, protecting this woman who cannot even bear to speak to him.

For the time being, Kara is asleep. They are all alive and safe - Leoben included - and that, Sam thinks, is something to be even more for thankful for.


16 July 2008

Quotations are taken from The Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Stephen Mitchell - the only changes I made are in the pronouns.