disclaimer: not mine
length: 2000
set: AU, Daybreakverse. Post-Revelations.
notes: This references a ficlet where the pilots (human and cylon) get into a bar fight with the civilians, but is more West Wing-y than actiony. Also. Leland is annoying when he won't get wordy (and then he does, and dear LORD, though Leland does give good speech).
genre: AU, drama
characters: Laura Roslin, Kara Thrace, Lee Adama, D'Anna Biers, the quorum of twelve, Tom Zarek. extras mentioned: Adama, Sam Anders, cylon!pilots, human pilots. pairing mentioned: The Thrace-Anderses. Kara's tailoring is provided by the stylists of Anders, Agathon and Tyrol.

Crossroads of Intellectualism Divided by Schools of Thought
by ALC Punk!

It should have just been a bar fight, swept under the carpet like normal, except that it happened with Cylons in the mix. The civilians who had been involved were not only pressing charges, but raising objections to the entire idea of Cylons as pilots. Laura Roslin was roused from her bed at nearly three in the morning to hear their complaints. Once they were through, she assured them action would be taken, though she was careful not to stipulate what the action would be as she had messages delivered to the members of the full quorum, the Admiral, and a few other places.

Bright and early the next morning, the special meeting of the quorum was called to order, half the members looking as though they'd had to be dragged from their beds. They quite probably had, since it had been a day of rest before a pile of restive pilots had disrupted the peace.

There was a brief discussion, several motions and quite a few ideas put on the table regarding the conduct of Captain Thrace's pilots, and their role in the larger scheme of things. At least one of the motions on the table was to sever the jointly-run Cylon and human pilot task force and replace it with human-only crews while the Cylons were put to work in other capacities.

There had been rumors for weeks about some of them, and Lee wished there had been time to drag Kara aside, to warn her of what she was up against.

When they were ready for her, they called her into the council room on Colonial One, once again settled on a ball of Gods-forsaken rock and mud. The long table was a little crowded towards the end where Laura Roslin held court, Tom Zarek to her left and D'Anna Biers to her right.

"My pilots are out there, in the blue and the black, every day, risking their lives so that you can feel safe," the CAG said, her back straight, her head up just a little higher than normal. She was perfectly-dressed and coiffed, the only sign of her late night the circles under her eyes that were the same smudges everyone was carrying these days.

The uniform had been pressed at oh-gods-thirty, by her husband when he'd dragged himself up an hour before her to make certain it was. He'd known, if she didn't, the sort of impression she'd make in a sloppy uniform. Then again, she probably did and didn't care.

But Sam knew they needed every advantage at their disposal.

"They're Cylons--" one of the quorum members started to object.

"Pilots, first." Kara's voice cracked across his. "They are pilots, first. And they are my pilots, and I stand by them the same way they stand by me."

"Perhaps, Captain, if you weren't married to one, you might see things rather differently," the representative from Picon suggested, his tone supercilious.

Lee Adama, the representative for Caprica sucked in a breath, wondering if that had been a smart move. The last time anyone had poked Kara Thrace about her husband's race, they'd been dirtied in ten seconds flat. He wasn't sure whether Kara could actually get Mr. Cermak out of his chair and outside into the mud without being stopped by half a dozen armed guards, but she would certainly give it a try.

"Do you trust Admiral Adama?" The Captain demanded, her gaze nailing the representative to his chair.

The question startled Cermak, almost as if he'd expected her to fly into a rage and her calm surprised him. He actually spluttered a little in answer, "Of course I do!"

Hard not to trust the man who'd kept them alive all this time, after all. Even if there had been doubts along the way, he'd still produced the planet he'd once promised. Certainly, Earth hadn't turned out to be a paradise of milk and honey, but that certainly hadn't been the Admiral's fault.

"Then you trust his judgment in appointing me CAG. And I trust my pilots. Question them, you question him."

Lee let the breath out that he'd been holding. Damn. Kara had picked up some vague sense of politics in all her time around him and Roslin.

The rest of the quorum started rumbling, discussing things in increasingly dissenting and agitated voices. Kara didn't relax, still standing stiff and straight, eyes watching them. She knew that this entire interview was an act of pointless formality. That the question of discipline had been decided before she'd even walked in. But for some reason, some stupid hopeless reason, a part of her wanted to win them over.

Even if only for just a little.

"You raise an interesting question, Captain," Roslin said, interrupting the rest of them smoothly. Zarek had allowed them to talk, at her nod. The sound cut down until it was quiet. Next to Laura Roslin, D'Anna Biers sat watching the proceedings, her eyes flicking from face to face as though memorizing moments of thought and sound. One could almost see the newspaper story she would write about these events. "Does the trust we place in the admiral extend, by proxy through you, to your Cylon pilots?"

"This government," the words were bitten off as a sneer if you knew Kara, but were merely polite, otherwise, "Pardoned the four Cylons that were within the fleet. It offered alliance to the rest of the Cylons, the few stragglers who'd survived their side of the Cylon civil war. And together, both peoples found Earth."

"We're aware of that, Captain." Roslin was never going to be happy with those decisions. Even now, with D'Anna at her side, she seemed angry still, though the emotion was well-hidden. And she still could barely look Lee Adama in the eye with equanimity.

"But are you aware of the fact that without both sides working together, neither will survive?" Kara's voice was harsh, now.

A rumble from the quorum, and Lee found that he had something to say after all, he stood, aware that the advantage of height was minuscule, but taking comfort in it anyway as he addressed Roslin, "Madame President, I believe what the Captain is saying is that we need each other, and that these pilots have realized that fact and moved on from their petty prejudices and hatreds. They act as a cohesive unit, effective and good at what they do. If you persist in dividing them, the differences will continue to eat both our peoples alive. And frankly, I don't think we can afford that."

"Can we afford to trust these murderers?" Sarah, the delegate from Sagittaron, stood as well, glaring at Lee. "They butchered us, hounded us, chased us to Earth, and they believe that it is their God's will that they did so. What if they decide his will is to eradicate humanity from Earth?"

"That won't happen, not with my pilots." Kara objected, eyes hard. "We've slept, frakked, eaten and shit as cylons and humans both. Can you say that for the rest of you?"

"You can't." Looking around the table, meeting the others' eyes, Lee almost smiled, "None of you can say that, because you still hold onto your hatred and rage. Your disgust at the very idea that the Cylons could be just as misguided--and human--as we are. And that is going to kill us, in the end. Whether from our own disorganization, or--" feeling inspired, Lee let his eyes meet Laura Roslin's, "--or, the Gods may decide that we don't deserve to survive as a race if we can't learn to adapt."

"I don't need you to tell me, Mister Adana, what the price of survival is." The President's voice was cold. She didn't elaborate, or gesture to the wig still adorning her head. "And you may think you have some lock on utopia, but how soon before it begins to crack? Your peace can't last forever."

"Oh, Laura. You're as steeped in your hatred as we are in ours." D'Anna's voice had a mocking quality to it. As though she were bored by the entire affair. "This isn't a question of peace being destroyed. It's a question of whether humans will ever fully accept the Cylon as their brethren. And you believe the answer is no, and that it will always be no."

"It is not that simple," Roslin grated out.

"Madame President, in my time, I've been an officer, a pilot, a civilian and now I'm a politician. Now, my constituents aren't going to change very fast. Hell, after my speech here today, they may decide I no longer represent their interests. But I can assure you that I have been able to move beyond my prejudices and hatred. I can accept the Cylons for their own people.

"Certainly," Lee continued, raising his voice over the growing rumble of his fellow quorum members, "The Cylons as a whole are responsible for the attempted genocide of the colonies. But on an individual basis, they are as lost--" he was shouting, now, "--as we are for what the correct path of their lives should be!"

"Order!" Rapping the gavel, Zarek tried to arrest the arguments, as each member of the quorum attempt to shout Lee Adama down, agree with him, or call for a new order of business. "Order!" The babble died down to a manageable level, and he nodded, "Thank you. Madame President?"

She cleared her throat, looking at each member in turn before finally turning to face Captain Kara Thrace, still standing calmly in front of them, silent, though not as poised as she seemed, her fingers tapping restlessly against each other. "Captain. The matter we were originally here to discuss was a simple one: should the Cylon pilots be segregated from the human population. It has, unfortunately, caused quite an amount of controversy and will certainly cause more discussion in the future."

There was a perceptible pause as Roslin straightened and the rest of the quorum subsided ever-so-slightly. "And it is my ruling that the pilots continue as they have been."

Nearly as one, the quorum erupted in shock and arguments, more than on voice stridently demanding that the President reconsider this blasphemous commingling of the blood. Lee Adama looked almost stunned as he remained in his seat, mute. Nearby, D'Anna looked almost satisfied, as though she had suspected this outcome, but not hoped for it.

It took Tom Zarek nearly two minutes to call the quorum back to order like a large pack of unruly children. To those who had witnessed groups of cylon and human pilots on the prowl, it was a very familiar sight.

"Madame President," Captain Thrace said, once some order had been restored, "About the matter of the charges filed against my pilots--"

"I think I know what you're going to suggest, Captain. And were we in a time of immediate war, I might be willing to grant it. But the facts remain that your pilots did throw the first punch. As such, they are subject to the punishments as written by law."

"Which means exactly what?" asked D'Anna, sounding suspicious.

"It means those idiots are on KP and trench duty for the next ten years of their lives," replied the Captain with a smirk. She nodded to the quorum, "If that's all, ladies and gentlemen, I have pilots to get back to and a schedule to re-write."

Still sounding suspicious, Biers leaned forward, "Isn't that letting them off lightly?"

It was Lee Adama who answered, "Ms. Biers, something tells me you've never been on either of those duties, or you wouldn't ask."

Before the conversation could continue, Roslin stood, "I'm going to bring this emergency session to a close, for now. But I want you all to think about the conversations we should be having soon, with our people, with the Cylons, with our own consciences. And ask yourselves this: do we, as a people, deserve to survive?"

While the meeting dissolved into chaos, Roslin swept out, Biers following her. They both had reports to make. Captain Thrace hesitantly held a hand out to Lee Adama, and thanked him for his help.

"Yeah, I'm not sure I did you much good--" he grimaced, "Or myself."

She shrugged, "You did what you thought was right, Lee. That's what you're good at."

"And what you are good at--"

"Is kicking ass." The Starbuck smirk flashed across her lips, "Don't let the suit wear you, Lee."

"Don't bury yourself in paperwork, Kara," he shot back.

Already heading away from him, her rejoinder floated back, filled with smug amusement. "That's what Sam is for."