Ghosts of the Past

by cliosmuse

Chapter 7

"Are we sure it was Tory?" Tigh sat on the floor of Tyrol's bunk, back against the wall, elbows on his knees.

Tyrol sighed from where he sat at the edge of his bunk, Nicky cradled in his lap. "No. We don't know enough to determine that for certain. What we do know is that, from what you say, no one else in CIC seemed to react to what we felt, which suggests that there's something in particular about us that allowed us to receive the –" He paused, fumbling for a word, settled on: "– transmission."

From his position on the floor: "Could it have been some kind of test – a diagnostic test of the Basestar?"

Dee was pacing the room restlessly. "We would have known. You have I have both been in CIC for hours. It was her. You both know it was her. You felt it." Her eyes moved back and forth between them, searching them out, pleading. "You heard it. It was a – a beacon. A homing beacon. And it wasn't directing at us. It went past us. Far, far past us." A pause. "It could only have been to Cavil."

Tigh grunted. "You're right. I don't want to admit it, but you're right."

Tyrol, with a nod: "If she was calling Cavil, then it means that the rebel Cylons must not know. We should notify the Basestar."

Tigh pushed himself to his feet. "Not before we tell Bill."

Fear, briefly, in Dee's eyes, but she pushed it down. "Why would she do this?"

His face hard, his eyes dark (Nicky pulled tightly, protectively against his chest), Tyrol took a deep breath. "Because she's Tory."

***

Standing in the president's office, Athena narrowed her eyes. "I can take care of my child. I'm her mother."

Laura Roslin's eyes softened. She pulled her glasses off her nose and watched Athena carefully for a moment before speaking. "I don't doubt that you would die trying, Lieutenant Agathon. But something very powerful is at work here. Your daughter is –" She broke off. How to summarize her feelings about a child who'd once saved her life, whom she'd tried to kill, whom she'd stolen from her mother? "– special. Your daughter is special. These visions we've had – we've shared – they mean something. And they've convinced me that the only way to protect your child is for us to return to Earth."

Some of the anger had dropped from Athena's face. She took a few deep breaths (they spoke of resignation). "What do you need me to do?"

Roslin held her eyes for a time, then nodded one. Cutting her eyes to the blond woman, still seated before her, then back to Athena: "I need you, Lieutenant, to make sure your daughter is safe with your husband so that we can return to Earth." She turned her eyes down. "And I need to find a way to tell Bill."

***

A knock on his hatch. He looked up from his drink. "Come."

The hatch swung open, and in walked his former XO, his former deck chief (holding his son), and his former daughter-in-law. He took a breath; tried to collect himself. "Saul, what's going on here?"

"A lot, Bill."

He took off his glasses; pinched the bridge of his nose. The room around him was still chaotic but better than before (Laura had picked through the worst of the wreckage before her appointment with Cottle). With a sigh: "When is there not?" A beat. He tapped the side of his glass once, twice. "Well?"

But his old friend didn't respond; looked, instead, toward Dualla, his expression comforting. "Go ahead, girl. We're right here."

She took a deep breath, her green eyes wide. "Sir –" She paused; glanced over at Tigh, then Tyrol. Then, with her eyes back on his and a deep breath: "Admiral, I lied to you."

His brow wrinkled. "Lied? About –" And then he remembered. One day, or was it two days, before – before he'd arranged Starbuck's execution, before Apollo had gone to her, nearly died with her, before he'd (having watched his son, Kara in his arms, throw himself through space into the waiting Raptor) gone to the brig, dragged Leoben up by the hair, put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger – she'd knocked on his hatch, her eyes wide, tearful. What she told him: that she'd overheard Kara talking to Leoben in a secluded part of the ship. That they they were conspiring to broadcast the Fleet's location to the Cavils.

She told him that Kara had betrayed him.

His voice barely there, his words a confirmation of what he knew, meant as much for himself as for her: "You lied about Kara."

She nodded (light reflecting off a tear on her cheek). Lips parted, quivering, like she wanted to say something, but nothing came out.

As he watched her, his anger grew. His jaw set firmly; his eyes bored into her. And then, without warning, he stood. "You lied about Kara and kept quiet even when you knew I meant to execute her." His voice frightening in its fury: "What possible explanation could you have for your behavior?"

She didn't respond; just stood before him, dumb, her lips still parted, her eyes still wide. From behind her, Saul's voice, nudging: "Lieutenant, explain yourself to the admiral. That's an order."

"I –" She swallowed. "The conversation I described to you never happened. Captain Thrace and Leoben Conoy never planned to contact Cavil. I – I lied to you to protect myself."

His voice no less angry; if anything, more: "From what, Lieutenant?"

"From her. From what she might do when she remembered what I did to her. What I did to her on Earth."

"On Earth...." He took in her words, made sense of their meaning; looked pained as he realized their implication. "You're the Fifth."

She didn't deny it. Quiet for a time: the only sound in the room his breath as he pushed it out his nose. And then: "Get out."

"Sir?"

"Leave, Lieutenant. I've already done one thing I can't take back. Don't make me do another."

And she did. Eyes still wide, she turned, almost tripping in her haste to get to the hatch and through it. Tigh and Tyrol didn't move (though Nicky let out a whimper); but they shared a glance.

Bill fixed them with his gaze. "Did you know about this?"

"No, Sir." Tyrol. "We came here as soon as we found out."

Tigh, his voice gruff: "That's not all, Bill."

At his desk, he nodded. "It never is, is it?"

***

When the president arrived at the admiral's quarters on Galactica some time later (Caprica and Athena still on the flight deck), he was sitting on his leather sofa alone, elbows on knees, eyes fixed on nothing in particular. But he looked more together than he had in days, and she breathed a sigh of relief.

"Bill –"

"You were right, Laura."

She cocked her head; walked over slowly, delicately, to sit on the sofa beside him (careful to leave some space between them as she gauged him). "About what, Bill?"

"About me. About why I did what I did." A beat. "I was punishing myself for letting down the Fleet. Lashing out at anyone I could blame. I almost killed her over my sense of –" A breath. "Shame. Over my shame."

"But you didn't."

"Because of Lee."

"Yes. Because of your son. Because he loves her."

Faintly: "Because he loves her." There was quiet for a time, and then he spoke again, his voice hesitant. "Laura, I was wrong."

"Yes, you were. But she's alive. You can be glad for that."

"No. I was wrong about her. What I did – it was based on a lie. She was telling the truth."

She nodded but didn't seem surprised. In her eyes was pity, yes, but also something like whatever it was that was so potently present in the look Lee had given Kara, in the airlock: fierce protectiveness, devotion, love. It caught him in the chest, in the gut, and he sucked in a breath. "Bill – I came to tell you that we need to go back. I need to go back, to Earth. There's something there for me. I think it may be the key to everything."

She was dying. Would be dead. A matter of weeks, Cottle said. And at that moment, he wanted to give her whatever she wanted. "The Fleet can't go back, Laura. Tory Foster has sent a message to the Cavils that survived the destruction of the Hub. Tigh's working with Gaeta on a new series of jump coordinates. We need to get far away from here. And we can't risk leading them to Earth."

"Bill –"

"But that doesn't mean you can't go." He reached out across the sofa for her hand. "If it's what you want."

She smiled as she leaned forward; wrapped her arms around him tightly. A whisper in his ear: "It is, Bill. It really, really is."

***

end chapter 7


This has become something of a struggle to write! Not because I don't know where it's going – I've known that since the beginning – but because 4.5 knocked a lot of the enthusiasm for BSG out of me. Also, what with the recent glut of post-4.5 stories, I'm not sure how much interest there is in a story like this – evidenced by how little response a Lee/Kara chapter (the last one) got! That said, even if there's not much reader interest anymore, I don't like to leave things incomplete, so I will work through this. I hate the idea of someone finding it someday and not knowing what happens! Because what happens is going to be pretty damned cool. At least I think so.