How many drinks?

It's a random thought in a chaotic situation. Watching Charlie smile so wide, look so smug, having that marine hold a gun to Apollo's head.

How many drinks has she shared with him? How many nights at Joe's? Talking about his son, what happened on New Caprica, some times having to calm him down enough to keep him from walking back to his rack and putting a bullet through his head.

How well does she know him?

Looking at him now, eyes bright and almost joyous, she doesn't think she knows him at all.

This isn't what she wanted. This isn't what she signed up for.

Laird was a good man, and frak, there were plenty of other ways to subdue him without having to bash his skull in. Skull… Skulls. Good riddance? Did he really say that?

She should have known then, standing idly by watching Zarek instantly write it off as a necessary sacrifice. The cold confidence in his eyes that he believed what he was doing was for the good of the people.

Frozen on the wing of her bird she honestly doesn't know what to do. Charlie wants Apollo, Lee, to die right here on the hangar deck, and for what? Because he was for the idea of frakking toaster technology integrated with their own? Because he's the Admiral's son?

He deserved something for that, she believed, but not this. Not Charlie Connor getting righteous wanting to see Adama, any Adama blood spilled. Four years of fighting them, four years of hate, supposed to vanish because a select few decided to defect?

No frakking way.

Lee was a good CAG. Fair, clear with orders, fun to hang around once a few drinks loosened his attitude and tongue. And really, they've done this mutiny dance before. He himself had put a gun to Colonel Tigh's head. She'd helped then because it felt like the right thing to do, but now…

Feet rooted, he's going to do it, oh frakking lords of Kobol he's really going to do it.

One quick flash of gunpowder, an echoing shot of sound, and she's looking at one dead marine followed by the shock of ice blue eyes and a pretty face covered in blood.

Starbuck to the rescue of course, looking so natural in the moment, barking orders to let him go.

No blink, no hesitation, she guesses they're lucky Charlie couldn't say the same about himself because if Lee had died, there's not a doubt in her mind Starbuck would have killed them all.

"Frak you."

Gods Hamish, why?

It's as if you don't know her at all.

Bitch doesn't even have the decency to look at him when she sends the bullet ripping through his chest.

Damn it, still stuck, Kara calling her out, daring her to move as if she could minutes before any of this happened.

Feet finally come unglued, rushing to Skulls' side when they're gone.

"Hang in there buddy."

Between the grimace and the cursing, he honestly looks surprised, and it breaks her heart a little more.

/\/\/\

Bargaining chips.

That's all they are.

Not officers and definitely not people.

Not Karl, not Sharon, not Sam, not the XO, and not, whatever the blonde one called herself. Funny thing that, out of all of them, only she looks afraid.

Sam, (gods she actually helped train him), is sitting in the corner collapsed on himself, head buried in his legs, and hasn't moved as long as she's been standing here peering through the glass.

Blondie is towering above them, spouting off some self-righteous and ill-advised plot of revenge, because she knows eventually they're all going to die.

She could give a crap about her, really, it's the (not) people she knows causing the tiniest swirl of regret to form in her stomach.

How many times had she flown with (not Sharon) Athena? How many days were spent earning trust? She's a machine, always has been, but this particular second Maggie hates her for worming her way inside, somehow becoming a friend.

The (not) XO, the total mind frak he still is. The how's and whys aren't important, mainly, because she never could wrap her head around any plausible explanation for his being a cylon. If said he was, and everyone believed he is then he deserves the airlock like the rest of them. Still, she can't find any enthusiasm for that particular fate.

Hera, poor thing, it's not her fault what her mother is. Not her fault she was probably born with an outlet on the back of her neck, or that a couple of thousand people most likely want her dead because of what she represents. She's just a kid and Maggie doesn't want to know what's going to happen to her.

Karl, still unconscious, with blood trickling down his face, head resting softly in his toaster wife's lap. Still owning a piece of her she's wanted back ever since he brought (not) Sharon aboard. Karl whose sense of right and wrong vastly exceeds anyone she's ever met. It's because of him she slowly began to accept (not) Sharon being around. It's because of him she let things slide. What would Karl do? Not this, certainly not this.

She wishes they could go back, that maybe, they could have had something…

Tearing her eyes away from him, she takes a step back. No point thinking like that now.

Bargain chips, she thinks again as Seelix quietly stands next to her, probably about to do the same thing as she, wonder about Sam.

Eyes meet for a second, knowledge reflecting similar feelings, that they hate the gods' damn cylon race with every bone in their bodies.

And yet… Something still doesn't feel right.

She turns on her heel and leaves Diana to it.

No use crying over spilt milk.

/\/\/\

He's a charming man when he wants to be, she'll give him that.

It's why she laughs. Why she doesn't question the fact that he's even cracking jokes with all that's going on.

He could be a good president; maybe, anyone can see that he wants it bad enough. But he's always struck her as a behind the scenes kind of guy, pulling strings and that kind of thing, and truthfully up front he's kind of scary.

He smiles at her, starts up another one, and she walks alongside him waiting for the punch line.

It's only later, when she runs into Kelly that she learns just how scary he can be.

She almost wants to throw up.

This isn't what she signed up for.

/\/\/\

There's a sharp, stabbing pang of homesickness when she sees her bear is still there, breath quaking a little as her hand reaches out to feel the familiar softness. All the candles have gone out, patting her suit and finding she has no matches, gaze falling on the photo.

Tears pool at the corner of her eyes, stinging and threatening to fall, as she whispers the prayer, the cold empty feeling that this may be the last time.

Gods, how could the Admiral just expect them all to forget? Twelve worlds, twenty billion people, anger surging up in her chest so fast a low hiss escapes her lips. Fingernails cutting into her palm to keep the scream at bay.

The wall, everyone on it and everyone not, so many reasons why the people are revolting.

Somehow she hears the steps, instinct reaching for her side arm in a quickness she didn't know she had, staring down the barrel at Starbuck whose gaze mirrors her own.

"Standing around all alone during a coup lieutenant?" the Viper pilot quips. "I know you Raptor jockeys aren't the smartest bunch, but I thought you had more brains than that."

Only Starbuck, she thinks. Only Kara frakking Thrace would be witty with a gun pointed at your head. There's a retort on her tongue, but it tastes a bit stale, so she remains mum.

"You shot Skulls."

"And I'd do it again."

Standoff.

"What's it gonna be Racetrack?" she goes on. "There aren't a lot of options here and I don't have a whole lot of time."

Grip on the gun softening slightly, finding that she doesn't really have the heart for this.

"What did you say to Karl?" Maggie asks quietly. "Back on Caprica? Something about you not having lost anything."

To her credit Starbuck doesn't blink at the fact that she knows something she shouldn't.

"So what? Nothing back there for you so you're willing to forget what the cylons did to us? What they took?"

"I know what they did," Starbuck replies warily.

"So you just don't care?"

Eyes catch Starbuck's trigger finger twitch just a bit, she's willing to shoot her dead just to end the conversation.

"I understood," Maggie continues. "About Earth, about using them to get there. I believed you, just enough, even though no one knew what the hell you were."

Are.

"What I don't get," she goes on. "Is why they're still here. Earth was a bust, fine, but who the frak says we want them to come along for the next stop? Who says they deserve to?"

"The old man says."

"The old man is losing it!" Maggie seethes.

That twitch again.

"Frakking cylons!" She goes on. "He's got us helping them, feeding them, letting them infect our ships! How long before they start to think we're a liability, how long before they do it again?"

"I seriously don't have time for this," Starbuck grumbles.

Maggie lowers her gun.

"Then shoot me," she dares, letting her eyes slip closed. "I'm not a threat."

Waiting for the bullet to come, she imagines that day in her photo, everyone's smiling faces and the sun that shone so bright. If she has to die today with this image in her head, knowing that her family is behind her, it's enough comfort to not be angry when it happens.

The bullet doesn't come, eyes peering open to see Starbuck still standing there, gun now pointing at the floor.

"A little dramatic for my taste, didn't you think you for a martyr Maggie."

Eyebrows tilt down in a scowl.

"Don't do that."

"What?"

"Say my name like we're friends."

"What are you doing here really?" Starbuck asks. "Why aren't you in the CIC with Gaeta and Zarek flying your self-righteous flag?"

She's been aware of what happened on Colonial One for almost an hour, long enough to truly question what the frak she was doing. Long enough to feel regret, to know her family, her whole reason for participating, is no way to justify what happened to the quorum.

Felix, he had the right idea, but Zarek is a monster hiding behind belief much like the tin cans she hates so vehemently.

"Because I realized we're no better."

Starbuck almost laughs.

"I could have told you that."

"Kara!" Apollo's voice carries down the corridor. "We gotta go!"

Starbuck looks at her, brow lifting in inquiry, "I if leave you here am I going to regret it?"

"I think there's been enough of that for one day."

Maggie watches her start to back away.

"See you around Racetrack."

She's gone in a second, leaving Maggie to turn back to her photo once again. Smiling faces, bright sun, better days. Somehow she lost this girl along way; somehow she wants to get her back. To make her family proud.

"Wait!" She calls after the fading footsteps. "I'm coming with you."