I do now own Battlestar Galactica

Warning bad language

Chapter 14 – Pain

Kendra was so bored, she had completely lost track of time.

She stared aimlessly at the walls around, feeling them intently as she just sat there on the bed locked up in this small box. Kara and Sam had taken the time to visit but only sparingly, she missed Sam's touch as their hands nearly touched only to be stopped by the glass. They tried to keep her spirits up but she felt herself getting more and more emotionally numb as time passed, disconnected, discarded and forgotten.

She felt to do some press-ups, one of the few exercises she could do in here when it happened; as she did her tenth press-up she suddenly loss feeling in her arms and she felt flat on her face against the deck unable to right herself and she felt so light headed.

Then the shaking began, it was uncontrollable as her muscles spasm uncontrollably, she could only lie there as her body jerked violently and blood ran from her nose and her senses went wild with sensation.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXX

Unaware of what was going on in the Cylon cell not far from the pilot's rec room, some of the pilots of Galactica were receiving their rations for the day. They all turned the noses up at it but were so hungry that they tucked into the food with too much complaint. Lee was there eating with his pilots, as they made light of their situation with jokes and the macho attitude they all had from their job. Starbuck was absent from this hive of slightly forced merriment and comradely it made you forget for a while the desperateness of their situation.

Lee was about to get up to go work on the Cap schedule when he suddenly doubled over in pain, sending his to his knees as he just managed to hold his arms out in front of himself so he didn't fall against the deck, his head became dizzy and his stomach wretched and he threw up against the deck plates. After this he managed to lift his head to look at the other pilots and saw that they were much the same as him, struggling to stay upright as their bodies weakened suddenly and they vomited all over the floor. Lee on all four managed to crawl over to the wall telephone in between vomiting and grasps the receiver before out of breath manages to say before he slides down the wall and the receiver slips from his hand

"Pilot's rec room, we need help"

He can hear Dee's voice on the receiver just but he cannot reply, soon a marine detachment arrives and Lee his vision now hazy and feeling so hot manages to make out the shape of Gunnery Sergeant Erin Mathias trying to talk to him before he passes out

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXX

"It seems that the food processor that handled the pilot's rations was faulty" Cottle told Commander Adama, Colonel Saul Tigh and President Roslin as they looked at the sick men and women that were lying on the beds of the infirmary "They've all gotten a form of food poisoning"

"Will they recover?" Adama asked trying not to look too concerned but his eyes kept drifting over to his son's bed and the other three people could see the worry in his eyes. Starbuck was sitting at Lee's side while he slept. The old man had noticed the concern in her eyes and noticed the change in their relationship and while it went against the regs he had given it his blessing. He was happy to see his son and adopted daughter figure happy.

"Yes thankfully it's not fatal but they'll all be out for at least a week maybe more till we can flush it out of their system" Cottle told him and despite being relieved to hear that his son was going to get better the time frame Cottle said worried him. Saul of course vocally expressed his concern

"That's most of our air wing in there. We need those pilots or the Cylons will wipe us out"

"Well you had better got find us enough pilots to last because these pilots aren't going anywhere for now so get the hell out of my infirmary" Cottle told them with a stern look and all three of them exited the place that was ruled by the gruff doctor.

"How many pilots do we have left and can we manage with just them?" Roslin asked and Adama shook his head

"We have only six Viper pilots left that are fit for duty and there's no way we can protect the fleet with so few planes in the air" he told her.

Saul wished he had a stiff drink "One large scale attack and the frakking toasters can wipe us out"

"Could the Raptor pilots take over?" Roslin suggested and Saul scoffed

"Flying a raptor is a lot different than flying a viper" but Adama decided to give it a shot

"Go through the files; see if any Raptor pilots have a viper qualification" he told Saul who despite looking doubtful went to follow his superior officer and oldest friend's orders and Adama turned to Laura who gave a slight smile

"What you have orders for me too?" she said teasingly and despite himself he smiled

"I need you to see if there are any retired military pilots in the civilian fleet that could come back and take over till our own pilots are healthy enough to take over, if it's not too much trouble" he said with his dry humour

"I'll get right on it" she said and walked off leaving Bill Adama with a smile for the first time in days

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX

"Well I checked the files and only Racetrack, McMillan and Yolza have a viper qualification but they got that back in the academy so they're way out of practice" Saul told Adama and Starbuck who had managed to pull herself away from Lee in the Commander's quarters later on

"It's better than nothing" Adama told him "Starbuck as from now you are acting CAG until further notice, you get them up to speed fast" he said to the blonde pilot at his left as he studied the reports on his desk

"Sir I'm not a big enough ass hole for the job" Starbuck objected hating the thought off all the paper work that a CAG had to do. That was more Lee's thing

"You're senior pilot, now deal with it" he told her without looking up. He might love Kara like a daughter but on this occasion he needed to give her a kick up the back side and she looked reluctant but resigned

"Yes sir" she said and the phone on his desk rang. He picked it up and grimaced when he heard the message from the President. He put the phone down and sighed rubbing the bridge of his nose as Saul and Starbuck looked at him questioningly

"That was the President; she can't find any retired viper pilots in the fleet that willing or are able to come back" he said grimly and Saul remarked angrily

"Well that's just brilliant, now we have nine pilots instead of just six, that's just about half a squadron" and Starbuck looked at her CO and told him

"Sir I might know where I can get us another pilot" Saul and Adama looked at her in surprise

"Why didn't you mention this before Starbuck?" Adama asked

"Because you just put her in a Cylon cell sir" Starbuck told him

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX

Kendra had finally stopped shaking and her mind had finally cleared as she crawled back onto the bed with difficulty, it took her a few moments to realise she'd just had a seizure and she suddenly became aware of the blood that had now dried on her face and she wiped it off with the sleeve of her jacket.

This latest development worried her, up until now the transition she'd been undergoing had been relatively painless and beneficial even. She wished she could get herself checked out but she knew that wasn't possible as long as she was in here.

That thought brought her straight back to the fact that she was still trapped in this cell but she now had to worry about her own health on top of being locked up in the cell.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX

"You are not serious about letting that toaster hybrid out!" Saul said outraged, more a statement than a question but Starbuck looked back at him without fear

"She's done more to help us than you have and she's a qualified pilot" she said looking him straight in the eye. Saul looked ready to argue but Adama spoke first

"How long ago did she qualify?" he asked her

"Just a few days ago sir" Starbuck told him and with some worries about how well this was going to go down told her

"I'll authorise her release but you have to get her ready immediately and Starbuck" he told her "Tell her that whatever she does don't cause trouble we have enough of that as it is"

"Right away sir" she said with a smile and quickly left to have Kendra released. Saul looked at his old friend with anger

"You're going to let one of those things out?" he asked and a glare from Adama shut him down straight away

"She is one of us, she didn't ask to be a frakking experiment for the toasters and right now we need her" and Tigh fell silent

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kara Thrace with the release order in her hand walked cheerfully down the corridor, eagerly awaiting the look on Kendra's face when she got her out of that cell.

Her relationship with the other woman was a strange one, neither of them had anything in common really but they just seemed to be able to talk to each other. Kara had to thank her for pushing her into a relationship with Lee, even as her heart clenched in fear of being vulnerable and her nightmare that Lee would be taken away from her she knew that he would always be there for her.

When she got to the cell and dismissed the marines guarding the area she walked up to the cell and unlocked the heavy duty locks and pulled open the door only for her smile to fade when she saw Kendra sitting on her bunk with a dried blood trail down her face coming from her nose. Kendra didn't even turn to look at her.

"Kendra?" Kara said finally getting the other woman's attention "What happened to you?" Kara looked at Kendra's nose and it didn't look broken

"Just one of the nastier side effects of what they did to me" Kendra said her voice shaking and Kara looked at her surprised

"Are you up to going back on duty?" Kara asked, Kendra looked at her with weary eyes

"What do you mean?" her voice coming out flat and tired

"The old man's letting you out to fly with our air wing" Kara said and explained what had happened. Kendra got to her feet a bit unsteady and stood straight giving Kara an exhausted salute

"Lieutenant Kendra Shaw reporting for duty sir" and Kara slipped into officer mode and said

"Then get your ass over to Doc Cottle and have him check you over, then hit the showers and be ready on the briefing room by 1300 hours. Dismissed" she said and with another salute Kendra began to slowly walk down the corridor nearly stumbling a few times but Kara walked closely behind her and caught her a few times before helping her to the infirmary. Doc Cottle wasn't available as he was taking care of the sick pilots, but Layne Islay the medic was on duty

"Right lie there" Layne said and Kendra nearly fell onto the bed the examination table causing Layne to eye her with concern

"Is there something you what to tell me?" Layne asked and she and Kara looked expectantly at Kendra who sighed before admitting

"I think that I had a seizure back in the cell" she said and their eyes widened and she told them what had happened. Layne gave her a check over before saying

"Whatever brought it on I don't know maybe your changing physiology" Layne told her "But aside from what you've just told me you seem perfectly healthy"

Kendra asked "But it could happen again right?" and Layne told her with a concerned expression

"Perhaps, but the longer you go without it happening again the better" Layne told her and with some reluctance cleared her for duty.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

After they had left the infirmary and Kara had taken a few minutes to see Lee and Kendra had taken a few minutes to see Sam they had made their way to the briefing room, Kendra now feeling a little better and steadier on her feet. As they moved through the corridors some crewmembers looked startled to see her and whispered or even glared at Kendra but would not risk angering the old man by doing something more. The other pilots had already arrived when they got there. Out of the regular line up there was Kat and Hotdog and a few of the guys and girls from blue squadron. Racetrack and the recruited Raptor pilots were there too. They all turned to look at who was entering and while they had expected Starbuck they were startled to Kendra with her.

"What the frak is she doing here?" Yolza shouted only to be silenced by Kara's glare. No one dared to go against her with that look

"Lieutenant Shaw is one of the few pilots left and we need everyone we can get. So if anyone has a problem speak up now and take it up with me and the old man" Kara said and the assembled pilots [paled. Dealing with just Starbuck was one thing but to have to deal with Commander Adama as well would be the same as suicide so they quieted down and made do with hidden glares as Kendra sat down in one of the free seats at the back while Kara took her place at the front of the room.

"Right you all know the situation, most of our pilots are down as is the CAG which means till he recovers I'm your new boss" Kara told them smugly and they all had to stifle a groan. Hotdog and Kat remembered especially how tough she'd been when training them and worried how hard assed she was going to be now.

"Right then we begin caps immediately and get you rooks up to standard and you had better deal with it or I'll get your asses kicked out of the military" Kara told them with a grin "Now suit up and get your asses down to the hanger deck and choose a bird and pick a wingman"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX X

They all got went to the buck room and changed into pilot flight suits before heading down to the launch bay where Chief Tyrol was waiting for them with his deck gang, Giana was there and she smiled at Kendra before returning to work

"Hey chief you got some birds for us?" Kara asked him when she reached him. The Chief pointed to ten vipers already put in launch position; there were three mark seven vipers and seven mark two vipers

"Just bring them back in one piece would you?" the Chief said with an annoyed expression only to shake his head when Kara gave him a cheeky little smile.

"Now pick a bird and get ready to launch" Kara told them and they all picked their viper and climbed into the cockpit. Kendra had picked a mark two next to Kara's; she climbed into the cockpit and put on her helmet. She heard the voice of the flight officer in her ear

"Electra" he said identifying her by her call sign "This is Shooter I have control standby" and the doors to the bay closed behind her "Nav-con green" then "Interval check" and Kendra checked her instruments and all read green. Her anticipation was building with every second as she looked forward at the launch tube doors. The mag-cap that helped push the vipers along the tube extended and locked into place and the doors opened venting the small amount of air still left in the tube showing the blackness of space ahead of her and Kendra felt a tingle in her body as she sat back in her seat and got ready, grasping the stick in front of her.

"Good luck" was all the warning she got from the flight officer before suddenly the viper she was in surged forward. Kendra felt the g-forces as the little ship rushed forward along the tube but then the dampers kicked in as the pressure eased a bit. She saw the end of the tube ahead of her coming closer and closer till finally she was in space.

She took over the flight controls without thinking about it, her training kicking in and looked around her to see the other pilots had now launched as well

"Right now you nuggets fall into formation" Kara voice sounded over the intercom and they all moved into the arrow head formation with Kara at the tip and Kendra at her five o'clock

Kara took them through a series of drills that went generally okay. All of them were qualified to fly but those who were used to flying raptors took a little longer to complete their manoeuvres and Kara took great pleasure in riding their asses about it. Kendra was impressed at Kara as a squadron leader, despite being rough with her pilots she only did it to get the best out of them and certainly didn't do it anymore than another flight leader would have done. Kara only gave clear instructions and in the simulated attacks they participated in Kara led them to victory every time with very few losses. Despite her saying that she wasn't CAG material, Kendra felt she was a great leader and a natural flyer.

After they had returned to Galactica to refuel and re-arm while Kara gave the commander her report on their performance while they headed down to the now washed and cleaned rec room to get some rest before Kara took them out again. Kendra was sitting at the centre table playing cards with Racetrack, Yolza, Kat and Hotdog

"Man I can't wait for Apollo to get better, that bitch is pissing me off" Yolza said and Kendra's eyes narrowed. Yolza was a slimy and smug pilot who loved nothing better than speaking down to people when they weren't there to defend themselves as he was too much of a coward to do it to their faces. He had screwed up the most during their practice flight and Kara had let him know it.

"Hey at least she can fly without screwing up every ninety seconds" Hotdog said in defence of his old teacher and Kat surprising even herself added

"Why don't you go back to your bus" using the name viper jocks gave to raptors and Racetrack bristled at the name but glared at the annoying Yolza

"Why don't you get in it with me" Yolza said sneering as he leered at the female pilots sitting at the table who were just in their tanks and before anyone could say anything else Racetrack got up, pushed the table over and punched Yolza straight in the face sending to the floor and rushed forward to hit him again only for Hotdog and Kendra to hold her back but shouted

"You disgusting pervert" as her own disgust at the pilot who leered at her every day she and any other female crew took a shower and while they left Yolza to nurse his nose, Kendra said to Racetrack who was still trying to get at Yolza

"He's not worth it" and Racetrack seemed to calm down enough to stop struggling so Hotdog and Kendra could let her go and Kendra suggested "Let's hit the showers" as they were all tired and their muscles were tight so a lukewarm shower was just what they needed and so most the pilots except for Yolza headed for the showers.

They stripped and without any thought as to modesty stood under the warm stray and let the water do its magic on their bodies which finally started to relax. Kendra stood in the woman and raised he hair but Racetrack in the stall next to her interrupted her

"Is it true what they said about you?" and Kendra without even looking said

"What do they say?"

"That you're some kind of Toaster hybrid that you're in league with them" and Kendra turned to look Racetrack straight in the eye causing the other woman to become very uncomfortable but what she said made her feel worse

"Those toasters cut me open and tortured me with their experiments. I have never been in as much pain in my life. They stole me face so that in a year or so they'll be clones of me running around working for them. They were going to blank my memory and reprogram me so does that sound like I would work with them" her voice getting a little heated at the end and all the other people in the room had turned to look

Kendra took a breath before grabbing a towel and leaving the showers to dry off and get dressed in her tanks. She left the room and walked to the bunk room where she settled down on a bunk and despite not really needing to tried to get some sleep. She was interrupted by a voice that was sensual and seductive but filled her with hate as she recognised it

"You really need to come to terms with what you're becoming you know" and Kendra opened her to see that Six that no-one else could see smiling down at her "If you hate the Cylons then you are really hating yourself"

Kendra pushed up on her elbows "I'm human, I'm not and never will be a Cylon" and Six shook her head at Kendra's naivety

"Do humans not need sleep, can they chart and plot the stars with just their brains, and can they stand radiation without protection? No they can't" Six told her patronisingly causing Kendra's hackles to rise even higher "You have been granted these gifts, whether you like it or not you are or will be a Cylon" and her words struck deep in Kendra but she answered back without flinching

"I may have their gifts but I will not forget that I am Kendra Shaw and I'm a human being. Whatever abilities I might possess or changes in my body there might be that will always stay the same" and Six's smile fell for a moment before returning

"You're not ready for the truth yet but soon you will have to make a choice" and vanished leaving a confused Kendra behind

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

In the dead of night, or at least what counted as night on Galactica, Colonel Tigh stood in the CIC while his superior Commander Adama slept. He paced around the room glancing at the dradis monitor while the rest of the night watch quietly did their jobs. Then an alarm sounded as about twenty new contacts jumped in and started closing in on the fleet and the tactical officer on duty, a woman named Lieutenant Jennifer Miller immediately reacted

"Actions Stations, Action Stations, Set Condition One throughout the ships repeat action stations action stations" and the rest of the crew went straight to their duties as military discipline demanded. In the bunk room the pilots immediately leapt from their bunks and scrambled to get into their flight suits and rushing to the flight deck where the deckhands rushed to get the vipers ready. They all scrambled into their fighters and quickly launched themselves into space. Kendra sat in the cockpit of her ship and geared herself ready for the fight ahead. All around her the other vipers did the same and Kara gave her orders quickly and efficiently

"Broken formation, stick with your wingman and whatever you don't let them get you in their sights" and the other pilots stared straight ahead of them. They activated their boosters and started the moment they were in range let loose with their cannons, shredding three raiders right off the bat before having to break formation as the rest of the raiders closed the distance and fired their own cannons. Kendra was assigned as Racetrack's wingman and the two pilots weaved through the small group of fighters and started to dogfight with a couple of raiders.

Racetrack drew first blood when she managed to get a kill shot on her raider and gunned him down and then Kendra followed by getting her first kill of the day. Then they immediately went looking for another one.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Yolza was on the tail of a raider that was leading him away from the squadron and his wingman who shouted over the radio to get his ass back there but he wouldn't listen. The raider dodged gracefully every time he tried to get a kill shot but as he closed the gap Yolza got more and more carried away. Now he thought I can prove that botch Thrace wrong.

But then at the moment he was finally in position to get the kill, the raider did a mid-space flip right over him and dropped behind him before righting himself and getting Yolza in its sights and fired blasting his viper which exploded killing him instantly.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kendra was just scoring her third kill when she narrowly avoided a burst from a raider that was on her six o'clock she immediately took action and cut her boosters for a moment and activated her forward manoeuvring jets to spin herself around a hundred and eighty degrees before reactivating her boosters and turned to face her new attacker. She let loose with her cannons and scored her fourth kill before diving so to avoid the wreckage of the raider. Then she checked her dradis and saw Kara take out the last raider. She did a quick head count and aside from Yolza they hadn't taken any loses.

Then Dee's voice sounded over the intercom

"All ships return to Galactica immediately"

They all quickly moved to the landing bay and did an immediate combat landing just in time before the fleet jumped away.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXX