She spends hundreds of millennia caught on repeat; reappearing with the same blonde hair, smirk, and failure to adhere to orders until she learns that she can change her appearance with each rebirth.
She always expects someone to recognise her, to call her by the name she was given last, but each first breath sees her in a new group, scattered across a new continent. She has seen the sun that never seems to sink, the days where the rain is the only thing she can hear, the mists that cloak entire countries.
Sometimes she sees things that feel a little too familiar: Helo's nose stamped across the face of a young girl in a continent that will one day be called Africa; Gaius Baltar's arrogant swagger matched with an impossibly blonde young boy thousands of miles from where the fleet landed; but she goes more cycles than she can count without seeing bright blue eyes.
At one point she is known as Helen, and she causes a great war. The next time she returns she learns to ignore the poems and tales told about this war; men don't understand. The joy of standing aboard Alexander's ship for the first time, the elation of freedom and love, and her first true sense of self are quickly forgotten. The world remembers her as a fairytale; they offer her up as a lesson to caution. Beautiful and terrible are uttered in the same breath.
She loves, and is loved by, many men and women, but they never seem to have blue eyes. Once when, with tumbling red hair and a precious intelligence, she is known as the Virgin Queen she thinks she finds them in a childhood friend. She doesn't remain a virgin queen for long, although the title will be hers throughout history. She calls him her Eyes, and sometimes, in moments of weakness, Apollo. When he looks at her he seems to understand.
She is not always women who are remembered. There are countless graves and pyres that have claimed her too quickly, lives that have revolved around cooking and childbirth. She is a Belgian nurse in the First World War who survives the bombs and the trenches only to be claimed by the flu in 1919; she is a nameless body who falls to Stalin's purges when she is little more than fourteen years old.
Over many generations she grows tried, but she cannot stop the cycle. She still has things accomplish, lives to lead.
She always knows when she is about to die because, for a split second, she can hear his voice and her own slurred through mouth guards and blood. It gives her hope, hope which the next life sees unfulfilled.
For the span of a few thousand years she watches her people offer sacrifices to a goddess known as Artemis; more often than not she joins in the festivities that honour her. Sometimes a desire to tell the goddess' true name seizes her, to identify her with the correct number of the twelve, but it is dangerous for a woman to know so much. Even later, when she has taken on the guise of a scholar, she checks the hand that itches to add them to a list in one of her books.
She holds on to all the names the goddess has been called long after her worship is replaced by other deities; the names that the people gave her when they surrounded her statues with garlands and sacrifices, and the names which they gave to the little girl who was born into one culture after another. The list of names begins: Kara Thrace.
She has many children over the generations, but remembers precious few names. Some are taken from her still bloody to be delivered to a nursemaid's care, some die too soon, sometimes it is her death that seems untimely. Once, somewhere in Israel, she gives birth to a child who will grow up with words of prophecy that make her search for a name long forgotten: the prophet who was so sure of her special destiny, who never saw how his prophecies unfolded. She watches that child die too, stretched out on a forked tree, still begging men to repent of their sins.
She learnt long ago that you can never truly repent of any sin. Instead she carries hers with her from one life to the next. Sometimes the sin is the only thing she can remember.
In 1968 she is an art history student at Berkley. Her hair is long and dyed black, the split ends in need of attention after a few months away from a home where a mother takes care of such things. She is sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee that went cold an hour ago, when she hears it. The same strain of notes, the same chords that a child named for Hera once drew, and she turned into co-ordinates in a moment of clarity. She smiles, nostalgia maybe, or relief that this life doesn't seem to have the pressures of that long ago one.
"It's not a bad cover, but the Dylan original is better."
A male voice interrupts, she rolls her eyes at the table, "Didn't anyone tell you? Dylan's over."
"Never. He's rereleased this already. Bigger, bolder, better." There's a smile in his voice and she looks up to see if it's reflected on his face too. She nearly cries when she sees those blue eyes laughing back at her after millions of lifetimes.
"I'm Alex." He sits opposite her. She pretends to frown because he didn't ask.
"Phoebe. So, a Dylan fan huh?"
"Sometimes. I preferred it when you played it though."
"Think I can sue for copyright?"
"I don't know, did you and Hera ever work that one out?"
"I don't think she's around to care."
"That kid was fracking creepy."
She hasn't heard the word in so long that this time her eyes really do fill with water which she quickly blinks back. He raises his eyebrows at her, a friendly challenge that used to be hers.
She smiles, "I missed you."
"Missed you too." A hand covers hers and she stares at it for a minute, maybe two, overwhelmed that all of this, everything she has lived through, can be so quickly forgotten in this man's touch. With Alex's hand on Phoebe's he is only Lee Adama, and she is only Kara Thrace, sometimes known as Starbuck.
Apollo and Artemis seem a long way away.