Chapter 138 Specialist
Sweat trickled down Kara's face and she had to halt her slow crawl to fight back a sneeze. The maintenance ducts needed a thorough cleaning. But then again, that wasn't a particular surprise. Everything about Galactica needed a shitload of work, she thought with a grimace. The battlestar had held up well since the fall of the Colonies, yet really, how much longer before critical systems began to fail and replacement parts couldn't be cobbled together, she wondered.
Pausing a moment at the next junction, Kara swiped an arm against her forehead and considered her options. Unless she had gotten completely turned around, airlock twelve should be just portside of her now.
So, if I go that way —Kara craned her head to the left— I should be almost there.
After wiggling awkwardly around the tight corner, she sighed in relief as the outline of a panel came into view. A few minutes more of maneuvering on sore elbows and knees and she finally stopped before the screen. She listened attentively as she caught her breath. Nothing to hear but the ever present murmur of the great ship's engines, so Kara worked to loosen the covering.
Damned thing was stuck.
With a huff of frustration, she realized that she was going to have to risk alerting any nearby crew. Shifting into position, Kara waited for a moment more for any indication of sounds from the other side, then she drove her forearm and elbow against the rusted seal. The metal panel popped free with a protesting squeak and fell to the deck plating. Kara froze as the clang of metal on metal seemed to echo in the deserted hallway.
Once assured that no immediate alarm had sounded, she pulled herself from the ductwork and quickly replaced the grating. A swift survey of her surroundings confirmed that she come out just a few steps beyond where she'd figured.
Chief would be proud.
But on the heels of that self-congratulatory thought, came the reminder that Tyrol was likely still locked up in the Cylon holding cell with the others. Which was exactly where she'd be headed if she didn't get her ass in gear, she reminded herself.
Moving with more coordination now as the alcohol she'd consumed worked its way from her system, Kara stepped into the control alcove outside the airlock proper. A look through the plexiglass confirmed the area within was empty of all but boxes and parts. She surveyed the panel, frowning at the unfamiliar layout. Not that it really mattered at this point if she set off a system warning. Kara knew that she only needed to gain access to the airlock and figure out the hatch controls Galen had rigged inside. Once done, it wouldn't matter how many Marines came looking for her then.
One toggle switch looked promising. She flipped it up and was rewarded with the hiss of the inner hatch sliding open in response. Deciding it wasn't worth the time to search for some method to lock controls to the remote switch, Kara entered Airlock Twelve and crossed to the outer doors, inspecting the panel for some clue of how to access the remote the Chief had said he'd created for the chamber.
A sound from behind spun her around.
What the frak?
Kara stared in surprise at the figure partially hidden between a mess of boxes and crates. As her gaze dropped from the bent head, she realized that the younger woman held a child in her lap with one arm…and the door controls clutched in the other shaking hand. Before Kara could form a coherent question, Cally looked up to meet her confused gaze.
She looked awful: bloodshot eyes, red-rimmed and puffy with dark circles that emphasized the haunted expression in their lost depths. The younger woman's hair was oily and unkempt, and her small frame trembled with occasional shudders. In fact, everything about her looked bedraggled, like she was unraveling before Kara's eyes.
Kara saw the twitch of fingers, and her head jerked around as the inner hatch closed swiftly with a whish of sound.
Looking back, "Cally, what're you doing in here?" she asked, unsure how to handle the Specialist in this situation. When silence was her only answer, "you hurt? Is Nikki?" she pressed, eyes searching for some evidence that either of the pair were injured. She couldn't see any evidence of trauma…other than the obvious state of shock Cally seemed locked into .
Then her gaze fully took in the remote—and the implications of the green-lit button.
Apparently the Chief had really cobbled the device together, for the usual safety turnkey was missing—on the top of the small box, only two button were visible, one for working the inner hatch, as she'd just seen, and that meant the other…
Kara licked suddenly dry lips.
As she took in the glazed look in Cally's eyes, Kara wondered if she could cross the distance between them in less time than it would take for the disturbed woman to flick off the protective cover and activate the release button for the outer hatch.
Not a chance in hell, she decided. Even if she'd been at the top of her game—which she certainly wasn't at the moment—there was just too much space between the two of them. Besides, a derisive voice in her head mocked, wasn't this exactly what Kara had come here for herself?
No. Not like this.
Not taking the kid and Cally with her, too.
Though, Kara supposed that it could be argued that it was the other way around since it was actually the Specialist that looked to blow all three of them out the airlock. A part of her found it grimly amusing. Here she'd believed she was making a choice, and had once again had been proven wrong.
Well, frak them.
Frak the Gods.
Frak the Old Man and Laura.
And hell, frak Cally and her kid! What do I care, right?!
Kara twisted away then, and leaned her hands on the outer doors, feeling the cold of space that even the battlesteel couldn't fully rebuff. She could feel it beckoning, offering a permanent numbness. But then a low whimper, more a snuffle really, from behind her made Kara turn again. And as her gaze fell on the little boy shifting in his mother's embrace, another feeling surged through the anger and despair that had gripped Kara ever since the Admiral's words had finally smashed through her denial.
"Shhh. It's ok. Shhh, now baby," Cally murmured, her attention momentarily focused on the child in her lap. Watching her, Kara remembered the warm weight as she'd held Kacey and told her stories of heroic Viper pilots and read to her from the single book Leoben had found for them.
She couldn't do this.
Couldn't let Cally do it either.
Kara took a step forward only to immediately halt as the strung-out woman's head jerked up and she lifted the handunit in warning. Raising her own hands out to her side as proof that she didn't intend anything, Kara sidled to the nearest crate and sat, abruptly thankful for the support as her balance waivered. Maybe it hadn't been such a great idea to knockback the rotgut quite that fast, she decided, gripping the rough edges of the wooden box until the brief dizziness passed.
Shifting her attention back to Cally, she tried to reason what had brought her to this point. She had an idea…and yet? She studied the younger woman, unable to reconcile Cally's apparent intent with the person Kara knew.
Venturing a question, "What's going on?" she neutrally asked, hoping that if she could get her talking, it might be possible to get a handle on how to talk her down.
"Can't stop me." There was a hysterical edge in Cally's tone as brown eyes briefly met Kara's gaze before skittering away.
"This about Galen?"
As Cally's expression tightened into one of betrayal, Kara had her answer.
Or at least a way in.
"Yeah, that came as a shock," Kara said. "Never would've pegged the Chief as a Cylon." She gauged the younger woman's reaction, satisfied when Cally's agitated gaze came back to hers and held. "He's worked so hard keeping our birds in the air. Had a million chances to take me out, to kill Apollo, too. A malfunction and no one the wiser." She paused for emphasis, then said, "Wonder why he never did?" and let the question hang between them.
A flash of uncertainty drew Cally's eyebrows together, but then she gave a violent twitch of her head as if to shake off whatever doubt Kara's remark had been pushed forward.
"Sam's a skinjob, too, you know," Kara said to underscore that she also knew—intimately so—what it felt like to discover that the man you'd married wasn't one at all. As the memory of her own reaction on the Heavy Raider flooded back through her, it was all Kara could do not to get up and pace. Oh, yeah, she got exactly how Cally was feeling. And if she hadn't been so focused on the belief that she'd found Earth, Kara admitted to herself that she might have jumped the Cylon shuttle into the nearest star…and readily taken the four skinjobs right along with her.
With the renewed surge of emotions that had driven her to the airlock in the first place, the feeling to urge Cally to just go ahead and push the button twisted her gut. But again her eyes fell to the boy. He appeared deeply asleep now, oblivious to the tension around him.
Giving into her own despair wasn't an option. Not if it meant that Nikki would die, too. Her anger shifted then, coming squarely onto the mother that intended to harm her own child.
"So you frakked a skinjob. So what," she said. "I've done more than one, so yeah, big frakkin' deal!" Cally's eyes widen in surprise at Kara's change in demeanor. "What you doing with Nikki? Planning on airlocking the both of you? What the hell, Cally?! You don't do that to your kid!"
As her fierce words impacted the younger woman, Kara saw her recoil from the accusation in their tone. And for the first time since she had entered the compartment, Cally's brown eyes really seemed to fully focus as they glared back at her.
"Frak you, Starbuck!" Cally's anger rose now to match Kara's own.
"Get in line," Kara snapped back, her tone so bitter that Cally's fury stuttered and she blinked. On her feet in an instant, Kara jabbed a finger at the other woman. "Poor little Cally, she fell for the Chief but he only wanted Boomer." As the dark head jerked in reaction, Kara harshly continued. "So you shot her. One to the chest. But, oh, no, not because you were jealous. Not because she was Galen's lover, but because she was a frakkin' Cylon, right!" Jabbing her finger again, "Right?" she demanded.
"Truth stings, don't it," mocked Kara. Pressing on, "After Galen beat the crap outta you, you forgave him. He turned to you then, and you thought that he finally saw you. Wanted you," jeered Kara. "Did you cry when he proposed? Come on, you can tell me." She gave a derisive laugh. "Bet he went down on one knee and everything." Cally's eyes were wide as she gaped at Kara. Ignoring her, Kara plowed right on. "Then the Old Man gave you two lovebirds permission to settle on New Caprica. You were gonna get the little family you'd always dreamed of." Kara crossed her arms then. "But it all turned to shit…the Cylons came back."
The child didn't even stir at its mother's raised voice, but Kara didn't notice, too caught up in her own memories and the desperate hope that she'd laid the correct course to reach the other woman. She continued to push. "And now you find out that you married one. A Cylon all along. Pooooor Cally. She fell in love and hitched up with a frakkin' skinjob, then popped out another." Nodding towards the boy, Kara contemptuously demanded, "That why you doing this? Feeling sorry for yourself because you birthed a freak?"
"SHUT-THE-FRAK-UP!" Cally yelled and shot to her feet, still clutching the child awkwardly to her. In a rage now, she faced Kara as she ranted, "You don't know what you're frakking talking about!"
With difficulty Kara kept the smirk from her lips. She'd pushed far enough, she decided, noting with satisfaction that the hysterical edge in Cally's eyes and voice had given way before the woman's fury. This was something Kara knew how to handle; anger far better so than a suicidal depression.
"Don't I? Then tell me." Daring Cally then, she taunted, "Come on. Explain why it's a good idea to space your kid." As Cally glared at her, Kara abruptly changed tack. "He hasn't even got a coat on," she flippantly said.
She watched as the absurdity of her remark sank in and Cally's gaze dropped to the sleeping form in her arms. When the dark head lifted again, Kara was gratified to see that she looked horrified, no longer lost to what she had been about to do.
"I can't…" Cally started, trailing off as her eyes darted to the closed inner hatch. She took a breath then and continued. "I won't let them take him. They can't have him," her voice now fiercely protective as she shifted Nikki to a hip, angling her body slightly to partially shield the boy from Kara.
What the frak?
Kara's brows drew together as she worked to understand the other woman.
Pushing her sluggish mind to catch up, Kara tried to grasp what Cally meant. Take who? Nikki? Who would take him, and why would Cally think anyone would want to? Kara considered what she knew about the kid, then she remembered the circumstances surrounding Hera's birth. Could Cally really think the Admiral might remove Nikki from his mother's custody? Though, as Kara looked at her now, she wasn't so sure that wasn't the right move. But seriously, it wasn't like the kid was in danger from anyone. At that, Kara's gaze narrowed on the remote and she corrected herself, 'well, except for the whole being blow out an airlock thing, that is'. Frowning, Kara again berating herself for the alcohol that still scattered her thoughts and she forced herself to focus.
No. There had to be more to this than just fear of losing her child, else Cally wouldn't be prepared to jettison the both of them this way. Kara absolutely refused to believe that she could be that selfish. But if not, then what the hell was she thinking instead?
"Who do you think's gonna to take Nikki?"
"Everyone!" Cally suddenly screamed in response. And that quickly, despairing fear flashed across her face and the glazed look was back, clouding her dark eyes again as the younger woman sagged back down into her former position. Frustrated, Kara watched as Cally pulled Nikki tightly against her chest and, with the remote clutched to the boy's back, began to rock.
Kara pursed her lips and scowled at the distressed figure, uncomfortably wondering if this was what she had been like when they'd found her hidden in the hanger bay. Very few of the hours—days?—she'd spent in the cubby were clear in her memory. Had the Admiral felt this same helplessness as she did now?
She pressed palms to her eyes and tried to recall how they'd finally talked her out. Helo was there. She was sure of that much as brief flashes of him came to mind, along with the Doc. Yeah, she vaguely remembered Cottle being there, too. Not a lot of help since neither man was present in the airlock with them now. Guess it was just her…and she'd better not frak this up.
Dropping her hands, Kara rubbed them along her thighs and scrutinized the hunched figure.
Everyone, Cally had said.
Why would she think that anyone was coming for Nikki? Was it because he was Galen's kid? That made him a hybrid like Hera, right? And from what Kara had heard from Athena, and those on the basestar, the Cylons were desperate to procreate, and Hera—now Nikki, too—appeared to hold the key. Did Cally think that they'd make a move to take him? There was no way they'd get him off Galactica, at least not without someone on the inside, and even then…how could they smuggle him out?
Another dark thought came to mind.
Kara had learned from a very drunk Helo consoling himself after Hera's 'death' that Roslin had originally ordered the Admiral to terminate Sharon's pregnancy. At the time, Kara hadn't been sure she'd disagreed with the President, but there'd been no way she was going to tell Karl that. Her friend had been hurting, and her spouting off that his newborn's natural death was likely for the best wasn't going to make him feel any better.
After New Caprica…
Well, Kara had come to a new perspective on the loss of a child.
Tapping into an empathy that didn't come naturally to her, Kara tried to grasp how the revelation of Nikki's nature would come across to Cally.
"No one wants to hurt Nikki," she ventured, and watched as Cally's back and forth motion briefly paused before restarting. At least she wasn't too far gone to listen—though that would have made getting the control box away a lot easier. That wasn't going to happen, so Kara tried persuasion again. "He's safe on Galactica," she said. "The Old Man'll protect him." Again the figure stilled. And this time she didn't resume rocking as Kara continued. "He's safe," she insisted, and Cally's head lifted to reveal fresh tears dampening pale cheeks. "No one's gonna take him," Kara repeated for good measure.
The shouted words rang loud in the closed compartment, and as Kara started to speak, Cally cut her off.
"No!I know what they think! H-he's an abomination!" Without pausing for breath. "I see how they looks at Hera. What they say w-when there aren't officers listening."
"They do!" Cally said fiercely, interrupting Kara's assurances. "They do. And they laugh—not a nice laugh either. I hate it!" Then her voice broke further as she went on. "And t-t-they said Doc Cottle sh-should dissect her. They laughed…and-and took bets if he'd find b-b-batteries or a wind-up knob."
The image Cally's words brought to mind made Kara convulsively swallow to keep the bile down. No wonder she was freaking out. Sure, Kara knew there was a double handful on Galactica that still eyed Athena with distrust…and not all were from Pegasus either. But this? She hadn't believed—wanted to believe—that any of their people could look at Hera that way.
For godssake, she's just a kid!
Unclenching her jaw, "So report them," said Kara. "Give the Admiral names. He'll make damned sure they don't bother Nikki." As Cally began to shake her head, "You think the Old Man's going to let any piss-ants hurt a kid? No frakkin' way," Kara growled. "He'd kick anyone's ass off Galactica if they threaten Hera—or Nikki."
At least she hoped he would, but Kara wasn't about to share that small reservation with the distressed woman before her.
Taking a moment to study her, Kara was again struck by her appearance. She couldn't remember seeing Cally look this bad since their initial flight from the Twelve Colonies. Though, that wasn't quite true, Kara realized as she recalled the strained exhaustion in the Specialist's expression during the jumps to and from the algae planet. Starvation was bad enough as is, but watching your kid go hungry and not be able to do anything about it? Yeah, that had to have been hell for her.
A frown thinned her lips as Kara's eyes narrowed on the sleeping boy. It dawned on her then that the child hadn't stirred at all since she'd heard him fuss earlier. She'd heard that kids could sleep through just about anything, but had had some personal experience proving otherwise.
Their shouting should have roused him.
"Cally, what's wrong with Nikki" she asked, a sick premonition already forming.
The other woman blinked up at her a moment before dropping her gaze to the boy and lifted a hand to brush an unruly lock of hair from his closed eyes.
"He's sleeping," stating the obvious, then, "I gave him something," Cally said by way of explanation as she looked up again. She must have interpreted Kara's concerned gaze correctly, for she hurried added, "Just half a pill Doc Cottle gave me to sleep."
"Half?" Kara skeptically demanded.
"Yes, I didn't want—" Cally broke off as her eyes flitted to the airlock hatch and fell to the decking between them.
As understanding sank in, Kara's angry disgust at what Cally had meant to do again rushed front and center. Between the Academy training videos and her experiences on Galactica since, Kara understood exactly what the young mother thought she was protecting her child from. A death in space might be swift, but it was also excruciatingly painful—as Cally had partially found out first hand only a couple of months ago.
A point of fact that Kara hadn't given much thought to herself when she'd decided on her own course of action. With the Chief's homebrew slowing her thoughts, the idea of an exit from her current pain had pushed away the reality of what she'd intended.
It's what you deserve.
The insidious words whispered through Kara's thoughts in her mother's voice, and she couldn't disagree with them. All the damage she'd razed in her path through life, culminating in the possible death of Sergeant Mathias just a short time ago, flooded back to taunt her; and Kara found her eyes settling on the glowing button of the control unit once more.
Hadn't she decided that she was doing everyone a favor?
Really, had anything changed since she'd entered the airlock?
Kara flinched as she recalled the Admiral's damning words revealing her true lineage. Saul Tigh was her father—and that made her a skinjob just as surely as if she'd come off an assembly line.
Mama always said I was special.
Sardonically, Kara wondered if her mother had always known that there was something wrong with her. If she'd thought she could beat it out of Kara. She had certainly tried. Too bad there was never the chance it could work; nothing was going to change what she was. Like Cally had said…an abomination.
And really, she thought to herself, it even explain why her fath—why Dreilide Thrace—had abandoned her. He'd probably sensed it, too. And once he found out that he wasn't even really her dad? Yeah, not a shocker that he'd hightailed it out of there and never looked back.
With a kid like her? Seriously, who wouldn't leave.
Given the same circumstances as Cally, Kara was willing to bet that Socrata would've wasted no time finding the nearest airlock to jettison the freak she'd given birth to.
Just like Cally.
But, as Kara's gaze refocused on the young mother before her, she realized that there were differences. Disposing of her kid hadn't been Cally's first move. She'd holed up in her cabin with the boy, instead. Why? If she truly thought the kid was a monstrosity, then she should have been in a hurry to dispose of him—of it. Yet she hadn't.
Crossing her arms before her, Kara frowned, perplexed at the discrepancy in Cally's behavior. Then, as the mother clasped Nikki to her, the way her body seemed to wrap protectively around the little boy really registered on Kara.
Cally might have frakking lost it, coming here to the airlock like this, but Kara abruptly understood that she was only trying to shield her child from harm. The irony of it made her huff a laugh. If anyone could understand that reasoning, it ought to be Kara. Hadn't she demanded the same thing from Sam when they'd been facing capture on Caprica? He'd seen her terror then and hadn't ridiculed her for it. Strange as it may seem, that memory still brought her a modicum of comfort.
And here now was Cally trying to do the same for her kid.
This was different, though. Here neither were in imminent danger, at least not from the Cylons. And on Galactica, Cally had a lot of people ready to defend her and Nikki. She wasn't alone in this. Even as these thoughts came to her, a part of Kara realized that they didn't apply only to Cally. How certain was she that Adama—and Lee—would cast her aside now that they knew she was a hybrid like Hera?
Like Hera…and the same a Nikki.
Staring with widening eyes at the boy, it finally occurred to Kara that, genetically speaking, she was in fact the firstborn Human/Cylon hybrid. Had Leoben in his visions of streams and such somehow possessed this knowledge? What did it mean for the Two's insistence that she had a destiny?
Her head was already pounding, last thing she wanted was to dwell on the Cylon's obsession with her.
One niggling doubt did push through the thrumming pain. If Nikki didn't deserve to be thrown out like trash…to be hurt for something he had no control over, was she any different? Despite her earlier musings over how alike Cally and Socrata were, she just could not envision the woman before her beating her kid. And the same went for Athena.
So, if the fault didn't lie in Kara's origins, then where did it fall?
Before she could fully follow that line of thought, a motion beyond the observation window drew her attention. As their eyes met, Kara saw recognition in the crewman's expression and grimaced as he turned and hurriedly left.
Just frakking great.
It would be only a matter of minutes now before the man returned with a Marine accompaniment.
As her gaze returned to the pair before her, concern over how Cally will react to a group of heavily armed guards storming into the airlock tightened the lines around Kara's eyes and mouth. It was time to make a decision. If she was still going to space herself, she had to get the other two out, and like right-the-frak-now. As her gaze shifted from the inner hatch to the outer and back to Cally, Kara gnawed on her lip. A reluctance she hadn't felt under the influence of the alcohol and shock now made her hesitate and she rubbed at her forehead. Where before she had accepted that her memory of Earth was just a Cylon machination, now there were too many doubts pricking the balloon of that belief. Were all her memories manufactured? What if they weren't; what if she really had found the home of the Thirteenth Tribe?
Unable to answer those questions midst the chaotic state of her memories, Kara resolutely shifted her attention back to the Specialist. Noting how Cally was still trembling slightly, the chill of the room finally became apparent to Kara and she found herself rubbing at the goosebumps on her forearms she hadn't noticed before, wishing abruptly that she'd donned something over the double tanks she wore.
"Damned, it's cold in here," she said, taking a cautious step forward. When the other woman's only reaction was to nod slightly in agreement, Kara moved closer. "Don't know about you, but I hate the frakkin' cold. I'd rather be chilling on a beach on Leonis any day." Another step. She was within a stride's length now of the pair. "How about you? Lounging on a towel with one of those little umbrella drinks your thing?"
The corner of Cally's mouth twitched up briefly. "Like I ever got to Leonis," she said in response. Then, "Not like I was going to be vacationing there on a Specialist's income." Kara nodded, and they shared a knowing look in the age-old complaint of those in the Service at how paltry their paychits were. No, Kara hadn't ever saved enough either to afford the outrageous prices the resorts demanded.
She'd shifted now to standing just before Cally and, palm up, lifted a hand in request to the other woman.
As brown eyes sought hers for reassurance, "It'll be ok," she said, and a beat passed as Cally's gaze flickered to the remote, then Nikki, and back to Kara before hesitantly placing the unit in her outstretched hand. Closing her fingers around the cool metal, Kara retreated a step and released her held breath.
Activity outside the plexiglass barrier brought her gaze up and she saw that she'd disarmed Cally just in time when the alcove beyond filled with the black-clad uniforms of a Marine Response Team. Her eyes widened, then narrowed in consternation as Adama shoved his way forward to face her through the window. She wondered what he made of the situation as he eyes fell upon the remote she held. It would only take a flick of her thumb to expose the green-lit button. A second—two at the max—and she could signal the outer hatch to open. Kara read that awareness in the Admiral's grim expression and she wondered if he would prefer if she did it…and save him the unpleasantness of ordering it done.
But then the greying head was moving side-to-side and a pleading look filled those clouded blue eyes.
Kara frowned, confused by the Old Man's apparent appeal that she not do anything that drastic. Then her gaze again shifted to Cally and Nikki. Of course. Here was the explanation. Adama's concern was that she'd take the pair with her…and he wouldn't want that. Yet, even as her bitter gaze lifted to his, Kara recalled glancing through the observation window herself before entering the airlock. From there, both the younger woman and her child had been hidden from view by the surrounding boxes…as they still were.
Her thought broke off as a crewman pointed at the panel and Adama reached forward.
"Starbuck," his voice coming overly loud through the compartment's intercom, "This isn't the way," he said, and she searched for meaning in his words. She shook her head, taken aback by what she'd almost call concern she thought she heard in his tone.
There was no mistaking the entreaty in his tone now, and she flashed back to the look in the Admiral's eyes when he'd told her that Saul was her father. Shock had prevented her at the time from really taking in the compassion and sorrow in his expression, yet now she saw it again in his drawn face and was perplexed as she'd expected only revulsion when he looked at her now. Another memory then pushed to the fore. This time of Roslin ordering the guards to let her pass, of Laura insisting that Kara be given time to process what she'd been told. Neither of their responses made sense to her. Not with what she believed each of them must think of her now that they knew her for what she was.
Frowning, Kara tried to bring the opposing views in line. Again she shook her head, then noticed the way Adama stiffened. Her eyes dropped to the remote in her hand and Kara decided it was time to end this.
Moving backwards until she was a distance from Cally and Nikki, she paused beside the crate nearest the outer hatch.
"Kara," fear strained his voice as he called out to her again.
Ignoring him now, she pressed the inner hatch release, then placed the control unit on the crate and dropped to her knees with her hands clasped behind her back. She wanted whatever happened next kept as far from the huddled pair as possible.
It only took a moment for the Marines to rush in, and Kara was unceremoniously shoved face down onto the deck plating. She grunted as someone pressed a knee to her spine, holding her securely in place as her arms were yanked around and cuffs snapped onto her wrists uncomfortably tight.
Guess they didn't take kindly to her injuring one of their own, she thought as her mind turned grimly to wonder if Mathias was ok. Hoping that the guards' rough treatment wasn't her answer, Kara searched their eyes as she was hauled upright. Nothing in the men's cold expression gave her a clue and she shifted her gaze to the Admiral as he moved to stand in front of her.
"Sir?" The hesitantly spoken greeting swiveled everyone's attention to where Cally still sat, obviously confused and startled by the guards' swift entry and actions.
"What…" the Admiral began, only to trail off as his gaze took in the boy still sleeping peacefully in the young woman's lap. His eyes moved then from the two back to Kara and this time there was the expected accusation in their depths. "Explain!" he barked at her.
Kara shrugged, suddenly too tired to come up with a coherent answer for how the three of them had ended up in the airlock together, let along the intent behind their presence here.
Adama swung his gaze back to Cally then, a raised eyebrow making it clear he expected a better answer from her.
"I-I-I brought Nikki… I thought…well," she fumbled, obviously also at a loss at what to say either.
Kara watched Adama's glare move between the two of them before he took a breath and ran a hand over his face, his manner changing as he twisted to fully face the Specialist.
Pointing at Cally and her son, "You two, report to Doc Cottle." Turn back to Kara then, he paused for a long moment before reluctantly giving the command for her to be taken to the brig. She had to admit that she was surprised that he hadn't ordered the guards to frog-march her to the Cylon holding cell instead.
As fingers harshly grasped her bare arms and propelled her towards the inner hatch, Kara didn't glance back at the Admiral.
She'd made her decision to accept whatever came next.
She'd just have to live…or die with it.