Thanksgiving Interlude

By Senmut

"Ya ready yet, Pop?"

"Just about, Jen," said Kevin Byrne, opening a particular door in his small quarters, and ushering out the "guest of honor" for the evening. "We still have half an ho...centar."

"Okay. I guess I'm just flustered, is all."

"Don't worry, kid, you'll do just great."

"But I've never done anything like this before. This whole thing is all new to me."

"You'll sail through like a pro, Jen," smiled Byrne, making sure everything was laid out as it ought to be. "I'll seat you next to him, okay?"

"What if he gets fresh?"

"I thought that was the idea."

"Pop!"

"Then I'll remind him that I have a well-polished shotgun. Failing that, I'll hit him with a metal spoon! Or maybe Sargamesh can strangle him. Now go get dressed, okay?"

"What about Lydia?"

"She's at some party on the Rising Star tonight. GO!"

Byrne smiled, watching his daughter disappear into the other room, to get dressed for this evening's festivities. After checking yet again his "equipment", he ducked into the head, quickly shaved, washed, and got

into his dress Navy Whites. No sooner had he buttoned the last button, when the chime chimed.

"That roast kangaroo I smell?" asked Cedric Allen, Byrne's only surviving crewmate from the Saint Brendan, and his stunning wife, Kalysha, of the planet Harkaelis.

"I'll roast you, you twit," grinned Byrne, ushering them in. Allen held a bottle of something.

"That a bottle of booze in your pocket, or a bloody great gun?" asked Byrne.

"Lethal, either way."

"Goody, let's have lots."

"Uh! Men!" sniffed Kalysha.

"Uncle Ced!" cried Jena, emerging into the room.

"And how's me favorite little girl, eh?" asked the Australian, giving the girl a hug.

"Smells good," said Kalysha, as they were shown to the table. Jen put the music disk in. "What..."

"The closest..."

The door rang again, and it was Sire Pelias, dressed in his finest. Just emerging from the lift down the corridor was Commander Adama, Siress Tinia on his arm. Jena, shaking, greeted them, just in time for Colonel

Tigh, Sargamesh, and Technician Hummer to make it right on time. Boomer and Athena were moments behind.

"This is intriguing," said Adama, looking at the set table. "A religious observance?"

"It was, once upon a time," said Byrne, settling the ladies in the old-fashioned style. "Today, it's more or less just something we do every year."

"I'll get it, Pop," said Jen. This time, it was Starbuck, Cassie, and Jensen. Almost as soon as they were in, "Academician Sarah" arrived, dressed like a holopic star. Soon, after Apollo, Sheba, and Boxey made

it, they were all seated.

"You call it what?" asked "Sarah", aka Nizaka of the planet Ziklag.

'Thanksgiving'", replied Byrne, as he brought the "turkey", in actuality a Virgonian wild forest fowl from the Hegal, to the table. It was the closest thing he could find to a turkey. Much of the rest he had scrounged the Fleet for, almost emptying his gaming purse, but what the Hades Hole? "I checked our calendar against the best reckoning I have for the time since we left Earth. Comparing it to yours, this is, near as I can tell, the last Thursday in November, which in my country, is Thanksgiving Day."

"At least that's your story, right?" grinned Allen.

"And I'm sticking to it," laughed Byrne. "So..." He spread his hands, indicating the repast laid out, and picked up the knife.

Except for Allen, none had seen foods prepared quite like these before. Byrne explained the "history" of the holiday, and what each thing was. The Colonies had "pumpkins", but nothing like a sweet potato. A fair

substitute for it was found. Most of the rest had Colonial analogues, but there were furrowed brows all around.

"It looks like the little berries we used to gather when I was a boy," said Tigh, of the "cranberry" sauce. The closest Byrne could find was a small fruit used to make a potent liqueur, and had risked it.

"On Earth, it's called a 'cranberry'," he Byrne explained, answering questions culinary and otherwise. "I learned that there was something alot like it aboard the Agro Ship."

"I think it's a wonderful tradition," said Athena.

"Yes," said Byrne, to Sargamesh's question. "Many of the Plymouth Settlers had died in previous year winter, the colony almost failed, and in thanks for their survival, they and the natives held a feast, to thank

God for their survival."

"Fitting," said the other, deciding that he liked "turkey". Nizaka did as well, her eyes going wide as she got a taste.

"And you cooked this all yourself?" asked Starbuck.

"Well, Jen helped of course. She's a natural with anything within range of a kitchen."

"Great job," said Sheba, sampling the "mashed potatoes".

"Wow, sure looks wonderful," said Boxey. "Every yahren?"

"Yup. Every yahren, Boxey. And this yahren..." he sighed, looking at Jen, then at the rest, "I have alot to be thankful for."

"Indeed yes," said Apollo.

"All of you, in some way, played a part in I and my daughter's deliverance. You all came along, just when you were most needed," said Byrne. "You gave me back my health," he nodded at Cassie, "my chance to

see my daughter live, and grow up," he nodded to the Warriors, "my one surviving companion from Earth, as well as resolution in the matter...of those pirates," he inclined the head to Nizaka, "and a chance to finally

get back home."

"I'll drink to that!" said Allen, raising his glass.

"Yes," said Adama, "we have alot to be thankful for, despite all our travails. Friends, food, a course to follow."

"Like we're being looked out for," said Cassie.

"Very much," said Boomer, tasting his wine. "Very much so."

They sat around, recounting their various personal deliverances. Jensen, from the almost fatal encounter with the murderous Korax, Starbuck, Boomer, and Athena the same. Athena for the safety of her children, Hummer, surviving the breakup of the unnamed planet, and "adoption" by the Zohrlochs, Sargamesh the series of utter imponderables that had led him from Eridu, to slavery, to liberation and a place among the Colonials. Boxey, his "new' family, Adama, the sealing of his son to Sheba. Kalysha, her deliverance from death, degradation, and finding Cedric. It was a circle of thanks, all around.

"Being as this is a night of thanks," said Pelias, rising, "I would like to make an announcement." He extended a hand to Jena. As she rose, Cassie couldn't help but see how vastly better she looked, since her

rescue. Instead of scrawny and malnourished, now she radiated health, and her blossoming womanhood had not gone unnoticed.

"Speech, speech!" said Allen.

"In accordance with the traditions of my House, and with Captain Byrne's consent..."

"...ahem! cough..cough.."

"I have asked, and Genesis had consented, that we shall be, as they say on Earth, 'an item'."

There were congratulations and toasts all around. Pelias looked at her father, and Byrne glowered back, then broke into a merry laughter.

"Much to be thankful for," said Colonel Tigh.

":Indeed there is," said Adama.

Later, dishes piled, guests departed, and Jena asleep, Byrne sat, silently, staring down. Staring, looking, at a photo in his hand. One of the few surviving images of Jen's mother, Genesis Penelope Kling. Taken with the long-defunct digital cam aboard the Saint Brendan, it was a diptych, showing her, smiling, by herself, and the second, smiling even more, holding their infant daughter. It was one of the few things he still possessed that he truly treasured. As the silent minutes ticked by, he felt his mind take him back, back to...

A tear fell onto the frame, but he neither noticed nor cared.

Unbidden, the words to an old song began to course through his

memory.

Words...

There's no time for us

There's no place for us

What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away

From us?

Who wants to live forever

Who wants to live forever...?

"Ah, Jen," he whispered, touching the picture, almost reverently, like a holy icon. "So little time we had."

There's no chance for us

Its all decided for us

This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us

Who wants to live forever

Who wants to live forever?

Who dares to love forever?

When love must die?

"Should have been me, babe." He shook his head. "Should have been me."

But touch my tears with your lips

Touch my world with your fingertips

And we can have forever

And we can love forever

Forever is our today

Who wants to live forever

Who wants to live forever?

Forever is our today

"Not enough todays, baby. Never enough todays."

Who waits forever anyway?

A tear fell onto the frame, but he neither noticed nor cared.

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