Caprica City: 1 Year Before the Attacks

"You wanted to see me, Mr. President."

"Oh yes, Laura. Have you ever heard of the show Bachelorette?"

"The so-called reality show?"

"That's the one."

"Yes, why?"

"The producers just called. They want this season's bachelorette to be a professional in a successful career, preferably the government. The bachelors will also be professionals of various ages and levels."

"So?"

"So, they want you to be the bachelorette. You're perfect: professional, smart, independent, and beautiful. You're high profile but not too high profile. What do you think?"

"What about us?"

"This could be your opportunity to find love; I could never offer you that, and we both know it. If this is all a bust, then I'll gladly frak you again when you come back in a few months."

"So this isn't a very elaborate way to dump me?"

"No, of course not."

"What about my responsibilities here?"

"Your assistants will have to carry their weight for a change, Madame Secretary. Think of this as a vacation. You'll get to visit exotic places all over the Twelve Colonies, stay in a wonderful house, and have a room full of men pining for you every day for 15 weeks or so."

"When you put it like that, it almost sounds like fun. When do I leave?"

"Immediately. Go home and pack, and a limo will pick you up in 2 hours. Have fun, Laura."

"Talk about short notice," Laura Roslin muttered on her way out the door.

Three hours later, Laura found herself getting out of a limo in front of a beautiful house. She was immediately bombarded with producers and the host Chris Harrison.

"Welcome to your new home for the next 15 weeks, Secretary Roslin."

"If you're going to be playing matchmaker, you may call me Laura, Chris."

"Are you excited?"

"I found out about my role in this show about three hours and thirty seconds ago, so I'm not even used to the idea yet. When do we have to leave?"

"The gentlemen will be at the mansion shortly. Why don't you go unpack, put on your evening gown and get ready to meet them as they arrive."

Laura stood in front of the long driveway in long red gown. The first limo arrived. It contained officers of various levels within the Colonial Fleet. They were all wearing their dress grays. Commander William Adama of the Battlestar Galactica exited the limo first.

"Madame Secretary, I'm Commander Bill Adama of the Battlestar Galactica."

"Hello Bill. If you're going to be wooing me for the next several weeks, you might as well call me Laura."

"Okay, I'll see you inside then, Laura."

"Yes you will, Bill."

Next was Captain Lee Adama-yes this show allowed (and encouraged) a father and son to compete for the same woman.

"Hi, Laura. I'm Captain Lee Adama; I guess you just met my father. You're really something. I look forward to getting to know you."

"Likewise, Lee."

Next was Lt. Karl Agathon.

"Hello, Laura. I'm Lt. Karl Agathon. I co-pilot raptors onboard Galactica."

"So you'll be competing against your boss then?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Interesting. I'll see you inside Karl."

There were several less interesting officers that made little impression on Laura, so they'll go unmentioned.

The next limo contained a hodgepodge of different men. Dr. Gaius Baltar exited first.

"Hello, Laura. I guess you know who I am."

"Absolutely, Dr. Baltar. You're only the most famous scientist in the Twelve Colonies."

"Right then, I'll see you inside."

Next came the recently released prisoner of conscience Tom Zarek.

"Don't worry Laura, I won't bite. It looks like you'll have plenty of protection from military types anyway."

"I believe in second chances, Tom. I'll try not to hold your past against you."

"That's all I ask."

The rest of the men were very boring, so Laura quickly forgot their names and decided to eliminate them as soon as possible.

"What do you think, Laura?"

"There are some fine men in there, Chris. I'm not sure I'm comfortable dating a father and son at the same time, but I guess it'll be okay for now."

"Remember you have to eliminate 10 of the 25 men tonight, so do your best to get to know everybody, and make the best decisions you can at the rose ceremony."

"I guess I'll get to it then."

"Okay. I'll see you at the ceremony."

Laura really did try to at least say hello to each of the men during the cocktail party. Her years as a politician allowed her to remain respectful yet distant with people she didn't necessarily like, so she circulated the rooms. Laura had one rose to give immediately-the first impression rose. She needed to find the man who made an impression on her.

Laura had talked to everyone except for the Adama men, and she still had an hour before the ceremony. I'm glad I saved the best for last, she thought.

Finally, she found both Adamas in the corner a room. It looked like they were in the middle of a heated discussion when Lee stormed off, muttering an 'excuse me' to Laura.

"I hope you weren't fighting over me already, Bill."

"I'm afraid not, Laura. This is the first time I've seen Lee in a year, and we don't really get along very well."

"May I ask why not?"

"Sure. My other son, Zak, was killed in a flight accident last year. Lee blames me for his death because I pushed both of my boys to follow in my footsteps, and he thinks I pushed Zak too hard, and pulled strings to get him in a cockpit where he didn't belong."

"That's not fair."

"No. It isn't. Anyway, I keep reaching out to Lee, and he keeps pushing me away. Now we're going to be competing for the same woman. It's okay if you want to choose him; I know he's the more attractive choice."

"Where am I standing?"

"Here."

"That's right. I have my choice of 25 men, and I'm standing here talking to you about your dead son and your relationship with Lee. I could have run after Lee to see what upset him, but I chose to talk to you."

"Why?"

"You were the only one who addressed me by my title first. I know I told you to call me Laura, but I was touched by the respect you showed me."

"Honestly, I was trying to put distance between us. I wasn't sure how comfortable I was being part of a reality dating show."

"Why are you here then?"

"Admiral Nagala said I'd be perfect for the show. That I should think of it as a vacation and perhaps an opportunity to find love. In other words, my boss ordered me to come here."

"You wanna hear a secret? President Adar said the same thing to me. I found out about this less than five hours ago."

"Talk about short notice."

"I know right."

"So, you aren't really interested in dating?"

"I wouldn't say that, per se. I just don't have a lot of time to do it. What about you?"

"A crusty old divorced Commander who spends 9 months a year in space? I'm a real catch among the ladies."

"Yes, you are," Laura said in a completely serious tone that indicated she meant what she said, "which is why I'm giving you the first impression rose. I want to keep you around for a while. I feel comfortable around you. So, Commander Adama, will you accept this rose?"

"Gladly, Madame Secretary."

"Now that that's done. Why don't we have a seat on that sofa over there that looks pretty comfortable, and talk some more before the ceremony?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"So, Commander what do you do onboard Galactica when you aren't on duty?"

"I read mostly."

"Really? What kind of books do you like?"

"Mysteries and Classics, mostly. Searider Falcon, Love and Bullets, and Dark Day are three of my favorites. I brought those three with me, in fact."

"We'll have to swap books at some point. I only brought Murder on Picon."

"Maybe one of our dates could be a trip to a used book store or an ancient library or something."

"Wouldn't that be nice, but I doubt we have much say over the nature of our dates."

"We'll get through this together, Laura."

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable having so many men dating me at once. I'm not exactly a poster girl of monogamy, but even in my non-commitment, I'm committed."

"What do you mean?"

"I've never been in a serious relationship before, but I never dated more than one person at a time."

"Oh. Yeah. Me neither. I'm kind of the king of commitment though. That's why I still wear my wedding ring when I've been divorced for twenty years. Don't worry I'm not committed to my ex. I'm committed to remembering my mistakes and not repeating them, ever. The ring serves as a convenient memory boost."

"I'll have to insist you take it off, if you propose to me at the end of all this."

"When I propose to you, I'll gladly remove the ring and never think of it again."

"What are the mistakes you're so committed to remembering?"

"You know, the usual. I wasn't there enough. I didn't know how to handle my wife's bipolar disorder or her drinking problem. I married someone who couldn't handle my being away so many months a year. She wasn't a partner or my equal, so we grew to resent each other. She came from money and prestige, and didn't want to live the life of an officer's wife. Yada, Yada, Yada."

"Sounds like a nightmare."

"Sometimes it was, but we had some good times too. We just had no business getting married. I loved her, and I thought we could make it work, but there just wasn't enough compatibility. We didn't fit in each other's lives."

"I don't know if I'll be able to keep all the men at bay."

"Somehow, I don't think you'll have a problem."

"What do you mean?"

"You exude a certain amount of power. You'll be able to maintain a distance between all the men, and they won't even realize you're doing it. They'll fall for the politician's smile without ever bothering to look for your real smile. The one I've seen at least twice since we met."

"What are you saying?"

"You'll get to know the men you want to, and you'll find a diplomatic way to let the rest go."

"Speaking of which, it's almost time for the rose ceremony. Will you escort me to the main room?"

"Of course, Madame Secretary," Bill said, helping Laura rise from the sofa and offering his arm to walk in.

The rose ceremony ended without incident. She gave a rose to Lee, Helo, Dr. Baltar, and Tom Zarek. She gave roses to the rest of the Colonial officers, and ten of the boring men went home.

After that she returned to her room where she changed into her nightgown and started reading Murder on Picon. Laura was thinking about Bill; she was planning on always giving him the first rose. She liked the way he thought and talked.