HIDDEN RAGE

Note: This takes place between Karibdis' capture and the Triad ovation in "Murder on the Rising Star".

Lieutenant Starbuck was out in deep probe for two centars, mostly thinking long and hard on his ordeal that had happened three time cycles back. First, there was this long-standing archrivalry with Ortega followed by Karibdis framing him for murder by using his weapon. While Starbuck understood the murderer's motivations for killing Ortega, what really bothered the warrior was the framing part. It was because of Karibdis that Starbuck had doubted many of those closest to him, including Apollo, Boomer and even Cassiopeia. Perhaps this was why Starbuck volunteered to go on deep probe so he could have some time alone - he had to just get away, even for awhile. However, this could also be a chance to blow off some steam as well - that newfound rage he had for Karibdis. Maybe some Cylon Raiders could be nearby. So far, none were found.

Emotions begin to overwhelm him. His fists started to clinch into a ball ready to punch something. Okay, Starbuck. Calm down, he told himself. Nice deep breathes. So he did. But he wondered if the deep breathing would do any good. It was getting pretty lonely out in space. Then again, it always got lonely on patrols. He also felt a little... cold. He found himself rubbing his own arms as he continued to patrol around in space, and also yawned. He was also tired, and he wanted to take a rest period. That couldn't happen. He was on patrol, not back in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters, trying to take feelings of vengeance off his mind. It was hard, though, and he was about ready to scream. That would be running the risk of shattering the windows off his Viper, of course, and he didn't want that to happen.

A voice from his communicator snapped him out of his thoughts. "Starbuck? Can you me? Starbuck!"

Starbuck instantly recognized the voice. "Apollo?"

Captain Apollo had flown his Viper to where his wingman was. "What are you doing out there by yourself?" A little chuckle was heard.

"Just needed some time to think," Starbuck said quietly. "I should start not trusting the whole system anymore."

"What are you talking about? You've never trusted the whole system to begin with."

"I've just about had it, alright?" Starbuck raised his voice, but then immediately regretted it. "I'm sorry, Apollo. It's just... my murder trial has gotten to me more than when I found out Cassiopeia was once with Cain."

"Yeah, I know. I'm starting to think the Council is becoming more corrupt since the Destruction."

"Tell me about it."

"So what are you going to do?"

"I don't know. But Apollo... I've been a real snitrag this past secton and I just want to say I'm sorry. This whole Karibdis deal has been really hard on me."

"Would you stop apologizing, Starbuck? There's nothing to forgive."

"But now I feel like I want to make him pay for what he did, even if he had the right motive to kill Ortega. I'm trying really hard to hold it back, but everytime I think about it..." Starbuck let out a sigh. "Apollo, what I'm trying to say is... compared to the rest of you fine pilots, I'm just a worthless piece of felgercarb."

"Starbuck-"

"I've had it! I'm tired of being the Fleet's center of attention all the time!" A tear slid down the blond pilot's eye. "And sometimes... I feel like I don't deserve a friend like you. I mean, what's a humble family man to a complete jerk like me?"

"Let me tell you something, Lieutenant. I came name some people that are worse than you."

"Oh yeah?"

"Ortega, for one."

"Well, him."

"Then there's Sire Uri, whose opposition against my father might've set an example for the rest of the council."

"Wonder how he's doing," Starbuck said sarcastically. "Haven't really seen him since Carillon."

"Starbuck, my point is you can't go degrading yourself just because of your ordeal, and getting revenge against Karibdis is not going to help." There was a moment's pause. "Maybe we both should head back."

Starbuck was a little confused. "Why?"

"You'll see," Apollo then turned to contact the Galactica. "Galactica, this is Captain Apollo. Requesting landing instructions."

Both Vipers proceded to land in Alpha Bay, and both pilots got out and headed to the decontamination chambers.

Apollo was in one chamber when he heard thrashing about in the one next to him, which lasted for less than five centons. Their time was up and Apollo got out to check up on his friend, who was sitting against the wall crying. The brunette knelt down beside him and rubbed his shoulder. "Done letting it all out?" he asked.

"A little," Starbuck responded in a low voice. Then, "You know it's wrong for a superior officer to-"

"Starbuck, can we please ignore the ranks for right now?" Apollo quickly interrupted. "You are like a brother to me and nothing's gonna change that."

"Yeah, but what if-"

"Nothing is going to change that. Do I make myself clear?"

Starbuck sighed as he managed some tears away. "For a awhile there, you sound like your father," he admitted.

"Yeah, well..." Apollo chuckled a bit. So did Starbuck. Both shared what is perhaps the most emtional embrace they ever had.

"Apollo?"

"Hmm?"

"Baltar may have played a part of me getting acquitted, but that still doesn't change the fact he got the Colonies destroyed."

"I know."

"And Apollo?"

"Hmm?"

"Thanks again."

"Anytime, buddy. Anytime."