Title: Faoi Dheireadh
Rating: PG, maybe PG-13 later
Summary: The survivors of the Holocaust have finally reached Earth, but they find out that's not the end of their problems
Beta: none as yet (please be kind!)
Note: I do want to thank Vi, Marta, and AlbertG for their expertise. Without their input this story would not be what it is today. Be warned, this takes place sometime near the end of season two. Anything after Epiphanies are conjectures from the author's warped mind. . .
Disclaimer: Battlestar Galactica and its characters are creations of Glen Larson and copywrited by Universal Studios. I make no money off of this.
"Sir, why is this necessary?"
Admiral William Adama looked across the table to Lieutenant Felix Gaeta, while contemplating his answer. "It's called strategy, Lieutenant," he finally answered as he reached across the table and moved a small figurine to another square on the grid placed between them.
The younger man sat back and shook his head as he looked at his watch. "Five minutes."
A ghost of a smile crossed William's face while he sat back. "You did much better than I expected."
"What, five minutes?" Gaeta shook his head while looking at the board, wondering what he could have done better. He was the Admiral's tactical officer, he knew he should have done better.
"It takes time to learn how to strategize. War College is one thing, putting it into practice is something completely different." Adama picked up a glass and took a sip of the clear liquid inside it. For a short time he fingered it before setting it back down on the table. "Commander Allen was going to do this once you had taken your position on the Columbia, but things have changed." Leaning forward, William cleared the board and placed the pieces back in their box, leaving Gaeta to fold up the playing board. "Once you master how to strategize in two dimensions, it is only a short jump to three."
"Yes, Sir." Gaeta nodded while looking around the Admiral's cluttered quarters. Turning back he found Adama had stood up and was putting the sacred game back where he found it. For a moment the older man paused while looking at the books in one of the many shelves that lined the walls. He was searching for something. Feeling slightly uncomfortable, but not by much, Gaeta realized wanted to leave, but he wasn't dismissed just yet. "Sir, may I leave?"
"Not yet. There's something I want you to read." Adama's voice sounded distracted as he continued his search. Grunting in sudden approval, he turned around with a book in his hand. "Here." He handed it to Gaeta. "This talks about the different strategies you can employ while playing the Sacred Game. I want you to study and think about them carefully."
Gaeta nodded as he accepted the book. No doubt the admiral already knew all the different ways that could be used for the game. Adama had even allowed him to take the stronger side, but he still lost. Something was not right.
"Thank you, Sir. Uh, Sir?
Adama tilted his head a fraction. "Yes?"
"Do you want this back?"
"For once, Lieutenant, yes. You're not the first, and you will not be the last to study the contents of it."
"Yes sir." Gaeta stood at attention and saluted, waiting for Adama to answer. When it was returned the younger officer turned on his heels and left the rooms for his own rack. Turning a corner, he ran straight into Lee Adama, the Admiral's son and only living relative. "Sir!" the tactical officer backed up several steps, clearly startled.
"What's wrong, Lieutenant?" Lee had also moved away, wishing once again that mirrors could be placed in strategic areas of the ship so this sort of thing did not happen.
"Nothing, uh, Major Adama."
Lee smiled sheepishly, "I'm sorry if I startled you. I didn't mean too."
"That's all right."
"I see he's given you a book." A slight smile crossed Lee's face as he looked at the thick volume.
"It's on strategy. . ."
"With the Sacred Game. I know. He had already had me study it. But, don't worry, he still beats the crap out of me on a regular basis, and I'm not talking about the boxing ring."
"That's somewhat nice to hear." Gaeta shook his head wryly.
"Well, my father's had many years of experience, and the First Cylon War to learn how to strategize while under a lot of pressure."
Gaeta nodded, instinctively understanding what it took for Lee to make that admission about the Old Man. "Which means I will never get to that stage."
"You never know." Lee gave a slight smile. Now moving away he turned, "Good luck."
"Thanks," Gaeta answered while moving around the corner.
Lee stood there for a few minutes, looking down the corridor. As if waking from a dream, he shook his head and sighed. Turning back around he continued on towards Adama's quarters.
"Dad?" Lee asked as he stepped through the door.
Adama stepped from his small, cluttered office. "Yes?"
Lee hesitated a moment, "I just returned from Colonial One, Sir. Her captain told me that they're having trouble with their FTL drive. He's is attempting to get it up and running again, but I'm not sure if that is possible. Dad, you know those ships out there were not made to take what we've been putting them through."
Adama signed as he sat down in a nearby chair. "I know. And I also knew it would only be a matter of time before the civilian ships start breaking down from as many jumps that we have forced them to make."
"Don't forget the Galactica."
Adama let out a short laugh while shaking his head. "I know. She's almost as old as I am."
Lee let a flicker of a smile cross his face.
"I've been meaning to ask you, how are you holding up being the acting XO over on Pegasus?"
It was Lee's time to sigh as he sat down. "Let's just say I wish I was CAG over here."
"Just remember this, the Executive Officer is supposed to be the hardest on the crew, not the commander. You need to push them, not break them."
"To make the 'Old Man' look good?"
"Uh-huh." William sighed as he settled deeper in his chair. For a second his eyes flickered open slightly then closed again.
A few moments later Lee screwed his eyes shut tightly as he grasped his head.
"You must be prepared for anything and everything," Adama murmured. "Your mind must not be compromised."
Lee took a quick gasp as he rubbed his temples. "I wasn't prepared. That hurt."
"Son, you will never be given time to prepare yourself if that happens. You must always be on the alert."
Lee looked up to William, only to find the older man studying him closely. He was still relaxed, but had an edge about him. "I bet Kara's better than me," he tried to joke.
"Kara is not sensitive." William leaned forward and grasped the empty glass on the table before him along with the bottle next to it. Opening it up, he poured some of its contents into it. "Do you want something to drink?"
"No." Lee shook his head gingerly. The aftereffects still lingering on.
"You're headache should be gone within the hour."
"I guess I need to get back to the Pegasus." Lee stood up slowly and moved towards the door.
Lee stopped and gave William a questioning glance.
"I, I will." The younger Adama closed the door behind him.
For a time William gazed at the door, not really thinking of anything, but letting his mind wander. It eventually settled on the comment he made to Gaeta about how things had changed. They had gone from a thriving twelve planet economy and society with billions of people down to 70 or so ships and about fifty thousand souls. The civilians depended on the safety, albeit meager, that the remnants of the military could give them.
For the past two weeks they had not heard one whisper from the Cylons, but William knew they were out there. They were out there waiting to pick off the civilian ships that dared make the mistake of lagging behind, or trying to make a go at it without the protection the military somehow still provided. If we make mistakes, people die. He remembered calmly stating to Dee during those five hellish days after the Holocaust.
There had been highlights, but those were few and far between. President Laura Roslin had informed him early on of their first birth. He never though that one simple birth could give such hope to everyone. If anything, it gave the people even more hope than he had in telling them about Earth. Getting back up, he removed his jacket and draped it over the back of his chair in his small office. Sitting down he wearily lowered his forehead onto the back of his hands. All he really wanted was one day of rest, but he knew that would never happen. The Cylons showed them no mercy. These days of inactivity were harder on everyone than the days where the Cylons attacked them nonstop.
He had no idea how long he stayed in that position when the phone buzzed and Dee's voice came over the small speaker, "CIC to Admiral."
Sitting up, Adama rotated his arm to get the kink out of his shoulder then reached over and picked it up. "Adama."
"Sir, President Roslin is on the line for you."
"Put her through." He closed his eyes as he leaned back and tried to settle deeper in his chair. The cord to the phone kept him from leaning any further back than he already was.
"Yes, Madam President?"
"Because of the backlog from recent events, I will not be able to come over for our regularly scheduled meeting. I do apologize for that." Her voice came across as being apologetic.
"No need to apologize for that, Laura. Just don't push yourself. We don't know. . ."
"How much time I have been granted with Baltar's procedure," she finished. "I know, but I do have a government to run. I heard it was the same with you when you were, and still are to some extent, recovering."
"Touché." Adama let his smile creep into his voice. "I guess that means that dinner is off?"
"For now. I will make it up to you, Bill." If at all, she sounded even more apologetic.
"We can handle the meeting tomorrow. Because of your backlog it would just be easier for me to shuttle over." He hesitated before continuing, "Is there anything else I need to know?"
"Only that it still bothers me what the Tomb of Athena gave us. How do we know that the information is right?"
Adama let a smile creep across his face before answering, "It sounds like you've started to doubt."
"Not doubt. I just want to be sure of our destination," she answered with mock indignation.
"Laura, don't worry about it. The M8 Astral body is something that we already know about."
"What will happen when we get there?"
"I'm not worried about that right now. My main goal is to make sure that we make it there alive."
"Right, I know. It's, it's just that I worry about it."
Adama's voice softened, "Worry all you want, it's not going to change the decision we made on Kobol."
"In other words, if you make your bed you need to lay in it."
"You catch on fast. What we found out on Kobol is now considered ancient history in our current situation. We need to deal with the here and now, not what could or should have been."
"Like finding out there were survivors on Caprica."
"One and the same. I had the same type of discussion with Lee before we lost most of our water. He had not learned how to come to terms with his decision concerning the Olympic Carrier."
"I see," her voice was quiet.
"Anyway," William glanced at the clock. "It is starting to get late."
"I know. At least I can take my time and read that book now. I haven't had any time to myself. And you know, I never properly thanked you for giving it back to me."
"No one has had any time for themselves. Laura, I want you to take care of yourself."
"I will. See you tomorrow."
Adama set the handset back in its cradle then settled himself back in his chair while letting a small smile cross his face. He still worried about her, and a deep concern for her well-being was still there, but he could not let that cloud his judgment and ability to make command decisions. Seeing her so ill pained him too much. To this day he still wonders how he will go on without her presence. He had come to rely on her as the voice of calm and reason in their troubled times. The crazier things got the more solid she became.
Ever since he got out of Life Station after his own near death experience he had problems dealing with making the hard command decisions. With Laura now healed, somewhat, he found it easier to make those decisions with her input. He knew they were leaning more and more on each other, it was something he wasn't sure about.
"Why are you still here? I thought you were using Gina," he answered rather distractedly.
Are you listening to me?
"Of course I am!" He slapped his pen down on the table. This time he looked up. Lately she had not been communicating with him like she used to. Ever since Gina showed up on Pegasus, the woman in his mind had been shuffled off to the side and disappeared for a time. The image from his mind, or model number six, was wearing her revealing tight red dress, apparently trying to get his attention.
Something is going to happen very soon that will change everything.
"You said that before, and look where it got me." He stood up and gestured around his cramped laboratory. He had barely made a dent in all the blood samples. Their population was just over 50 thousand, and he was expected to run the Cylon test on each and every one of them.
Because you did not believe. Remember god has a plan for everything.
"Like that ship?"
That was our resurrection ship. You also know we are called to reproduce. Six placed her hands on his chest and started caressing him.
Shaking his head, Gaius grasped them and backed away. He much rather be with Gina than with an imaginary, or so he thought, woman in his head.
And for the humans to repent.
"It looks as if most have decided not to." He released her hands and ran one of his through his unruly hair. "Most, as you already know, still prefer worshiping the Lords of Kobol. Even after the ones that came over to attempt to convert everyone, failed. When all you have left is religion, a person will hold onto it with everything he or she has."
"Colonel, Sir. DRADIS states that it's the astral body M8." Gaeta examined the screen at the tactical station closely. Turning around he looked at highest ranking member currently on duty in CIC.
"Bring the fleet to a stop." Tigh let out a sigh as he picked up the handset in the center console. He heard the command go out when he turned to Dee. "Get me the Admiral."
"He's over on Colonial One meeting with the President, Sir." Dee touched her ear piece, listening closely. "You're through," she related after a moment.
"What is it, Colonel?"
Tigh looked up at the DRADIS screen set above him. "We've reached the M8 Astral Body. I called the fleet to a halt for now."
"Good. I'll be over as soon as I'm finished here."
"Yes, Sir." Tigh replaced the handset and turned back to Dee. "Who's on CAP?"
"Hot Dog and Starbuck are, sir." She paused before continuing, "Sir, Commander Fisk is calling."
Tigh rolled his eyes before picking up the handset again. "Yes, Commander."
"Has the admiral been appraised of the situation?"
"Yes he has. He's meeting with the President right now on Colonial One, and will be back shortly."
Fisk gave a quick acknowledgment then disconnected the line. After a moment or two he turned back to Dee, "Get on the horn and let the rest of our pilots know that we need them ready. We don't know what's out there and if the Cylons are hiding within the M8 body."
"Admiral on deck!"
"As you were." Adama quickly moved around to the stairs and neared the commander's station set several steps down in the CIC. "So, that's it?" he looked up at the DRADIS screen for a moment before turning his attention back to Tigh.
"Yeah. I've also expanded the CAP. We don't know what the hell is out there in all that hash."
"Mr. Gaeta." Adama turned around.
"Any signs of Cylon activity in the area?"
Gaeta examined the information that DRADIS was sending to the tactical station. "Not so far."
"Good. I want you to have the computers scan the star clusters to see if they match any of the constellations we were given while on Kobol."
Bill turned back to Tigh and asked quietly, "Any word on the civvies' FTL drives that are giving us problems?"
"No, Sir." The Colonel shook his head.
Adama looked back up to the DRADIS again. "I don't like this position. We can be easily pinned against the cloud with no way out."
Adama turned to Gaeta. "Yes, Lieutenant?"
"We have a 50 percent match on several of the constellations."
"That's better than nothing." Tigh gave a slightly wry grin.
"But not good enough. I was hoping it would be higher. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that low of a match." He scanned the room before letting his eyes settle back on his long time friend. "Get me a count of all the civilian ships that we know their FTL drive is failing. We might have to try and find room on the other ships if necessary."
"Yes, Sir." Tigh turned and moved over to Dee's station and said a few soft words. With a nod she began sending out messages. "Sir?" she said after a few minutes.
"Yes?" Adama moved over to her station.
"Ten ships confirm that they need to have complete overhauls of their FTL drives. If they are used again in their present condition the computers will melt and be of no use to us at all." She hesitated before continuing, "Colonial One, is one of them."
"She's small enough to have her permanently docked within either battlestar," Tigh started.
"But I don't want to give preferential treatment to her. That may be the base of our civilian government, but what about the other ships?"
"Well, that's just great, isn't it," Tigh grumbled. He continued a bit louder, "Have our computer techs fan out to those ships and see what they can do."
Dee glanced to Adama for a moment for approval. He gave a quick nod and turned his attention back to the DRADIS screens. "I want the Pegasus to come around, that way both battlestars can be a barrier between whatever is out there and the M8 body." Moving closer to the table, Adama picked up the phone. "Get me Pegasus Actual."
"Commander, I want you to bring the Pegasus around so we can use both battlestars as shields."
"Sir, I'm not - -"
Adama cut him off, "Fisk, we have at least 10 civilian ships out there that are incapable of jumping right now. We have to do what we can to make sure those ships, and their civilian passengers, survive."
The line was silent for a moment. "Yes, Sir. Bringing Pegasus around."
Adama replaced the handset, hoping that they could get the issue resolved before there was any loss of life. For a moment he thought about having the noncombatant ships slip into the cloud, but quickly decided against it. There was no telling if they could even navigate out of it once inside.