After Bill tricked Dee into thinking she'd talked him off the ledge, he called Saul Tigh, who had no problem with an early liquid lunch at Chief's. Caprica City's unofficial RSO club was run by a former Naval airplane mechanic, Galen Tyrol, whose injury on the flight deck of Bill's battlecruiser ended his naval career prematurely. Six months later, the kid from Gemenon opened his own bar and grill, now one of the most popular haunts in the city, and his former commanding officers could always count on a drink on the house.

Saul Tigh's drinking habits quickly necessitated the one-drink rule.

On this bleary late-morning, Chief's was quiet enough for Cally to staff the front of the house by herself, though when Bill took a seat at the cherry wood bar, he heard Socinus cursing at Chuckles in the kitchen. Since Bill hadn't been in Chief's since the beginning of the holiday season, the colorful Christmas lights weaved haphazardly through the rows of alcohol on the back wall took him by surprise. Chief detested commercialized holidays, but Cally must have finally told him to shove his Grinch act up his ass.

Cally, clad in elf ears and an ugly Christmas sweater that Chief must have stopped chastising her for wearing, waved at them from behind the cash register at the bar. "Morning, Admiral, Colonel."

When Bill only offered a tight smile, Cally raised an eyebrow at Saul. "Morning, Cally. Been a rough one already, so two whiskeys to start." Bill's stoic silence remained even after Cally presented them with two glasses of amber happiness, but Saul could only stand the Chief's abysmal taste in country music for so long. "I take it the meeting with the curator did not go well."

Bill snickered into his glass. "You could say that. The curator's assistant nearly spilled coffee all over the maps, to name one issue."

Saul paid for his laugh by choking on his whiskey.

"It's like they didn't even know we were coming. We were sent to the wrong room, the curator spouted some bullshit about her boss having a family emergency, and on top of that, she was insolent, unprofessional, flippant—like everything that happened this morning had somehow been my fault."

Saul slammed the last of his whiskey and tapped the empty glass on the bar, hoping to get Cally's attention. "Sounds like a piece of work."

"Dee spent an hour talking me out of calling off the sale, but I'm still considering it."

"We're talking about millions of dollars here, Bill. You mean to tell me you're going to throw away the chance to take care of Zak forever because you don't like the curator?"

"No—" Bill heaved a sigh, frustrated by how petulant he sounded. "I'm telling you that I'm thinking of taking the maps to another museum."

"You know no other museum is willing to pay as much. Hell, if you go to another colony, no museum can afford to pay that much." Frustrated that Cally had not acquiesced to his unspoken request, he tried verbalizing it. "Cally, could we get another round?"

Cally finally looked up from the cash register, her face lit by a sarcastic smile. "Now that you've decided to use my name instead of tapping at me with your glass, yes, Colonel. You can have another round."

For the first time all day, Bill smiled.

Genuinely confused by what he was supposed to have done wrong, Saul reverted his attention to his friend. "Listen, Bill, you've been dragging your feet on this sale for weeks. If you decide not to sell the maps, don't pretend it's about the museum's failure to impress you." He stopped short of clapping his hand on Bill's back, opting to squeeze his shoulder instead. "Bottom line is that Zak needs you. That's why you've jumped through all these hoops, why Dee has worked her tail off to make this happen. Look me in the eye and tell me you can throw that all away because some broad didn't do her job."

"I want to fling that bastard off a bridge," Laura hissed, aggressively chopping her cutting board full of vegetables. Her day did not improve after the paramedics took Billy to the hospital to set the broken bones in his foot. Adar graced the office with his presence that afternoon only to berate Laura for her apparent failure and demand that she fire Billy. By the time Laura convinced him of Billy's value, Adar had calmed down enough to see reason, but not enough to apologize for his outburst in front of her entire staff.

"That's real mature." Even with her voice slightly distorted by the speaker phone, Marcie's sarcasm remained sharp and crisp.

As Laura dumped the vegetables into the massive bowl she wished was filled with ice cream instead of lettuce, she glared at her phone. "Marcie, I did not call you for you to talk sense into me. I called you to listen to me whine."

"Then call somebody else. If you fling Adar off a bridge, you can't prove that you're better than him. We've discussed this. Nothing is going to be more satisfying than taking his job. You're more qualified, you're more passionate, and you care more than he ever will."

Tongs seemed like a dangerous idea in her current state of murderous rage, so Laura tossed her salad with her hands. The crunch of the lettuce under her fingers gave them a more appropriate occupation than ringing necks. "Fine, I'll fling Bill Adama off a bridge. That'll be an easier way to acquire the maps after this morning's disaster."

"He's a man. Just give it a few days, let him cool off, then swoop in with your winning smile, four degrees, and fifteen years of experience and get the contract signed. Simple. This is way too much money for him to walk away from because of his pride."

The wine bottles in Laura's refrigerator door jingled as she yanked the door open. "That's just it. I don't think it is about his pride."

"For a second I thought we had a man of morals on our hands. Fine, the money then."

Laura pursed her lips as she shook the bottle of Italian dressing. "If it were about the money, he'd have signed the deal as soon as we authenticated the maps. No, there's something more happening here. That's what makes him so godsdamn frustrating." When Marcie's silence extended far beyond what was normal, Laura froze. "Whatever you're thinking, stop it."

"You sound fascinated by this man."

"I'm curious in a purely professional capacity. If I can figure out his motives, he'll be easier to…" She trailed off, hating how vindictive and calculated she sounded. When had her passion for history and education morphed into mind games?


With jolt, Laura shook her head and screwed off the top of her dressing. "I'm here."

"You're having a crisis, aren't you?"

"What? No—"

"Should I come over?"

"No, no, honey, I'm fine. This isn't an emergency. This is just a bad day."

This time, when Marcie paused, Laura dreaded her friend's eventual response too much to speak. "You have lots of bad days this time of year, Laura."

Laura slumped against the counter and covered her face with her free hand. One of the many complications of grief was that everyone had a different expectation of what it should be, how long it should last, how it should affect you. As a childhood friend, Marcie further complicated this convoluted process stopping just short of knowing how Laura felt.

Marcie grew up with Laura and her family, loved her sisters as her own, felt just as welcome at Mrs. Roslin's table as any of them. So when Laura's mother died of cancer, Marcie's grief, though it couldn't match Laura and her sisters', aligned with theirs. Five years later, when Laura's father and her baby sisters were wrenched from life by a drunk driver, only Marcie knew remotely how Laura felt. As time passed, however, the differences in their grief, the cracks in the façade of true empathy, grew more apparent.

"Please don't make this about them. Not everything has to be about them."

"I know. But pretending that they don't continue to affect you—"

"I'm not pretending," Laura snapped. "This is about what's left, and that's my career." Before Marcie could either apologize or continue arguing, another name overcame Marcie's on Laura's screen.

Anastasia Dualla.

"Speaking of, Adama's lawyer is calling. I'll talk to you later." Without waiting for Marcie's response, Laura accepted the lawyer's call. "Good evening, Ms. Dualla."

"Good evening, Dr. Roslin." At least Ms. Dualla sounded pleasant. "Forgive me for disturbing you after hours. I figured with Billy—with your assistant's injury, you'd have your hands full at work today. How is he?"

Pleasantly surprised by Ms. Dualla's concern, Laura smiled softly. "He's on some very good drugs, but he won't be walking unassisted for a few weeks."

"I am sorry to hear that, but I'm glad he's being taken care of." After a slight pause, she continued. "I'll get straight to the point, Dr. Roslin."

Laura winced, bracing herself for the conversation she'd been dreading all day.

"Mr. Adama was…displeased by this morning's events. However, he is still interested in completing the sale, with a little less, in his words, fanfare."

Dancing a little jig, Laura cleared her throat to ensure her next words didn't come out as a squeal. "I can't tell you how wonderful that is to hear." As Ms. Dualla elaborated on Adama's terms, Laura sprang for the magnetic pad and pen on her fridge. If nothing else, she could fix this, and by gods if it took everything down to her own eye-teeth, she would fix this.