I offer a gift of words. An affirmation of who you are, and who you will become... I see you, your uniform fits as though you were born wearing it. You are a soldier through and through, proud, solitary, alone, but it gives you strength. It is that strength that people are drawn to. It is why you lead, and others follow, without question. You will need that leadership in the battle to come. This may be who you are, but it is not who you will become. It only forms the basis for your future greatness. Remember these words when doubt descends Commander.

There must be someway out of here...

"-per 3. I have a bog-y... -eck it out."

The voice cut through her consciousness. "I am alive." She whispered, her voice unsteady, as if she had spoken a word in her life.

She was alive, and she was flying. If she had been more lucid, she might have questioned the fact that she had no idea how she had gotten here. How she had found herself piloting a viper... How she even knew what a viper was.

The clouds of a majestic nebulae spanned out before her. With an ease that surprised her, she made the viper dance, following wherever she was led. The engines of another viper flared in front of her and she found herself drawn inexplicably forward. This was important. Why, she couldn't answer.

"What the frak?" The radio in her helmet crackled, the surprised voice echoing familiarly in her head. Looking over, she saw him. Major Adama, Lee. Callsign, Apollo.

"Hi, Lee." The words came from her mouth unbidden, but she felt no urge to stop. This felt right.

The Major looked baffled, surprised, afraid, and... hopeful? "Kara?"

"Don't freak out. It really is me." She laughed, blue eyes flashing through her mind, a soft touch. "It's gonna be okay. I've been to Earth. I know where it is. And I'm gonna take us there."

Earth. Home.

With that. Kara found herself pushing all conscious thoughts to the back of her mind, choosing to operate solely on autopilot.

#

Lee had never been so confused in his entire life. It had been two months ago, to the day, almost to the minute, that he had watched Kara die, exploding as her viper was crushed by forces strong enough to rip a battlestar in two. He thought he had put that behind him, that he had begun to heal. Her photo, as he had promised, went up right beside Kat, just like she wanted.

Then the power outage happened. Fleet wide, all ships just went dead in the water. Just as suddenly as it had happened, everything turned on again, without any help from the crews of any of the ships.

What they had found on the dradis was grim, and Lee couldn't help but feel a sense of resignation. The cylons were simply better. They were smarter, stronger, faster. They built ships that could think for themselves. And so, when the dradis flickered back to life, showing a fleet of four basestars, Lee found himself feeling relieved.

After so many years of running, it was finally over. He put on the flight suit for one final time, taking his seat in the viper he thought he would never fly again. It might be over for humanity, but he wasn't going to go down without a fight. There would be no disappearing silently into the night.

The bogey appeared, and Lee acted. "Galactica, Apollo. I'm in viper 3. I have a bogey at my ten. I'm gonna check it out."

If this was how he was destined to go... well, Lee couldn't really think of a better way to die. Strapped to a viper, flying between the stars, quiet surrounding him even as ships exploded around him. "Come on, where'd he go? Where the frak did you go?"

His finger hovered over the trigger, ready to blow the bogey out of the sky. Quietly muttering under his breath, he searched as best he could, swerving in surprise as another viper shot over him, barely missing his own viper's tail-fin. "What the Frak?"

Lee found his mind falling completely blank, his muscles going slack. Eyes wide with astonishment, he let out a croak of surprise. This couldn't be real. This had to be a dream, a hallucination. She couldn't be... there was no...

"Hi, Lee."

Her voice cut through him, straight to his heart. "K... Kara?"

Flying alongside him was a viper. Tail number clear as day, 8757NC. The same viper he watched explode two months ago. The same viper that Kara Thrace had died in.

She smiled at him, his heart aching at the sight. "Don't freak out. It really is me." She laughed, a sweet, tinkling sound. "It's gonna be okay. I've been to Earth. I know where it is. And... I'm gonna take us there."

"No." Lee shook his head furiously. "No... no, no, no. This is fraking crazy! I saw your ship blow up!" This had to be a dream. There was no other way for any of this to make sense.

She had the nerve to look confused. She couldn't speak for a moment, her mouth gaping. Her brow furrowed, her eyes narrowing. "'Fraid not." She was still for a moment. "Did you not hear me? I've been to Earth."

Lee let out a chuckle. That proved it. This was a dream. "Earth."

Kara was still, and Lee had to think, even if this was a dream, it was not possible that this was anyone other than Kara.

"... Big blue oceans, fluffy white clouds. You're gonna love it, I promise." There was a hint of desperation in Kara's voice, as if convincing him was the most important thing in the world.

The comms of both their vipers crackled. "All players, Galactica. Threat BR350, Carom 211."

Helo's voice crackled several moments later. "Raptors, lean back as missile pickets. Weapons free."

Kara smiled her shit-eating grin at him. "Don't lose me this time, Apollo."

Lee laughed, belief firmly take ahold of him. This was Kara. This was not a dream. This was all really happening. "Oh, not a chance, Starbuck!"

The fight was glorious. Lee struggled to follow Starbuck. She had always been an amazing fighter jockey, for as long as he had known her. Broke every single record ever made at the academy, and slated for a posting with 112th Night Stalkers, best in the fleet. Then the destruction of the colonies happened and the Galactica was lucky enough to have her. Her guns tore hundreds of cylon raiders from the sky, saved the fleet from certain destruction more than once. Best pilot in the entire fleet. After New Caprica though, she was different, broken. Whatever happened down there had destroyed a vital part of what made her Starbuck.

When she died, it was a loss that the men and women of Galactica could barely recover from. Starbuck, the immortal Starbuck that ate cylons for breakfast, was dead. Morale took a major downturn, and it was all they could do to just keep on surviving.

She had gone down as the best pilot that the colonies had ever seen... but now, here she was, and Lee had never been so amazed in his life. Besides the fact that she had come back from the dead, there was something completely different about her.

Before she flew amazing, but now... now it was like a titan was cutting a swath through the cylons, her ship untouchable, dancing with the grace of an eagle. Not a single bullet was wasted. Every single one she fired hit its mark.

And then it was over. The cylons turned, fleeing back to their ships before jumping away.

The next few minutes were a blur. The next thing that Lee knew was that he was climbing out of his viper, tossing his helmet to a deckhand.

Kara was only a few feet away, staring at the Chief like she had never seen him before in her life. "What the fuck is going on here?" She backed away and the entire crew jumped as her left arm began to... glow, for lack of a better word, and what looked like a blade dropped down. "I'm Commander Shepard, Citadel Spectre! Everyone back the fuck off and tell me what in the world is going on!"

Lee pushed his way through the crowd, looking her in the eyes. The Kara that he had seen just a few moments ago was gone, replaced by someone new. The body was still the same, but this Kara held herself completely different... and was spouting off crazy like it was going out of style.

"Kara? What the hell are you doing? Are you out of your fraking mind?" Lee moved to step forward but stopped when she spun to face him, her body tensing almost imperceptibly, a predator preparing to attack.

#

I love you Kara. Yes. I will marry you!

Liara. Somewhere, she was out there. That thought was the only thing keeping me from collapsing to the ground, curling up in a ball and crying out from loss. I can't feel her. I could always feel her on the Normandy, or even when we were separated by solar systems, but now... there was nothing. Our link was silent, her warmth missing.

I don't know where I am. The last thing I remember is pain, my body disintegrating, molecule by molecule. Li's smiling, loving face the last thing in my mind.

Now, I am surrounded by dozens of strange people, dressed in strange clothes, carrying strange weapons that look like they are right out of a museum on earth. They are edging towards me, strange looks on all their faces.

Without another thought, I activate my omni-blade, taking comfort in the fact that it still works. "What the fuck is going on here?" My voice hurts, as if it has been used for a long time. "I'm Commander Shepard, Citadel Spectre. Everyone back the fuck off and tell me what in the world is going on!"

There was no recognition at my name, or even at my tossing out of the fact I'm a Spectre. That got most people's attention. Not many (aside from suicidal krogan) wanted to tangle with the Council's right hand.

"Kara? What the hell are you doing? Are you out of your fraking mind?" A tall man pushed himself through the crowd, and I have to admit, if I wasn't so madly in love in Liara I would think that he was kind of cute. But I was, and I felt no need to even contemplate cheating. I am happily engaged, thank you very much.

"Stay back!" I point at him with my blade. I'm on the verge of collapsing, and I am in a strange place surrounded by people I have never seen before in my life. Blackness is clawing at the edges of my vision, threatening me with unconsciousness. "Where... where am I?"

"Starbuck!"

I kept my eyes trained on the man staring at me. Why someone would be shouting about a Starbucks was unknown to me, but it was unimportant.

"Kara!"

I looked up finally. An old man stood on a catwalk, in a uniform I have never seen before in my life. Cerberus?... no, they would never build... whatever this is? A ship, maybe? A new faction of humans?

Wait, I don't give a shit.

Rest, my love. Liara's voice rang through my head, embracing my mind, calming my thoughts. All is happening as it should.

And with that, I dropped into the sweet realm of unconsciousness.