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08 April 2008 @ 04:31 pm
Fic: A Change in the Wind  
A Change in the Wind
by lizardbeth_j

Warnings: Adult situations
Spoilers: none
Pairing: Kara/Anders
Wordcount: 8200
Summary: What if the Cylons had hit someone besides Kara on Caprica?

Notes and Disclaimer: This was orginally intended for the pyramidofdreams challenge for the prompt of reversing the roles in The Farm. As a close AU, this is obviously influenced very heavily by the episode, including a few pieces of dialogue lifted directly. Thank you to sabaceanbabe for the beta!





Ambush.

Kara had one instant of chilled realization, when she heard the metallic whine of metal servos, right before the air exploded with weapons fire. She brought her weapon up, aware of Anders and Helo and the rest of the resistance doing the same, frantically firing back. Toasters moved into view, still shooting from their limbs, round after round.

She ducked behind the truck, half-deafened by the blasts all around her, and caught the glint of metal from their left flank.

"Fall back!" she yelled. "Toasters, east flank! Fall back!"

She thought she heard Sam echo it, somewhere to her right.

Helo pulled at her arm, so she ran after him under the trees as the group scattered. The Centurions scattered too, but enough followed that Kara wished for rougher terrain, even while gasping as they raced to the top of the ridge.

With some advantage, the group paused to fight. Kara fired until she clicked on an empty chamber and grabbed another clip from Barolay next to her. She put it on auto to give them all some cover.

And still the toasters kept coming. She longed for her Viper and greater firepower, and dreaded the sound of raiders being called in for air support.

Helo shouted at her, "Kara, go!" and covered her. More running, using the big trees and large rock outcroppings as much as possible to plug toasters from concealment, until finally they found some breathing space and seemed to have left the Centurions behind.

Kara gulped water and looked for Sam to make sure he was unhurt, expecting him to be with Helo at the crown of the hill, watching their six. He wasn't there. Even though she peered under all the trees and examined every one of the resistance members in their party, she didn't see him anywhere.

Somewhere along the way, they'd lost him.

-----

He knew it was stupid the instant he did it. Trying to lay down cover for everyone else, since he was one of the few with a high-powered rifle, he stepped out from behind the truck.

For a second he thought he was going to get away with it. He mowed down the bushes trying to keep the toasters back, and shifted his weight to move backward with the others.

An invisible hand punched him in the gut. It stole his breath and he stumbled, but he didn't fall. His finger kept pulling the trigger, and for a moment he ignored the hit. It couldn't be too bad, he could keep going, he could get away --

Pain welled up inside, a wave that threatened to wash him away. His middle was suddenly on fire.

FRAK.

His free hand touched the blood already soaking the front of his shirt.

Frakking toasters had shot him.

He couldn't feel his legs anymore, only a pulsing out from his center, not quite in time to his heartbeat.

From very far away, he heard Kara's voice shouting for a retreat. If only he'd had a little more time with her… He turned to follow her, but everything was spinning and there was a roaring in his ears drowning out the voices. Something else punched him and he hit the ground so hard it made him want to scream, except he didn't have any air.

The sun was in his eyes, bright and blinding, but he was so cold.

He'd put up a good fight, that last throw of the ball from the opposite goal. But desperate shots rarely made it, did they?

Buzzer. Game over.


-----

Sam woke slowly, clawing himself out of heavy, clinging dreams. It took several tries to pull open his eyelids. His mouth was dry and cottony, and his tongue felt stuck to the roof of his mouth.

He was staring up at some sort of ceiling. It was a little bit like the school's but not the same. This one was higher and grey. With metal beams. A bank of lights.

The lights smeared and despite his best intent, his eyes fell shut.

----

"We're going back," Kara declared.

She felt, more than saw, Helo stir beside her, and she heard him draw breath to object, so she cut it off. "What would Sam do?" she asked, pinning a glare on Barolay.

Barolay raised her brows. "We look. Policy from the beginning has been that we look for anyone who's missing as long as it doesn't endanger everyone. But we don't collect the dead."

Kara nodded, glad that she wasn't going to push for anything special. Though, given that the only face she read objection on was Helo's they'd do it anyway, whether she went along or not. The C-Bucs weren't going to let two of their own, including their leader, be missing.

Helo objected anyway. "The place was crawling with toasters. They were waiting for us then, and they're probably waiting for us to come back."

"And if Anders and Sue-Shaun are hurt and need help?" Gripkey challenged, and glared up at Helo, wiry frame all taut and in Karl's face, promising violence.

"If they got hurt, then toasters probably already killed them," Helo said. But he could see as well as Kara that opinion was against him. He put up both hands in surrender. "Okay, if you want to risk your lives, who am I to say you can't?"

Kara patted his arm. "Good boy, Karl." Addressing the rest of the Bucs, she said, "Let's head out. First along our back trail and then to either side."

As she started to divvy up the search teams, she reflected that Anders better damn well be alive if she was going to go through all this effort to find him.

----

When next he woke, he felt a bit more alert. Enough to realize that he was in some sort of bed, and he had an i.v. in his hand. The room was spacious, as though intended for more than just his bed, with high windows streaming sunlight. There was a sink on one wall and a small table against another.

Someone had bandaged his stomach and back. Gently touching the one on his stomach was enough to nearly make him vomit, and a deep throbbing started up, echoing behind his eyes. Frak. Feeling woozy and weak, he closed his eyes and waited for his fingers to stop trembling.

He heard a noise by the door and opened his eyes to see a tall, statuesque woman wearing a white coat. Her hair was long and straight, blondish, darker than Kara's. The clacking of her heels on the hard floor echoed strangely in his ears.

He had the vague feeling he knew this woman from somewhere. Or she looked like someone famous, maybe. But he gave it up -- he knew a lot of people from before the attacks. His brain wasn't interested in paging through images from a dead world anyway.

"Sam?" She smiled. "How are you feeling?" She spoke kind of oddly as well -- her accent was sort of Aerilon, and sort of upper crust Caprican, but neither. He tried to place it, but when she tapped his arm, he dragged his thoughts back into focus. "Are you in any pain?" she asked.

"No," he answered hoarsely, which was not true at all. She seemed to know he was lying, since she went to his i.v. line and injected something into it. "Where -- ?" he started.

"With friends," she answered soothingly. "Your friend Helo managed to carry you here," she said, and flipped away the blanket and edge of his hospital gown to look at his bandages. "A good thing, too. You were hit twice and you lost a lot of blood, but you avoided severe internal damage. You're very lucky to be alive."

He heard her, but the words didn't seem to mean anything. He was still stuck on the first part. "Helo?" he asked, frowning. That didn't sound right. How would Helo know about this place, when he didn't? "Where am I?"

"It's an old mental hospital north of Delphi," she explained. Putting the blanket down she smoothed it. "You were in surgery for almost four hours. But you'll soon be on the mend."

If Helo had been here, then didn't that mean… "What about Kara?" he asked hoarsely.

"We thought her wound was more superficial than yours, but there was significant internal bleeding. She didn't make it through surgery." She added after a moment, "I'm sorry."

He shut his eyes and tried not to listen. Not Kara. Please, not Kara, too. Not the only bright thing to come into his bleak, hopeless world since the colonies had fallen…

The drugs swept him up and he didn't fight them.

----


She came in again, smiling cheerfully. "Good morning. How are you feeling today?"

"Better," he answered. It happened to be true, though he suspected it was the drugs. He still had that awful cottony taste in his mouth, which he remembered from when he'd had his ACL fixed. At least he was alert enough to remember that.

"Good. Then you'll be on your way pretty soon." She came over to check his bandages, which someone had changed while he was asleep. In the short time he'd been awake, he hadn't seen anyone else.

"Seems very quiet," he ventured. "I thought I'd have some visitors."

"Oh, your people are very concerned," she reassured him, "but we managed to persuade them it would be best if they didn't hover during your recovery. Wouldn't want a whole group of the resistance drawing attention when you're still weak as a newborn kitten, would we?"

He wanted to protest the 'weak as a newborn kitten' part, but since his muscles all felt like water, he kept his mouth shut.

"Don't worry," she continued. "You'll be back in the fight before you really want to be." She took a syringe and small bottle out of her coat pocket.

"I want to stay awake a little more," he protested, but she injected his line with something anyway.

"Rest, Samuel T. Anders. You need to recover, and you'll do that best, sleeping."

"What's your name," he asked. "You know mine, but I don't know yours." His mouth didn't want to form the words anymore, and she seemed to recede into the distance. That was some kind of powerful thing she'd injected him with. He fought to stay awake just a little longer, "'s not fair somehow."

After a brief pause, she answered. "D’Anna." She leaned close, watching as the drug hit him. His eyes refused to focus and began to shut. "Sleep, Sam."

He had one last view of blue eyes staring at him before sleep claimed him again.

----

They'd followed the trail all the way back to the ambush site with no sign of Anders. They had run across some other members of the resistance, who'd scattered at the attack, and they had seen plenty of Centurion sign - their tracks were all over the place - but not a hair of Anders or Sue-Shaun either. They'd both disappeared, and that meant bad things.

Holding her gun out of the way, Kara bent to sweep her gaze across the bullet-ridden interior of the abandoned jeep. It was empty. "Damn it," she whispered and hit the jeep with her fist, but lightly so it wouldn't make any sound. The Cylons seemed to be gone, but there was no reason to be careless.

She begrudged the time they'd spent going back to base. Hell, she begrudged getting food. It had all taken too long.

"Kara," Helo called from the back end of the jeep, where he was kneeling in the dirt. She joined him, frowning at what he'd found. The flies buzzed and she waved them off, trying to see. In the dust, with heavy prints of Centurions all around, there was a dark splotch. Blood.

"He was standing right here," Helo said and cast a sympathetic look at her.

She wanted to spit denial, but the evidence was all too clear. "He got hit," she said, keeping her tone flat. A little flame in her chest winked out, as a faint hope of something more got ground into the dust. She should've known better.

"Looks that way. He got hit and then they took him. I'm sorry."

But before Kara could find the right words to throw his concern back in his face, a familiar voice called from behind her, "I know where Anders is."

Kara sprang to her feet, gun up and aimed at the toaster, in a blink. Sharon. No, not Sharon. Helo’s toaster was standing there, still in the Fleet pilot uniform she didn't deserve to wear. Her hands were up, not near her weapon and she seemed to be alone, which was the only reason Kara didn't blow her away.

She faced Kara, chin up but eyes on the gun. "I know where Anders is," she repeated.

Kara ignored how that flame inside she'd just thought gone, flickered back to life.

"Wait a minute," Helo said and pushed the gun down and repeated the words for the resistance who were now all aiming at the Cylon, too. "Sharon?" he asked. "Where have you been?"

She looked at him, and smiled, as if glad to see him. "Tracking you. You're the father of my child, Helo. I couldn't lose you."

Kara jerked the muzzle of her rifle up again to cut off all this irrelevant pretended mush. "Where is he?"

"Not far," Sharon answered. "He's a prisoner, twenty clicks north of Delphi. I can take you there."

"Right into another ambush?" Kara sneered. "No, thanks."

"I could have set up the ambush again, right here," Sharon returned coolly. "I didn't. Because I made my choice. And the only way to prove it is to help you get Anders out."

Helo pushed the gun down again. Kara resisted, but he managed to push the aim away from Sharon. "Kara, stop. She's with us. Let her prove it."

Kara let the muzzle drop, but didn't tear her glare from Sharon. "All right. One chance. If you betray us, I'm going to kill you."

Sharon nodded once, not obviously disturbed by the threat, and moved closer. At her side, Helo moved to meet her. Kara watched as Sharon held out a hand and Helo joined his fingers with hers. She murmured something to him, and he smiled at her, answering softly, "I'm glad you came back."

It was sort of nauseating how much Helo was thinking with his dick, but if she really could help find and rescue Sam, Kara was prepared to put up with a lot.


----


The sound of the door opening dragged him out of sleep. His eyelids seemed heavy, and it was tempting to drift off, but he saw D’Anna slipping into his room. She moved soundlessly this time - no heels - and moved up to his bedside. It was dark, there were no lights on, but there was some moonlight coming in through the high windows, enough to see her face.

He didn't know why, but he closed his eyes, pretending to sleep, when her gaze slid up toward his face. He must have really slept for a moment, because when he opened his eyes again, she had pulled back the sheets and his hospital gown, leaving him bare at the hips.

She was smiling down at him, with some secret, almost evil, anticipation in her eyes. "How about we try this the old-fashioned way?" she asked in a whisper and licked her lips. And she put her hand between his legs.

That was when he realized he had fallen into a nightmare. She was stroking him, fondling him, and he didn't want her to, but he couldn't move. He wasn't tied down, wasn't physically restrained in any way, but he didn't even try to move his legs. He just watched her hand slide on his cock, coaxing him erect and then pulling at him until he climaxed.

He felt it, a brief wash through his veins, but it felt muted. Like it was happening to someone else.

She caught most of his come in some sort of jar that she slid into her coat pocket. And she turned around and left.

The ceiling blurred out again and everything turned dark.


----

When he woke up, the nightmare was still in his mind, and he reached down and found that the hospital gown was stuck to him. He peeled it free with a grimace of disgust. While it certainly wasn't the first time he'd had a dream that led to a real release, it was the first time it had been unpleasant.

He shivered, remembering the smirking satisfaction on her face.

It was a bit of an effort to remind himself that the real D’Anna didn't deserve his suspicion, when she entered a little while later. He held himself tense and tightened his jaw when she folded down the covers, and then sucked in a breath of pain when she peeled the bandage away to look at his wound.

"You heal quickly," she told him. "A few days more, I think." She replaced the bandages with a smile.

"I should get up," he said, "I feel very sluggish."

"That's all right, you still need rest," she said. "Stay in bed for now." For no apparent reason, a tendril of suspicion went down his back. Was she keeping him in this room?

"When I was in the hospital before, they had me getting up right away," he objected casually, but testing.

She moved back and waved an arm in invitation. "If you're up for it."

He sat up, using his arms to push himself up.

"Frak." His whole middle clenched up as a burning flared across his sides and back, and right through his body like he'd been stabbed by a blade of fire. He clenched his jaw on a groan and eased back against the pillow, holding his breath. "Gods."

Her smile was a bit of a smirk. "Are you quite finished being stupidly brave, now? Take it easy. You're no good to anyone until you've healed up some more."

"Okay, okay," he murmured, trying to remember how to breathe.

"Here, this time I brought some food," she took a tray off the side table and brought it over on the wheeled cart to go across his lap. With the touch of a button, she raised the head of the bed so he was sitting more upright.

He saw a bowl of breakfast porridge and pink milk, the kind that came out of a can for kids. But at least it was food. He ate it, hoping it would make the shaking in his hands go away.

"Why didn't I know about this place before?" he asked, trying to be conversational while she stood there and watched him eat. "You guys could have helped some of my people."

"We haven't been here all that long," she answered.

"How many of you are there?"

"Two doctors," she answered, "a few support staff."

"And other patients?"

She hesitated, and then asked teasingly, "Are you interrogating me, Sam?"

He shrugged. "Just wondering. It's so quiet. I haven't seen or even heard anyone but you."

She answered, with a face and tone soft with compassion, but there was no softness in her eyes at all, "The others are suffering from acute radiation poisoning. There's very little we can do for them, except make them comfortable. You're one of the few we've found relatively unaffected by the radiation."

"Relatively," he repeated, not liking the sound of that.

"Your exposure has been quite minor," she patted his thigh, and he flinched. "And it's very important, Sam, that you keep your exposure as low as you can."

"Yeah, of course," he answered with a snort. "I don't want my insides to liquefy either."

"Death isn't the only side-effect of radiation exposure," she told him. "Something much less than a full body dose can damage your ability to pass on undamaged genetic material." He must have frowned, because she explained, "To have children, Sam. If we're ever to repopulate the Colonies, we're going to need as many healthy males -- and females -- as we can."

He flicked his gaze at her, reminded of the nightmare, and that cold little finger of suspicion slid down his back again. "We're gonna have to get rid of all the toasters first." He scraped up the last of the porridge and licked the spoon clean, then he grinned at D’Anna. "That'll be a great day, won't it? When we kill all the frakking toasters?"

"Yes, indeed it will," she answered with a smile and gathered up his tray.

Sam watched her go. She hadn't hesitated to answer, but her smile had been perfunctory at best. He had seen enough false enthusiasm in girls trying to scam their way into his bed to recognize it. The question was, why?

When she had gone, his eyes darted around the room -- there were bars on those high windows, and only one door. Was it locked?

Only one way to find out. He pulled the i.v. out and sat up. Frak, frak, frakkin' Gods. The hand was a pinch, but the rest was worse. Not just in the wounds, but in hot stripes up and down the muscles of his back and stomach, reaching up under his ribs.

After the pain settled to a dull throb, he put his feet on the floor and stood. The room tilted crazily, and he took a breath as deep as he could, keeping a hand on the bed. Come on, Anders, get your lazy ass out of bed. There's something wrong in this place, and you better figure it out. You're not on the bench, you're in the game and you better play or you're gonna lose.

He made it to the door and looked through the window. The corridor seemed deserted. He tried the knob gingerly, and when it gave, turned it as slowly and quietly as he could.

Slipping out into the hall, the tile cold on his bare feet, he listened. There were voices coming from his left, so he started down the hall, one hand on the wall to steady himself.

Closer, he could hear D’Anna talking to another woman.

"Were they viable?" D’Anna asked.

"Most definitely," the other woman answered. "The count was good, motility was high. If the genetic analysis pans out, you'll have found a definite winner. I wish they were all so fertile."

He pressed up against the wall, and shut his eyes as a terrible feeling of … knowledge came over him, as well as the urge to shower. "Motility" -- there was only one thing that was EVER described that way. "Fertile." Sperm. D’Anna had taken it from him. It had been real, not a nightmare.

His stomach churned with nausea, and he swallowed hard to keep it down and stay focused. He leaned out to peer into the small office, already dreading what he would see.

One of the platinum-haired Cylon skinjobs stood beside D'Anna. That meant D'Anna was a Cylon, too.

Frak.

"When do you think he'll be ready to transfer to one of the male facilities?" the skinjob asked D’Anna.

"A few days."

The skinjob made a disapproving sound. "He doesn't need to be in perfect health. You already learned he's capable."

"The possibility of infection remains high," D’Anna protested. "A day or two will make no difference. At least until the DNA test comes back."

"Is that regret I hear?" the other asked. Her tone could be a tease or a warning. "Perhaps we could set you up in an experiment like the one with the Eight."

"Don't be absurd," D’Anna retorted. "Especially when that one went so completely out of control. But it is a … shame. Perhaps I should try just once, before he knows…."

"Ignorance makes no difference," the other replied flatly. "We need the correct genetic material. And if he has it, you can't keep him to yourself. "

He rested his head against the wall, trying to think. Or not think about what they might be intending to do. Frak him? Something worse? They had mentioned another facility.

Gods. He shuddered and shut his eyes tightly, pressing his palms flat against the wall.

He had to get out of here.

His head turned to look both ways down the long corridor. It was tempting to try to flee right now. The hall was empty, and the two skinjobs were occupied. But where there were skinjobs, there were Centurions, and even though he hadn't heard any, they had to be around. And he was in no condition to fight anyone, least of all a Centurion.

He shut his eyes, trying to ignore how much his insides hurt and just breathe. He had to plan.

But his pounding heart, which found nauseating echo all through him, only wanted to be on the edge of panic about being trapped inside a Cylon prison.

Forcing a deep breath, he pushed away from the wall to head back to his room. D’Anna was going to come back to check on him soon, and drug him again, and he had to find a way to stop the drugs, or he'd never get out.

----

Sam was tucked up in bed again, with the i.v. taped to his hand, even if not actually inserted, when the door opened.

Knowing what he knew, his stomach clenched up in pure revulsion. Cylon. Frakking toaster. He was hard-pressed to keep the hate off his face, and could only manage to school his expression to something hopefully more neutral.

"You look as though you're feeling better," she said with approval, noting the way he was sitting upright. She approached and took the bottle and syringe from her pocket. "A little more color in your face. After some more rest, I think you can get out of bed tomorrow."

He ignored the falsely cheerful words and waited. His heart was pounding, and all his muscles were tense. Frak, he'd only get one chance at this.

When she was injecting the i.v. line, occupied with the syringe, he pushed himself up and threw the slack in the i.v. tube over her head, and then pulled. The slender tube snapped tight around her throat, and he pulled harder, yanking her toward him. Her flailing arm caught the i.v. stand and knocked it over.

Her fingers clawed at her neck, trying to get under the tube, which was now buried in her throat. "Toaster. Would you just frakkin- " he spat through gritted teeth. - "die!"

She was strong - too strong- but he remembered how she'd sneaked in here in the dead of night and touched him and he didn't let go. Even when one of her hands struck at his wound, and the star-shot darkness filled his vision, he pulled.

She convulsed, but he kept the tube tight for a minute after she had stopped moving. He thought she was dead, but he made sure - framing her face with his hands and twisting until he felt the crack. Her head lolled in his grip and he knew it was done.

Panting, he looked down at the corpse and the blank blue eyes, and then shoved it off the bed. It fell to the floor in a heap.

"One down, fifty million to go," he whispered, trying to catch his breath. Shifting to stand made him hiss, "Gods damn it." Holding his side, he froze for a few heartbeats, hoping the pain would settle again.

No other toasters entered the room, despite the noise, and he spared a thank you to the Gods for the Cylons picking a mental hospital, with thick walls and sound-proofing.

A glance showed no other clothes, though he briefly regretted the loss of his team jacket, and he went to the door. The narrow window showed no one in the corridor and he eased outside. This time he chose the opposite direction and padded as quickly as he could down the hall.

Suddenly a door opened right in front of him and he froze, pressing himself against the wall, as if he could possibly hope to hide there.

The platinum-haired toaster came out of the room and for an instant he thought he might get lucky, but then she turned toward him. Their eyes met and they were both paralyzed by shock. Her lips made a perfect little 'O'.

He moved first, knowing he had to kill her quickly or his escape was done for. His fist went right in her face, and he didn't let her recover, following up with another quick blow. She stumbled backward, but managed to hit him in the jaw. It was like getting punched by a pile-driver. Frak, that hurt. But he pushed the pain aside and grabbed her wrists, and with a quick leg sweep, dumped her on the floor.

He straddled her chest, both hands around her throat. She tried to throw him off, but he was too heavy and her arms were pinned against her sides.

"We saved you," she protested, as if that should afford her some mercy. When that didn't get her anything, she tried again. "You could… have fathered the next generation," she told him breathlessly.

"No, thanks." Her neck seemed so thin and fragile under his hands -- why was it taking such a frakkin' long time to kill her? He tightened his grip and his jaw, wishing he had some kind of weapon. He heard a noise down the corridor and glanced that way, half expecting a squadron of Centurions coming to rescue their leader.

But there was nothing and he continued his grim work. Finally, she fell limp under him and stopped breathing. In case it was a trick, he lifted her head and slammed it against the hard floor.

He took her keys, and then he climbed off her - falling into the wall when everything seemed to heave and turn dark. He held grimly to consciousness. Don't pass out, Anders. You pass out, you're gonna be their baby daddy and you've done such a good job avoiding that so far in your life.

He went into the room the skinjob had just exited. It took a moment to adjust to the dimness - there were weird sounds: soft mechanical breathing and water being pumped rhythmically.

"Oh, dear gods," he whispered, when the full horror revealed itself to his eyes.

There were … beds … of a sort. Bathtubs, almost. Each one held a naked woman with hoses and wires attached to them, and they had their legs up and open in such unnaturally exposed ways that he could barely make himself look at them at all, wanting to keep averting his eyes from what he shouldn't see.

He had no idea exactly what was going on, but it obviously had something to do with reproduction, either hybrids or gestating Cylon babies.

It made his skin crawl with the sheer… evil of it, and he was glad the skinjob in the hall was dead, if she'd been in charge of this.

He rushed to the nearest woman to free her. But she didn't respond when he spoke to her, or touched her arm or her face. Her eyes didn't even open. "Come on," he whispered urgently and reached out to tear out the things she was hooked to, but his hand wouldn't close over the wires. She was drugged, obviously, and he couldn't carry her. He couldn't carry anyone.

He couldn't save her. But maybe they weren't all like her, maybe there were people here who only needed some help to get loose...

"Is there anyone in here awake?" he called more loudly. "I can free you."

"Anders?" a faint voice came from the back of the room. "Sam, is it you?"

He'd only thought he was in hell before; looking at Sue-Shaun trapped in this horror, was hell. He bent over her and took her hand. "I'll get you out, babe. Hold on --"

"No," she said hoarsely. Her face was running with tears, with grief and pain. "Too late."

"But there has to be a way," he protested, not wanting to hear that. "I can take all this stuff off you - you can walk -"

Her fingers tightened on his briefly. "Sam, listen. This stuff is keeping us alive. You can't… save us. You can't. But you can help. Pull the plug."

"But… then, you'll die."

"Better that than this," she said, and her voice broke on the word. "Promise me," she whispered. "There are more like this. Help us. Help…"

"I promise," he whispered. He bent close, kissing her cheek, as his hand reached under the machine and pulled out the main conduit. The machine's lights all went out and the humming sound stopped.

She whispered, "Thank you…" And then she was gone.

He kissed her forehead and slowly straightened. His grief for her transmuted itself into a cold fury at the toasters who would do this. They had come and destroyed everything, and now they were doing something even worse than killing.

No. He couldn't let this happen. He couldn't let them force human women to become their baby machines.

Cocooned by his rage, he went around to each tub and pulled the plug. None of the rest of the women appeared to be aware as they died. Their eyes didn't open, but he thought, or at least he hoped, that they seemed more at peace afterward.

The room was very quiet now, silent except for the faint hum of the generator in the middle of the floor. He wondered if he could destroy it, too, but decided he'd better get out of the room.

At the opposite door, he spared a last look back, willing himself to remember. On those long nights when it seemed capture and death were inevitable - he had to remember this was what he was fighting against.

His wounds didn't seem to be hurting quite as much anymore. But when he touched the bandage on his back, his fingers came away bloody. He sighed, wiped his hand on the thin cotton gown and looked through the window in the door. He slipped into the deserted corridor, a rat in a maze, hoping he could find an exit or a vehicle before his strength gave out.

The Cylon's keys helped him to get into a narrow corridor, with one side all mesh and barred windows. He was on the floor above the ground, which meant he needed stairs or an elevator to get out.

He felt horribly exposed going through there, but hoped he was going toward the way out. The key opened the door at the far end, but despite the key, the alarm began to blare.

Frak.

He pulled the door wide and rushed through. The hall seemed to take him deeper into the complex, so he dashed down the first cross-corridor with daylight at the end. Gritting his teeth with every step, he tried to keep a hurried pace, a sort of clumsy trot, toward the doors. Maybe there was a balcony and he could climb down…

He shoved open the double doors and ran outside. The fresh air smelled of green things, and the sunlight was bright and golden.

He discovered he'd found the landing of a wide formal, double staircase and chose the right hand set of stairs, hand trailing the wide banister to keep his balance. He was concentrating so much on not letting his legs collapse beneath him, he didn't look up until he was down at the ground.

D’Anna - another D’Anna - was there, right in front of him, dressed exactly the same as the one he'd killed, down to her long white medical coat.

A chill went through him and his chest went tight.

She smiled a little, but it was the smile of some predator who was just playing with its food. "We can't let you leave us, Sam Anders."

He couldn't move, couldn't even look away from her, knowing it was over. He wasn't getting away now. The mechanical whirr of Centurions moving out onto the landing above him was unneeded confirmation.

But he wasn't going back in there, to be put in some sort of machine like Sue-Shaun and experimented on like an animal.

All he had to do was provoke the Centurions into shooting him again. He was already bleeding; it shouldn't take too much.

He was about to turn toward the open field beyond and start walking away, when the roar of gunfire startled him.

He tensed, but none of the bullets hit him. Instead, D’Anna shook, and red blooms appeared on her white coat before she fell.

Shocked, he turned his head to see the resistance - Kara's bright blonde hair shining as she waved at him to hurry. "ANDERS!" she yelled and then dove back into the dirt, as the Centurions behind him returned fire.

He started running, crouching as low as he could. But he tripped on something and fell flat on the ground, air knocked from him. Hot and cold waves shook him, and he couldn't get up.

"Anders?" he heard Kara's voice, much closer, and felt her hand on him. "Get up, come on, Sam, get up." He wanted to rise, but nothing was working. She pulled at him, trying to help him up, but he was too heavy for her. She yelled above the crash of the gunfire. "HELO!"

And then the deep, throbbing sound of one of the Cylon heavy craft filled the air, and its big guns boomed. Sam shut his eyes, thinking the bullets were going to rip into him, but when he didn't feel anything, he pushed up and looked backward to see the stairs were a shredded mess and the Centurions were down.

That seemed … very odd. And then it got stranger when the heavy raider landed in the field, just north of him.

A strong grip pulled him up, and as he tried to get his feet under him, he glanced aside and saw Helo's grim face. "GO, people," Helo shouted.

Between them, Helo and Kara were practically carrying him toward the open ramp of the Cylon ship and the dark-haired Cylon woman standing there in a Fleet uniform.

"Move it, people!" she barked, waving them in.

He balked. "Toaster," he objected.

"Yeah, we know, Sam," Kara said, pulling him forward. She added, like it stuck in her throat, "She's… with us."

"She's with us," Helo repeated, more confidently, darting a glare at Kara as they dragged him up the ramp. "Sharon, go," he told the toaster, who nodded and dashed into the dark bowels of the ship.

The ramp closed behind them, and the air abruptly seemed warm and humid and close, and the lights were dim. The dull bass rumble of the engines made the floor shake, or maybe he was the one shaking. He could barely lift his feet to move inside.

"Kara," he said, and it seemed very important he tell her something. "Kara…"

She and Helo settled him on some sort of bench, and he could see Gripkey watching, and Barolay was there, too, frowning at him in concern. He felt very cozy, like he'd come home, with the team around him. Safe. He was on a Cylon ship getting rescued by a toaster, but he was safe. That seemed very funny, but he was too tired to laugh.

"Yeah? Sam?" Kara prompted, and held his shoulder when the ship abruptly launched for the sky and he nearly fell off the bench.

"I'm gonna pass out," he told her, but wasn't sure if he actually said the words aloud, before everything went very far away and turned gray.

Then it all went black.

----

The voices reached him from far away.

"He really shouldn't be alive." It was D'Anna's voice, sounding impressed. He felt fingers on his face, sliding up to his forehead. "Such stamina for a human. He'll be a fine addition to our genetic bank."

He wanted to shiver with fear and disgust at her touch, but it was too much of an effort. He was leaden inside with the realization that he had never escaped. He was still there.

"If he lives," it was a different skinjob speaking, the dark-haired one called Sharon.

"He'll live," Kara declared and then murmured, in a voice soft and edged in desperation, "Do you hear me, Sam? You're going to hang on and get better. We never finished our game, so you can't die on me."

Kara faded into the dark, and D'Anna was suddenly in front of him, wearing a white suit. She was smiling at him, blue eyes soft with love. "Sam. Look. This is our son…" She held out her arms, cradling something small in a blanket. He tore his eyes away from whatever it was before he could see it, and ran…


----

He was trying to sit up before his eyes were fully open, but there was a heavy weight on him, like a toaster holding him down. He struggled, but had to stop when his side flared with pain. He gasped, breathless, as the terror that he was still there raced through him.

"Take it easy, Sam," Kara ordered. She had both hands on his shoulders, pushing him down, with most of her body across his chest.

Awareness returned with the sight of her face. He fell back against the pillows and realized he was in his little room in the school, with its one window and his cot shoved in among the supplies and file cabinets.

He had vague wisps of memories that told him he'd been there awhile, but the images were all twisted with nightmares of Cylons and babies and Sue-Shaun pleading to die… But the pain said this was real.

"Frak," he muttered, closing his eyes and trying to get his breath back. Besides the wounds in his side and back, he felt like he'd been beaten with a stick all over - achy and weak in his whole body. "I feel like crap," he muttered. After a moment of shallow, pained breathing, he tried opening his eyes again.

Gods, how could she be so beautiful? Her face was smudged with dirt, and her hair was sort of stringy, but she was shining in the orange light streaming through the window. Best of all, she wasn't a dream.

"You managed to break open the stitches and the wounds got infected. You've been running a fever." Her fingers were running up and down his arm, and it was distracting, but also sort of soothing. "But it looks like you're gonna live."

"Oh, good. I wasn't sure for awhile there," he admitted. Her hand tightened on his arm, but she grinned at him.

"You've got the luck of the gods, for someone who can't duck worth a damn," she teased. With her free hand she offered him a cup with a straw, and he sipped at the juice until she took it away. She settled on the bed next to him, her thigh pressing with comforting familiarity against his arm. "What the hell happened in there? Why did they keep you alive? Not that I'm complaining or anything, but why stitch you up at all?"

"Because," he answered and fixed his eyes on her face, trying to block out the memory of Sue-Shaun and all the other women in that room. Kara could have been one of them so easily. He lifted a hand and traced her cheek. "They wanted something from me."

She turned her head to nip at his fingers. "They wanted to interrogate you?" she guessed.

He shook his head. "To father their kids."

She frowned and wrinkled her nose in distaste, before she grinned suddenly and quipped, "Well, at least they have good taste." She leaned forward and kissed him. He lifted his head, kissing her back, so glad she was there and alive.

But it didn't last long before he had to let go of her lips and fall back on the pillow, as his abdominals refused to help, spiking with pain. He hissed, and put a hand on his stomach, on the edges of the bandages, trying to hold everything still. "Frak. Frak. That hurts. Don't we have any more meds?"

"You're such a big baby," she teased him. "It's too soon to take more stuff."

He looked up at the ceiling. "At least the toasters gave me good drugs."

"You want to go back?" she challenged and he just shook his head a little, and groped for her hand, closing his fingers around her smaller ones. Not only did he not want to go back to that hellhole, he was content right where he was. Or at least he would be content just as soon as the throbbing in his middle went away.

Trying to remember how he got back raised vague images of a big black ship and a dark-haired female skinjob. "Did you actually come rescue me in a heavy raider piloted by a toaster?" he asked. "Or did I imagine that part?"

She chuckled. "Nope, it was real. That's Sharon - Helo's Sharon. She claims she's pregnant. And that she loves him." It was all said with a bit of a dubious sneer, but since Kara would've shot the Cylon a long time ago if she really thought it was a lie, he just nodded.

"I did hear something about an experiment going out of control," he added and shut his eyes. Then he opened them again, with a sudden thought. "The Arrow?"

"Still safe. And now we have a ride, too. A heavy raider can make it to Kobol in just two or three jumps."

"Oh. That's good," he said, trying to mean it. But that meant she was leaving soon, and that brought a heavy feeling inside. He tried to push it away, knowing the fleet needed her, needed what she was carrying, a lot more than he did. It still hurt. "When are you going?"

She frowned and pulled her hand away. "We," she corrected. "We're going."

He shook his head once. "There isn't enough room on that ship for everyone. Some people are going to have to stay behind."

"You that desperate to be a martyr?" she demanded. "You can't even stand up."

He let the words wash over him, hearing the denial and worry behind them. As soon as her voice fell silent, he explained softly, "I wasn't the only one in that prison, Kara. I wasn't the only one they were experimenting on. I saw Sue-Shaun." And he told Kara exactly what he had seen, and watched Kara's eyes widen and her lips part in dismay.

"There are more of those places. I can't fly off to safety, knowing I've left that behind me," he murmured. When he shut his eyes, he still saw that room and heard Sue-Shaun's pleas. Sue-Shaun, who had taught him how to be tough, had been crying. "I just… can't. Even though I know you're right, and it's being a martyr and I'm going to die stupidly, I promised her --"

Her hand fell over his again, silencing him. "It's not stupid." His gaze flickered up to her face in the instant before she flashed a smile. "Trust me, I know stupid stunts." But the grin faded and she repeated, eyes meeting his, "It's not stupid. If you're going to go around blowing up these baby factories, you're gonna need help."

"You?"

"Who else?"

"What about the Arrow?" he objected. If the Arrow was the only way for the rest of humanity to survive, the fleet would need it. And he could hardly approve of her staying behind with him and condemn the rest of humanity along with him.

She waved her hand, pushing the issue aside. "I'll send it with Helo and his toaster girlfriend. Maybe if they bring it, Roslin won't throw her out the airlock."

"They might need you to vouch for them. What if the Fleet thinks they're both toasters?"

"Karl's too damn tall to be a toaster." She snorted. "Besides, they won't be alone. I'm sure at least one or two of your people will be willing to trade running and fighting and dying on the ground, for doing the same thing in space."

He chuckled at the ironic truth of it, but that proved a mistake as hot little knives stabbed him on the inside and he throbbed all through his middle. "Are you sure it’s not time for something?" he asked, hoping he looked piteous.

She laughed at him and taunted, "Such a whiner." But she leaned over and pressed her lips to his, making him feel slightly better. "I'll see what we've got. Be right back."

He watched her leave then let his eyes close again.

She was going to stay. The thought made him smile a little, imagining the two of them blowing up Cylon bases together. The resistance could take advantage of Kara's military knowledge, and take the fight to the enemy for a change.

As he slipped back into sleep, a little voice in the back of his mind whispered that this was all wrong. This was not what was supposed to be. But since the voice sounded like that crazy frakking toaster Sam had captured the second week of the war, Sam ignored it.

Even if was all going to end in a storm of Cylon gunfire, at least they could tell the Gods they tried.


end.


Now I won't be teasing people with this anymore. :)
 
 
 
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on April 9th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Oh oh oh oh. *grabby hands, steals fic, hides under the covers to read it with a flashlight* (it's COLD HERE)
weissmanweissman on April 9th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
Excellent, tons of fun

Bob
lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
thanks!
entertaining in a disturbing way: Kara Anders Get Drunk and Screwlyssie on April 9th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
*happysigh*

You know. I had to re-read it. Because I'm weird like that.

BUT. OMG. I love this. Kara having to save Sam was awesome, as was her staying (of course). And the switch of D for Simon is chilling. AS IS THE NIGHTMARE OMG.

I use that a lot. Sorry.

But it was!

Also, this: "Karl's too damn tall to be a toaster." made me crack the frell up.

There was also kissing, for which I'm grateful. There should always be kissing in Kara/Sam fic. Even if it's just trading lipsmoochies between bombs, or something.

So.

You are going to write more, yes?
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders IIlizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Doesn't everyone re-read? Or maybe we're both weird...

And yeah, D'Anna was my first choice. I thought about an Eight briefly (for the mind-bendyness of when Sharon rescues them) but it had to be a Three.

No more than kissing, what with Sam all injured and sick, but definitely there had to be kissing!

MORE? you're a demanding fiend, you know that? ;) (and no, not any time soon, anyway)

But thank you.
Kelly...It's like Jello with a K and a Y: [bsg] kara againcenterspire on April 9th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Wow! Very nice.
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
thanks! :)
The Proverbial Bull in a China Shop...: Sam Anderssabaceanbabe on April 9th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
Dude! You were holding out on me! There was no nightmare in the draft you sent! Awesome touch, that.

I <3 this fic. Yes.
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders Rapturelizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
I added it this morning. What can I say? I LIKE freaky nightmares. ;)

Thanks! And thanks again for your help!
Mayhem Parva: (ls-silence) Kara Sam tattoosraincitygirl on April 9th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty much with the dolphin squeals. I *love* this role reversal. So awesomecakes.
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
I'm glad dolphins are fans of Kara and Sam, too! ;)

thank you!
carpenyx: bsg - samcarpenyx on April 9th, 2008 04:59 am (UTC)
Guh! That was awesome! :D
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
thanks! :)
pataka02: Artemis by _ebpataka02 on April 9th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
Wow... seriously, just wow.

What an amazing twist... and D'Anna being the one in the hospital with Sam, and knowing her fascination with the Final Five... and she has one right in front of her and phew.

This is so good! I love how Sam's much less stoic and so very vulnerable; he reacts differently than Kara, but there's such a similarity and an overlap, too, so it's easy to see how well they understand one another. And Kara staying with him! ha. I can't imagine that going over well back at Galactica.

She hadn't hesitated to answer, but her smile had been perfunctory at best. He had seen enough false enthusiasm in girls trying to scam their way into his bed to recognize it. The question was, why?

I love Sam, and I love that this is how he figures out people are lying.

As he slipped back into sleep, a little voice in the back of his mind whispered that this was all wrong. This was not what was supposed to be. But since the voice sounded like that crazy frakking toaster Sam had captured the second week of the war, Sam ignored it.

Oh, Leoben... things went very differently this cycle.

Seriously, amazing fic!!!

lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
hee, thank you! glad you liked it!

D'Anna was really the only choice for who would replace Simon. Because she's just that scary.

Poor Sam, I know! Since he couldn't really get her second surgery (I did consider surgery for him as well, but that's not the part the cylons want), he got shot twice. I just like making him suffer. ;)

I haven't laid it all out, but I know Home would turn out a lot differently without Kara around. It could get really ugly. eek. Best to think of Kara and Sam on Caprica blowing shit up together! :)
(no subject) - sabaceanbabe on April 10th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizardbeth_j on April 10th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
To Hell with this. I'm gonna live!justmyb0nes on April 9th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
Congrats ! You've got a talent !!
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
thanks! That's a really nice thing to say! :)
cujoycujoy on April 9th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
::loves::

I'm not much more coherent then that this morning. So I'll repeat. ::loves::

lizardbeth: Tahmoh - Truccolizardbeth_j on April 9th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
aw, thank you. :)
patron saint of neglected female charactersrose_griffes on April 10th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
OOH, this was interesting! And definitely creepy, just as it ought to be. Excellent!
*cackles and rubs hands together in Mr. Burns-like fashion*
lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on April 10th, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
thanks. I'm glad it was creepy. (which sounds very odd, but you know what I mean!)

ack, Mister Burns! *hides*
captain capricious: bsg:karasamoncapricacynthia_arrow on April 10th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
God, poor dear. So creepy! It's interesting seeing him deal with a similar situation, and with the same kind of tenacity Kara did.
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on April 10th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC)
It started out as a sort of thought-experiment - how different things could be while still keeping within the same framework. It required much rewatching of The Farm, which might have been my Sekrit Purpose... *g*

Thank you!
Rocky_Trocky_t on April 10th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Great story. This AU really came alive, complete with all the details.
lizardbeth: Helo - Anderslizardbeth_j on April 10th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
thank you! I'm glad you like it!

It required much rewatching of that episode but SOMEHOW I struggled through... *g*
My way of staying sanemamaboolj on April 12th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
Finally got some quiet time to read this. Most of what I'd say has already been said, but a really wonderful rewrite of this episode. Great job!
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on April 15th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
thank you! *beams*
Jessica Zimmer: Brave Little Toasterjessicalynn8383 on April 12th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
All right, the only coherent thing I can come up with is: this is really good. I actually liked it better than the real episode. For me, the whole story-line made a lot more sense with Sam - especially the scenes with Sue-Shaun - and it seems like (imho) that Sam sort of gets tossed off as incompetent in BSG fics, so I liked this different take on him. Also, I for one love that Kara stays and wished that had happened in canon.

A little flame in her chest winked out [...]. Such a great way of showing how she feels about Sam without going overboard on the sentimentality.

"Karl's too damn tall to be a toaster." That made me laugh out loud. I just love it. :D
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders S4lizardbeth_j on April 15th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
oh, thank you so much. That's such a generous thing to say!

I wish either Kara had stayed or Sam had gone with her at the end of the Farm, since I am both a big Kara/Sam shipper and I love wondering how things would change.