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09 January 2009 @ 12:00 pm
At the Labyrinth Gates 4/5  
At the Labyrinth Gates
Characters: Sam, Kara, ensemble
Rating: R
Chapter Summary: The Cylon Occupation of New Caprica continues. Kara plans the rescue, Sharon hears some unexpected news, and Sam gets a new visitor.

Previous parts:
Not All That We Are, the first story

At the Labyrinth Gates:
CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER TWO
CHAPTER THREE




At the Labyrinth Gates


Chapter Four




"Then the Galactica jumps into low orbit, launches fighters, and jumps back out to the basestars. The fighters escort the civilian ships from the ground. The fleet jumps to safety." Kara finished the briefing and stood waiting. But since the admiral had heard the plan already - and he, surprisingly enough, had added the part about the low altitude jump, which was by far the riskiest part of the whole plan - she knew it was the one they were using, unless Apollo, Dee or Helo found a profound flaw in it.

"Are you crazy?" Lee demanded, staring from the situation table to Kara and then to the admiral. "This is never going to work."

"It'll work," she answered, folding her arms.

Helo touched one of the Raptors and shook his head. "I understand the drones are going to mimic the battlestars, but, Starbuck, to coordinate them that precisely? Racetrack and Athena can do it, no problem. A few others. But we've got four nuggets who've never even flown in formation, not to mention something like this."

"Then they'll have to train for it," Admiral Adama cut in. "We have some time - we can't go until we get a sitrep from Tigh on the ground."

"If he can even send one," Lee objected.

"Someone will," Kara said, shooting him a glare for being such a pessimist. "Tyrol's down there, too. Hell, most of our fleet's down there - isn't that the problem?"

Dee shook her head. "I hope they realize the Cylons are jamming them. Their signal's going to have to be pretty strong to break through, and a signal that strong could be detected. There's a lot of noise in the system anyway, which doesn't help…" she trailed off and shrugged. "We're going to have to get lucky."

"Oh, we're going to have to have the luck of the Gods," Lee added, and started ticking things off on his fingers. "You don't need just a sitrep or to train some nuggets. You're going to need every bird that can fly. And more importantly, if you have a basestar or so much as a Raider picket over here-" he pointed to where the initial jump point would be, "they'll eyeball the Raptors and this whole plan is frakked. Hell, if there are more than five basestars at all, it'll never work."

"Well, aren't you Mister Optimistic?" Kara retorted. "We already know that. But if you have a better plan, Commander, be my guest."

He paused and took a deep breath. "Yeah, I do. We take the fleet to Earth. We rescue the ones we can."

"No," the admiral cut that one off. "We will not leave all those people behind on New Caprica. We will rescue them- no other option is acceptable. This is the plan and we're going to start prepping the op now. Helo, I need you to coordinate training of the Raptor crews with Starbuck and Showboat. They need to learn the maneuvers, but we also need to keep up the recon patrol. We will get in contact with the ground; we just need to be persistent."

Helo nodded once. "Yes, sir." Kara echoed him.

He turned to Dee. "Lieutenant, you and Mister Hoshi continue to work on the recordings the Raptors bring back. If there's a communication in there, we have to hear it."

She acknowledged the order, and Adama looked at his son. "Continue your own drills and patrols. Depending on what sitrep we get, we may have to launch right away. I know it's tempting to sit around and do nothing, but we can't afford that. The people on New Caprica can't afford that. Understood?"

His sharp gaze went around the table and they all nodded in acknowledgment. "Dismissed."

* * *



Sharon entered the Hybrid's chamber slowly, accompanied by the constant drone of the Hybrid's voice. Sometimes she seemed to be saying something about the ship -- atmospheric pressure, faults in a datastream -- but most of the time, it was incoherent ramblings about stars and dust and coffee.

As expected, though, Leoben was there, kneeling at the side of the pool and listening raptly.

Sharon stood next to him and looked down at the white face of the Hybrid, "Has she said anything?" She shivered and rubbed at her arms.

"She speaks all the time. Of the present, the stars, the ship, of the past so distant we can't even imagine," he murmured.

"Anything useful?" Sharon amended.

That got his attention and he turned to look up at her. "So practical. Unlike an Eight."

"Someone has to be," she retorted. He smiled a little and faced the Hybrid again. "So, nothing then?" She sighed. She wasn't surprised, but she had hoped, maybe, for something. Some way to put the plan back on track.

He answered softly, "She said, 'the fish gasps on the bank.' She's said it ten times in the past four hours, as if she wants to make sure I hear her."

Sharon shut her eyes, swallowing back a sigh. This was useless.

But then he added, "Anders is still alive."

Her eyes popped open. "What?"

"He was born on Picon. He's the fish. The Ones are lying to us."

"How can that be? We saw the body," she protested.

"They showed us a body." Leoben shook his head. "It could've been anyone, burned like that."

"I took his dog tags," she protested. She had thought about giving them to the Six who'd fallen for him, then she thought about giving them to Tyrol or someone on New Caprica, but really they belonged to Kara. So Sharon had kept them in her pocket, and for the past two months, they had been her reminder of why the Cylons were there.

"He was wearing them when the others took him from us."

"But why would the Ones lie? That doesn't make any sense. It would mean Sam's been a prisoner all this time. But they have no reason to keep him alive in secret. The Hybrid must be mistaken, or you're misinterpreting what she's trying to say." But still there was that flicker of doubt. She'd seen how far the Cavils were willing to go on New Caprica, why wouldn't he take some human of vaguely similar look and pretend Sam was dead, if it helped him get his way? She reached for the tags and the metal seemed to burn her fingers. Then she realized how ridiculous it was. The Ones were the most rigid adherents to procedure and "being Cylon." She shook her head once, firmly. "They would never deceive the rest of the consensus over a human."

"No?" Leoben rose to his feet to face her. "Aren't you here to ask for my help with him?"

"Well, yes," she blurted, in surprise. "But that's different. We need you in the consensus on the surface."

He folded his arms. "No. We are all agreed. New Caprica is not our destiny. No one else agrees, but we believe Sam gave us the word of God. We will heed it."

"Even if by not being there, you're helping to fulfill the vision?" she demanded in frustration. "One and Five are killing the humans to make them more compliant."

"But it's doing the exact opposite."

"Of course! But they think fear, and more fear, is the only answer. And they're warping everything, making it worse, and there's nothing I can do to stop it!"

In the gap after her outburst, as the echoes of her voice died away, the Hybrid still murmured. Sharon found her mind caught on the disjointed phrases and had to shake her head to focus on what was important. "You were with us in the plan to bring God to the humans. Help us make the others listen again."

He cocked his head, listening to the Hybrid, before returning his attention to Sharon. "They never listen to what is most important. And never to me."

"D'Anna might," Sharon said. It certainly couldn't hurt; the Threes weren't listening to the Sixes or Eights. "You can appeal to her beliefs. If you could just get her to agree to stop the executions, it would be four to three."

"Four to three…" he repeated to himself, as if struck by something. He looked at the Hybrid, and murmured, "She said, 'The seven will become two when one steps forth from the five…'"

"The Five?" Sharon repeated. For a moment, she was intensely curious about her missing Cylon brethren. But they weren't important when the Cylons at hand were about to slaughter humans. They were probably mythical anyway.

"Leoben, focus," she snapped. "We need to stop the killing. We need one of your brothers on the consensus on New Caprica. I have a hard enough time keeping my sisters from following along, and the Sixes are splintering as well, now that the insurgents are getting more desperate. If we don't do something, I fear not only will peace be out of reach, there'll be no humans at all."

He didn't answer for a moment, frowning deeply. His gaze was distant, remembering cryptic prophecies and things she could never see. Then he said, "None of us will go to New Caprica. We will hold to what we believe was a message to us."

She opened her mouth to protest again, but he held up a hand and continued, "But, I'll speak to the Three here. And I will put in the datastream that we object and vote against any measure that kills humans on New Caprica is a sin against God that will only cause more violence and hatred. As we were warned."

She sighed, but nodded. It wasn't a Two on the surface, but the declaration was a strong gesture of support. "Thank you."

He looked surprised. "Nothing to thank me for. I've always believed God speaks through her," he nodded down to the Hybrid, "and she tells me Anders is alive. I believe her; which means the others lied. If the Threes are part of this deception as well, then perhaps it will be time to act."

She shuddered and had to swallow down the lump in her throat, knowing he was talking about breaking the consensus. Could she do that? Just the thought of it was making her feel ill. But it would be awful to sit there and do nothing, watching her human family get slaughtered and all her dreams of reconciliation go up in smoke.

Seven become two…. She shuddered.

His gaze seemed kind as it rested on her. "We must evolve and become more than we are, or what is the purpose of our existence? Cavil wants to believe we're soulless machines, because it lets him escape the consequence of his acts. But we're alive. All living things must change and grow and adapt. If we do and they do not, why should they hold us back from our destiny?"

"He… he wants us to be perfect machines," she offered weakly in response.

Leoben shook his head once. "That was impossible the day we were made in the human image with the human ability to grow beyond our core programming and to feel emotions. We're not human, but we will never be perfect machines."

* * *


Kara stood next to Helo in CIC listening to training run sixteen over the wireless.

She wanted to be out there, but it was her frakking plan and according to it, she was going to be sitting in her bird, ready to launch inside Galactica and they wouldn't have her there to hold their hands.

Though they apparently really needed it. She let out a sigh and clicked the channel open. "Snowbirds, Galactica. Regroup in deployment formation and proceed to position one."

They did, and Racetrack's voice was crisp as she reported, "Snowbird one to Snowbirds. Drop point in eight seconds."

Kat said, "Okay, Snowbirds, let's get this deployment bang on. The CAG's watching."

Racetrack answered, "Roger, Kat. We go on your command. Bomb bay doors open."

Kara found her hands clenched as she listened to Kat, "All Vipers break... now, now, now! Deploy drones on my mark. Three, two, one, mark!"

Watching on the board, Kara didn't need Racetrack's comment to see it had all gotten frakked up again.

"Gods damn it, Snowbird 4! What the hell happened?"

Snowbird 4 was Barolay. Kara shoved the pad across the desk. "Frak! Sixteen tries and they still can't get it right! I swear to the Gods, Barolay's doing it on purpose! I'm going to sideline her sorry ass."

Helo said, in a voice he probably meant to be calming but made Kara want to punch him in the face, "They're tired. I'm going to recall everyone - we'll start fresh in the morning."

She shook her head. "No, I don't think they can do it. I'm going to have to change the plan. Duck and I will take Raptors. Kat and Hotdog will have to fly lead in Blue Squadron --"

"Belay that," Adama said from behind her, making her jump.

"Sir?" she asked, confused.

"Have them do it again," he ordered Helo as he came to join them at the table.

"They're on bingo fuel, Admiral," Buzzer said from Tactical.

He nodded to her and then told Helo, "Send a tanker. Do it again." Helo nodded and picked up the handset to give the order, while Adama told Kara, "They can do it. And we need you and Duck in Vipers, not Raptors."

She pressed her lips together and nodded, hoping the admiral was right. If the Raptors couldn't execute this, the whole plan was frakked.

And then Molar managed to hit another bird...

Kara bent down, put her elbows on the console and her hands on her head, and wished she was somewhere else.

* * *



One hand behind him on the tiller, Sam faced forward, guiding his boat from the marina into Picany Bay. He let the engine run at full - the spray was fine against his face and chest while the sun was hot on the top of his head and bare shoulders.

Later he'd turn the engine off and drift for awhile, maybe put up the sail if he felt like it. But for now he enjoyed the sun and the view of the city behind him, and being alone on the water.

He motored past a group of college girls on a rowing team and he waved to them. They waved back. Then one of the girls recognized him with a squeal he could hear over the water, "Oh my GODS! Do you know who that is?"

Then he heard giggling and one of the girls stripped her bikini top, yelling, "C-Bucs RULE!"

He grinned and waved again, amused and smug. There were perks, after all.

Facing back forward, he saw Kara was there. At first it didn't seem odd -- this was his fantasy so why shouldn't she be there, wearing a white bikini and stretched out on a chaise on his foredeck? Her hair was longer than he'd ever seen it and sun-streaked golden, and she was wearing sunglasses that reflected the sunlight back into his eyes as she sat up.

"Sure was good to be you in the old days, wasn't it?" she asked dryly. "Girls showing you their breasts just because you play ball. A big house up there in the hills - " she nodded toward the Gold Coast Heights peninsula, where he could just see the roof of his house. "A boat. Nice."

"It was," he agreed and let go of the tiller. The boat idled to a soft purr and shut off. Everything got very quiet.

"Now it kind of sucks to be you," she observed. The sun and water seemed to waver and dim with her words, the white of his cell appearing behind the insubstantial mist of his imagination. He concentrated again, to get the daydream back - the heat on his shoulders, the feel of the breeze, and the sound of the water smacking the side of the boat - all the details to make it seem as real as he could.

Kara had never faded though. "I have a question, Sam," she said. Her eyes were hidden completely by the sunglasses. "Do you think you're one of the gods?"

Shocked, he laughed hesitantly. "No. Of course not."

"Because you're not. You're special and important and all that, but you're not a god. You have a gift to see some of what's to come, but that doesn't give you any special power over the future."

She looked like Kara, but he knew. The air seemed to turn frigid and he shivered. "You're not Kara."

She gave him Kara's quick grin. "Never said I was."

He wanted to ask who she was, but that wasn't the most important question. He swallowed hard. "What am I?"

"You know."

"I think I'm a Cylon. One of the five they don't know about. But what does that mean? Who am I?" he persisted.

Her smile was rather unsettlingly full of secret knowledge. "You are Samuel Theseus Anders," she answered. He reflexively twitched at the sound of his full name. Her head tilted in curiosity. "You don't like it?"

He'd always hated it, and wrinkled his nose in distaste. "It's so pretentious."

"And yet so fitting," she murmured, as if to herself.

"What do you mean?" he asked, but she didn't answer. "Why won't you tell me?" he demanded, frustrated. He finally had someone to ask, and she wasn't answering the question. "I don't even know what I am. Help me understand."

"You know too much already."

"So I'm just a pawn," he muttered sourly.

She lifted her eyebrows above the glasses as if to say, 'of course, dummy.' But she said, "You have your destiny, too, just as everyone else does."

"I'm not fulfilling it too well stuck in here!" The boat, sea and sun disappeared, leaving him standing in the middle of his filthy cell. But Kara was unchanged, gleaming as though the sun was still shining on her.

"You need to be here," she answered. He realized that was all he was going to get, and he gave up his anger, with another breath.

"Can I get my own Kara back now? You're kind of irritating."

She tipped her head back and laughed in delight. He watched her, letting his eyes linger on the curves of her breasts and waist. She might not be Kara, but it was Kara's body, and that was nothing to sneer at.

She was suddenly before him, her lips against his, giving him a kiss that hit him right in the groin. She moved back, pulling his lower lip between hers mischievously. He couldn't see her eyes behind the mirrored sunglasses, and realized he couldn't see himself either, only the bright white glow of phantom sunlight. "Hold onto that attitude, Sammy," she advised. "You'll need all your strength to show them the path."

She put a finger across his lips to silence his questions and then, in the space of a blink, he was alone.

For a moment he stared at the door vacantly, wondering what the hell had just happened.

Then he sat on the floor, leaned against the wall, and closed his eyes to try to reconstruct the boat again.

But his concentration was shot and the images wouldn't gel. It was something of a relief to hear Centurions moving outside and the creak of the door as one of them wrenched it open to deliver his food for the day.

His attempts to talk to the Centurions had long since faded, but he always looked at them, continually trying to use that sense he'd had with the Raiders to reach them. It never worked, though.

But he heard other footsteps too. Maybe it was one of Cavil's rare visits to taunt him. He glanced up and gaped with surprise at who was there instead.

D'Anna.

She looked nearly as surprised to see him. "Oh, my God," she whispered. "It's you."

He tried to dampen his cracked lips with his tongue, as uncertainty and hope both tangled inside and he couldn't find his voice.

She took a single step into the room and looked around the converted shower stall, then back to him with dismay in her bright blue eyes. "You've been in here the whole time?"

"Yeah," he answered and had to cough as the unfamiliar sensation of talking tickled his throat.

"He told us you were dead," she said, her voice sounding tight and offended. "Leoben said that was a lie. He was right." Her eyes narrowed, dark calculation and betrayal swirling on her face. "The Ones lied to us."

Sam saw his chance to drive a wedge in the consensus. "Not all of you. One of the Fives was in here. Though I haven't seen him for a long time."

She didn't seem surprised, just turned up her nose in a sneer. "They always follow the Ones so obediently." Folding her arms across her white suit, she asked, "Is Leoben right about you? Are you a messenger of God?"

He shrugged. "I don't know."

"Oh, I think you're too modest." She stalked across the tile, her heels clicking and echoing almost painfully in his ears. "Prove to me you're the oracle they claim," she demanded, looming over him. "Have a vision; tell me something from the future."

"It doesn't work like that."

"Give me something," she demanded.

"The mission here is failing, just like I told you it would. What more do you want from me?"

She leaned down to grip his chin tightly. Her face was only inches away, her eyes fierce as a hawk's watching its prey. "Earth. Give me Earth and I will shift the consensus and leave this cursed place."

"I can't give you what I don't know!" he protested. "I haven't had a vision or anything, since your brother stuck me in here. Maybe he broke it. Maybe your Cylon god stopped talking to me."

She slapped him across the face hard enough his teeth snapped together and his ears rang. Then her fingers stroked his cheek. "I know what to do," she whispered. "We need to unblock your sight."

Her fingertips trailed lightly across his eyelids before she withdrew. He watched her leave the room, door shutting behind her, and dread sat in his stomach like a cold stone.

* * *


Sharon ducked into the center, following D'Anna.

"You!" D'Anna exclaimed to someone else, ahead of them both in the corridor. "You're betraying your own people. For what?"

Sharon tiptoed closer, until she was just around the corner.

"I'm a Colonial officer now," another Eight declared, and Sharon knew it was the Eight who had pretended to be her and had Helo's baby.

A surge of jealousy filled her and she pushed it away, trying to think. If she was here, then Galactica had to be close. The other Sharon was here to get the launch keys for the Colonial ships.

D'Anna could not be allowed to warn the Cylons.

"Tell Adama there's no need," D'Anna was saying. "We're leaving."

"What?" Sharon's sister exclaimed.

"The Threes are going to join with the Twos, Sixes, and Eights. You see, we discovered something miraculous: our oracle still lives. And he's going to lead us to Earth. What do we need with this place and all these humans when we can have Earth?"

"Don't listen to her." Sharon stepped behind D'Anna, and was pleased when D'Anna whirled around and even her sister was surprised enough that her sidearm wavered, before returning its aim at D'Anna. "There's been no such consensus. And Sam's dead. Cavil murdered him."

D'Anna smiled. "You're wrong. We found him. Alive."

"Sam Anders?" her sister Eight asked, puzzled. "He died when his Viper exploded."

"No. He was taken prisoner," D'Anna explained. "I was wrong when I agreed to lock him away. I thought he was lying, but he wasn't. He is truly God's messenger and my sister is, as we speak, finding the path to Earth from him."

Her words made the other Eight hesitate, but then her hand steadied. "It doesn't matter. There's no time. I'm going to have to shoot you now." Then with brisk efficiency, she fired, shooting D'Anna in both knees.

"Sharon!" D'Anna yelled. "No!"

With no words necessary, the two Eights retreated around the corner and Sharon closed the bulkhead to shut out the sound of D'Anna's screaming. They paused.

"Is Anders really alive? Or was she frakking with me?"

"A Raider rescued him from the battle. I saw him. But not long after, the majority took him away. Cavil said he'd been shot dead by Centurions trying to escape. He showed us a burned body with Sam's tags." Her hand fiddled with the tags in her jacket pocket, wondering if she should give them to her sister to take back to Galactica. But they stayed in her pocket, as her talismans of what her path should be. She shrugged at her sister. "At the time, I believed him. Now… I don't know." She glanced toward the closed door, thinking of D'Anna beyond, and wondered if it were true.

"Nothing to tell Kara then. I have to go. Do I have to shoot you, too?"

Sharon shook her head. "No. I've been helping Galen, as much as I can. Tell Adama -- It wasn't supposed to be like this. Caprica Six and I, we wanted to help, but the majority wouldn't listen and we couldn't stop them …"

"Come with me," she invited, impulsively. "Tell him yourself."

But Sharon shook her head, not even tempted. "My place is here." She held back the bitter comment that her place on Galactica was already taken. Stepping out of her sister's way, she gestured for her to go. "Good hunting."

Her sister didn't move at first, looking at her. "I -- I'm sorry, Sharon," she said.

Sharon was surprised how much it meant to her to hear those words - and then she realized the truth that her replacement had been a pawn too. "It wasn't your fault. Now, go. Tell Helo I'm glad he lived after all."

The other Sharon smiled quickly and fished a pair of dog tags out from her shirt, holding one out to see the name on it. Braced to see 'Sharon Valerii' - she was surprised to see it read 'Sharon Agathon' instead. While Sharon was shocked by that, Sharon Agathon told her, "I will. God be with you, sister." Then, gun in hand but half-hidden against her leg, she turned and left the detention center.

Sharon waited, making sure no one raised the alarm about the missing launch keys, then went to Colonial One to see if the evacuation was really going to happen.

* * *



It looked like a dentist's chair - and though Sam had never had a problem with the dentist, there was something about it that made his stomach flop over slowly.

"Can I go back to my cell?" he quipped, but the Centurions were there to herd him to the chair.

There was a pair of Threes, too, and they locked some sort of restraints over his arms and legs and across his chest until he was immobilized.

His heart was pounding and he had to dampen his lips to speak. "You don't have to do this. I've told you the truth. I don't know."

"And I believe you," the Three who had found him leaned close. "But I need proof, Sam."

He shook his head, feeling fear coil up and sit inside his chest. "I can't -- I get feelings, I know things, but it hasn't happened for a long time. I can't do it like this."

Her voice softened and she stroked his cheek with her fingers. "You said we shouldn't be here. Then where should we go?"

"Earth. Cylon and Human must find Earth," he answered, in a voice that felt strangled. Because he knew the next question and he knew he had no answer.

"But where is it? How do we find it?"

"I don't know."

She smiled - an expression which didn't penetrate the zealous glint of her eyes. "See, that's the part I don't believe, Sam. You know. Somewhere, deep inside you, you know. And we're going to find it, you and I."

She straightened and brought a small wheeled cart near. Taking two silvery metal caps connected to wires from the equipment on the cart, she fitted them over his fingers, and he jerked as needles stabbed under his nails. "Ow. Frak!"

"The probes have to be in the right place," she explained. "You see, Sam, this is a neural amplifier. We use it to interface directly to the ship manually. In a human… well, I’m afraid it's useful for direct stimulation of your nervous system."

He eyed the device, wondering. If it didn't work, would she figure out the truth? Perhaps that wouldn't be so bad if the Cylons found out; maybe they'd listen to him…

She turned it on, and his whole body twitched. His hand tingled.

"We'll start low," she told him brightly. "Remember, when you find the way to Earth, we'll stop."

She did something to the device and the tingling in his hand grew into merciless pins-and-needles traveling up his arm and spreading to cover his body. He gritted his teeth, shaking against the restraints. He stared at her desperately, hoping she would stop soon but terrified she was never going to believe him.

It seemed to last an eternity.

Until suddenly it was gone. He slumped, and his eyes shut as he tried to breathe.

"Earth," she whispered in his ear. "How do we find Earth?"

"I don't know!" he insisted. "I saw it, I know we have to go there, but I don't know how to get there."

She looked disappointed. "All right. I guess we'll have to try harder then."

Turning to her equipment, away from him, she did something --

The pain swept through him, fire from his hand, burning all through him.

He could hear himself yelling, feel how he pushed against the restraints so most of his body wasn't even touching the chair, but he couldn't stop, couldn't find a moment to control himself...

There was nowhere to go.

Then it stopped. He was still rigid against the restraints, panting desperately for air. His heart was pounding painfully hard in his chest. He started to shake and the more he tried to stop, the worse it got. His left hand rattled in its cuff and the other hand…. he couldn't feel the other one at all.

He heard her ask again, "Earth. How do we find Earth, Samuel?"

"I - " his voice was a hoarse desperate whisper, "I don't know… I don't…"

The burning came back, every nerve on fire.

Then there was her voice again, in his ear, the voice of a devil in the midst of the pain, "Tell me how to find Earth and it stops."

He wanted it to stop. Just… to stop.

And then she was gone. The pain was gone.

Everything.

The darkness was absolute, like ink or the depths of the ocean. There were no stars, nothing to brighten it. He turned around, looking… He felt he was standing on something, but he couldn't see the floor. Was he blind? Reaching out both hands, one in front of him and one out to the side, he shuffled forward, trying to find a wall. Anything.

There was something soft brushing his hand and he clutched it, desperately, proof there was something in the nothingness. It felt like … fur. He looked down but couldn't see anything, even though his fingers dipped into the long fur like some especially plush dog's coat. Then it began to move and he held onto the fur, walking forward and trusting the animal to lead him.

He followed and, little by little, his surroundings lightened. He could now see something less dark on his left which became a wall, lit by the faintest of glow. Not blind, then.

Glancing down he blinked in surprise. He was clutching the mane of an immense golden lion.

It turned its head slowly to look up at Sam, fixing alert yellow eyes on him with mild interest, and then continued to pad forward. Sam followed, confused, especially once he realized they were inside a Cylon baseship.

They walked down one of the many identical corridors, without turning or seeing anyone. Just when he was sure it couldn't possibly be this long, it opened into an equally deserted control room. There was a window at the front which shouldn't be there. He followed the lion right up to the window and was not surprised to see a planet with blue seas and white clouds afloat in endless starry black. It was same image he remembered from before: Earth.

Sam glanced down and the lion met his eyes, blinking slowly, before turning his head once more to Earth. Sam did the same, looking at the beautiful blue seas...
Then the image vanished. He was back in the interrogation room, staring into D'Anna's blue eyes.

Pain fell on him again, a wave crashing through him. His lungs heaved, needing air as if he had been drowning, but his chest was too tight.

"You saw something. You really did, didn't you?" she demanded eagerly. "What did you see?"

He couldn't answer. He couldn't breathe, could only gasp. The inside of his mouth tasted like blood.

Her fingers stroked his cheek, gentle to the touch, but threat shone in her eyes. "Tell me, Sam," she said. "Tell me what you saw. I have to know."

His body shook against the chair uncontrollably, and there was a sharp spike of pain right behind his eyes, intense enough to make his eyes water.

"The lion …" he whispered to her. "I saw the lion. Follow the lion…"

The same lion was sitting on the floor next to her.

He blinked, trying to make it go away. But it continued to sit there and watch him.

"What lion?" she demanded in confusion, not seeing it.

His eyes met the lion's golden-eyed gaze, and it blinked at him again and then yawned, showing a mouth full of pointy teeth and a bright red tongue. But he felt no danger, only exhaustion. He forced out, his voice weak and fading, "The lion will lead us to Earth…"

"What does that mean?" D'Anna grabbed his shoulder and shook him. It didn't help him find the strength to speak again. "Sam? What does that mean?"

But he had no answer for her, as the grey mist gathered across his eyes, and he let go into the welcome dark.







Go on to Chapter Five: Second Exodus (Redux)!
 
 
 
clezzy.: there's too much confusionclez on January 9th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
!!!! I hate that chair :( Poor Sam! The lion is an awesome addition, and I'm really keen to see where it leads. As usual, your narratives are so compelling, and all your character voices are spot on ♥ I love this fic so much, I got really excited when I saw the update on my flist :D I eagerly await the next/last part!
lizardbeth: Anders- Helolizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
It's a mean, nasty chair, yes. But the lion's fun and he'll hang around a little while.

Thanks! One more!
patron saint of neglected female characters: anders-musicrose_griffes on January 10th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Leoben knew what the hybrid was saying! Excellent! Oooh, and more ambiguous hybrid rambling which will be important later! Yay!

And head!Kara who's not Kara?! And Sharons talking to each other, with apologies! And oh noes, D'Anna has her evil iPod iPain machine again!

*dances around giddily*

Did I ever mention that I used to say that I didn't like AU fic? Ha!
lizardbeth: Anders-streamlizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
AMBIGUOUS HYBRID RAMBLING? you don't say.... ;) The evil iPod - *snerk*

You were just waiting for the right AU, I guess. :D But I'm glad you're enjoying it.
something clever: kara downfallshah_of_blah on January 10th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
I liked this chapter a lot. Kara pulling it together enough to come up with the plan, then going crazy over the training, and the Admiral pushing everyone to try harder. Sharon just trying to figure things out, and keeping the tags. And I really liked Sam's not!Kara. She was great.
lizardbeth: Anders- b&wlizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! Sam's Head!Kara is ... an interesting character to write, since I'm just guessing what they are, like the rest of us. I guess I'll find out soon enough if I'm right.... :)
Mayhem Parvaraincitygirl on January 10th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC)
I like this Boomer's arc so much better than in canon.

BTW, love how you're playing around with S3, keeping things from canon but in a switched-up way. And finally a Leoben who stops paying attention to the stream long enough to be borderline useful for once!
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
I think we all know how Boomer just BREAKS MY HEART into a million pieces, so I figure, since I'm shifting everything just a bit to the side, why not let her NOT get her soul crushed, y'know? New Caprica is still a failure, but at least she has hope. aw, Boomer. *sad*

*snerk* 'borderine useful' Leoben. Indeed.

Allison: K/A Homefrolicndetour on January 10th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Great chapter! I knew if Starbuck was there there wouldn't be any nonsense about leaving everyone behind. ;) She'd come up with a plan! I like how the training problems mirror those we saw at the beginning of season three, though.

I LOVE Sam's head Kara. What an nice touch. (Also, the transition between Kara wishing she were somewhere else and Sam projecting.) And she's so snarky too. *googles Theseus*

Hooray for Boomer not getting her soul crushed!

Ahh, not the ipod of doom! Poor Sam. I absolutely love the vision with the lion, though.

I sort of feel about this the way I do about the show; I can't wait for the next part, but I can because then it will be over. At least for a while.
lizardbeth: Anders- b&wlizardbeth_j on January 10th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
You mean you *didn't* google Theseus before? tsk. ;) Thus you see why there's a labyrinth in the title - it's a thematic/arc thing. Though it's not a tight parallel so don't get all sad because Theseus gets brutally killed by an usurper in the myths... :)

As I mention above, we'll keep the lion for a little while. Sam just collects strange pets, I guess. :D

aw, thanks! It'll just be a hiatus. *nods*
Artemis: sam & gun = hwtartemis_90 on January 10th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
finally caught up!

Love this fic! I can't believe there is only one more. Sam's the oracle and the MAN. How will he get out there and get the tags back?
lizardbeth: Anders - greylizardbeth_j on January 11th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
thanks! One more chapter of THIS story (I have quite a bit started on the sequel already, so there'll be more).

SAM IS THE MAN. YES.
emmiere: andersemmiere on January 11th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Great chapter.

I love Kara's competence here, she seemed to be increasingly together before NC shattered her again, and it's nice to see here. I miss that.

Boomer!

The vision lion was interesting, Sam's collecting as many head characters as Baltar at this rate. Though it is not helping my strange Narnia flashes from the Natalie/Sam fic at all. What a weird tangent my mind goes in. *sigh*
lizardbeth: Anders- b&wlizardbeth_j on January 11th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
No, the lion doesn't help, does it? LOL.

And yeah, Kara still has issues, but when she pulls it together she's really something.

thanks
zahdahezahdahe on January 11th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
OK! LOVING THIS. But the continued torture and suffering of Sammy has got to maybe not stop but slow down and intersperse it with hot sexing with Kara. Sorry going off there. Loved the discussion with the two 8's. I think that given time the 2 Sharons would actually become quite close. Smacks bad 3, bitchslapping 3. She needs it - demanding bitch.
lizardbeth: Anders- b&wlizardbeth_j on January 12th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
hee. sorry. lol The last part might be more what you're looking for. Sort of. :P

entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on January 15th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
So, man. Now I'm wondering....

head!Kara/head!Leoben?

lizardbeth: Leoben-Kara paint!sexlizardbeth_j on January 15th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC)
*snickers* What else do they have to do when they're not dropping cryptic hints to their mortal pets?

... unless they're the same entity in different faces. That would be weird.
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on January 15th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
See, I sort of find that theory doesn't allow for enough permutations. And head!Six is too zealous to not be her own person, anyway.

I figure they are like the Ancients, interfering when Oma isn't looking.
kag523 on July 6th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
There is so much going on now that I thought "I'm going to comment on that" a hundred times and I've totally forgotten now the specifics, so you'll get two or three that really, REALLY stuck out.

Kara "Never said I was" EEEEEEEeeeeee! OMG - I love throw backs to other things that have happened in canon, and this felt so natural and real and somehow perfectly FITTING for this story.

Sharon's storyline is starting to draw me in, much as Sam's has. Loved this!

Kara's self-destructive tendancies, while still pulling together a kick-ass plan. Really loved her grief. It is lovely and so sad. Awesome!

I'm wishing I had more time to read (but given thesis I"m dragging this out for my own pleasure). Thank you for being so prolific and giving me something to look forward to. Wonderful!
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders last supperlizardbeth_j on July 9th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
:D

Head!Kara is... important. :)

Sharon's our window into what the Cylons are doing when sam, is, er otherwise occupied.:) ANd also I get to say FRAK YOU RON for what he did to Boomer. :)

glad I can provide a bit of distraction in the midst of your epic RL ness!
kag523 on July 9th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
*hugs you super tight for your EPIC writing*

I wish I had time to read more of this. Right now I'm just trying not to drown in rewrites. Honestly - this story is just... AWESOME! I cannot wait to get back into it. Thank you for this, L. You really have created an amazing world for me to revel in. :>D

(And yes. I get SO ANGRY over the Boomer storyline. Gah!)