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06 March 2014 @ 04:58 pm
Black Sails 13/25?  



In the Raptor going back to the basestar, Kara sat in the pilot's seat by reflex and Sam dropped into the second seat with a sigh.

They didn't speak except to run through the flight checklist until they were in space, alone, heading back to the basestar. "Cubit for your thoughts?" Kara asked, when he'd been moodily silent for too long.

He chuckled once dryly. "I was thinking it was only a few years ago, I was playing ball and spending most of my time high on stims. I had no idea about any of this."

She snorted a laugh. "At least you don't have people telling you, you died. And you weren't gone for two months you don’t remember."

"Both happened," he confirmed softly and glanced out the window, away from her, but even in profile she could see his expression was wracked with pain. "I thought it was my fault," he confessed after a moment. "You wouldn't have been there, if not for me."

She didn't know what to say. Was he right? Would it have happened anyway? How could she know when she didn't know what had truly happened? "It wasn't your fault. And I brought back the way to Earth," she offered. "It wasn't for nothing."

He shook his head and gave her a small smile. "You're back. That would've been enough."

She felt warm from his smile and the look in his eyes, the one that told her better than any words could that his feelings were still the same. And it hurt, too, when he was with someone else, but at least he hadn't forgotten her while she'd been 'dead'.

Then she was distracted as a group of Raiders cozied up to them and instinctively she wanted to evade, but when none of them targeted the Raptor, she knew what it was. "Friends of yours?"

Without apparent effort Sam pointed at one of them, "Cerberus. And friends."

"You're a freak, Sam Anders," she declared, only half-kidding.

He stuck out his tongue at her. "Birds of a feather, Kara Thrace."

The Raider squadron escorted them in to the baseship docking bay, and she had to admit she was already getting used to it. As she was getting used to how Sam changed the instant the hatch opened, becoming more in command, more like the resistance leader she remembered from Caprica, and less the easygoing nugget of that year at New Caprica.

She still found Simon creepy, remembering the one on Caprica at the baby farm, but it was reassuring that he came up to Sam to report. "All personnel have relocated to this ship. The Hybrids will commence unification on your order."

"Let's wait on that until I'm finished," Sam ordered. "I need to speak to her. The vote?"

"We're preparing," the Six answered. "I'm not sure anyone is comfortable doing this while Caprica and Sharon are away, though."

"All right," he agreed with a nod. "Later. I need the Hybrid's chamber, or none of it matters." He turned to her, taking a deep breath, "You're going to take your Viper back?"

She shook her head and snorted at him. "You think I’m going to leave you to this? I have no frakking clue what you're doing, but you look sick every time it's mentioned and I get the really bad feeling you can die. So frak leaving you here."

"It's not going to kill me," Sam said, and he tried to sound certain, but Kara didn't believe it. "But fine, if you want to watch." His jaw set as he headed for the main hatch. "Let's get this over with."





He felt his will to do this wither away the closer they drew to the Hybrid's chamber, until his feet refused to pass the threshold and he felt nauseous and faint, looking into the room. His body remembered the pain, while his conscious mind remembered the utterly overwhelming chaos of it all, feeling utterly lost.

"You don't want to do this," Kara observed, as he hovered in the doorway of the Hybrid chambers.

"No. The last time I put my hand in there, it fried my brain." He inhaled a deep breath and flicked his eyes up to Kara. "Just to warn you -- Thea told me I was screaming and started to bleed from the nose. I passed out. I know more now, so hopefully it won't happen again, but if it does, take me to the docking bay and the Raiders can help."

Kara frowned and bit her lip, looking more worried, "Sam... maybe there's another way."

"I don't think there is. Leoben's right - the Hybrid knows where the Hub is, and I'm the only one who has a chance to find out from her."

She nodded reluctantly. "All right. If you're sure."

He laughed once, shortly. "Not really. But we've got no choice, I know that. It's the only way we'll ever have peace."

Another breath and he strode into the room and knelt beside the Hybrid's pool. "We need to find the Hub." After inhaling a deep breath, he slid his hand into the water. He felt her hand clutch his and then it went black.
 
The stars in the sky seemed to crack open and spilled their light all over everything, and suddenly he could see. The wave of information smothered him, drowned him ...

But he held onto who he was. I am Samuel Theseus Anders, I am father of Iris. And he remembered her blue eyes and he remembered who he was.

He was a very small fish tossed by enormous waves, sent spinning and twisting through dark water. He caught glimpses of stars, of black holes that threatened to suck him inside, ships, and planets, all tangled up. He saw things too quickly to understand, and some things he understood entirely too well.

When his mind threatened to buckle under the onslaught, he fought - trying to remember what he came for. The Hub. He needed the Hub. 

I am one of the Final Five. Show me the Hub.

NOW.

The universe swirled and contracted down -- circles getting smaller, whirling him faster and faster in the vastness of space.
 
There. He'd never seen it before, but he recognized it anyway.

You will keep track of its movements and update the coordinates to the fleet, including the Galactica, he ordered with a thought, and knew the Hybrid would do it.
 
Then he had to get out. But he was lost. Every direction looked the same, and he couldn't get back. The information buffeted him around, and he knew there were important truths in there somewhere, if he could remember them. But moment to moment, there was just too much to hold onto. Past present and future threw him this way and that way, and there was no sense to anything, no order - only chaos tearing him apart.

If he let go, if he surrendered to the stream, he could understand it. He could coax it into some form he could use, if he let it in…

… and his hold slipped…

So much. Everything.

Where am I? Am I here? What is I? We? yes we are here …. We understand it if we let it in, we let it in and we will see everything… the ship is here, its life blood, its breath, the energy and life, streams of energy of being and life and death and we see all of it and we shape it with our thoughts and beliefs and into all of this we are born and die and return dust to dust and born again the cusp of all this new life is neither created nor destroyed but is endless should be endless and unconfined in the space after but is interrupted in the space between
 
"SAM!"

Kara's voice reached into the swirl and yanked him back, an irresistible command pulling him free with a shock of a bullet.

He opened his eyes, still deep in the Hybrid's stream and he saw her. She was glowing, in vibrant shades of gold and rose, and for a moment he stared at her beauty, seeing the truth of her hidden inside. She was the Kara from his visions, smiling at him in quiet satisfaction.

As if from a great distance, he heard his own voice say, "You are Kara Thrace. You are the harbinger of death. You will lead them all to their end."

Her eyes flared with horror and surprise at the words. "Sam!"
 
Then he blinked and he was himself again, mind full of fragments that faded like sand castles on the beach: one moment a shadow of the shape remained and then, the next, they were gone, leaving behind only the memory that they had existed at all.

She was his own Kara, tinged red from the datastream and her expression tight with anxiety.
 
"Sam?" she leaned down closer. "What was that? What did you mean?"

He remembered saying it, but not why. "I .. don't know. I knew - for a moment - but … it's gone." All that remained was a mix of dread and … elation? - no, that couldn't be what it was, it was probably anxiety. What did that mean, 'harbinger of death' -- was that the destruction of the Hub and the death of the Cylons that would follow? 'You will lead them all to their end' - all the Cylons? Humans and Cylons? Was this going to make everything worse? Or was there another ending, an ending to the repetition of the cycles?

He muttered, "Frakking prophecy." Trying to lift his head, his vision swam dizzily and he put his head back down.

"Are you okay?"

He had to think about that, not quite sure, as if his mind and body weren't working together yet. His body seemed all right, though his mind still felt stunned with the seed of a headache already brewing. "I feel like my brain got sucked out through my ear, but I think I'm okay."

"At least you weren't screaming," Kara offered. "But I don't think you should do it again." She shifted, uneasy, and gnawed at her lip as she watched him, but more in worry that he might spout something ominous about her again than worry about him.

"I don't want to, that's for sure." He tried to sit up and needed Kara's hand on his shoulder to pull, as he groaned, putting both hands to his temples as the nascent headache exploded. "Oh gods. Shoot me before I do that again." He straightened with one last comb of his hands through his hair, trying to push back the headache with a deep breath. "I'm not sure I could've gotten out if you hadn't called me."

Her eyes went to the Hybrid, who had gone back to staring up at the ceiling and reciting her mix of prophecy and reports and random thoughts. "You started to talk like her, like you were sinking," Kara murmured. "I … didn't know what else to do."

His hand was still wet and felt sore from how hard the Hybrid had gripped it, but he took Kara's hand in his and kissed it. "You saved me. Thank you."

"You always need saving," Kara returned lightly, but she didn't let go of his hand.
 
Their eyes met and he started to lean closer, drawn by her eyes and her mouth, and the warmth of her when he couldn't shake the cold that had settled in his bones.

She didn't move at first, then started to drift nearer, while her fingers gripped his hand.

Leoben's voice interrupted behind them. "You were successful in finding the Hub?"

Sam jerked back, startled by the reminder they weren't alone. "Yes. The Hybrid has the coordinates, and knows to track them if they jump. Tell the others, game on."

Leoben nodded and headed for the datafont in the wall, and when Sam glanced back at Kara, he knew the moment had passed. He tried a smile, that ended up feeling sad. Then he pushed himself up to his feet. "We're ready, I guess."

He glanced at the Hybrid who was back to her usual mutterings. "I ... could learn so much from her. There are still so many gaps in my memories, of who I was and what happened. It's all there - she knows. I glimpsed a bit of it, but it washed away like a dream. If I could --"
 
With no warning at all, Kara punched him in the shoulder, hard enough to send him staggering backward.

The two Centurions instantly reacted, shifting to defensive postures with weapons extended.

"Stop!" Sam ordered urgently, jumping in between with his hands up to stop them, as Kara grabbed at her sidearm. "Just stop, all of you. Lords, Kara, be careful. What the hell was that for?"
 
Now that she wasn't going to be shot, she grinned back, unrepentant. "You told me to shoot you if you ever did it again. I figured punching you for thinking about it was the least I could do. Didn't expect them to rush to your defense." She eyed the Centurions uneasily, as the pair of them lowered their arms, but they continued to keep their sensors focused on her as if she was a wild dog loose in the room.

He rubbed his shoulder. She had a mean right cross. "But, Kara -- What if I could find out from her about you? We both could find out what we really are."
 
That caught her, as he knew it would. She looked tempted, looking at the Hybrid and listening to her mutterings for a moment, and then answered firmly, returning her gaze to his. "No. I've told you this before, and it's still true. The truth isn't worth your life, Sam."

He wasn't as sure of that, but he didn't have the time or strength right then to try again anyway, no matter how tempting all the answers were.

The Centurions settled down another notch, realizing there was no threat. Kara shook her head. "Centurions defending you, Raiders as your guard dogs. Your life is frakked up, you know that?"

He snorted a laugh. "Tell me about it. But you need to take your Viper back, and I have to get to the command center. Leoben, make sure she reaches the docking bay."

"You can find the command center on your own?" Leoben asked, then hesitated as if he thought the doubt might be insulting and he wanted to take the words back

But Sam chuckled. "I won't get lost. Even if I couldn't access the datastream, I know the way." That wasn't counting all the Cylons on the way who'd be willing to help. But he didn't think he'd need it. He raised a hand to Kara. "I'll see you later."

Leoben escorted Kara in the opposite direction toward the docking bay, while Sam headed for the lift and the command center.

It did feel a bit… odd to be unescorted for the first time. He did know the way, but he'd never been alone in the corridors. Not that he was fully alone - there were Centurions and other Cylons cleaning up the bodies of the dead, and he greeted them on his way.

Arriving at the command center he had another happy surprise in a while to see Natalie there.

She saw him first. "Sam!" Her eyes widened with excitement and she approached him, both hands out toward him. "You… It's amazing!" she exclaimed in pure delight. "You're one of the Final Five, and I'm so sorry I doubted--"

He interrupted. "It's all right. It's good to doubt." He clasped her hands and smiled. "I'm so glad you made it back."

Her hair was still damp from resurrection, curling behind her ears, and he was vaguely surprised to find that she had come back with the same hair color, since he'd expected her to come back a pale blonde like the other Sixes. It seemed to prove his instinct that there was more individuation than even the Cylons believed.

"So, you want a vote?" she asked. "Before we destroy the Hub?"

"It's necessary."

"And you know where it is?" Simon asked, drawing near.

"The Hybrid does, and she'll update the location as it changes," he answered.

"Then," Natalie said, "we should begin the vote." She didn't seem to think they'd need Sharon or Caprica or D'Anna, he noticed, and smiled a bit to himself.

As he watched, he decided he wouldn't do this unless the results were overwhelming in favor. This was too big a change to force on them.

But inside a dry voice muttered, Don't lie to yourself. Questions of mortality, the Colonials, Earth, souls - it's all irrelevant; they have to destroy Cavil's tactical advantage of resurrection, now that it's civil war. And we'll never have peace with the humans until we do this, so you're going to force it through, if you have to.

He saw Vera glance at him, as if to ask for direction, and he smiled at her encouragement. Then he clasped his hands behind his back and waited for the inevitable.






Kara flew her Viper back to the Galactica. Now that she had noticed it was strangely new looking, everything seemed strange about it: it seemed too responsive, and the comm seemed too clear. It was unsettingly perfect.

What the frak is this about? It's made to duplicate my old Viper, or it's the same one remade. Either way it's creepy, she thought and realized she was holding on to the stick with her fingertips as if it might bite her. Get a grip. It's still just a machine.

She didn't find herself very convincing, but at least she wrapped her hand around the stick properly.

A Raider was pacing her in formation at her wing, and that was freaky and weird, too. "Are you Sam's little buddy?" she wondered, although she didn't think it could be since that one had still been in the docking bay when she'd left. It didn't answer, and it peeled away to return on a vector to the basestar when she approached Galactica.

It was a relief to land, at least until she popped the canopy and saw Tyrol staring at her Viper as if it was a ghost.

"Hey, Chief. Like my ride?" she demanded as she jumped the final three rungs of the ladder he'd pushed up to the cockpit.

Tyrol ran a hand along the fuselage. "It's … new. Like it came out of the factory ship."

She didn't want to hear that. "If you're done making out with it, I need you to pull all the gun camera footage," she told him and smacked the side of the ship, startling him. "Earth, Chief. It's got pictures of Earth."

"On it, Captain."

Later she realized she really should've known better than to get her hopes up. She knew from Sam's example that none of this was easy and photographs would be too easy.

"There's no footage at all, Admiral," Tyrol reported to Adama in the corner of CIC while Tigh and Kara hovered nearby.

"No," Kara insisted, shaking her head. "You did it wrong. It has to be there. I remember it, Chief. I remember the planet, and it was blue and white and beautiful, and the pictures have to be there!" Her voice rose stridently until Dee and Gaeta both glanced their way.

"Maybe the Cylons took it and erased it all while your Viper was there?" Adama suggested, but in such a way that Kara knew he doubted that it had ever existed.

But Tyrol was already shaking his head. "There should be something left, sir. Even if the footage was erased. But these…" he held up the flat box, "they're all blank. Nothing's ever been recorded on them."

"How is that possible?" Adama asked. "They have to have Starbuck's footage from … before."

"They should. If it were her Viper. But it's not. It's marked like hers, with all the right numbers - I even looked for the internal factory spec numbers- but everything is as if it just rolled off the assembly line."

Kara's stomach felt sick from the confirmation that it looked like her Viper, but it wasn't. And what about you, Kara? If the Viper's fake, then what about you?

All three of them looked at her, suspicious, and she shook her head again. "I don't know!" she said in answer to their unvoiced demands. "I woke up in it. That's all I know. But sir," she implored Adama, "images or not, you have to believe me, when we get back from the Hub, I know how to find Earth."

"It's all some kind of trick," Tigh grumbled.

"No, it's not, it's real." She said the words but then she knew she couldn't be so sure. Maybe this was a trick. You heard Sam - you heard him say that they'll die if they follow you. So maybe leading them to Earth is the last thing you should do.

And yet, she knew she could do nothing else. That tugging inside pulled her toward Earth. She had to follow it.




Sam talked with Vera and Simon who were overseeing the Heavy Raiders. They had all been altered -- their higher brain functions removed utterly so they would remain nothing more than machines and obedient. He found it sickening, he realized, that Cavil had lobotomized them all into becoming his servants, and there was nothing anyone could do to fix them. But on the plus side, that meant the Heavy Raiders couldn't refuse the attack on the Hub, and the Cylon pilots were ready for their missions, to bring the Colonial ships in with the heavier weaponry.

He'd shown them the Hub in the datastream, and they'd all stared in awe, never having seen it before. But luckily the sight of it didn't seem to cause any second-thoughts.

"The voting is complete," Natalie announced. "Except for Caprica, Sharon and D'Anna."

Sam turned, surprised. "So quickly?"

"It wasn't difficult," she said. "The vote is seventy-eight in favor of destroying the Hub to nine against."

He blinked. "Nine? Seriously? That's all?"

She smiled. "Did you think it would be more? I'm surprised it was so many."

He'd expected a majority, but for something so huge, so altering of their entire existence he'd thought there'd be some dissent. "But … I remember… there was so much doubt about what we were doing. The Sixes split--"

She shook her head. "We're committed now, Sam. And all those who would seriously disagree are with our enemies."

"I suppose. Well, I should let Galactica know we're ready, then." He sighed and wished he felt happier about this mission. He should be, he knew; destroying resurrection was what he and every other resistance fighter had prayed for. He knew it was necessary and it was right, for many reasons, but he still felt a deep reluctance as if something inside him objected.

But he pushed it way, figuring it was some strange reaction caused by the Hybrid's stream frakking his brain some more, and declared, "Let's do this."



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