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10 November 2009 @ 10:18 pm
The Thread of Ariadne, Ch. 7  
Chapter Seven

He piloted the Raptor into the lower docking bay of the basestar, avoiding the dead Raiders. The lights were flickering in the tunnel, and he had to use the Raptor's own landing lights to find the platform. When he was down, he checked all the seals on his flight-suit and opened the Raptor doors.

The docking bay tunnel hadn't closed and repressurized, so it was still exposed to vacuum, but the gravity was enough to keep him from floating away as he made his way to the main hatch.

Inside, the dim reddish light hid nothing of the horror of Cylons all over the deck in various states of madness and death.

He hurried to the Four still upright, though he was retching with painful heaves. "Simon. What happened?"

"You did this," the Four whispered. "You..."

"No," he answered helplessly, "no, it was an accident. I'm sorry; I didn't know. I didn't know. Please, what happened?"

The Four closed his eyes and struggled to speak. "Found ancient beacon. Brought it aboard.... disease. Infected us all... You... you did this," he insisted, voice fading as he listed to one side. "You..."

Sam shook his head in helpless denial and guilt, watching the life go out of him. No resurrection for him, not for any of them, with the resurrection ship out of range.

The blonde Six was already dead, but he knelt at the side of the black-haired model. "Can I help you?" he asked. "I'll get you water..."

"You…" she coughed and he flinched, thinking she was blaming him, too. But she reached up with her free hand, imploring. He took it in his gloved hand and squeezed.

"You're not alone," he whispered.

"I see you," she murmured, and her eyes were big and shiny with awe, but looking past him. "I see you. You're so bright…"

She died, still looking beyond him, at something he couldn't see. He took a moment before gently putting her hand down.

An Eight murmured, "Sam… " And he went to her, pushing her wet hair off her face.

"I'm here." She wasn't the last he comforted either, going from Cylon to Cylon, holding their hands or staying at their side until they were gone into death.

"Anders…" He looked down to see one of the Fives - usually immaculate suit covered in bile and blood. He realized, when he knelt down, that this was the same Five who had beaten him in the cell. He braced himself for an attack and accusation that he'd killed the Cylons, but had a shock.

"I never saw it before…" Doral whispered, looking up at him. "But … now, projecting, I see you - the truth," he struggled to get the words out. "Forgive me," he murmured, fading. "I didn't know… forgive me…"

There was no way Sam could refuse such an anguished plea. "I forgive you, Aaron," Sam murmured. "The others are waiting for you."

Doral's expression smoothed into peace and he died.

Sam eyed the beacon, squatting on the deck like a giant dark toad, and decided he should first see if there was anyone he could save, though he was painfully sure it was too late.

He made his way to the control center, losing his bearings only once, and found flickering lights. It was deserted except for a Two, sitting up against the datafont. He saw Sam enter, coughed and said hoarsely, "I was right about you. You found your destiny and it is glorious."

"You were on Caprica," Sam realized then frowned. "No, you're different."

"Still so human," Leoben chided, weak but amused. "I remember."

Sam got it then: Leoben had the downloaded memories of the one Sam had shot, even though he wasn't the same individual. Sometimes that still confused him that they could share memories, yet retain individuality.

Leoben grimaced in pain. "Destroy the ship," he requested. "Don't let this spread to the others."

"How? How can I destroy it?"

"Datafont." He coughed again, and Sam held his shoulder to keep him steady. When he raised his head again, there was blood on his lips and Sam knew it wasn't going to be long. "Tell the ship to die."

"But I can't - I don't know how--"

"You are one of the Five," Leoben reached out a hand and grabbed Sam's forearm with a surprisingly tight grip. "The ship - will listen."

Instinctively Sam wanted to deny and pull away, but he did neither. "How do you know?" he asked instead.

"The light…" Leoben whispered, gazing at him. "You shine… in the place… between…"

Sam leaned closer. "What are the Five?" he asked urgently. "I don't know what I am, Leoben. Help me understand."

"Eternal," Leoben whispered pushing the words out, with each hard-fought breath, looking straight at Sam. "Sacred. Hands of God. … the cycle before… If only … you could remember.…" His voice trailed off and his grip loosened. Sam caught his hand before it could fall to the floor.

"Leoben?" Sam asked, anxiously, but in a moment, Leoben breathed his last.

Sam sat back on his heels, unable to move, all the deaths heavy on his shoulders, pressing him to the floor. He shut his eyes, trying to simply breathe and not think of what Leoben meant. If Leoben even knew what the frak he was talking about.

Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself up to his feet. He'd seen the others do this often enough, and been hugely tempted to do it all the time, but had never dared when someone could see him. Slowly he peeled off his glove and tucked it in his pocket. Inhaling another deep breath, he put his hand in.

The liquid was cold and gel-like, thicker than the watery stuff on a healthy basestar. When his palm touched the bottom plate, it felt like frozen glass, prickling his skin. Nothing happened.

He looked down at his hand, wondering if he wasn't the right sort of Cylon or not a Cylon at all, or if the ship was just too damaged. But then he remembered how he had felt when communicating with the Raider, and lowered his eyes to concentrate, trying to feel that same sense of connection.

The prickling sensation in his skin increased and the panel lit up. The light flickered and he focused on his hand, the liquid, and the panel beneath it, trying to will a connection.

With an abruptness that made his whole body twitch, there was a display before his eyes - like a computer viewscreen spanning the width of his vision. Colored lines and words were written on air, and he reached out with his other hand, as if he could touch them. But of course the image wasn't real at all - it was in his head, he realized. He was seeing it because the connection was putting it in his brain and his brain was making him believe he was seeing it with his eyes.

It was all Cylon projection - a virtual reality overlaid on top of true reality.

He gulped hard, trying to steady his nerves. He could connect with the baseship that meant he was a Cylon. He was touching the infected baseship. He could now be infected himself. His hands trembled and he nearly lost the connection, before pressing his hand down again.

Ignoring the readouts he didn't understand or seemed irrelevant, he looked at the virtual screen and focused on "self-destruct" and images of the basestar blowing up. The ship was sluggish and the screen faded in and out. "Self-destruct," he said aloud and his eyes scanned the screen, searching for a place he could input a command, but the screen kept changing too fast to understand.

The image disappeared, returning a moment later, frayed with static. But he knew he'd accessed the right place and could see where to input a time. He didn't have to say it aloud - merely thinking an hour was enough to fill in the time and set the clock running.

He hoped that was enough time to get himself clear, but not so much the Colonial Fleet would find this place. Then he pulled his hand out of the goo, wishing they'd thought to put a towel rack nearby. At the rear of the room, he kicked the panel to open the sink and washed his hands as thoroughly as he could, all the while fearing it was too little, too late.

After that, he moved the beacon to the docking bay and used the small hand welder to torch the surface - the infectious slime withered and burned. Using the medical and survival kits from the Raptor, he used both the alcohol and bleach in turn on the other surfaces. He kept an eye on his watch, but kept going as thoroughly as he could. When the readouts were clean, he loaded the big metal thing into the Raptor and launched.

He piloted the Raptor out into space, a distance from the basestar. He watched the baseship explode into grey dust through the window, sparing a thought for all the Cylons who died with it.

He moved aft so he could put the beacon back in space. His hand stopped before opening the hatch and he glanced back. It seemed to loom large in the room, and he knelt beside it. His gloved hand stretched out to touch it, stroking along the pitted metallic surface. But somehow it wasn't enough. He wanted to touch it.

Licking his lips because he knew this was stupid and risky, and yet he couldn't stop, he pulled off the left glove and laid his bare hand on the metal skin.

A sharp electrical shock passed up his arm and down his spine, shooting like lightning out to his fingers and toes. He jerked his hand away with a gasp.

"Frak, you're an idiot, Anders," he muttered to himself, shaking his tingling hand vigorously.

He put his glove back on and, anxious to get rid of the thing, he tethered himself to the Raptor, opened the hatch and pushed the beacon outside into space. It floated away and he watched it until it lost the glow from the nebula and he couldn't see it anymore.

He closed the ramp again, sealed up the ship, and went back to sit in the pilot's chair. He looked out at the nebula and its "blinking" pulsar, and he knew Roslin would use her knowledge of the sacred scrolls to find the way.

The Colonial Fleet was coming. He had a Raptor, he had life support, and he already knew he could do without food for quite awhile. He could wait for them. When they appeared, he could set down the Raptor in the docking bay of Galactica. He could find Kara. He could go home. He didn't have to go back to the baseship.

He had a choice.

But as he lingered, he knew he didn't. Not really. The thought of his child growing inside Thea called him back, even more than knowing his path was with the Cylons. He wanted to see the baby and take her to Earth, and he couldn't do that if he wasn't with her.

The gods had known exactly what they were doing with the miracle baby - One slender, impossibly strong thread tied him to the Cylons, as surely as Sharon's baby had tied her to the humans, even through her own suffering and sacrifice.

"Gods damn it!" He slammed his palm into the edge of the console, in frustration and annoyance.

But he set the course back to the baseship and back to his path.

The Colonial Fleet would find the beacon, and the hope it represented. There was nothing more he could do for them.

In an eye blink he had left it behind.

* * *

He halted outside the baseship to report on the wireless. "It was a very old beacon. I think it was put there by the Thirteenth Tribe to mark the way. It must have held that disease dormant for thousands of years, and when the other ship opened it, they were all infected."

"Where is it?" one of the Threes asked.

"I left it there. The baseship blew up after I left. They're all gone."

There was a moment of silence and then a Six, maybe Thea -- it was impossible to tell them apart on the wireless - breathed, "God be with them."

Then an Eight said, "Come back aboard, Sam."

"I can't do that. I had to open my suit at one point. I'll have to stay here in quarantine and make sure I'm not sick and I can't spread it to you."

Then it was Thea for sure, "But Sam... you can't. We know that."

He shook his head even though she couldn't hear it. "No, we don't know for sure. I'm not taking the chance. Not with the baby."

He used the time alone to clean his suit and the Raptor interior as stringently as he could until he was lightheaded from fumes. But most of his time was spent in the pilot's chair looking out at space and the baseship rotating slowly on its vertical. The ship had an undeniable beauty to it, shining in the light of the stars and with its own lights, and though he didn't want to admit it, there in the quiet he had no choice but to realize he wasn't afraid of it any more.

They were his people, and his destiny was to shepherd them to Earth. Galactica and the Fleet had Roslin and Kara and Adama to help them; the Cylons had only him. Though he still questioned the wisdom of that decision, there wasn't much point in denying it either.

But brooding over his destiny and higher powers who seemed to think it was fun toying with him only took up so much time. He had enough air and water, but only found one ration bar in the survival packs, so hunger nagged at him, and reminded him of other enclosed spaces.

He closed his eyes and built his boat again - the sun, the waves, the sail creaking over his head. The image came faster this time, snapping into place around him, and except for how perfect everything was, it felt and smelled real. He experimented, building a new projection based on his dives on the reef. He felt the water cool against his skin, and when he opened his eyes, he could see the colors of the coral and the fish, bright in the shimmering sunlight.

The projection saved his mind, letting him be elsewhere, free on the water, at least until something nudged his ship. He opened his eyes to find a Raider right outside the cockpit, with a sense of impatience and eagerness to play flowing to him.

He laughed. "You really are a dog, aren't you? All right, all right. Let's see..."

After some thought, he launched an ECM drone and controlled it remotely, getting the Raiders to chase it and try to shoot it down while he evaded.

When it was time to sleep, his Raider and its squadron kept watch over him, hovering around him and cooing gently into his mind, soothing him past bad dreams and into sound sleep.

* * *

The next day, when he was showing no signs of illness, the Cylons decided they needed to send an experimental subject to find out whether Sam was a carrier. Leoben volunteered, and approached in a Heavy Raider. Sam suited up and opened the hatch. As he waited, his Raider came close enough its wings nearly touched, wanting Sam to come play. Even though Sam knew the Raider wouldn't hurt him on purpose, the idea of 'playing' out in the depths of space untethered sounded a bit too crazy even for him, so he refused regretfully, but stretched out to pat its wing.

But then Leoben was there in one of the Cylons' black flight suits, and the Raider moved to let him in. Sam grabbed his hand and pulled him inside. Leoben was still staring after the Raider when Sam closed the hatch.

When both atmosphere gauges read that the interior had repressurized, Sam took off his helmet. As soon as Leoben lifted his off, Sam shook his head. "You're nuts, you know that? If I'm a carrier, you're dead."

"Better me than the whole ship," Leoben pointed out, setting the case in his hand on the deck. "We need to know, but I think there's little risk." He pulled off his glove and held out his hand, palm facing upward.

Reluctantly, wondering if he was consigning Leoben to death, Sam laid his hand over Leoben's.

Something passed across his vision then -- Leoben was still there, but suddenly all Sam could see around them was blue sky, and for a second, the wind whipped at him.

He yanked free, and the instant they weren't touching anymore, the Raptor was there again. He stumbled back. "What -- what was that?"

"What did you see? A new vision?" Leoben asked, staring at him hungrily for revelation.

Sam shook his head and frowned. "I ... don't know. Blue sky I think. So it must have been a planet."

Leoben's expression flickered with surprise, as if the answer was not the one he expected at all. He glanced out the front window, toward the Raiders keeping the Raptor company, and then back at Sam. "You know you can trust me," he said softly. "We are completely alone here. I will not share anything you tell me with the others. Not even my brothers."

"Tell you what?" Sam asked, calmly enough, but his heart had started pounding. Leoben knew something. Sam had just given something away, somehow, with that flash of vision.

"You didn't see a vision -- you entered my projection," Leoben explained. "Only another Cylon should be able to do that and only with invitation. And yet you aren't a Cylon, because the disease doesn't affect you." He frowned more deeply and leaned closer to Sam, staring right into his eyes. "What are you, Sam Anders?"

The question struck Sam right in the chest, as if Leoben had kicked him. He lost his breath and shook his head back and forth, not able to stop until he swallowed down the sudden lump in his throat. "I-- I don't know," he admitted. Turning from Leoben's intent gaze, Sam focused on the space outside and the basestar slowly spinning and shining in the endless dark of space.

He believed Leoben would keep the secret, and that let him confess the truth. Or at least some of it. "I thought I knew, but now..." he trailed off and let out a breath. "I was sure on Caprica. Everything was so clear. I knew what to do; I could fight and get revenge. It was like pyramid, beautiful in its simplicity." He sat down in the pilot's seat, not touching the console, just looking out at the Raiders, who felt protective and yet content that they were there and he was near, as if that was all they needed to be happy.

Leoben said nothing, waiting for the rest. Finally Sam kept going, "Now, my head's all frakked up, and I don't even know if I'm human."

"Truly?" Leoben asked softly. Sam turned in his chair to look at him. Leoben added, when he had Sam's attention, "You're not certain you are human, despite your immunity to a Cylon disease and a hybrid child?"

Sam froze, but then figured it was too late to hide his doubts. "I thought I was," he admitted. "Now? I'm not frakking certain about anything. Look, I was a pyramid player, on the downside of my career. I wasn't special; I was just a guy. I sure as hell wasn't an oracle and I didn't get visitors who exist only in my head." Though if he were honest with himself, he'd sabotaged his career all on his own -- age had slowed him a little, but the stims had done most of it. And for the first time, he wondered if that restlessness had actually been his oracle talent trying to break free and he'd drowned it by partying like the end of the world was coming.

But then he remembered a different Leoben telling him he was one of the Five, and he swallowed hard. "You'd tell me, if I was a Cylon, right?" he asked. "One of the others nobody ever seems to talk about?"

Leoben's eyes narrowed at him and he answered slowly, "To my knowledge, you are not one of the Final Five. That would seem impossible."

Except it was equally impossible for him not to be, and Sam had no idea what to believe anymore. "Gods," he muttered and held his head in his hands. "Maybe I'm on Caprica having a psychotic breakdown and this is all some massive delusion."

"You know that's not true," Leoben said.

Sam sighed. "I know." Which didn't keep him from wishing, though, that he was in a hospital on Caprica: no attacks, no Cylons, no destiny, no torture and imprisonment, no visions... Then he could hope that he'd wake up eventually.

After a little silence, Leoben asked curiously, "Visitors? More than the lion?"

Damn it, he'd meant to keep that back. Sam inhaled a deep breath. "I keep seeing this ... woman. She looks like Kara, but she's not. I first saw her in the cell. She ... appears to me. She claimed my visions come from her."

"An angel of God," Leoben murmured in soft wonder.

Sam remembered how she had said he had once called her an angel and nodded, then shrugged, unsure and uncomfortable. "I don't know," he repeated helplessly. She could just be the product of his mind, like his boat. The boat felt real, and he'd seen her for the first time when he'd projected the boat. And yet, she'd also been here on the Raptor and touched him, and more than that, she'd said things he didn't know. He paused, but Leoben said nothing, quietly waiting for the rest. "She warned me that going to the baseship would change me, somehow."

"And did it?" Leoben asked.

"I guess, maybe. I've never seen Thea's projections before, and I touch her all the time. Or maybe I'm crazy and you're all crazy to think I'm anything special."

Leoben wasn't put off by the attempt at distraction, and even though Sam wasn't looking at him, Sam could still feel his eyes. "Crazy is what humans -- and my brothers and sisters -- call those who see what they cannot," he murmured. "You have been touched by the divine, that much I know for certain. It opened you up to becoming something more."

"I don't even know what's real," Sam whispered. "Lions that don't exist, people who appear out of thin air..."

"Seeing a messenger of god means you are seeing more of reality, not less," Leoben told him. "There's more to our universe than this flesh we wear and the solid metal confines of this ship. Like the Hybrid, you have the gift to see past the illusions all of us keep around ourselves, to what truly is. But you flounder in the stream and you keep trying to claw your way onto the shore, as if you were human. The Hybrid called you a fish, and not only because you are Piconese, I think. A fish doesn't belong on the shore, Sam; a fish belongs in the deeper water of the stream, letting it flow all around you."

That was a horrifying thought, to be completely immersed in the future. He'd be lost. Sam shook his head. "She said I wasn't ready."

"Then I suggest you get ready," Leoben said, a little tart edge to his voice. "You're our oracle, Sam. Your destiny is to show us the path to Earth. We've come this far, but we're not there yet." He moved to the co-pilot's seat and held out his hand again. "Let's see what you can do with this new gift."

Sam stared at the hand before putting his lightly on Leoben's again. He braced for the new surroundings, but nothing happened. His gaze met Leoben's and an awkward stare became an uncertain chuckle. "Maybe it was an accident."

Leoben's fingers curled around his when he would've pulled away. "There are no accidents. I'm trying to bring you in, but you need to reach out to me."

Sam took a deep breath, exhaling slowly, and tried to reach out, as he did with the Raiders. And it still didn't happen. "I have no idea what I'm doing," he complained. "And I feel stupid."

Leoben chuckled. "And I feel as if I'm trying to teach a fish to fly. This is a new situation to both of us. Try again. Picture what you saw before."

This time, Sam looked at Leoben, and imagined the blue sky around him again.

It was breathtaking - like falling, as endless blue sky snapped into place around him. He felt a warm wind in his hair and in his face, and Leoben was at his left, facing him eagerly. "You're here," he said, with satisfaction. "You see it. I knew you could."

"It's..." Sam turned slowly, finding that somehow he could still feel they were touching in reality, while inside the projection, he could let go and look around. "It's amazing."

They stood at the top of a bare, stone cliff beneath a dome of blue and a few white puffs of clouds. Far down below the steep drop, there was a golden landscape of sparse plants and long stretches of sand all the way to the horizon. Heat shimmered in the distance with its false promise of water, while behind him, he saw only rocks and dust, with a few low cacti and brown grass clinging to the cracks.

It was stark, lonely even, but beautiful in a deeply stirring way.

Created reality could be dangerous, he thought - it would be so easy to lose himself in these projections and forget the reality of where he was.

"It feels so real." He peered over the edge at the sheer drop and broken rocks far below. "What happens if you jump off?" he asked curiously.

Leoben grabbed his sleeve and pulled him backward. "Probably nothing. But I'd hate to be wrong."

"You've never tried it?" Sam asked.

Leoben's look this time was heavy with disapproval. "This is a spiritual place, to renew my faith. Not to do something frivolous like skydiving."

"I don't know - I used to feel pretty damn close to the gods when I was running the boat with the wind. I was forbidden by contract to go skydiving, but I've always imagined it would feel like flying," Sam murmured. He moved back to the edge, wondering if he could give himself a parasail and glide off the edge.

"I wouldn't," a woman's voice said behind him. He turned, surprised.

She was there again, sitting on a rock with the wind blowing back her blonde hair. This time, he wasn't fooled at all that it was Kara even though she was wearing Kara's tanks and shorts. Her hair was too long, and she was wearing those mirrored sunglasses again. He didn't speak, as he moved closer, and she grinned up at him.

"Hey, Sammy."

He turned back, but Leoben was no longer there. He narrowed his eyes at her. "Don't call me that. What did you do with Leoben?"

She waved a hand casually. "He's over there. He can't see me."

"So, you are in my head."

She smiled and her bare toes rubbed down his leg. "That doesn't make me not real, does it?"

He glared sourly at her and didn't deign to answer the question meant to confuse him some more. She laughed at his expression, delighted with his annoyance.

He turned away from her, looking at the desert again. It was vast, like space, but there was life, too, as if he stood at the beginning of creation.
And he realized the scene was familiar. "I've seen this place before. Where is it?"

Her arms wrapped around him from behind, and she put her head on his shoulder, so her breath was on his neck. His question lingered for so long, he thought she wasn't going to answer, but then she murmured, "It's a desert on Kobol."

"I was never on Kobol, though."

"Of course you were," she answered. "Everyone was. Time is a whirlpool, Sam... everything goes round and round..." One finger made a large spiral on his stomach. "Round and round... each cycle is getting shorter and shorter, faster and faster, heading to ... the end." Her finger stopped in the center, nail poking him in the skin.

"You told me I could stop it."

"In each cycle there are a group born with the destiny to try. You're one of them," she agreed. "But you can't do it alone."

Which didn't tell him anything he couldn't guess. But then he frowned at the surroundings and turned around in her grip to look into her eyes. All he saw was the sun glinting from her glasses right back at him. "Wait a second, this is Leoben's projection. How the hell does he have a desert on Kobol in his projection?"

She grinned impishly and traced a finger down his nose. "Now you're beginning to understand." Rising upward, she pressed a kiss to his lips. "See you soon, baby."

When he opened his eyes, not only was she gone, he was in the Raptor again, with Leoben staring at him.

"What did you see?" he asked, leaning forward.

"Nothing." More riddles, more non-explanations, more cryptic hints.... so basically, nothing. Sam pulled his hand free and stood up, though there was nowhere to go in the small Raptor interior. But his vision wavered and threatened to go black, and he had to reach for the overhead console as he stumbled, trying to keep his feet. He blinked rapidly, breathing through his mouth to clear the sudden light-headedness.

"Sam?" Leoben gripped his shoulder, steadying him.

"Dizzy. Tell me you brought food. I ate the only ration bar on the whole damn ship yesterday."

Leoben looked a little disappointed that it wasn't a new vision. "Oh yes, of course." He moved backward to the case he'd brought aboard and opened it, fishing through medical supplies to take out some sealed food packets.

They shared three-year-old Colonial Fleet MREs which were only slightly tastier than the foil they came in, but at least it was food. Eating and carefully keeping the conversation to things like who had won the triad game last night was enough to let Sam relax afterward, as he leaned back in the pilot's chair and shut his eyes.

Leoben didn't press him for more, thankfully, and stayed a quiet but oddly comforting presence on the edge of Sam's awareness.

* * *

Leoben followed Sam's wish not to talk about it anymore. Neither of them had answers, and Sam was tired of trying to put the puzzle together when he had only half the pieces. But Leoben's face when he looked at Sam was thoughtful, and Sam knew the questions were delayed, not gone.

But otherwise, Leoben was a good companion to have while trapped in a small space: he didn't mind silence or talking when Sam was in the mood, and Sam found himself talking about his past more than he had with anyone else, drawn out by the curious questions and inexhaustible patience.

But neither of them got sick, and it was time to go home.

Leaving the Raptor he saw Thea and a large group of others, at least one of every model waiting for him in impromptu consensus on the landing platform. He hugged Thea to him tightly, remembering seeing her twins dying and dead, kissing her hair and her lips.

"We're fine," she murmured, caressing his back.

He whispered into her shoulder, all of the death and horror of what he'd seen welling up inside him, "I couldn't help them. I couldn't -- "

"You were there," she soothed. "That helped."

"How do you know that?" he asked.

She smiled at him. "Because it would help me."

But D'Anna interrupted to ask, "Was the beacon destroyed with the other ship?"

Sam met her gaze steadily, determined to be absolutely honest in this. There were things they had to understand. "No. I left it for the humans to find."

"Why?" Drea asked. "Why would you do that?"

"Because he wanted to give it to the humans so they can use it to kill us all," Doral snarled.

Sam stiffened and took a step toward him. "That says more about you than it does me," he snapped. "Do you seriously think I want the Cylons all dead? Even my child?" he demanded furiously, gesturing at Thea. "If I wanted you all dead, you would be, you frakker." He towered over Doral. "So shut up. But Earth is not just for you -- it's for everyone. But you're not going to get there until you get rid of your hate, I can promise you that."

"This was a test," Leoben said. "To see if we're ready to make the sacrifices necessary to find the next step of the path."

"Did you find it?" D'Anna asked Sam. "Do you know where we have to go now?"

Sam glared at Doral, knowing he was going to carry word of this to Cavil. "Maybe you're not ready. Maybe I should let the humans find Earth, and take you someplace else."

"You wouldn't," Sharon exclaimed in dismay.

It was so tempting, but she was right. He let out a heavy breath. "No, I wouldn't. Because this is what I'm supposed to do. I know that." He turned in a slow circle to look at all of them. "But let me make sure you understand something: I'm not here to give you what you want. I'm not your savior. I'm not here to help you win," he said to D'Anna, who curled her lip.

"I'm here to help you reach Earth, that's all. And I know you're going to pay a high price for it. We're all going to pay for it," he added more softly, knowing he was included in that. He'd already paid, and he knew he was going to pay some more. "These who died are just the first. Not all of you are going to see Earth. I know that, too."

By a supreme force of will he didn't look at Thea when he said that, trying not to show his fear that she was going to be one of them.

D'Anna looked uneasy and exchanged a glance with Natalie, and he was glad they were finally starting to understand that what he offered wasn't going to be free.

On to Chapter Eight: Finding a Needle and Thread
Merry F: samuel andersivanolix on November 27th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Ooh, lots of Cylony goodness! Sam in the datastream, comforting the dying Cylons, forgiving Aaron, projecting, more head!Kara talking about cycles...all the best things about Cylon stories all in one. Love this!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 1st, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)

Yes, indeed, it's a long, very Cylon--y chapter, that's true. thanks.
Allison: K/A UB Kissfrolicndetour on November 30th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to think that Sam's head Kara might be our Kara, but from a different time? Intriguing. Can't wait to read more!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 1st, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
Interesting idea. :)

I will say I know exactly what she is. What they all are, for that matter. But you won't get the reveal until the last installment. You have some clues in this one -- hopefully enough that it'll be "oh, of course!" moment, not a "WTF?" moment....
emmiere: Samemmiere on December 15th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Eee! Datastream Sam! This is so exciting. /lack of content
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on December 16th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)

I had to have Sam put his hand in it EVENTUALLY, after letting it hang there for months and months of both real and fic time. :)