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18 April 2012 @ 01:39 pm
BSG Fic: Another Stop on the Way to the Fall 1/1  
Characters: Sam Anders
Pairings: none. gen.
Ratings: PG
Summary: A few years before the Fall, it's a glamourous life. Mostly.

Author's Note: For sabaceanbabe for her birthday! She asked for pyramid star Sam and I intended a ficlet, but of course, I got carried away. This story develops some of the backstory I made up for Sam for "Not All That We Are", so if you've read that, this is a prequel of sorts. But it stands on its own. Also this story uses the info on Virgon from the "Beyond Caprica" book and is influenced by "Moneyball".

The buzzing of the telephone woke Sam.

He groaned, unwilling to wake up and move. His head hurt and felt heavy, and everything ached. He was tempted to let it go. No one should be calling him this frakking early only five days winning the frakking Alpha League championship and the day after a huge party.

He put the pillow over his head, trying to go back to sleep and make it all go away.

The phone buzzed again, shrill and insistent like a drill in his brain. Gods, what had he had to drink last night? And where was the girl? He remembered vaguely bringing someone home, but a reach across the crumpled sheets proved she wasn't in the bed. What was her name? One of these days he was going to have to at least get a name before he frakked them. Hell, besides being blonde and leggy, he wasn't sure he'd recognize her if he saw her again.

The phone buzzed again and with a groan, he groped for it on the bed stand. "What?" he said in the phone through a yawn.

"It's Chelsea Trammel from the Boskirk Ledger," a female voice chirped. "Good afternoon."

He would've hung up on almost anyone else, especially a reporter. Chelsea was the lead sportswriter for the Ledger, and because she was always fair to him and asked good questions, he gave her a few exclusives. She wouldn't call without a good reason.

"It's morning," he corrected then saw on the bedside clock that it was actually twelve-thirty. "Oh gods."

She laughed in his ear, a piercing sound that made his head throb. "I'm sorry if I woke you. I hear that was quite a party last night at the palace."

"There's no party like a royal party, I guess. Virgans aren't as stuffy as they seem."

"Can I quote you on that?" she teased, chuckling.

"Please don't. I think I'm still drunk." He frowned trying to think through the pounding in his skull. "I already talked to you about the championship, didn't I? And you aren't calling me about meeting the queen or the party, right?" He had the sudden fear that maybe she'd been the one in his bed earlier this morning. He tried not to sleep with reporters, since that was just asking for trouble, but Chelsea was attractive and blonde, and if he'd been too drunk maybe he'd been stupid.

"No. I'm not a gossip reporter. I wanted to ask you about the rumors of a trade."

"Of who?" he asked blankly, just grateful she was calling about business.

"Of … you," she said, and there was a pause, while he tried to orient his brain to this information. A trade of him? He was being traded?

"So you haven't heard about it? Samarus wrote in his blog this morning that he had a source in the organization about trading you."

He sat up, letting all the sheets slither off to the floor, and rubbed his forehead. He turned the phone over to check his call log and saw three calls he'd been too unconscious to hear. "No. I haven't heard anything. But I haven't exactly been in the loop this morning."

Shit. Trading him. Were they really doing that? Gods. What if they were sending him back to the Wildcats? Or down to Beta League? Not after winning a championship, they wouldn't do that. Would they?

He cleared his throat, awake enough to know he wasn't in any condition to be dealing with press. "Uh, I'll have to get back to you. Thanks."

He hung up and thought about calling his agent, and realized he needed to think better before having that discussion. He staggered out of bed to the bathroom and leaned into the sink to look at himself in the mirror. His eyes were red, the inside of his mouth was dry and disgusting, and he felt sluggish and exhausted besides the hangover that was drilling his head. He grabbed the small bottle out of the cabinet and shook two of the stims into his hand, chasing them with pain-killers.

Standing under the warm water in the shower helped, too, and he was feeling more alive by the time he shaved and found some clothes. He wandered the apartment, finding little trace anyone else had been there at all, which was mostly a relief. Then he listened to his messages. The first was from Billin, the team manager, wanting him in the office when he was conscious. The second was another reporter. The third was his agent.

He called Marcus back and demanded, "What the hell's going on? I got a call from a local reporter saying I'm traded someplace. I'm supposed to hear this from you, not a reporter."

"I heard the same but I've got nothing on it yet, Sam. I called Billin or Davos but they're not in. Or not taking my call. Maybe the deal's not finalized yet."

"Shit, that means it's true. I'm supposed to go in the office. Where the hell do you think they'll send me? Minors?"

"Minors?" Marcus laughed incredulously. "No frakking way. They'd take a salary hit on that. You're a hot commodity after the championship, Sam."

He felt a little better about where he might end up, if Virgon United really was dumping him from the roster. It still stung -- he'd won them a championship and now they were getting rid of him.

It's a business, dumbass. You know Davos took a hit when the refinery exploded; he probably can't afford you anymore.

He drank juice, glad his headache was easing, and went down to the parking garage.

One of his neighbors, an attractive gray-haired woman who'd probably been stunning in her youth, was waiting at the lift. When she recognized him, she grinned. "Mister Anders! You played great! Virgon United forever!"

He made all the right noises back, but he was thinking "forever, except for the trading your ass part."

In a fit of not-giving-a-damn, he decided to take the bike. He wasn't supposed to ride it (or sail or do anything else fun) while under contract, but what were they going to do? Trade him?

He snorted. He pulled the helmet on, fastened his jacket, and gunned the throttle.

He took the long way to team headquarters, passing through Queen Merelda Park where the old people were gathered to play their ridiculous games of rounds. Then at high speed, he circled the Queen's Spire traffic roundabout twice, and then drove around the palace where Queen Nathalie had presented the team with Virgon awards and then hosted a party last night. He remembered the queen and award ceremony - it had been boring and yet also intimidatingly refined - and she'd smiled at him as if she had sly thoughts about inviting him to her bed. Luckily he didn't seem to have done that, though his memories of the party were foggy. There'd been a ridiculous fountain of wine punch, plus many rooms of the palace and the outside gardens. Lots of bright lights. He had no idea how he'd gotten home.

He had a sudden flash of memory of someone offering him amphet in a gilded, very green room. Frak. Amphet and alcohol - that's why you barely remember last night. You're lucky you didn't marry that girl by accident.

Then he headed for the stadium. It was on the outside of the old city, since pyramid was a 'new' thing on Virgon. The sky was that weird aqua hue that always made him miss the normal blue of Picon, and today it was dotted with only a few clouds.

Rolling through security, he pulled up at the offices and headed inside. He could tell who knew and who didn't - the ones who didn't greeted him cheerfully with surprise to see him at all, hanging around the team office in the off-season. Andrea knew and her smile was sympathetic. "Mister Billin's ready. You can go in."

He went into the team manager's office, finding him on the wireless. He waved a hand for Sam to take a seat, so he did, folding his hands between his knees to wait as Billin finished his call.

Billin was a short man, who always dressed nicely. He was a good manager for the organization, who kept his eyes on the big picture, but he was also a typical flunky, who only answered to the big boss and occasionally seemed to revel in his power over the players. He rang off and glanced at Sam. "That was quite a party."

"Yeah," Sam answered shortly, now irritated by the avoidance. "So, I hear I'm traded from a damn reporter?" he demanded. "You don't have the courtesy to tell me before it gets splashed on all the sports pages from here to Tauron?"

Billin made a face. "I did try to call you this morning. But yes, you're traded."

"Where?" Sam asked, dreading to hear something like Tauron or Aerilon. Minors might be better than the Stallions.

"The Buccanneers."

That took him by surprise. "The Bucs? Really?"

"For two players off their bench, a high draft pick, and cash. And they carry your championship bonus." Billin grinned in satisfaction. "They get to promote their rebuild with you as a centerpiece, and as long as you put asses in seats, I bet they don't even care that you're on the downside of your career."

He stiffened in offense. "What are you talking about? I'm not."

Billin snorted. "No offense, Sam, but banner or not, stats don't lie: two percent down in throws, five percent down in blocks. You have some good years left, but we need to start rebuilding with younger blood. That young blood also happens to come cheaper and hopefully with less of a substance abuse problem. But that's now the Bucs problem, not mine."

Sam stared at him and spluttered in complete disbelief, "What? I don't have a-- just because I party occasionally doesn't mean --"

Billin interrupted, "Yes, the partying. It's… well, it's unseemly for the face of Virgon United to keep getting photographed drunk in public. On Caprica, maybe they don't care that you spend more time partying that you do practicing, or maybe it's even a plus, but here, we care. The queen herself told me that your behavior was … unacceptable. Apparently you flirted with her inappropriately last night, and she called Mister Davos to see what he could do."

He was stunned. The queen had gotten him traded? But she had been the one who had flirted with him, not the other way around… Hadn't it? Had he done something else during the party?

Billin continued, "So you're traded, and you need to pack your bags. The Bucs expect you to report in four days to Caprica City. Their transportation coordinator's number is in the packet."

He handed the envelope to Sam, who took it numbly, and they both stood. Billin held out his hand, and Sam shook it automatically. "Best of luck to you, Sam. Thank you for the championship banner."

"Right," Sam answered, then gathered his dignity from the shards at his feet and forced a smile at Billin. "Just don't expect another one. C-Bucs rule, I hear."

He left the office, and his feet automatically carried him to the locker room. It was a sad, lonely looking place, and the sound of his locker door creaking open seemed loud in the stillness.

His uniforms were in there, all neatly hung up and clean. Extra shoes. His favorite gloves.

He took out the gloves and the shoes, since they were his, and stuffed them in one of the team laundry bags. The color of the sky on Virgon was bizarre but it made for nice-looking away uniforms and he'd always liked the way this one looked and fit. So he stuffed that one in the bag, too, leaving the rest.

He was soon going to trade the electric blue and silver for the black, maroon and gold of the Buccaneers.

Traded. Told he was old, and a drunk, and the queen herself wanted him gone, even though he'd just won them all a championship.

Yeah, frak all of them. What do they know? I'll get the Bucs a banner next year, and then we'll see who's right. Ungrateful frakkers.

He slammed the locker shut, deciding he didn't need anything else, and went out to his bike.

Not wanting to talk to anyone, he gunned the bike down the highway, riding far outside the city to where the wineries started on the low rolling hills. Eventually he pulled off to the side at the crest of a hill and took off his helmet, to lean back and gaze up at the sky.

He'd never thought Virgon was home, not like Picon was; it had only ever been a stop on the way. He hadn't even made good friends here, as if he'd always known he wouldn't stay long. Besides, not many players could say they were worth two bench warmers, a draft pick and cash, at any age. He had nothing to feel sorry for himself about.

Not to mention Caprica would be a hell of a lot more fun than stuffy, antiquated Virgon.

He turned his head realizing he was high enough to see Boskirk in the distance, the patches of green of the many parks, the towers of the various temples and living complexes, and the Queen's Spire. Beyond it, on the far edge of his vision, were the distant flashes from the spaceport.

For a moment despite the bright sky, a shadow seemed to fall over the city and instead of the green of the parks it all turned gray and broken, as if covered with ash. He put a hand to his stomach as it churned with sudden anxious nausea. The odd thought came to him that he was never going to see it again.

Which was ridiculous, since he'd still come back here to play.

He shook off the mood. Caprica City would be great. He would get a nice place with a good view of the water. And a boat. He missed sailing after all this time landlocked in Boskirk.

It was time to move on, explore the Caprica City night-life and play pyramid. Nothing else mattered.

lizardbeth: Trucco - rockstarlizardbeth_j on April 19th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
yay, I'm glad you liked it! It was fun.

And in my head, the girl he picked up but who bailed on him was Caprica. Just s

I totally left that door open for you to walk through, if you want. :)