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14 February 2014 @ 01:34 pm
Black Sails at Dawn 10/?  
In which the dead return, someone gives a very important speech, and, oh right, civil war.

On his way to the brig, Sam's feet halted. Cylons. The Cylons had found them.

You can stop them. You know you can, he told himself. You know what you are, the Raiders know you, the Hybrids know you. This is your chance to do something useful with this knowledge and stop them.

He glanced toward the brig, torn. What'll it do to them? What if something was already wrong?

What frakking choice is there? You know Cavil doesn't give a shit about you or Iris or Thea. He's going to kill everyone in the whole frakking fleet unless you do something.

They'll find out the truth. All my friends, they're going to hate me. He thought of Jean and Hillard and Tucker -- they would turn on him; they'd think he'd been lying to them the whole time.

You have been lying to them. And at least they'll be alive to hate you.

He whirled around and dashed toward the pilots' locker room, shoving himself into his suit. He sealed it with fumbling fingers and grabbed his helmet.

"You cleared for flight?" Hotdog asked him at the hatch, surprised.

Sam shrugged. "Call was for all Viper pilots. I'm a Viper pilot."

Out on the deck he ran through the chaos, looking for a Viper, but of course he didn't have an assignment. He needed a ship.

Tyrol met him. "What are you doing?" he hissed. "Old Man revoked your flight status."

"I can stop this, Galen. I'm the only one who can."

Tyrol's eyes widened with realization and his hand seized Sam's shoulder in a tight grip. "You're gonna get killed."

"Better me than forty thousand other people. Give me a ship right now, or everybody's dead."

For an instant, Tyrol's gaze met his and then he nodded. He turned away and shouted, "Raygun, no, sorry, you can't take that one. The power capacitors are fluctuating, you can take this one…"

He shoved Raygun away from his own Viper, toward another one, giving Sam time to scramble up and inside it. Once he was in, it was easy enough for the deck crew to hurry and launch him without caring which pilot was in there.

Moments later he rocketed out the tube and into open space. A quick glance at the dradis gave him the intel on the largest concentration of Raiders and he turned the stick in that direction.

Base stars loomed ominously over the field of battle, not directly engaging the fleet, because they didn't have to, with the swarm of Raiders.

If this didn't work they were all frakked.

It took a moment, with the press of ships and shooting, for him to get one to engage him personally and avoid stray shots.

Come on, come on, he urged one of them as it formed up on his tail. Then he flipped the ship so he was facing it. He stared at it, and his hands tightened on the stick, but did not fire even though he had weapons lock.

Stop, you have to stop. Listen to me; you know who I am. He focused on the Raider's sensor eye, trying to remember how he'd done it, and reached across the space between them.

You need to stop and listen to me.

The sweep of the red light slowed and fixed on him, and that familiar animalistic joy touched him as it recognized him.

Yes. I'm here. You know what I am. You know what they did to me. Tell the others, they need to stop shooting the humans. Form up on me.

He couldn't hear the call, but he could see its effects immediately, as Raiders twitched and began to disengage from the Colonial combatants.

Over the wireless, he heard the confused chatter, "They're leaving… What the frak?... They're disengaging…"

"All Vipers, Duck. Pursue. Weapons free."

Sam clicked on his Wireless. "Duck, Oracle. Belay. Let them go."

"Oracle?" Duck repeated in shock. "What the frak are you doing out here?"

"Duck, let them go," Sam repeated.

The wireless clicked again, with Adama's growl, "All Vipers, Galactica Actual. This is Oracle's play. Disengage and pull back."

Sam was grateful for the Admiral's leap of faith. Maybe in C&C he could see the overall tactical flow that the pilots couldn't.

"Acknowledged Galactica. All Vipers, Duck. You heard it: disengage."

"Let them go," Sam repeated and added more softly into the sudden silence, "They're coming to me."

"What the hell?" Sam heard more than one voice exclaim over the wireless as they realized what was happening.

The Raiders were all lining in a box formation behind him, as he coasted toward the basestars. More and more of them. He saw some Vipers take pot shots at the passing Raiders, destroying some, but the Raiders didn't engage, heading for him.

When he had all the ones in his near vicinity behind him, and it was perfectly clear that he had control of all them, he toggled the all-frequencies wireless and took a deep breath. He had worried that he wouldn't know what to say, but when he began, the words flowed out, as if he'd planned them all along. "Cylon fleet, this is Samuel Anders. You know my voice. You tried to stop me, you tried to kill me, you kept me in a box for three months, afraid of the truth I was bringing you. You wanted me to bring you to Earth until you realized there was a price, and so you turned on me and those who followed. You said I was corrupting who you are, and you never thought that you have to change to be alive. You never looked behind your prejudices and hate and programming. The Raiders recognized me from the beginning, but you were blind."

He hesitated. His stomach and chest were knots of apprehension, but he knew he had no choice. He had to declare himself. It was time. "I am one of those you call the Final Five. I am the last of the Thirteenth Tribe, resurrected to bridge the differences between Human and Cylon. I order you to stand down. If you do not comply, I will destroy you."

There was no response.

He counted his heartbeats, waiting. They couldn't think he was bluffing, not with a thousand Raiders lined up against their former masters. There were more, a squadron of Heavy Raiders moving his way to join the line.

He saw movement out of the corner of his eye, a Viper, maneuvering up to him. The Raiders let it pass to come wing to wing.

Then a familiar voice broke the heavy silence, "Nice speech, Sam."

His brain refused to recognize it, sure it was Showboat and his ears playing a trick on him. But when he glanced to the side, he could read the name below the cockpit window - as perfect as though it had been painted yesterday: Cpt. Kara Thrace. "Starbuck"

His gaze snapped up to the pilot to see Kara's face, brightly lit by the helmet lights. He blinked and shook his head to chase it away. No more visions of Kara. Not now. But she was still there. "Kara?" he asked, voice suddenly hoarse.

Her smile widened to a grin. "Miss me?"

"Kara? Are you… real?" he asked, still frozen in shock and denial. Two months, having her death on him. And she was back.

She frowned at him. "Of course, I'm real. But, Sam, I have so much to tell you." The grin came back, bright and excited. "I've been to Earth. You were right - It's beautiful."

Earth? How could he care about Earth when she was right there? She was back.

But he had little time to appreciate the miracle. The wireless clicked, and a voice - Three's voice - but sounding so small, he barely recognized it, "Sam? We didn't know. We didn't -- Forgive us."

Then another voice, a Six, more briskly, "This is Natalie. On behalf of the Cylon people, I offer our surrender to Sam Anders. Complete and uncon--" But she broke off with a cry, "No!" And the sound of weapons fire until the channel clicked closed.

"Natalie!" He lifted his gaze back to the base ships. One of them fired missiles- on another base ship. He saw the explosion, how the ship seemed to twitch defensively.

Then there was an alarm of weapons lock on his ship. He barely had time to wonder who was marking him, before his hand reacted and jerked the stick.

"SAM!" Kara yelled and, as one, they barrel-rolled away from each other to let the missile slip between them. Raiders blew up behind him.

That squadron of Heavy Raiders fired at him again, launching an entire barrage from their forward guns, and he maneuvered desperately to evade.

"Turkeys are not in my control," he shouted over the comm. "Watch yourselves!"

"They're after you!" Kara called.

"Frak, I know!" But the Raiders had figured it out too. They went streaming past him in a blur of black and red. Dozens of them intercepted the bolts headed for him and were destroyed, some formed a protective picket around him, but the Heavy Raiders had more than enough to deal with as a hundred or more Raiders went after them. It was beautiful but savage as well - the Raiders swarmed their bigger cousins, heedless of their own losses as they were blown apart by the guns, again and again. But their numbers overcame both weapon and armor advantage. All too soon, the attacking Heavy Raiders were nothing but shards and cooling gases.

"Lords of Kobol preserve us…" said a voice on the wireless, who might have been Hotdog or Red Wing.

Sam breathed deeply, trying to calm his pounding heart. He lifted his hand from the throttle, working his fingers out of their cramping. Frak. Breathe, Anders, he told himself.

He heard a keening sound - soft and not with his ears. He thought it was the Raiders mourning the loss of so many of their own, until he looked up. Three basestars were gone, jumped away. There was one destroyed, with pieces all over the dradis. There were two left: one heavily damaged, but both were listing and spinning, parts on fire or dark, and pieces simply blown away.

Natalie had tried to surrender and Cavil and his side had refused. They'd fought each other. The thought of what the inside of the base star must look like made his blood run cold. Cylon fighting Cylon.

He started to speak and had to clear his throat. "This is Oracle. Some of them - Cavil's faction, the faction that always hated me - didn't want to surrender. They've gone. I don't know when or if they're coming back. But right now, I -- I have to go see who's still alive."

"Why don't we blow them out of the sky?" an unfamiliar, hostile male voice demanded. "They did half the work for us. So let's finish the job."

Sam closed his eyes, suddenly weary to his bones. It was the same damn thing as always. Nobody learned anything.

"Pike, shut the frak up," Kara snapped. "Did you miss the Cylons defending your sorry ass? Did you not hear what Sam said? C'mon, Oracle, let's go check it out."

"All Vipers, Galactica," Helo's voice came over the wireless. "Pull back to fleet perimeter on standby. Oracle and - and Starbuck for recon." Helo's voice stumbled on her name, shaken by her reappearance as well.

"Galactica, Duck. Acknowledged," Duck said and peeled away, leaving Sam and Kara's Vipers on their own.

"So let's recon." Kara turned her ship toward the base stars and laughed a little. "If your, uh, new friends will let us pass."

Sam saw that the way was still clogged with Raiders. But when he pushed the throttle forward, they parted to let him past. Some took up an escort position around him and Kara, while most hung back and waited.

"This... is kinda freaking me out," Kara muttered.

"They're not going to hurt you," he reassured her.

"Yeah, that's the part that's freaking me out."

He was going to retort that it was far freakier seeing her coming back from the dead, but he still wasn't entirely sure she was real. Though no, Helo had said he heard her, too. She was there. Somehow. He swallowed back his doubts for now, and increased his speed. "Heading into the docking bay."

"This is so strange," Kara murmured as they maneuvered closer to the damaged ship.

Most of the Raiders also peeled away, not following as Sam led the way toward the entrance.

"Gods, what is that?" Kara asked, seeing the mechanism for closing the external doors.

"The baseships are part biological," he reminded her. "They have some living systems that control operations."

"So weird," she muttered but she followed anyway.

He guided her deeper in to the main bay, to the central and largest landing pad. He came in first, and then, light as a feather, she landed her Viper too.

He popped the hatch and climbed out, jumping the last few feet to the deck and leaving his helmet on the wing. His eyes couldn't peel away from Kara, climbing out of her cockpit, too. She removed her helmet and turned to find him.

From about twenty paces distant, their eyes met across the deck. Without the helmet, it was even more clearly her - her hair glimmering in the stark lights, and he could see her eyes.

Suddenly he was heading toward her, racing across the deck, and somewhere in the middle he caught her in his arms, and hugged her to his chest. She felt so solid and real, he could hardly believe it. "You're alive," he whispered in her hair. "I thought you were dead."

She pulled back to frown at him. "Sam, I've only been gone a day."

He shook his head. "You've been gone two months. Your ship exploded in the gas giant. I saw. Kara, I saw. You were gone."

Her gaze flickered with doubt before she pushed it away. "Obviously you were mistaken," she told him tartly. "But you - are you really a Cylon?"

"Of a sort," he answered. "It's complicated." His hand lifted to her cheek to touch her lightly. "I… can't believe you're here again. You saved me--"

She shook her head, now serious. "It was never meant to be you, Sam. It was always me. It's hard to explain but I can feel Earth," she said it as if expecting him to ask impossible questions or doubt her. "In my bones. Pulling at me."

He smiled. At least this part he could understand. "Kara, I had New Caprica yelling at me to go away for a whole year. I'm the last person who's going to call you crazy."

"Good point," she agreed, with a return flash of a smile. She looked so beautiful, he wanted to kiss her, but then she turned her head away to look around. "We should find out what's happened."

There were footsteps and Kara reached for her sidearm, but he put a hand on her arm to stop her. A Six and Eight walked into view, trailed by Centurions, and he recognized them with relief. "Caprica, Sharon, thank god. I hoped this was my ship when I heard Natalie."

They stared at him long enough he thought he might have imagined speaking. Caprica finally shook her head in wonder. "One of the Five; I never thought…"

"I'm glad," Sharon said with a quick smile.

Then Caprica straightened and took a breath, "As Natalie started to say, before that frakker shot her, on behalf of the Cylon regime -- or at least our coalition of Sixes, Eights, Twos, and some Fours and Threes -- we offer our surrender."

"You're surrendering?" Kara repeated in astonishment.

"To Sam," Caprica clarified. "He's our oracle. And, it turns out, now we know why. He's one of the Final Five."

"And as prophesied, the day he declared himself, Cylon unity shattered," Sharon murmured. "Do you know the rest of the Five?"

"I do," he admitted. "But it's not for me to reveal them."

Kara glanced at him, frowning. But none of them had a chance to ask him anything more, as he felt a familiar presence behind him and turned to watch a Raider land on the platform. The sense of sheer joy was nearly overwhelming.

"Excuse me," he said hastily to the three women and hurried closer, between the wings.

"Sam!" Kara shouted in alarm. "What the hell?"

But Caprica said in the same tone of affectionate indulgence he was used to hearing from Thea, "It's all right, Starbuck. They're… friends."

Cerberus hummed at him in contentment, red sensor pinned on him, and he rubbed his hand along the wing to the head. "There you are," he murmured. "I was wondering where you were. I've missed you, too. I'm glad you're back. I need to bring the baby to meet you."

Cerberus was confused, not understanding the idea of procreation, but happy to extend protection to those Sam loved. Sam shut his eyes, petting the hard shell but knowing Cerberus felt it and was comforted, and he let the Raider's croon soothe and warm him in return.

Both Kara and Cerberus had come back after all these months away … it felt so perfect… he wanted to stay there and bask in it for hours.

But his contentment was cut short as a familiar voice spoke diffidently behind him, "Sam? I don't want to disturb you, but we have a very nervous human fleet very close to us and I believe they need reassurance."

With a last pat of Cerberus' great head, he turned to find D'Anna waiting for him. She wasn't wearing white, but instead a black leather jacket over a shirt and tan slacks. Hands clasped before her, she waited as he approached her and then looked down. "Forgive me," she murmured. "Forgive us. We didn't know."

He joined her, standing between Cerberus' pinions. "Do you understand that you failed the test, D'Anna?" he asked quietly. "You didn't fail because you tortured one of the Five-- you failed because you tortured at all."

She nodded. "I understand. I … regret what I did. And I ask for your forgiveness."

He was about to say 'yes, of course', automatically, but then he hesitated, uncertain.

Adding a bit more desperately, she glanced into his eyes, her own bright with intensity, and pleaded, "You're one of the Final Five. You are the oracle, favorite of God, and I … need to know you forgive me."

"Not yet," he told her, and her shoulders slumped in disappointment. "Forgiveness isn't so easy. Not from me, not from humanity. Saying the words, being remorseful… that's necessary, but it's not enough."

"What more do you want me to do? I'll do it," she offered eagerly.

He looked past her to Caprica and Sharon, and Kara watching him with a puzzled frown as if she'd never seen him before.

"Right now, I think you're right; we need to reassure the Fleet that this ship is friendly. How long before Natalie resurrects?" he asked Caprica.

She looked troubled and shook her head. "Hours, at least. There's been so much death… And that's assuming she will at all."

"Why wouldn't she?"

"I'm not sure the Ones will allow any of us to return," she answered and put her hand on her stomach as if the very thought was making her ill. "They might box all the ones who died."

"Frakkers," he muttered.

"You should see the ship," Sharon told him. "Come to the control center, talk to Galactica, and make sure they know you're in control."

He gestured her to lead the way, though he could find it himself. As he followed, he noted the bodies slumped on the floor: Sixes, Eights, Fours mostly, and others, including some Centurions who had taken fire from their own kind and fallen.

"What about the other ships?" he asked quietly. "Is the entire Fleet like this?"

Caprica nodded sadly. "It spread immediately. The Twos, being united, spearheaded it on the other ships, as much as they could. Where they weren't removed. But this is the only ship where we had no Ones and we had some Centurions to fight with us. "

He knew Kara was listening avidly, but he could only think: civil war. If Cavil's faction boxed all his allies, how many would that leave alive?

The anxiety grew worse as they approached a line of Centurions. Four of them blocked the corridor, side by side; he saw Kara reach for her sidearm, but he put a hand over hers to stop her. The Centurions weren't in a hostile position, besides blocking the way.

"Let us pass," D'Anna ordered.

Caprica swallowed nervously, glancing up at the Centurions and added, "Please?"

They didn't move, but Sam could suddenly sense that they were looking at him. "They know," he realized. "How do they know? They've never known before…"

"We freed them," Caprica explained. "They'd been kept from their higher functions by telencephalic inhibitors."

"They helped us," Sharon said. "They protected us from the others, who weren't free yet."

Then, one of the Centurions moved its arm, putting out a hand with long spidery fingers, and hesitantly Sam mirrored the gesture. The thin fingers - those deadly claws which could grab and tear and turn into guns in a heartbeat - touched his hand, brushing his palm with electric prickles.

"Sam…" Kara warned, sounding a bit strangled.

"It's all right," he reassured her, praying that was true as the fingers reached up to his face. The tips of the fingers touched his skin at first too hard, then backed off to brush the surface with a gentle tingle. Sam remained still, wondering what it was doing. It didn't seem to be trying to communicate; it was almost as if it was proving to itself that he was flesh.

"Do you know me?" he asked it. Frowning, he stared at it, and for the first time ever, felt a wisp of something there. It wasn't what he could feel from the Raiders in all their canine-type emotions, but something… different. Complex, but clearly not thought in the same way as he thought, and hard to touch.

It didn't answer, or at least not in words. It lowered its hand and then, in eerie unison, all four of the Centurions moved aside, opening the way forward.

He went first, and Kara followed after him quickly. "What the frak was that?"

"Damned if I know. I'm a leaf in the stream," he answered, and she snorted.

"Now I know you've been hanging out with Leoben too much."

It felt good to laugh again, and though he knew the harder part was only beginning, Kara was back, and that made everything brighter than it had been.

Crossposted from DW There are comment count unavailable comments over there. Feel free to comment wherever.
noybusiness: Leoben/Anders/Starbuck threesomenoybusiness on February 15th, 2014 12:44 pm (UTC)