BSG: We’ll Meet Again
Deb's Email: email@example.com
"You wanted to see me, Ma'am."
"Yes, thank you for coming so quickly. " Rosalin walks and talks at the same time. "When we passed thru that last nebula we picked up a passenger."
"Excuse me?! Dradis didn't pick up anything."
"I think that was intentional. Not that he was making any real attempt to hide. Just proved he could get on board and then turned himself in." Rosalin pauses at one way mirror. The other side is a reinforced steel and concrete cage. There is one door in and an airlock out. In one corner over by the airlock is the built in stainless steel facilities with it's all in one commode, basin and shower.
Kara Starbuck Thrace looks in the observation window. "Leoben." She whispers horrified but not surprised.
"It wants to see you."
"Yeah, and so? I think you already have an airlock with his name on it." Starbuck starts to walk away. The last thing she wants is to be sucked in again. She is ought for two with this particular model. She might have killed him before but he always ended up the winner in the mind frakking department.
The president's soft call of "Lieutenant," stops her in her tracks but she doesn't turn around. The president continues knowing she has Starbuck's attention. "Three things: How did it find us? Where is the rest of the Cylon fleet? Did the cyclons take any of our people off of New Caprica?"
Opening her eyes back up, Kara Thrace turns around. She isn't going be able to walk away. "It won't work. He's just here to frak with our minds, Ma'am. He's a liar, a twisted manipulative sadistic...." Kara swallows what she is about to say and gives the perfected military version of the 1000 mile stare.
"You and the Admiral are the only two with any in depth knowledge of this model, and you're the only one with knowledge of this particular consciousness. We don't even have his ship, Lieutenant. It could have transponders on it for all we know. Ten minutes, Starbuck. Then out. The others will do the actual interrogation. And when he gives us something verifiable-- ten minutes or maybe his food. Your debriefing report indicated he was very much into the appearance of family living. It is fixated on you. We'll use what Baltar found out with that cylon on the Pegasus. It isn't the stick that works. It's the carrot."
"You know for a school teacher you have your own... Fine, but in ten minutes have the interrogator pull me out." Starbuck goes over to the door and waits for the guard to open it for her. Then she walks in to the cage wincing as the door is slammed shut behind her. Sitting down in the chair across from Leoben, she waits for him to speak to her.
His gaze is hungry as he takes in the difference in her appearance. She resembles again the woman who tortured him in a similar cell rather than the woman he lived with for four months back on the settlement. "You cut your hair."
"Sam likes it long."
"You're back with him then."
"He's my husband." Starbuck shrugs. "It's your own fault. I told you to take me with you. You knocked me instead. Did you see him carry me out of there in the stream? Is this the way it's supposed to be?!"
"You know how it's supposed to be." Leoben answer his eyes focused on nothing but Kara's face.
"He carried me out of there. He left Kacey behind. The world was blowing up. I had to get Kacey."
"You did." Leoben's voice is almost soothing.
"He was right behind me. He would have killed you and Kacey both. I did what I had to do, to protect the baby."
"I know. You did what you had to do. Where is our baby?"
"You told me her mother was dead."
"She took her out of my arms as soon as I arrived back on Galactica. I didn't have you. I didn't have Kacey."
"I'm back now. I'll always come back for you."
The door slams open and a burly marine announces from there. "Conjugal's over." As Kara walks by him he whispers barely loud enough to be heard-- if the prisoner had been human it wouldn't have been heard. "Cylon loving bitch." The marine shuts the door letting Leoben sit alone in the room.
Starbuck doesn't say a word to the President just keeps on walking right past the observation window and down to the junction of the corridor. Only then does she stop. Laura Roslin is about three steps behind Starbuck only figuring out what the Lieutenant is doing when she stops at the junction. "His hearing is that sharp?"
"He heard what the marine said. Was that your idea?"
"Carrot and stick. We can't kill him, Starbuck. He'll download right back to the cyclons and give away our position. There is a chance, from what I saw that he's working alone."
Starbuck laughs. "Is a cylon ever really alone?"
Starbuck isn't surprised when she gets the next call to come over to the ship where Leoben is being held. On a table outside of the room is a tray of food. Picking up the knife and fork she cuts everything into bite sized pieces. She doesn't ask what information he'd given his interrogators-- only knowing it must have panned out because otherwise they wouldn't have called her back. Leaving the knife behind she takes the tray to the door, waiting for the Marine to open it. The table is a new addition. The chain between Leoben's wrists is fastened to the table giving him just enough mobility to be a joke. Kara sets the food down in front of Leoben and takes the seat across from him. As he says grace, her head slightly bows and her eyes close until the final, "so say we all."
"Aren't you eating?" Leoben takes up the fork.
"I have to eat with him later." Starbuck takes the time to examine Leoben for any obvious injuries: the black eye, the bruised jaw, the torn skin where his shackles had been digging into his wrists.
"I'm fine." Leoben reassures her. "It's bearable. I do understand, you know. They don't want me to download and give away the fleet's position. But I don't want to download again either, Kara."
"Then the cylons are close?"
"Closer than the first time you prayed for me." After taking a bite and chewing thoughtfully, Leoben begins his own interrogation. "The Marine said you haven't been returned to flight status."
"I didn't pass my psych eval- it's bull. By my history, I never have been able to pass a psych eval- my skills got me in." Starbuck shrugs. "Because of the Old Man, nobody will tell me the truth-- I'm a security risk. I was with you for months and came out without a scratch on me, even gained a few pounds. They don't believe I was detained. They believed I collaborated."
"Afterall I only killed you six times, and they only have my word on that. Why not 120 times? Why didn't I kill you everyday and twice a day on god's sabbath?! The only time they know I killed you was when he was following me. So of course they believe that because he says so."
"What else has he said?"
"It doesn't matter." Starbuck makes sure her tone is just a little bit bitter. "Time didn't exactly stand still while I was with you. When I left he was too dumb to come in from the rain and by the time he saved me he's become the President's right hand man. They've become very close." Starbuck sneers the last.
"How do you feel about that?"
Starbuck shrugs. "He doesn't get it. He never did. I never would have been on the planet except for him. He would never fit in on Galactica. Now he wants me to resign my commission since I can't fly anyway and move to Colonial One."
"Don't do it, Kara."
She focuses in on his face. "What did you give them so that I could see you again."
"My ship and its transponder."
Kara slowly smiles. "Its transponder. One. Just one."
"Right just that one."
"So any ship will do?"
"Don't resign your commission, Kara." Leoben puts down the silverware. He is done with the meal. Kara stands up and coming around leans in to take the tray away. Leoben leans in so that his face is nuzzled against her ear. The message he gives is just for her. "Kacey's mother died at her birth. Cylons are scarcely equipped to feed and care for an infant. Our child taken from you before you could take her to your doctor-- too convenient, Kara. You're smarter than that."
Kara turns her head so that she is nose to nose with Leoben. "Don't frak with me."
Leoben can see the hope in her eyes and his voice has a low warning. "Find her, Kara, before Roslin does or you'll be scattering her ashes." He doesn't take his eyes off her as she goes over to the door. He knows they've been watching, Kara doesn't have to knock on the door before it opens. The Marine would be in soon. Then he would find out how much his love had shared with his captors.
His mission hadn't been looked on with favor in the conclave, but with the support of his brothers, the eights, the sixes and strangely enough the most hardcore of Threes, the majority hadn't endorsed him but also didn't stand in his way. A six and an eight had taken him aside to warn him away from the dangers of being loved by a human. But they couldn't deny God's commandments both to love and to be fruitful.
He is aware of the danger. He'd lived with Kara for four months. She isn't a soft woman, and never would be. Softness from her is a lie, foreplay to a knife in the gut. Her still waters are deep, fathomless, her shallows rocky and swift running but never soft. As much as he craved hearing "I love you," one more time from Kara, her "don't frak with me," is enough to give him hope.
His head hits the table and rebounds off it. "Playtime's over, skinjob." The marine sneers.
"What did you find out?" Roslin inquires.
"I thought the marine is the one who is supposed to be getting the information." Kara counters but stops. "He isn't worried about downloading which means the cylon fleet is closer than the first time. It means he knows where the cylons are. The first time he didn't know."
Roslin nods. That matches her assessment. "And."
"More than one transponder."
"Right." Roslin's voice is grim. "He did give that up a little too easily."
"Of course even if he only had one he would have given it up easily knowing that would be what is running through your head." Kara shrugs with the devil's argument.
"What did he whisper in your ear?" Roslin's voice is calm but her gaze is sharp.
"Mind frak. We've all been here before. We'll all be here again. Blah blah blah" Starbuck dismisses the conversation.
"You were rather abrupt with him."
"He wouldn't have believed it otherwise. Am I dismissed?"
"Dismissed, Lieutenant." Roslin waits until Starbuck is gone. "You know her better than I do."
"Didn't stop you from driving a big wedge between us with that Arrow of Apollo nonsense." Adama says gruffly. He steps from the shadows. "Considering how dismissive they are of our scriptures it's really rather offensive the way they keep quoting and twisting it to suit their purposes."
"The arrow wasn't nonsense. Now instead of a sticking a finger up to see which way the wind is blowing we actually have a direction." The President defends the old battle between the two of them but really it's an old habit just to give them time to gather their thoughts.
"She brought back that damn arrow and a couple of new scars including losing an ovary. That's what started all this."
"He was obsessed with her from before the first interrogation. Starbuck gave no indication she saw him on Caprica: just the boomer, shelley and the new Simon model." Roslin counters musing as she watches from a distance the Marine go to work on Leoben. "The only mention of Leoben on New Caprica was the day after the invasion. Sam told Colonel Tigh that someone stopped by their tent looking for Starbuck. Sam was delirious with pneumonia at the time. No, Leoben came to New Caprica for her specifically, came after the fleet. I doubt that Starbuck has told the counselor a tenth of what happened between them."
"No bet. She quit after one session. Kara wouldn't go even to get her flight status back." The Admiral's voice is sad but resigned. "I don't know what happened down on the planet. Only people who were there really know. It's a greater wedge between Starbuck and me than the arrow or even the falling out she had with Lee."
"Colonel Tigh." Roslin sighs. "I'll get a bottle of ambrosia from Baltar's stockpile on the Colonial one."
"They'll kill each other."
"Maybe. But if they don't-- hopefully you'll get your pilot back... and your XO."
He hadn't given them anything. He knows the game. He'd studied humans for years before the attack. The carrot and the stick. The Marine to get the information and the few minutes they'd give him with Kara as his reward. Or maybe they'd switched to a psych op. Telling him that Kara would be coming today but then nothing-- just the isolation of the cell like some caged cat at the Kolchis’ zoo on Arelon.
He doesn't turn around when the door opens. Only when it shuts does he look behind him. Then he is on his feet, ripping the chain from the hasp on the table. In three steps he is next to Kara. "They'll pay for this!"
"For what?" Kara rolls her eyes as she steps away from him and around heading more toward the center of the room and away from the door. The last thing she wanted to be was in the line of the fire if the marines decided to come in shooting. She tips the table back up right and then sits on top of it.
Leoben comes back over and stands between Kara and the mirror behind him. "Your face..."
Kara shrugs. "I'm more impressed by these." She holds up both hands knuckle side toward Leoben so he can see their condition. They are as battered as her face. "At least now I get to hit back rather than just ignoring the whispers behind my back."
Leoben takes a seat and kisses first one set of torn knuckles and then the other. "Your poor hands, Kara. Haven't they taken enough abuse over the years?"
"And given their fair share as well." Kara counters proudly.
"Oh hell no." Kara denies that one in a heart beat. "You have to be around. He hasn't laid a finger on me since New Caprica. Too busy all up in the President's business." She pulls her hands out of Leoben's grip. Then running a finger over both of his brows straces the stitches and the knot of swelling at one eye. She leans in to take a closer look. "And he brought a copy of the President's census back to the room."
"You found her?"
There is just a slight shake of the head. "It's just a matter of time."
"That doctor, Cottle. He is in the president's pocket." Leoben murmurs. "He was the attending at Hera's birth... and death."
"A blood test will prove she's yours. Baltar's detector will prove she is mine."
"That thing never found a cylon." Starbuck sneers.
"No, Kara, Baltar never found a cylon. The detector worked just fine. A sample of my blood would prove it. Who, Kara? Who did this?"
Kara hops off the table and puts it between her and Leoben. "Did you know Colonel Tigh killed his wife for frakking a cylon?"
"The leader of the insurgents?"
"Don't know if I would call him the leader. He came late to the party, and was put in detention early as the ranking officer on the surface. Not as early as I was but..." Kara shrugs. "You made him the heart and soul of the insurgents when you took his eye. Anybody thinking of maybe backing off, took one look at him..." She shakes her head. "The Cylons made him a martyr."
"We were in the minority." Leoben admits.
"Excuse me?!" Kara shake her head, what did she just hear.
"There were some among us who identified that as a risk. But Caville was put in charge of detention because he is able to give the detainees what they expect."
"You are not telling me that Tigh wanted to lose an eye!"
"No, but he expected it. Just as his wife expected she wouldn't be able to get her husband out of detention without giving... something in return."
"And did you give me what I expected?"
"I'm not Caville. I do not see what is expected. I see what is true. We will be together, Kara."