Joined: 15 Jul 2006
Location: Soviet of Washington, ex-USA
|Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:04 am Post subject: VS2 ep # 13: "Bones" (Part 1)
|Bones (VS2 ep # 13)
Prologue: From The Adama Journals
Recent events surrounding Sire Antipas have left me at perhaps the lowest sensation I can recall having during my entire time as the leader of the Fleet. Not that this compares to such times of travail like our experiences with the Cylons, Count Iblis, the Ziklagi and other assorted menaces, but rather that for the first time I find myself questioning my own sense of judgment, and my ability to lead effectively for the long-term. For the first time, I find myself wondering if my decision three sectars ago to release Baltar from his confinement aboard the Prison Barge, and set him loose on some isolated planet far behind us now, has now produced an ugly harvest that will make it increasingly impossible to avoid the potential for mischief among my enemies.
I cannot envision a situation where I would have found myself willingly agreeing to let Sire Antipas remain a free man, let alone a member of the Council, were it not for the unfortunate appearance of unjustness that Baltar's release has generated in so many people. The actual reason of maintaining one's word of honor as a result of a tactical battlefield decision made during time of war, seems to so many people an outdated, antiquated concept that no longer has relevance in the uncertain age we now live in. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps I am bound so much by concepts that scholars at times describe as ‘chivalric' or ‘honorable', that it potentially blinds me to the prospects of what long-term consequences can arise from that seemingly senseless devotion to principle. But at the same time, if that were as true as my critics would think, could I have ever brought myself to ask for Baltar's assistance in destroying the BaseShip to begin with? To me, that was an act of compromise and diplomacy that needed to be taken, given the grave situation that existed at the time. Perhaps then, I can ultimately view the decision I had to take regarding Sire Antipas in the same light. And if my behavior remains consistent, then perhaps ultimately, to turn a phrase from a Caprican poet around, the fault lies not in myself, but in those around me after all. If so, can I really be so hard on myself ultimately, and filled with what can only be dangerous self-doubt?
Self-doubt will certainly not be good for myself, or for the Fleet should crisis soon revisit us again. The Ziklagi danger no longer troubles me any longer, and I still feel certain that the Cylons remain at worst, a distant problem to be concerned with, but the foremost worry for me is that of Iblis. My biggest nightmare in recent days has been that our patrols will re-encounter the horrible Derelict spaceship encountered by Apollo and Sheba, or some other manifestation of Iblis and his minions that could potentially send us all down the path to the worst fate any of us are capable of envisioning. If that were to happen during a time when there is greater potential for questioning my leadership, would it be possible for Iblis to succeed at the task in which he failed last time?
My greatest prayer for now, in the absence of any other visible crisis, is to simply ask for the inner strength I so desperately need for whatever lies ahead.
It was quiet down here, and had been for most of the many long yahrens since the thick, heavy plates were first welded into place in space dock. Few ever came down here, few had any reason to. However, the Battlestar Galactica had taken her share of bumps and insults since fleeing the Colonies, several in her recent tangle with a Ziklagi warship in an asteroid field. And now, with raw materials being plentiful once more, things that would once have been low on the priority list were being moved to the top.
Technician First Class Proca, mangled fumerello in his mouth, his belt hung with tools, made his way down the dim corridor, his assistant Technician’s Mate Second Class Iarbas right behind him. They scanned the area, slowly sweeping the decks and bulkheads about them.
“Here it is,” said Iarbas, focusing in on an area of bulkhead, his voice muffled somewhat by his lifemask. Though the section had been repressurized for their inspection, they were taking no chances.
“I see it, kid,” said Proca, scanning the indicated area. “Yeah, this is where she smacked us. I’m reading a bent brace inside, and a hairline fracture in the buckled plate.”
“Doesn’t seem to be, kid, but you can never tell with this sort of thing. Could last for yahrens, could go five centons from now. I’ve seen ‘em blow in spacedock. Lords, can it get ugly. Saw a guy sucked out through the ripped metal once. We’ll check her out, and mark it for repairs.”
The two set down their tools, and got to work. They were tasked to slowly removing the inner bulkhead, and scan inside the void, to check for hull damage and assess it’s extent. If it were minor, they would give it a temporary seal with a wetsteel laser, and move on. If critical, they’d back out, and seal the area off again.
“I’m sure glad we got all that metal and ore a while back,” said Iarbas. “Too much stuff was going by the wayside.”
“Well, that’s the way it is kid, when you can’t head back for spacedock when you need to. It’s the same all over the Fleet. But with all the hits we took from that Ziklagi ship, and those asteroid fragments, the hull’s beginning to look like a pneumo target.”
“Not good,” replied the younger man.
“No felcercarb. Here, kid. Help me with this.”
Iarbas did so, helping Proca to steady the cutter as he sliced away part of the bulkhead near the deck. Slowly, the metal gave way, and the two men caught it as it yielded, lowering the thick slab of titanium steel to the deck. Iarbas grabbed up an illuminator, handed it to his partner, then got his own. Slowly, the two slipped through the gap, and into darkness.
“Creepy,” said Iarbas, as they cast the beams around the gloom. “Like a tomb, almost.”
“Feels that way sometimes, don’t it kid?” He sniffed the air. “Smells like it, too. Did I ever tell you the story of the Great Nebula?”
“Uh, well...” replied the younger man, who had heard it more times than he could recall.
“She was the first ship the Colonies ever built capable of hyperlight travel,”
Proca went on, oblivious as usual. “Oh, three, four hundred yahrens before the war. Huge for her day. And as advanced as they could make her. Anyway, there was this technician, he disappeared during her construction, and…ah, here we are.” The older man stopped, and ran his instruments over a section of the hull. This was the very skin of the Galactica. Two metrons thick, and made of the hardest composite alloy known to Colonial science at the time of her construction, it had endured a lot since the ship was built. Even so, the metal was now bent inwards, the inner face distorted. Proca scanned close. “Yeah. She’s got a fracture. Leaking air, too.”
“Are we safe?”
“Oh yeah, it’s real slow. But we’ll inject a wet-steel sealer patch into the crack, and close this area off until the plate can be replaced. Hand me that…yeah.” They worked in silence for a few centons, and then rescanned the entire area. He put a small homing beacon onto the inner surface, then pulled his commlink, and spoke. “Team Beta? Team Alpha here. Yeah, we’ve got one marked for you guys, in Section F. We’re moving on to Section G.”
“Roger, Team Alpha,” came the reply. “My boys are suiting up now.”
“Thanks. Out.” The old tech put his commlink away, and watched as Iarbas scanned the area one last time. Iarbas frowned. “What’s wrong, kid?”
“Sir,” replied Iarbas, showing his super the scanner readout.
“You’re kidding me.” He handed the younger man’s scanner back and opened his own again.
“Yeah. I don’t get this. Human DNA? Down in here?”
“Yeah, and it ain’t no reflection of us. Here, give me that illuminator.” Proca grabbed up the light, and shown it around the cramped area. He saw the buckled plate, the bent support brace, the deck, the ceiling…
“Oh Frack!!” gasped Iarbas.
And the skeleton, its empty eye sockets gazing at them from across the dark chamber, its grin bringing back long-forgotten childhood nightmares.
Adama stumbled, groaning in pain. In a dark cavern or tunnel, he was being chased. Chased by something dark, mysterious, and with no real shape, like a fog or a shadow. It pursued him through gloom and mist, always there, whichever way he turned, always taunting him with a soft, sibilant laughter.
“You cannot get away, boy! You will never get away from me!” the voice rasped, sounding, as always, as if it were coming from a dead throat, as if the very sound waves themselves were also somehow dead. He ran smack into a blank wall, and turned. Behind him, the shadow wafted and oozed towards him, red eyes spearing him, spreading out like evil arms to embrace him, the laughter growing ever more knife-like. It drew close, and…
The black vapor, instead of choking him, began to coalesce, to become more solid and real. Out of the midst of the vapor, the eyes became more real, the blackness around them coherent. Within moments, it had become a face. A face that, with a shock, he realized he knew. Knew so very well.
“You cannot escape me, Adama!” said the silky-smooth, yes somehow also hellish voice of Count Iblis. “You and your pitiful Fleet cannot outrun me, mortal! I shall always know where to find you, Adama! I shall always be there, to reclaim what belongs to me!”
“No!” said Adama, his voice sounding weak in his own ears.
“Oh but I will,” hissed the smiling Count. “Shall I show you, Adama? Behold!”
“No!” gasped Adama, as he saw what was held up in front of him. In each hand, the Father of Lies held a person. Specifically, Apollo in one, Sheba in the other. Dressed for their upcoming sealing ceremony, the two were shaking and writhing in agony, as if Iblis were subjecting them to every conceivable torment his world had to offer. Under his ugly, black cloven feet, the Count bestrode the crushed and mutilated bodies of Zac, Ila, and Serina.
“Mine, Adama. Mine they were, and mine they remain! You shall never reclaim them! You shall never…!”
“NO!” screamed Adama, and struck the Count. He recoiled, arm ripped with pain, and he screamed again, as the scene before him dissolved into nothingness. He continued shouting and screaming, till he felt hands about him. Shaking him. A voice calling his name. Another voice. A kindly voice.
Siress Tinia’s voice.
“Adama!” cried the Councilwoman, her face suddenly filling his vision. He gasped, struggling for a moment, until reality sank in. He fell still, shaking his head. He put a hand to his brow and it came away wet. “Adama, are you alright?”
“Should I call Dr. Salik?” she asked, reaching for the bedside telecom.
“No…uh, no, please.” He took a deep breath, and felt his pulse steady. “I’m…fine now. Just a bad dream is all.” He blinked, and took another deep breath. “Uh…what are you doing here?”
“We were going to have breakfast this morning, remember?’ she said, straightening up. “When I got to the door, I could hear you, so I entered. You did program it for my thumbprint, after all.”
“Yes, I remember.” Adama sat up, throwing his feet over the side of the bed. Tinia was one of the few people who Adama had given access to his quarters to, and the only member of the Council. The two had, well, dated a few times, and…
“You sure you’re alright, Adama?” she asked again.
“Yes, now. If you’ll give me a few centons, Tinia,”
What in Hades Hole was that? Adama wondered, as the water coursed over him. Was it real? Was Iblis truly…here? Or was it just a nightequa, and nothing more? Oh God, that was horrible!
Tinia sat as she waited in Adama’s office while he turbowashed, shaved, and got ready for the day. Although she and the Commander had become considerably more friendly since the escape of the Eastern Alliance Enforcers some sectars back, this was intended to be as much working breakfast as social occasion. Adama had some minor measures he intended to bring before the Council at it’s next session later that day, as well as discuss the recent census program, and he wished to go over various points with Tinia. He also wanted to sound her out, in private, about some of his suspicions and misgivings regarding Sire Antipas and Siress Lydia, and various recent events in the Fleet. Like Adama, Tinia trusted the suave, smooth Councilman about as far as she could throw a BaseShip.
Still, there were times when Adama wondered if he would have sounded out Tinia this way, if it weren't for the fact that Antipas and Lydia were now aligned with each other in more ways than one. Ever since he had seen Lydia show such cold ruthlessness during the final settlement of the Dravius affair, which had forced Adama to remain silent regarding matters that would have otherwise brought Antipas's political career to an end, it had left him more worried about what he could face in the future. When it had been Antipas alone, with only the lesser lights of the Council like Domra and Geller supporting him, it had seemed like a manageable faction of opposition to deal with. But with Lydia now alongside Antipas, and clearly entrenched as his lover as well, that presented a far more viable bloc of opposition for the Fleet to one day listen to should things ever go awry.
Do I just feel the need to gravitate to the other prominent woman in the Council because I know it's good if I have a strong, independent-minded woman on my side, the way Antipas now has with Lydia? The last thing Adama wanted to think was that he might be taking advantage of Tinia for his own purposes. Still, the Siress had proved reliable in her support, and he didn't think he'd gone further than he'd needed to. Despite the occasional feelings of unease, he still felt certain he'd handled things in a completely proper way.
Adama finally emerged, looking quite his old self, and seemingly none the worse for his nightequa, and the two headed for the Officer’s Mess. As always, the Commander in company with the striking Siress raised a few eyebrows, but neither much cared anymore. They ate, talked over Council matters, then Adama’s attention was distracted by Apollo entering, Colonel Tigh right behind him. Apollo greeted his father, but before he could say anything more, Adama saw the grim look on Tigh’s face.
“Colonel?” he asked. Tigh always ate his morning meal in his quarters. In all the yahrens they had served together, outside of time in a Life Station, Adama had never seen it otherwise. What could possibly…
“Sorry to disturb you, Commander. Siress Tinia. But we have a problem, sir. Down on the orlop deck.”
“The orlop deck?’
“Yes, sir. There’s a repair and survey crew down there, and they found something, Commander.”
“What is it?”
“Lords of Kobol,” Adama whispered in horror, Apollo and Tinia next to him, as he took in the scene before him. The skeleton was still where it had been found, and Dr. Salik was giving it a preliminary examination. “Who found it?”
“Me, sir,” said Technician Proca. “That is, Iarbas and me, sir. We were checking out the void for hull damage, after that last tangle we had, and…we found him.”
“Doctor?” asked the Commander.
“It was murder. No question about it. Laser blast point blank to the chest,” replied the CMO. “It burned his uniform, as you can see.” Adama leaned closer. The tattered and rotted uniform tunic the skeleton was wearing was burned right over the heart. “He was dead before he hit the deck. And he never had a chance to draw. His laser is still in the holster.” He directed the light for them to see.
“Any idea how long ago?” asked Tigh.
“It’s only a perfunctory scan, but I’d say maybe thirty yahrens,” replied the doctor. “That, and his uniform. This old style tunic was replaced decades ago. I’ll know more when we get him to autopsy.”
“A Major,” said Tigh, looking at the old rank insignia still plainly visible on the dead man’s collar. “Security Division. Any ID?”
“Something in his belt pouch, but first we need to get him…ah, Cassie,” said Salik, turning. His favorite Med Tech was here with the gurney.
“Oh my…” she began.
“Yes. Something of a cold case, Cassie. Tell Doctor Paye we’ll need him.”
“He’s over doing the health scans and immunization boosters on the Agro Ship One, Doctor.”
“Well, get him back, and assign Doctor Galen to continue over there. Paye is the most experienced man in forensics we have.”
“Right away, Doctor.”
Adama watched in silence as the skeleton was carefully lifted off the deck and onto the gurney. It was like a scene out of one of the extremely bad horror holovids he had so liked watching as a child (and his mother had so disliked), but he could not take his eyes off the deceased. As the bones were laid out, something clattered onto the deck, and rolled across it, to stop up against Adama’s boot. He bent down, and picked it up. A ring. A heavy auric ring, with some sort of jewel set into it.
“Commander?” asked Tigh. Silence. He called to Adama again.
“I’ll expect your report as soon as possible,” said Adama, to Salik. He turned to Tigh. “You have the bridge, Colonel. I’ll be in session with the Council, if needed.” And so said, he stepped back out into the corridor, and he and Tinia were gone.
But he kept the ring.
Adama almost felt a sense of relief that the Council session turned out to be boring and uneventful, except for the few times he felt like strangling Sire Antipas, or, as a consolation prize, Sire Domra. An uneventful Council session meant that he didn't have to concern himself with anything from Antipas or Lydia that could only refuel his inner sense of concern over when either of them would start to make trouble again. For now though, it looked as if Antipas was going to actually keep his word regarding a pledge to stay low-key for the short-term. Even so, the fact that Lydia was now sitting next to Antipas at the Council table, instead of her usual place on the other side as she had done in the past, was reminder enough for Adama that at some point, neither of them would consider themselves bound by that pledge any longer. When the meeting dispersed however, Adama saw the Libran Councilman make his way over and ask him about the recent discovery below decks.
Is there nothing he doesn’t hear about first? Adama wondered. He had put an immediate clamp on news of the grisly find, but such things never seemed to stop Antipas from hearing whatever was going on. Adama gave the Councilman a perfunctory report, and then headed for the bridge, ignoring both the scowl he knew was boring into his back, and the sight of Lydia reaching out her hand to her lover so they could no doubt share a few words about the event.
Tigh handed the bridge back to him, reporting all was clear. Apollo’s patrol showed no signs of pursuit, and Greenbean’s found nothing ahead. Everything on that front was, for the moment, clear. Adama signed off on it, then went to debrief the pilots. Tigh kept noting how controlled Adama seemed, how whip-tight. He wondered what was wrong, and realized his CO was avoiding it. He hadn’t asked a single question about the skeleton, or whether or not Salik had any news. It was as if he didn’t want to know, somehow. But why? Why wouldn’t the Commander want to know about a dead man found on his ship? Surely…
Of course! Because…
“Commander,” said Athena, looking up from her post. “Doctor Salik calling from Life Station. He has a report for you.”
“Tell him I’ll be there presently,” replied Adama.
“Well,” said Paye, standing over the autopsy table, “what we have here is a Human male, aged between thirty-five and thirty-eight yahrens. From a radio-isotopic scan of the remaining soft tissue, he died between twenty-six and thirty-one yahrens ago.”
“Have you identified him yet?” asked Adama. He looked down at the discolored old bones, focusing for a few moments on the skull. The sockets seemed to stare back up at him, and he felt a cold chill run down his back. Paye handed Medtech Garcia the dead head, who set it into an articulation frame. There, it would be scanned by lasers, thousands of data points collected, and a facial reconstruction produced.
“Well, he was carrying an old-style data pad in his belt pouch, but it had no power left. I sent it and his laser and all the clothes off to Doctor Wilker’s lab for testing and data retrieval. However, I may beat him to it.” Paye smiled as he showed some scans to Adama. “There was part of one finger preserved, and we were able to retrieve a partial fingerprint. That, along with dental scans, has been given to the computer, and I expect an answer shortly.”
Apollo frowned, "You can actually get a match for someone who's been dead that long? I didn't think our records were that thorough."
"You'd be surprised by the level of information we have in this central data base, Captain," the assistant Chief Medical Officer noted. "The Galactica, like all warships, was required to maintain a copy of the entire Colonial military personnel central database, going back for a minimum of a hundred yahrens. The only thing that would be missing would be the last updates made to the central library banks on Caprica before the Destruction that weren't uploaded to our system."
"You learn something new every day," Apollo shook his head in amazement and then glanced at his father who had his hand on his chin, and was staring pensively at the corpse, as if he were lost in thought.
Garcia pressed a switch, and the skull began to rotate in the frame, hundreds of lasers sweeping over it repeatedly. While that was going on, there was a soft beep. Dr. Paye went to another workstation, and got his report. He printed out a hardcopy for the Commander.
“Who was he?” asked Apollo, standing next to his father.
“Well….it looks as if we still don’t know.” Paye showed Apollo his copy.
“Restricted information?” asked Apollo, looking up from the paper incredulously. “The file on this man has been sealed, but by whom?”
“Well, it doesn’t say,” replied Paye, and turned at another beep. The reconstruction was complete. He punched the appropriate controls, and a face appeared in the holoprojector. A face that looked so real it could have been flesh and blood. Shown as bald, Paye experimented with various computer generated hair and eye color. At last, Apollo heard Adama take a sharp breath.
“You know him?” asked Apollo. His father did not answer at once. “Father?”
“Yes. Yes I did,” said Adama at last, his voice sounding tight.
“Who was he?” pressed his son.
“Major Dorian, of Colonial Security,” replied Adama. “Yes. Yes, I knew him. A long time ago.”
It took Adama’s personal security codes, both as Fleet Commander and as President of the Colonial Nation, to get the computer to unseal the file on their mysterious interloper. It was a long file, and after he had read it through, twice, he showed it to Tigh and Apollo. In private. In his quarters.
“You say you knew him, Father?” asked Apollo, still perusing the file.
“Yes. Dorian and I were…friends, once. Many many yahrens ago.”
“I never heard you mention him.”
“That was before you were born, Apollo. Before…before your mother and I were even sealed. We first knew each other when we were boys, in school.” Something in the way Adama said this gave Apollo the impression that his father and the late Major Dorian had not exactly parted on the best of terms. He spared a look at Colonel Tigh. The Colonel had obviously drawn the same conclusion.
“Were you both at the Academy together?” asked Tigh.
“We entered on the same day, yes. We even were billeted together during Basic.” Adama stopped, sighing. He opened his mouth to speak again, and the door chimed. Someone was asking admittance.
The Chief Opposer, Sire Solon to be exact.
“What?” said Apollo, half-rising out of his seat, glaring at the Fleet’s Chief Opposer. “What in Hades Hole is it you are you implying, Sire Solon?”
“I’m not implying anything, Captain Apollo,” replied the tall, dignified Sire, his aide seated next to him. If Apollo’s question had annoyed either man, they gave no outward sign. “But evidence is evidence, and it is my duty to follow that evidence wherever it may lead, however unpleasant the conclusions one is forced to draw.” He looked from Apollo to Tigh, then to Adama once more. He set a file of hard copies and photos on the Commander’s desk. “All of Major Dorian’s clothes and personal effects have been examined. Now I must ask, Commander, before I continue, do you wish counsel to be present?”
“Coun...what the Hades H…” began Tigh, but Adama motioned him to calm himself.
“I will stand as counsel,” said Apollo, without so much as an eyeblink. He saw a scowl pass quickly over Solon’s face. While he knew the Opposer had a job to do, and one that was not always pleasant, that didn’t mean he had to like the man.
Which he did not.
“Apollo…” began Adama, but his son shook his head.
“Who else, Father?”
“Very well,” said Adama.
“Now, what is this evidence, Sire Solon?” asked Apollo, as crisp and formal as any Protector in a courtroom. “Show us.”
“Simply this, Captain. How did Commander Adama’s fingerprints get onto Major Dorian’s ID pad, and how did the dead man come to be wearing the Commander’s laser pistol?”
“That’s what I’d like to know,” said Adama, after a few moments, to his son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law. “I haven’t seen Dorian since… a few sectons after I made Colonel.”
“Tell us more about this Major Dorian,” said Sheba. Like her father, the legendary Commander Cain, once she’d heard of what had happened, it was ‘damn the BaseShips, full speed ahead”, and she had been glued to Apollo’s side, practically making herself co-counsel. Both men knew it would take a crowbar and a small solonite charge to get her away, so neither would even try. “From what little I’ve heard so far, he sounds like he was a pretty unsavory character, Commander.”
“Yes,” sighed Adama. “But he wasn’t always that way, Sheba. As I told Apollo, he and I knew each other as boys. We even attended the same primary school for several yahrens, before his parents died, and he was taken in by an uncle, a retired Warrior, and moved away. Raised on Aquaria. But we kept in touch, and visited when possible. We were close. We even joined the Academy on the same day.”
“What went wrong?” asked Apollo.
“He cheated,” answered Adama, letting out a long sigh. “An exam on shipboard operations. He was caught cheating, and very nearly expelled.”
“Nearly?” asked Sire Solon. “I thought that was a compulsory expulsion offence, under Academy regulations.”
“It was. Nevertheless, he was not. I was later to find out why,” answered Adama. “A few sectons later, he was caught in a liaison with an instructor. A married instructor.”
“That surely must have gotten him expelled,” said Sheba.
“So I thought,” said Adama, “since it was I who reported it to our barracks monitor.”
“You?” asked Apollo.
“Yes. I was supposed to pick up some supplementary materials in her office. Instead, I found Dorian, with the woman in what can only be termed an…extremely compromising situation. Naturally, I reported it, despite threats.”
“And?” asked Sheba.
“There was an Article Ten hearing, and she was convicted of a breach of regulations on my testimony. Also, it seemed Dorian wasn’t the first. She was dismissed, and I didn’t see or hear from Dorian again for yahrens. I assumed he’d been cashiered as well. But no. It turned out he had… connections. Powerful connections. When we met again, he was a Captain.”
“Captain? In what?” asked Apollo.
“Military Intelligence. Specifically, the Thirteenth Directorate.” Adama let his words hang in the air for a moment. Both younger Warriors actually seemed to shudder at the name.
“Excuse me,” said Sire Solon, frowning. “I’ve never heard of this. What precisely is the Thirteenth Directorate?”
“The Thirteenth Directorate is…was, a special section within our Military Intelligence apparatus,” said Apollo. “Like the Internal Affairs bureau of a police department. They had broad ‘discretionary powers’, when it came to the investigation of matters within the Colonial Military. Sometimes, too broad in my opinion. Your entire life was open to them, if someone deemed it ‘necessary’.” Apollo nearly spat the last word out. “If they descended on you, it was almost an automatic presumption of guilt.”
“Virtually no rights,” said Sheba. “Like a headhunting expedition.”
“How in Hades did a disgraced cadet end up in Military Intelligence?” asked Sire Solon. “It all sounds very irregular.”
“I said he had powerful connections,” replied Adama. “Dorian was very intelligent. That, as well as a photographic memory and a penchant for detail that bordered on the obsessive. Some friends of his family were very high in Military Intel. They…recruited him.”
“I see,” said Solon. “And?”
“Dorian was also selfish, cruel, and vindictive. Traits that I noticed when we were younger, but tried to ignore for the sake of friendship. Foolishly, like most children, I thought he would change. They only grew more obvious as he grew older, and apparently served him well in his new calling. He rose rapidly through the ranks.”
“Over the bodies of anyone who attracted his attention,” said Apollo, perusing the file once more. “Look at this! Sheba, he even investigated your father once.”
“What?” She looked at the hard copy. It was true. When Cain had been a young, newly-minted Strike Captain aboard the Battlestar Cerberus, there had been accusations of both excessive favoritism from one of the junior pilots, and large sums of money missing from the ship’s vault. Dorian had turned up, like a Cylon patrol, and begun his work. It seemed that the man’s favorite methods were vague accusations, half-truths, and when that didn’t bring about the desired results, outright intimidation. While the charges against Cain had ultimately proved to be completely baseless, the whole sordid affair had left a bad taste in the mouths of all concerned, save Dorian, and helped to cement the fellow’s reputation as a complete serpent. A man who would do whatever it took to “get his man”, no matter the method, or the truth.
“What I want to know,” said Solon, after a few moments, “is what he was doing on the Galactica, and who murdered him. Now Commander, the forensic data is clear. Your fingerprints were found on Major Dorian’s ID pad, and he was wearing your gun in his holster. Also bearing your fingerprints.”
“How do you know it was the Commander’s?” asked Apollo. “That model was retired over twenty yahrens ago.”
“But the serial number has remained he same,” countered Solon.
“How could you possibly trace the ownership of one laser pistol after all these yahrens?" Apollo demanded. “Don't tell me our data records are that thorough, for Sagan's sake."
"Ordinarily, they aren't, Apollo," Adama gently interrupted, "But I do believe registering of military issue weapons and equipment is something that was recorded in the Colonial Command Central database, and every ship in the Fleet had it’s computer data banks updated periodically. Correct, Sire Solon?”
"Yes, that's correct, Commander," Solon said grim-faced. "And that is how we were able to match the serial number on the termination weapon to the pistol the Commander was issued when he joined the service.” Solon referred to the data before him. “A Mark V/1911/45 Model laser side arm, serial number 81-456677/B, issued to Cadet Adama on the date shown here, the seventh day of Apep, in the year 7309.” He indicated the entry, which even had a photo of the original issuing form, with Adama’s signature, then scrolled through the material some more. “And, Commander, I am sorry to have to add this, but a forensics examination has proven, without any margin of doubt, that your pistol fired the fatal shot that killed Major Dorian. Your old gun is the termination weapon, Commander. There is also the matter of your thumbprint on the Major’s ID pad.”
“I did not kill Major Dorian, Sire Solon,” replied the Commander. “I’m stating that here and now, for the record. I did not kill Dorian.”
“It is so entered, Commander. But you know the law as well as I do. In these matters, my office has no choice.” Solon rose, and looked at the Commander. “Commander Adama, by the powers invested in me as Chief Opposer of the Colonial Nation, I am formally charging you with the termination of Major Dorian as of this date, and placing you under arrest.”
"Now wait a centon!" Apollo exploded, "You can't do this!"
"Captain, believe me, I do not like being put in this position, but the law is quite clear on such matters, and----,"
"That's a complete load of felgercarb!" the Captain wasn't holding any of his fury back. "The law's also clear on other matters too, and so far I haven't seen it come through----"
Before his son could go on, Adama was suddenly on his feet, his expression glowering, "Apollo!" he thundered, "That is enough!"
"I'm sorry, Father, but how in Hades can you expect me to-----"
"Do what he says, Apollo," Sheba jumped in quickly, her jaw clenched. "Just do it."
The black-haired Captain was still seething, but with the greatest of reluctance, he nodded. To one side, Tigh was both angered by the turn of events, and also baffled as to what lay behind this silencing of Apollo.
"Sire Solon," Adama said calmly, "I am willing to let the law take its course. But I am certain you are also aware of the gravity of this situation as to how it might effect matters throughout the Fleet as a whole. There is, as you know, a procedure for allowing Colonial jurisprudence to take its course in secret for a designated time."
Slowly, the Chief Opposer nodded, "I know what you're referring to, Commander. I will only promise this. Details of the fact that you are under arrest for the murder of Major Dorian and now face a Tribunal on this can be kept secret from the public only until Tribunal itself is convened. That means in forty-eight centars, unless you have succeeded in providing overwhelming exculpatory evidence, I have no choice but to make this information public."
"I am willing to stipulate to that," Adama said, "In the meantime, I give my pledge to not leave the Galactica under penalty of direct imprisonment, and will for now publicly confine myself to quarters and unofficially place Colonel Tigh in acting command until further notice. Should matters proceed as I hope they will, I will simply state that I was recovering from a bout of…the Sagittarian flu."
"We are agreed then," Sire Solon nodded. "Again...I regret that it has come to this, Commander, and while I am bound by my oath as Chief Opposer, I...do honestly hope that exculpatory evidence will emerge in time."
The Chief Opposer turned and departed. Adama then turned to the executive officer and said firmly, "Assume the Bridge, Colonel. Tell them only what I said before, that I'm in recuperation for now."
"Of course, Adama," Tigh wished he could think of something more meaningful to say at such a difficult instant, but found that he could not. He reluctantly turned and departed, leaving only Apollo and Sheba in the room.
"Apollo," Adama said with displeasure, "You were on the verge of breaking a solemn pledge made only a sectan ago, and I don't appreciate that."
"Father," Apollo was still clearly upset, "This is insane! You're being framed for something that happened decades ago and this is happening to you, and yet Antipas is off the hook for something he's admitted to!"
"Apollo, do not confuse the two situations as identical, because they are not," Adama said forcefully, "Corruption, theft.....there are a host of offenses from the pre-Destruction period that its easy to sweep aside in the name of expediency. Pre-meditated termination, as this obviously was, is not one of them. Especially as it occurred on military property in wartime. Sire Solon is right to investigate this. It’s his job, and he has to act as the evidence indicates for now. Just be grateful that he's enough of a diplomat to keep things under wraps for a little while before he has to proceed."
"And what about investigating a more recent termination, like Antipas's bodyguard, or Dravius and Jabez?" Apollo shot back. "You said it yourself. You think Antipas killed at least one of them in cold blood to cover his astrum, and you let that slide without even a pretense of an investigation."
"Apollo, you're not helping things at all with this," Sheba jumped in. "Instead of frothing about what you see as unfair double standards, shouldn't you get to work trying to help your father find the evidence that will clear him before this gets made public?"
"Thank you, Sheba," Adama smiled, "I'm glad there's at least one of you who understands the bigger picture right now."
Apollo looked as if he wanted to continue his fight, but found he had no valid reason to keep doing so. He let out an exasperated sigh of defeat and threw up his hands in disgust, "All right." He said, "I’m surrounded. All right, I'll get started. As soon as I get a few centons to collect myself."
"Take a centar to do that," Adama nodded, "And then, when you're ready to think more clearly, I'll give you a full statement about what I know about Dorian, and what you might be able to do to find what will be needed to clear me."
"Okay," Apollo nodded and then came over to his father, wanting to reach out and take his hand in a gesture of love and support. But Adama kept his hands behind his back and his expression stoic, clearly not wanting there to be any displays of emotion right now.
"There'll be time for that later, son," he said gently but firmly, "For now, the best thing you can do for me is to order your mind."
Slowly, Apollo nodded and followed Sheba out.
“Not quite the way I wanted to take command,” said Tigh, as he and Apollo re-entered the bridge. Tigh checked the scanners, then the routine patrol reports. All still clear, no signs of pursuit, but that didn’t leave him feeling any less upset…Hades, angry, about the events of the past couple of centars. Adama? A murderer? No fracking way would he believe it, no way. Adama was among the kindest, most tolerant and forgiving of men he’d ever known, in his entire life. That he would wantonly…terminate someone, even someone as odious and loathsome as this Major Dorian seemed to have been, was beyond consideration as far as he was concerned. He said as much to Apollo, who had wandered on to the Bridge after pacing the corridors in lonely isolation to purge the feelings of anger and bitterness from his mind. "If you can't solve this in two cycles, Apollo, then the felgercarb will really be flying. What do you think the Council will do?"
“I don’t know,” said Apollo, for a moment recalling his father nearly throttling Baltar to death in the tomb on Kobol. Sufficiently enraged, he knew that Adama might well be capable of terminating someone. He looked up at Tigh, and realized he’d spoken aloud. Apollo knew he had to choose his words carefully since he knew that Tigh wasn't privy to the secrets of what had been decided last secton regarding Sire Antipas. “The Council isn’t scheduled to meet for another secton, so even if it does go public, they won't necessarily move right away."
"Don't be too sure. They'll more likely call a special session and probably move that Antipas be declared acting President."
"Actually, I don't think so," Apollo said. "If Antipas is smart, he'll let someone senior like Anton or Montrose be acting President if it comes to that."
Plus, with what we know about him, Antipas knows that to try and destroy Father is to destroy himself. He won’t be that stupid. Unless of course, Siress Lydia tries to goad him into something. Given their relationship, she just might. And he might succumb.
"Possibly," Tigh conceded, "But I'm not sure that would last long." He then shook his head in disgust, "Why should I be thinking these things though? I should have some hope it's not going to be necessary and this whole matter will get resolved.” Ignoring the Colonel’s quizzical look, and recalling his pledge to his father never to speak of that incident, he changed the subject.
"I'm on my way to start taking care of that. Hopefully the Commander can give me the details that will let me know where to start." Apollo glanced at his chrono. “I doubt our cover story about Father having the Sagittarian Flu will fool Antipas for long, so I’d best be moving. Well Colonel, if you’ll excuse me. I have to go confer with my client.” Tigh nodded, grumbling something under his breath. “Colonel?”
“I said…” Tigh dropped his voice, “I wish Sire Antipas would disappear into a bulkhead sometimes.”
“I hear you, Colonel,” said Apollo, with a half-smile. “Don’t tempt me.”
“Never crossed my mind,” replied the Exec, deadpan.
“Alright, I’m off, sir.” Apollo turned to leave.
“God go with you.” Apollo halted, surprised to hear such an invocation from the normally agnostical Colonel. After a moment, he replied.
“And you too, Colonel Tigh.” As he left the bridge, Apollo practically collided with one of the bridge personnel, just coming on duty. A moment later, he saw Sheba heading towards him.
“I left Boxey in a good mood and happily at play with Muffit, so we can avoid letting him know about this for now," his fiancée said. He told her of his immediate plan. “While you’re doing that, how about I do some checking of my own, Apollo? I have some ideas, and we can cover a wider pattern if we split up.”
“Spoken like a true Viper pilot.” Apollo considered a moment. “But aren’t you scheduled to go on patrol in…” he checked his chrono, “in twenty centons or so?”
“Yes, but as Senior Strike Captain, you can of course make changes in the duty roster at your discretion.” She smiled knowingly. “After all, Lieutenant Croad’s perfectly capable of leading a patrol now, even in that ancient bucket of his, and that new cadet…uh, Sheldrake, can certainly use the cockpit time. I think he’s ready for his first patrol. In fact, he’s chomping at the bit for it.”
Okay,” sighed Apollo, quickly resigning himself to her arguments. He knew that part of her drive to help was born out of respect for the Commander, part out her love for him. But he also could see that a great deal sprung from Dorian’s long-ago persecution of her father, Cain. She was angry, but she was also extremely curious, a formidable combination in the daughter of Cain. “Go. Follow up whatever you think might be productive, but let’s keep in touch, so we can coordinate. Sire Solon won’t be letting the tylium dry under his feet.” He trailed off.
“No problem, Apollo.” She looked at him, his eyes a million light-yahrens away right now. “Hey, Apollo.” No response. She blew into his face. “Fleet to Apollo. Respond on this frequency.”
“Huh? Oh, just thinking.” He looked at his chrono. “I have an idea too, Sheba. And it will require a lot of research.”
“Way ahead of you, Captain,” she said, heading out. Within a moment, the corridor was empty.
Save for a furtive shadow.
Upon his return to his father’s quarters, Apollo found him staring, not at the vid screen on his desk, but at an old-fashioned open paper book, with printed likenesses affixed to the pages. Pages yellowed with the passage of many yahrens.
“Dorian?” asked Apollo, looking over his father’s shoulder. There was a likeness of Adama, no older than Boxey was now, with another dark-haired boy, standing under a heavily-laden fruit tree on a sunny day, a large furry daggit, tongue hanging out, at their feet.
“Yes, Apollo,” he replied, leaning back and sighing. Apollo noted that he had changed out of his uniform, and was wearing civilian clothes now. A leisure suit, some yahrens out of fashion that Apollo hadn’t seen in ages. “This was when we lived close by. I was just…remembering.”
“He was a good friend, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, yes he was, Apollo. We were like…like you and Starbuck in some ways. Always together. Inseparable. More like brothers than just friends.” Adama rose, sighing heavily, and moved to the viewport in the bulkhead. “Lords, where did it all go wrong?”
“More to the point, Father, how did he end up stuffed inside the void with his chest blown out?” Apollo waited a few beats. “Father, I believe you, when you say you didn’t kill him. I honestly do. But I also know there’s more. Something, or things, that you aren’t telling Sire Solon.” Adama turned to look at his only remaining son. “No, I’m not clairvoyant, Father. But I saw you pick up something that rolled across the deck down in the void when they picked those bones up. You put it in your pocket. Now I haven’t said anything to anyone, not even Sheba.”
“But I’m sure Siress Tinia saw it to, and maybe others. Now before rumors get started, and we all know what they can do, I need to know what it was, and if it’s relevant to this case.” Apollo waited a few beats, his expression never wavering. As he looked back, Adama was reminded of his own father, the late Commander Noah, of fearsome memory, who had more than once fixed his son with just the same formidable look when he wanted it known that he would tolerate no deceptions or prevarications. Adama looked down, sighed, then looked back at his son.
“You’re right Apollo. I must not keep anything from you. Either as my counsel or as my son.” He returned to his desk, and reached down, opening a drawer. He reached in, and withdrew the ring he had picked up in the void. He handed it to Apollo. Large and heavy, it was wrought entirely of auric, with a deep red gem set in the center. Around the jewel were inscribed tiny letters in an antique script, but Apollo could not read them.
“No, Apollo. It’s my ring.”
Sheba found Corporal Komma, as usual, with his nose buried in one of the many workstations in the Galactica’s main computer room. While she had no idea what it was that absorbed him so, it took her a few centons to manage to get his attention.
“Oh. Oh, sure. Just make sure that you remember to log off the system when you’re done, Lieutenant,” he told her.
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?” she replied.
“Well you would be surprised at all the people who come in here, play with the equipment, find what they want, then just scoot right out of here without logging off properly! Damned annoying, I can tell you.”
“Well, I’ll remember to punch out before I go, Corporal,” she told him, trying not to laugh. Komma sometimes tended to think of the computers and such almost as his children.
Weird man! At least he hadn’t asked me about the situation with the Commander. Maybe he hasn’t heard yet, with his head stuck in the computers like this
He really needs to get out more.
He led her to an empty work station, and she logged on. Since this was a somewhat sensitive matter, she opted to use the keyboard, rather than the more common vocal interface. It might have been a bit slower, but she had, like many Colonials of her calling, never felt all that comfortable with a machine that talked back to her. It reminded her much too much of the Cylons, even if the voices they used were normal-sounding human ones.
As she began her search, she allowed part of her mind to wander elsewhere, thinking about her upcoming sealing with Apollo. There was no way she was going to let this situation interfere with her plans. If even the malevolent Count Iblis, for all his elaborate scheming with the Derelict vessel they had been led to not long ago, hadn’t been able to keep her and Apollo apart, than certainly no ridiculous charge against the Commander would do so. She wondered for a moment if, perhaps, this was another of the Count’s plots to make trouble for them. After all, somehow putting a skeleton inside the void was certainly, she felt quite sure, not beyond the Count’s powers. Yet, after a few moments reflection, she came to doubt her own idea.
He hasn’t shown up to gloat, Sheba. If it was him, he’d be around. All over us like a cheap tunic. No.
At last, she found the appropriate database, and began to dig in. Some of this stuff was old, and it was only by virtue of Commander Adama’s Presidential authorization code that she could open those which had long ago been sealed. She kept at it, oblivious to the comings and goings of others in the computer center.
Ah! Here we are!
“Yours?” asked Apollo, a little taken aback. “Your ring? How did your ring end up on a dead man almost thirty yahren ago?”
“Because I lost it, Apollo. I lost it in a fight.” Adama held, while Apollo’s eyebrows almost disappeared under his hair. “You may have noticed in the autopsy report, the mention of both a broken nose, and a cheekbone?”
“As well as contusions on the skull, and a cracked rib. Yes, I did. I assumed the killer…”
“Dorian and I had a fight, the last time… I broke his nose, and fractured a finger for my trouble. In the fight, the ring must have come off. I couldn’t find it afterwards, and never saw it again until now.”
“What were you two fighting about, Father?”
“Your mother,” replied Adama, after a long pause, and look, at his son. “Does that surprise you at all?”
“I…I suppose it does. I never saw you as the sort to descend to fisticuffs over a woman. Starbuck, yes. But…”
“Well, I was somewhat more…adventurous in my youth, Apollo. Intemperate. But you deserve the whole story. Sit.” Apollo did so, and Adama as well. “As I told you, Dorian and I knew each other since we were boys. I was barely six yahren old, he was seven. But when he grew older, something seemed to change.” Adama stopped, as if considering his next words. “I knew your mother long before we were sealed, Apollo. Her mother and mine were friends, but it was actually Dorian who brought us together. On a school outing. They were together, but, eventually she gravitated towards me, Lords know why, and we hit it off as you might say. We dated, all through school, sometimes even double-dating with friends.”
“Yes. A few times. However, Dorian grew to resent her for preferring me, and in time, it was to come between us. After he disappeared, cashiered as I thought, your mother’s and my relationship blossomed, and ultimately, my career in the service progressed, and we were sealed, right after I made Strike Captain.” Adama scowled. “As we left the chapel, I saw him again.”
“Yes. He was just sitting there, in a back pew, looking at me. A look, I realized later, that was one of pure hatred.”
“Did he speak to you or Mother at all?”
“A little. At the reception, he came up, and offered his ‘congratulations’. He smiled, a smile like Baltar’s.”
“I can imagine it, just listening, Father. What else did he say?”
“He congratulated me on both my sealing, and my recent promotion, and said we’d meet again. ‘Oh yes, we’ll meet again Adama’, he said, and then after a long look at your mother, he left. Something in the way he said it left me chilled to the bone.”
“How did Mother take it?”
“She was as disgusted as I was, but we dismissed it, and got on with our lives. I didn’t see Dorian again until a few sectons after you were born, Apollo, although I learned he had been keeping track of me.”
“Why? For what possible purpose?”
“When I was involved with the telekinesis program, we were subjected to a number of security checks. I found out through a friend that Dorian tried to have me excluded from the program.”
“Hounding you out of a sense of revenge? Because you got mother and he didn’t?”
“Yes, although I learned that later. About the time you were born, I was temporarily suspended from duty, when some intelligence scans went missing aboard the ship I was serving on. Sure enough, Dorian turned up, trying to make me as miserable as he could. Ultimately, it all turned out to be a computer fault, but that didn’t matter. He treated us all as if we were Cylon spies.”
“The man seemed to enjoy making others miserable,” observed Apollo.
“Yes, he did. His parting words to me were; ‘You dodged another one, Adama, but don’t worry. I’m patient.’ And he smiled.”
“So how did he end up stuffed in the void aboard the Galactica?” asked Apollo. “You said you had a fight with him.
“It was right after I was promoted to Colonel. I was assigned to ship out with Commander Cronus aboard the Rycon. However, she wasn’t going to be ready to sail for some sectons, and the Galactica was just about to leave dock after an extensive overhaul and resupply. My father requested the Admiralty that I be permitted to serve as his Exec during the Galactica’s upcoming training cruise, to get my Colonel’s feet wet as it were. His usual Exec was taken suddenly ill. Both Cronus and the Admiralty agreed, as there was a lull in the war at the time, and we shipped out.”
“How’d it go?”
“Fine. We ran into a single Cylon patrol and took some damage, but otherwise no serious problems. The new pilots acquitted themselves well. I enjoyed serving with your grandfather, and I gained valuable experience during those three sectons. We put back into port, the repair crews got busy, and I got my transfer orders to the Rycon. As I was packing up my gear, I learned from one of the stewards that Dorian had come aboard.” Adama got up again, to once more look out the port at the passing stars. “I was annoyed, of course. I was looking forward to spending a day or two at home, before heading out again. I was having a last drink with my crewmates in the Officer’s Club, when he came in.”
Aboard the Battlestar Galactica, Twenty-nine yahrens ago.
“Still aboard, I see,” said Dorian, oozing across the OC and sitting down next to Adama, now alone at the bar. He lit a thin fumerello, and took a few puffs. “I would have thought you’d be on your way home, Adama. Bosom of wife and family? I’m sure that little one at home is expecting you. And how is your mother these days?”
“What do you want, Dorian?’ sighed Adama, momentarily debating whether or not to throw his ambrosia in the other’s face. He decided against it.
Waste of a good vintage.
“Oh, nothing. Do I have to want something, to stop off and see an old friend?” He slowly sipped his own drink.
“Friend. Yes, of course. And just who are you persecuting this time, Dorian? Did one of the new cadets forget to put the mop and bucket back where they belong? No doubt a major risk to National Security brewing there. Are there some vegetable peelers missing from the galley, again? Or perhaps one of the repair techs down in the orlop used too many welding rods, and didn’t file the right requisition forms with the dock’s Supply Officer.”
“You’re funny, Adama,” smiled Dorian, with a gentle chuckle. Gentle, yet somehow sharp like razor blades. “You always were. That’s one of the things I always liked about you when we were kids, Adama. Your sense of humor.”
“Alright, so I have a great sense of humor. I’m sure though you didn’t come aboard to hear me tell jokes.”
“Sharp as always, Adama. No wonder you made Colonel. Of course,” he went on, taking another sip, “having daddy as the decorated Commander of a Battlestar didn’t hurt, I’m sure.”
Adama set his mug down, and glared at his one-time friend. Dorian smiled again, knowing he’d touched a soft spot. Adama idolized his father, and everyone knew it. He had since earliest days, and Dorian had found it an effective point of attack.
“Is spotless, naturally.”
“Not for lack of you trying,” said Adama.
“Your latest cruise only adds to your laurels, Adama,” replied Dorian, ignoring the barb. “And your new posting, to the Rycon? Well, that’s going to turn out to be a good thing in the end. Save you a lot of heartache and blame by association, when the felcercarb stars flying.”
“What in Hades Hole are you trying to say, Dorian? Speak plainly, provided you still know how.”
“Oh I still know how, old friend.”
“Don’t you ‘old friend’ me, you equus’ astrum,” hissed Adama, slamming his mug down loudly, but keeping his voice low. “Spit it out, or get the frack out of here and crawl back under your rock.”
“Very well. Colonel. “I’m not here because of you, Adama, although that’s icing on the cake. I’m here because of your father.” Dorian smiled again, his grin cold and cruel, and blew smoke Adama’s way.
“Yes indeed, Adama. The revered and venerable Commander Noah. Master of the Battlestar Galactica. Hero of Bellerophon Four. Really nice guy. A few smaller fish, yes, but he’s the big catch.”
“And just what in Hades Hole makes you think…”
“I don’t think, Adama…”
“On that we agree, Dorian.”
“There’s that sense of humor, again, Adama. I’ll put it simply for you, then.” Dorian’s voice lost the light, teasing tone of a few moments before, becoming cold and vicious. “He’s been implicated in the theft of military property, and embezzlement of funds. As much as a hundred and eighty thousand cubits, possibly more. And I’m going to get him, Adama. No power in the star system is going to stop me from bringing him down.”
“My father wouldn’t steal a pencil from a blind man with a tin cup, let alone from his own government. You’ll never prove that, Dorian. Never.”
“Oh but I will. However I have to do it, Adama.” Dorian took another sip of his drink. “However I have to do it. And whoever else gets ground under foot.”
“I knew you were an insect, Dorian, but for even you, to sink this low…”
“And I’m going to enjoy watching you squirm, while I rip your father to shreds, Adama.” The smile was back. “Indeed I will.” He waited another beat. “As will, I’m sure, that lovely wife of yours.”
Adama grabbed hold of Dorian’s tunic, but slowly let go. While he didn’t doubt that he could take the other man, he wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of losing his temper right here in front of others.
“You’re wrong, Dorian. Someone will stop you.”
“Oh?” sneered the other with an annoying grin. “And who might that be?”
“Me.” Adama’s look was cold and steely.
“Ah. The co-conspirator descends to threats.” He smiled again. “Oh yes, Adama. I meant it when I said whomever. You and your dear old dada, in on the plot together? That will certainly make the lead story on every network in the Colonies. I’m sure the Cylons will be laughing their…”
“You’re a coward, Dorian,” said Adama. “You’ve never forgiven me for testifying against you at the Academy. Or for winning Ila, so you pursue me and my entire family out of a juvenile sense of injured pride. Ila loved me, not you, and you have never been able to accept that simple truth. What next? Will Apollo be charged as a Cylon spy?”
“Loved me. Loved me, and sealed with me, Dorian. She saw you for what you really are, and rejected you, and you can’t stand rejection. Can you? Dori?” Adama deliberately used Dorian’s childhood nickname, which he had always despised. From the look on Dorian’s face, it had the desired effect.
“I am so going to enjoy taking you down, Adama,” hissed Dorian, voice low and venomous, as he put out his fumerello stub in Adama’s drink. “You’ve dodged the arrow a few times. You were lucky, I’ll give you that. But not this time, old friend. Not this time. And when you and your father are destroyed, the look on Ila’s face will pay for all.”
This time, Adama forgot about all the extra eyes, and landed a punch to Dorian’s nose. The odious fellow fell back, sliding off onto the deck, blood spurting from the injured orifice. Adama looked contemptuously at him, whispered something, and then strode from the room. At the door, he passed others coming in, but paid them no heed.
“And then”? asked Apollo, but the chime sounded. Adama called “enter”, and Sheba fairly blew into the room. She was animated, and held a computer data chip in her right hand.
“I’ve got something!” she said, not even bothering to take a seat.
“What?” asked Apollo.
“Ship’s security records for the day this Major Dorian was killed,” she replied, voice and face eager as a newly-minted cadet. She slid the chip into Adama’s desk reader without even asking. Apollo shook his head in amazement.
"After today, I'm really going to start wondering what kind of trivial felgercarb is still buried in the Fleet database."
"Well just be glad this still exists, Apollo," Sheba said as she pressed two buttons and saw the information come up on the screen.
Apollo spared a look at his father, and the two men shared a brief smile. “See? Right here. Major Dorian, of Colonial Intelligence, came aboard the Galactica at 1155 centars, that morning. The ship had returned to spacedock over Caprica the evening before from a three secton training cruise.” She waited while they both studied the readout.
“I see it, Sheba,” began Apollo. “But we already know that Dorian was here. How does this…”
“Look, silly!’ She scrolled down the data, and then zoomed in on one particular entry. Major Dorian logs in to the ship’s computer when he came aboard her at 1155 that morning, Caprica Standard Time. This is his personal ID code. We know that he was terminated sometime after that. So,” she said, with a theatricality neither man had ever seen in her before, “if Major Dorian was already dead and stuffed into the void, then who in Hades Hole was it that logged off the ship four centars later?”
"The dull mind rises to Truth through that which is material." -Suger
Et verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigenti a Patre, plenam gratiae et veritas.