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VS2 ep # 13: "Bones" (Part 4)

 
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Senmut
Persona Specialitas


Joined: 15 Jul 2006
Posts: 1330
Location: Soviet of Washington, ex-USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: VS2 ep # 13: "Bones" (Part 4) Reply with quote

Bones: Ch. 14-Epilogue


Chapter Fourteen



“There he is!” said Apollo, as Boxey entered the Commander’s quarters two days later, accompanied by Cassiopeia on one arm. The boy looked decidedly odd, walking with a cane tailored to his height, but at least he was up and on the mend. Athena was with him as well, along with…
“Well, if it isn’t Muffit!” said Adama. The daggit had been disabled when Tabor’s shot blew out the main rectifier in the daggit’s power system. Fifteen or so centons on Wilker’s bench, and the daggit was on his feet, and like new. Boxey reached the table first, and in a move of old-fashioned courtly manners, pulled out a chair for his Aunt Athena, between Adama and Boomer. He looked up, smiling with adoration, as he settled in himself next to Sheba.
When he’d first seen her in Life Station, Starbuck had seriously risked finding himself stuffed, astrum first, into a Viper thruster, for cracking a joke about her bedraggled appearance following her struggle. Outside of a few fading bumps and bruises from her tussle with Tabor, Sheba now looked decidedly better, and, in Apollo's opinion, deliciously radiant in the shimmering light blue gown that she had donned for the occasion. He gave his fiancée an appreciative smile before slipping into the seat on the other side of her.
For a moment, the Captain gazed around the table at his family and friends: Starbuck and Cassie, Boomer and Athena, Sheba, Boxey, and his father. "Thank the Lords this is all over!" he said with a sigh, his right arm still wrapped in a regen sleeve. Tabor’s trampling had fractured the bones in many places, along with numerous nerves and tendons, and even with the bone welder, it would take a few days until everything was back to normal. “Sire Solon says that since a dying man’s confession is considered evidence, that’s it.”
“Here, here!” said Adama, raising his glass. As a special indulgence, Boxey was permitted a small amount of ambrosia, poured by his grandfather. The Proteus Stash, of course. “I’m just glad to have all of you alive, well, and this whole ugly thing out of the way.”
“Which it wouldn’t be, if it weren’t for Sheba,” said Apollo. “She’s the one who finally put the whole confounded thing together. Not me.”
“Yeah, at the very last centon. If I’d been a bit faster…”
“Hey, don’t slam yourself,” said Boomer, shaking his head. “It went right over my head. I mean I never even thought of the gene therapy angle, Sheba.”
“Fortunately, neither did Lieutenant Tabor,” said Athena. “He never knew that his old genetic profile, as well as the altered one, had been catalogued by the doctor who did the therapy.”
“But he said it was illegal,” said Starbuck.
“It was at that time, but it became legal shortly thereafter when it was finally adjudged safe for Humans, and the doctor who did it probably didn’t want to be hauled up on charges, so he fudged the date on his records, instead of wiping them. Tabor never knew.”
“And so when Med Tech Tone’s genetic search finally paid off…” said Boomer.
“Exactly,” said Athena. “Boomer and I had arranged to have whatever results he got sent to our terminal, whatever the centar. As soon as it bleeped in Life Station, we got it too.”
“Okay,” said Starbuck, “I realize I’m not the brightest emitter in the laser battery, so bare with me. How did the genetic scan expose Tabor exactly?”
“Okay,” said Sheba, swallowing quickly. “Tone and Waheeb explained it to me. Each of us receives our genetic makeup at conception. Normally, it’s fixed for life. Now, the defects in Tabor’s DNA showed up in a standard scan, just like anyone else’s would. But, after the genetic replacement therapy to cure his albinism and colorblindness, those genes would read as different.”
“Uhhh, yeah,” said Starbuck. He pulled a fumerello from his inside pocket, but at a glare from Cassie, put it back. “So, they were different. I still…”
“Well, at first, all we were looking for were those specific nucleotide sequences, Starbuck. Naturally, after alteration, they were nowhere to be found. But Waheeb widened the search parameters. Even with those genes altered, the rest of Tabor’s DNA would be the same as it was from his conception. Height, blood type, gender, and so forth. Including his mitochondrial DNA, which exists outside the cell nucleus. Tabor’s was almost unique. Once that happened, it was only matter of time, and up it popped.”
“Telling you that Decker was really Tabor,” finished Starbuck. “I see.” He looked into his glass of ambrosia, then leaned over to Apollo, dropping his voice. “What’s a nucleotide?”
“I’ll tell you later, Starbuck,” volunteered Boxey, cheerfully. Boomer looked from the boy to Starbuck, then back. Everyone laughed.
Except Starbuck.
“And then?” asked Colonel Tigh. Although he almost never accepted invitations to dine, Adama had insisted in this case. Tigh was both a good officer, as well as an old friend. Practically family. He deserved to know the rest of the story.
“Then it all just clicked,” said Sheba. “The altered DNA, the traces of tylium and Type VI Polylubrisol-Beta on the jacket worn by my attacker. The fact that the solonite used to try to kill Apollo came from a cluster warhead, and Boomer found one warhead a charge short. The fact that whoever it was could seemingly just vanish, and move unseen through the ship, and even Security couldn’t find them. It had to be someone who not only knew the ship’s innermost recesses better than any of us, but also was a technical wizard, and worked extensively around Vipers and shuttles. Someone who had served aboard her longer than even the Commander had. I was going over the crew roster, and just knew I was missing something. It all seemed to fit Decker, except for him not being colorblind at all. Then, when I saw the DNA information, it all fell into place like a Cylon pinwheel attack.”
“When I saw the same data, I realized the same thing,” said Athena. “I called Life Station, but there was no answer. My alert klaxon went off, and we headed for her.”
“I was certain that whoever it was was keeping track of us somehow,” Sheba went on, “and then the call came in for Tone to go to the laundry. My little voice told me it was a fake, so I laid a trap in my room. Sure enough, Tabor showed up.”
“Well, I may not be a biogenetic engineer,” said Starbuck. “But I do know that Boxey is a hero.”
“Aww, Starbuck,” said Boxey, flushing with pride.
“Roowwrr!” said Muffit.
“You are too,” said Athena.
“Yes, what were you doing up and about at that centar?” asked Adama, with just the right amount of grandfatherly reproach in his voice. “Long past your bedtime, young man.”
“I couldn’t sleep,” said Boxey, “Jolly’s snoring woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. And dad and all the pilots were asleep, and I wanted someone to talk to. So, I went to Life Station to see you.” He looked up at Sheba, eyes aglow with love.
“And distracted the killer long enough for things to turn out right,” said Boomer. “Talk about timing.”
“That was a big risk you took, Boxey,” said Apollo, looking down at him. “Tabor was someone who wouldn’t have hesitated to kill you.”
“I knew he wouldn’t, though,” replied Boxey, with certainty.
“How?” asked Tigh.
“Well, The Book Of The Word says ‘He is with they who stand for justice. The Almighty is a shield to them who wrestle with evil.’” He closed his eyes to concentrate. “And the other part that says ‘Let their way be dark and slippery, Let destruction come upon the wicked unexpectedly, the net they have cast shall catch them, into that very destruction let them fall.’ I knew we’d win.” Again, there was silence. Tigh, normally agnostical, looked down, thoughtfully, then back up at the boy. Boxey looked to his father. “Did I quote it right?”
“You did,” Apollo reassured him, unable to hide his pride. He’d been schooling Boxey in his memory work, and it was obviously paying off.
“Well Boxey, are you going to be a Prior or scholar?” asked Boomer.
“Nope,” replied the boy quickly, a note of pride in his voice. “A Viper pilot. Like my parents are.”
“Well, he’s a hero in my book,” said Cassie. She looked at Boxey, and smiled.
“Aw, Cassiopeia.”
“No, she’s right,” said Sheba, turning to look at her stepson-to-be. “You are.” She looked down at him, blushing red as a ripe pomon.* “You are, Boxey. If it weren’t for you, I might not have survived the fight up there.”
“Oh, but you can beat any enemy, Sh…Mom.” There was a momentary stillness, as the impact of Boxey’s word sunk in. “Just like those Cylons.”
“Boxey,” she said, leaning down a little, “never forget. No one, absolutely no one, is invincible. Yes, even me. When I joined the Galactica crew, I was all shot up. Really bad. So, I’m not invulnerable. Had you not been there, had you not come into the Life Center when you did, Tabor might never have been caught.”
“Or…or he might have killed you?”
“Yes. So, believe us when we tell you. You are a hero, Boxey.”
“And one I’m not likely to ever forget,” said Apollo. Boxey grinned up at his Dad, “Does that mean I can have the new Starhounds game?” Apollo returned his grin as he listened to Starbuck chuckling softly. “No.”
“Before I forget,” said Tigh, hiding a smile, “there’s still something I’d like to know. How did Commander Cain’s command override code end up being used to lock out the Galactica’s escape pods?”
“Yes, I’d like to know that too,” said Adama, turning to Sheba. “If you would.”
“Well, that was me, yes. Tabor demanded that I fly him to one of the nearby systems in a shuttle, with Boxey as a hostage. After he fled Life Station, I realized that he might try for the escape pods instead, since he’d as much as told me his escape plan. So, I used father’s command code to lock them out, and force him towards the shuttle hangar. I knew that sooner or later, he’d turn up, and so would Security.”
“It works on the Galactica?” asked Athena. “The code from another Battlestar?”
“Yes,” said Adama. “Every Commander’s override code is unique, and allows unlimited access to all ship’s functions. It is, or was, in the data banks of every Colonial warship.”
“What for?” asked Cassie.
“Many reasons,” said Adama. “If one Commander were to be incapacitated or killed in battle, and another had to take his place such as in a Task Force situation, or to keep certain information and functions out of the hands of either the Cylons or anyone else who might get aboard and try and access things they had no business seeing. Cain’s code is in our computer, just as mine is in the Pegasus’. Each Commander was given one upon assuming command, and it remains in the system in perpetuity.”
“And you knew Cain’s,” said Boomer. “I see. Clever.”
“After the disaster at Molocay, father entrusted me with his code,” said Sheba. “Just in case anything happened to him.”
“And we are all glad he did,’ said Adama. “Tabor might have actually been able to effect his escape, if you hadn’t thought of that.”
“Well, she’s a genius,” said Apollo. “What can I say?” He looked at Sheba, smiling.
“You could say it again,” she smiled back. “It sounds so good!”
“ Okay. She’s a genius.” They all laughed. Settling down, Apollo took another sip of his ambrosia, and look at Adama. “Father, have we found out any more about Tabor?”
“Well, Castor’s men searched his quarters. There wasn’t really much beyond what you might expect, except several stacks of notebooks, and a few engineering and technical volumes.”
“Notebooks?” asked Tigh. “Of what?”
“Diaries, musings to himself, even poetry,” replied Adama. “Sire Solon has them for the record, such as it is. A lot of them are jumbled and incoherent. Ramblings about death and murder, decay and guilt and tormented dreams. The musings of a tortured mind.”
“All these yahrens, to carry all that guilt,” said Athena. “It must have driven him mad.”
“Yes, Athena,” said her father. “He talks over and over of Dorian, and how his ghost would visit and torment him. How it would never let him leave the Galactica, and transfer to another ship. From what we’ve been able to piece together, killing Dorian was the one and only real mistake of his life.”
“And he paid for it, over and over, for almost thirty yahrens,” said Tigh, shaking his head. “Yet, the few times I’d ever encountered him, he seemed quite sane.”
“Looked that way to me when I had the cadets down there the last time,” said Starbuck. “He addressed them briefly, on maintenance stuff.”
“He kept it bottled up, I’ll wager,” said Cassie. “Talk about a strong character, resisting until it finally ate his mind away. Always wanting to leave the ship, always afraid to, afraid that Major Dorian would be found someday.”
“And when the bones were found,” added Boomer, “it must have finally pushed his mind over the edge into insanity.” He shook his head. “I’d rather face a Cylon attack phalanx than that.”
“Me too, and I can’t even fly,” said Cassie.
“But, his last thoughts were of remorse, and he sought forgiveness from us,” said Adama. “We can only hope that Lieutenant Tabor has at last found the peace that this life so cruelly denied him. Let us try and remember that.”
“Here here!” said Athena, raising her glass. They all touched, and drank to the moment. Later, stomachs filled, glasses empty, hearts merry, and the chronometer late, they all filed slowly out. As Apollo passed through the hatch, Adama heard “Starbuck, about my office…” Then the hatch was closed, and the Commander was alone.
Although he could have called for the steward, Adama didn’t mind cleaning up himself tonight; the occasion was more than worth the bother. After things were either stacked away or dumped into the recycler, he sat at his desk, and once more opened the old album, For a long time, he wasn’t sure how long, he just sat there, silently, looking at the likenesses of himself and Dorian from so long ago. Long before the two happy, carefree friends ever thought of women, or power, or cruel pride. Adama closed it at last, unaware of the tiny tear that had splashed down upon the old likeness, putting it back in its hallowed place, then rose, and walked to the port, looking out across endless space. Slowly, he folded his hands, and bowed his head.
“Almighty, what poor thanks can I give for this salvation of my family, and the vindication of my name? You have delivered me, and those I love, yet again.”
He went on, for some time, pouring out his heart. And wondering. Tabor had struggled to make his peace before meeting his fate. And Dorian? In those last few moments, had he sought to be shriven of his burden of evil as well? Adama realized, of course, that until the day he passed beyond the veil himself, he would never know. And that, he told himself, is how it must remain for now.
Adama at last lifted his eyes, and gazed for a long, long moment, out the portal. You could see a long way, across the innumerable stars.
But not as far as Dorian had gone.






Epilogue

As soon as the dinner had broken up, Sheba had accompanied Apollo and Boxey back to their quarters so she could bid them goodnight. The tender hug Boxey had given her, and his actually saying "Good night, Mommy." had left her on the verge of feeling overwhelmed with emotion completely. And yet...when she'd walked away from the quarters of her soon-to-be husband and stepson, she found another feeling starting to take hold inside her. One that was distinctly less positive from the one Boxey had left her with. It was a feeling of...frustration like she'd never known before.
She'd been struggling with it inside for some time, and had thought she'd overcome it earlier that evening once the crisis passed, but something had come up during the dinner that had reopened the inner wound and now, despite the good feeling generated by her goodnight with Boxey and Apollo, she almost felt as if she were about to explode.
And so, she had retreated to the most private place she could think of. One she had retreated to once before in frustration without authorization.
When Sheba popped open the hatch to the Celestial Dome, the first thing she noticed was how cleaned up it seemed compared to the last time she had been here, which had been with Apollo the night before their patrol together that had led them to encounter the horrible Derelict ship of Count Iblis and his demon minions. An experience that had been life-changing for the both of them.....and one that she had thought would bring an end to the string of miseries and afflictions she'd been going through in her life.
Instead, that had not proved to be the case. Despite the happiness that had come with Apollo proposing, and the end of the distance she'd known with Boxey before the Derelict incident, it had not led to the end of traumas and afflictions. There had been that incident with the Ziklagi, when she had been shot up and Apollo had been forced to spend many long centars wondering if he'd lost her forever. That had been one assault to her pride as a warrior, to have ended up wounded and in the Life Station, helpless, and knowing that those she loved had to suffer, wondering about her fate. Especially Apollo. After their shared experience of surviving the ordeal of the Derelict, she had hoped that she could spare him any more mental anguish, such as that. They both deserved better, especially after having to face that demon! Still, she knew that, given her life as a warrior, she could not realistically expect to avoid life threatening situations, or times when Apollo might feel anguish over her, unless she decided to never go into battle again . . . no! She was too much her father's daughter to give that up! But to end up in the Life Station again just a mere sectar later was a double indignity to her. And to have to listen to another pompous lecture from Salik about staying in the Life Station and off her feet, just as she'd done sectars ago when she'd been sidelined from the action at Ki because of illness. To again see the pain in Apollo's face and to have to go through another emotional conversation with him. It was enough to make think Sheba wonder at times if she was living in some bad play her mother, Bethany, renowned throughout the Colonies as the Queen of Caprican Theater, had once refused to act in. An atmospheric story of a person who found herself reliving the same experiences over and over again, as if guided by some mysterious, incomprehensible outside force, and yet never given any reason as to why.
She could still remember the title on the script, Deja, some Aquarian term that she didn't get, and she could also see her mother laughing derisively as she'd read a page of the script and then register her final opinion of the subject matter by crumpling the pages one by one and tossing them into a nearby receptacle as if she were a triad player aiming for a score. "Ridiculous and stupid," Bethany had said, and then told her daughter how the nice thing about being a legend of the stage was having the freedom to turn down projects like that.
Now though, as Sheba settled herself down on the bench in front of the platform that held the Gamma signal receiver and booster, which she noticed was back on an active setting now----no doubt because of Apollo's influence on that matter---- , she couldn't help but think that her life was becoming like something out of that bad play. And if more of that were to continue, it had the potential to ruin her confidence as a warrior, and to potentially undermine the happiness she was looking forward to sharing with Apollo as his wife, and with Boxey as his mother.
It's not fair, she thought as she looked ahead into the star-filled expanse in front of her. After what happened on the Derelict, I didn't deserve any of this happening to me. Especially this latest thing.
Before the dinner, she might have thought she could rationalize being in the Life Station this most recent time as something that helped unmask Dorian’s killer. But now, she didn't see how she could think that. True, she had made some clever deductions from her position there, but it was the kind of thing that theoretically could have been done as part of normal investigative work without being attacked once, and then on top of it, the near-horror of seeing the little boy she was already starting to think of as her son going through a potentially life-threatening experience as well. The best she could say was that she had done all she could have done from the position she'd been thrust into, and she had succeeded, but that didn't take away the simple resentment inside over being thrust into that kind of position in the first place.
I've had enough of this, she thought with an inner fury that she knew she dared not show openly to anyone, lest it only create a new set of difficulties that she didn't want to see. I'm owed something. Me, Apollo, Boxey. I only want some peace and calm in my life for now.
As Sheba continued to sit on the bench, her arms folded, her expression bitter, her eyes looking ahead, she was totally unaware of a presence that now materialized beside her. It was a presence from that realm beyond that of the living. Where those who occupied that domain could often return to the realm they once belonged to in life, but only by staying totally unseen and unheard by those they'd once known. Yet despite being unheard and unseen, they could often find ways of imparting support and encouragement just the same.
Recently, the spirit of Apollo's first wife and Boxey's mother had visited the Galactica and the other ships of the Fleet for just such a purpose. Now, the white-garbed figure who stood beside Sheba, had come for the same purpose. The woman who in her mortal life had been both Sheba's mother, and the wife of Commander Cain. Whose life had been cut short by a lethal brain disease.
"It's been a while since I last visited you," she said. "There really wasn't any need, because things have been going so wonderfully for you, but...when I saw how troubled you were now, I thought you could use some encouragement."
She settled down next to Sheba, who remained oblivious to her presence, and looked at her with the most maternal expression imaginable. "You may look just like me, Sheba, but everything else about you is your father. Not just the fact that you chose the same career he did, but...you have that same sense of pride, and when its wounded you try to keep your hurt bottled up, and not show it to anyone. Not even the ones you love. Your father, he..." she stopped and realized that she couldn't let herself reveal anything the Powers had forbidden her from revealing. Specifically the matter of whether Commander Cain still lived or not. "Well, let's just say that I had plenty of chances to see that myself in him."
She leaned forward and now she was talking directly into Sheba's ear, "I've always been proud of you, Sheba. Proud to see you take after your father in all the ways that made me love him so much. You wouldn't be the exceptional warrior you are if you didn't have that ability to be a stubborn perfectionist just like him. But this time, Sheba...try not to be like your father so instinctively and realize that more important forces were at work that placed you in the Life Station those two times and allowed some good things to happen. Because of that first time, Boxey felt a desire to think of you not just as a friend but as his future mother. And because of the second time, Adama, whom you owe the same love and devotion that you'd give your own father, is free from what could have been a horrible ordeal that would have disrupted his ability to lead the people. Don't punish yourself because your pride was hurt by ending up in the Life Station, just think first and foremost of the results that happened. Let that give you strength to draw from, and forget about everything else.
She paused and then smiled warmly in a way that Cain had once told her made her look totally angelic, and had always left him quivering inside.
"Besides, Sheba, what happened to you these last two times wasn't the mark of a warrior who'd lost her skills, they were the mark of someone who survived experiences that would have left a lesser warrior dead. Take some encouragement from that. And some day, I might tell you a story about your father and how he went through something just like that not long before he became commander of the Pegasus.
"What this all comes back to, Sheba, is that you need to remember that whatever happens to you can lead to a greater good, even if you don't realize it at first. And you've seen the reality of those results after these two incidents, so don't let your heart be troubled any longer about hurt pride or any...angst if you will, between you and Apollo. The only reason why he'd ever be concerned for your safety isn't because he thinks less of your skills, it's because he loves you so much. Although...I'll admit he needs to tone it down a bit. Just be patient with him, and I think in time he will."
She then rose and after a brief hesitation sat down beside her again. "I...wasn't going to say this, but....you're entitled to it. Especially since after that horrible experience on the Derelict, you felt as though you'd earned the right to a respite, and that's another reason why you've been upset inside over these last two incidents. So, I'll just give you a solemn promise that there won't be anymore of these kinds of situations to trouble you between now and the day you and Apollo become sealed. What might happen after that, I.....can't be open with you about, but you can let that inner knowledge build up your sense of confidence and resolve for the short term."
And then she rose and lingered in the room long enough to see the restless, bitter expression on Sheba's face finally fade and relax. When that had happened, she smiled and then her invisible presence faded from the room completely, and she had passed back into that great chasm separating the domains of living and dead.
Slowly, Sheba rose from the bench, still looking straight ahead, but this time with a puzzled expression. In the space of an instant, all of the bitter feeling that had been raging inside her was gone, and she had no idea why that was the case, and why she now felt a strange sense of inner peace within her.
I don't know why I feel this way, she thought and then slowly a smile came over her face, And I shouldn't even care why.
Feeling a new burst of confidence within her, Sheba picked up her ear protectors and after putting them on, had opened the hatch and returned to her quarters, where she knew a good night's sleep awaited her.

*********************************************************************************************************


As Sheba returned to her quarters feeling a sense of peace and inner calm, those emotions were not present at all in luxurious chambers aboard the Rising Star.
Sire Antipas stood in front of the open safe at the far wall of his living quarters, his expression one of slack-jawed shock. He had come over just to have the satisfaction of looking and touching the one artifact he'd thought he'd been able to keep in his possession, only to be greeted with the sight of an empty safe when the door opened.
How? he thought in horror.
"Have you lost something, Antipas?"
The Libran sire turned around and saw Lydia standing in the entryway to the bed chamber with a mischievous smile. She had wrapped only a thin sheet around her naked body and even though she'd been awake for only a few centons, managed to look radiantly beautiful.
"Where is it?" he demanded coldly, his hands clenching to indicate his anger.
"Oh, you mean that little memento of Queen Herneith's?" Lydia stepped forward, dragging the sheet behind her. "The item that if the official statement you made to Adama were accurate, should have been destroyed along with the rest of the items that Jabez kept in his quarters?"
Antipas tried to maintain his angry expression, but inside he felt more scared than at any time he could recall in his life.
"Jabez didn't sabotage his quarters and kill the Security Chief," Lydia's voice was taunting, "That was all Kimo's doing. On your orders no doubt, though I'm sure that the Chief's death wasn't planned. When it comes to a planned death though, that would describe what happened to Kimo. You had to kill him because he was the only one left who knew that you still had the Herneith bracelet he'd taken from Jabez's quarters, and that he could bring you down for a crime that Adama would never have agreed to pardon you for."
Antipas said nothing for several centons before he managed to get out his next words.
"Where is it?"
"Someplace where you can't get hold of it, darling Antipas," Lydia's wicked smile widened, "But should I ever meet with an unexpected accident of some kind, it will resurface. You can certainly guarantee that."
The auburn haired Siress came up to him, and then deftly tossed away the sheet covering her body, and then put her arms around him.
"You wouldn't want something to happen to me, Antipas," the possessive tone entered her voice, "All it would guarantee you is the disgrace of either the Prison Barge or the death penalty. And I can make sure you only get eternal pleasure from me."
She kissed him with violent passion on the lips, and it only took five microns for Antipas to stop resisting and give in.
"That's it," she whispered with sensuous delight, "Just accept things as they are. And you won't ever have a thing to worry about."
Lydia then whispered in his ear, "And someday Antipas, when the time is right, you and I will find even greater opportunities...together."
Antipas managed to smile thinly at her, "I seem to have...underestimated you greatly, my dear Lydia."
"Indeed," she returned it.
"The irony is that I resumed my pursuit of you because I actually feared you'd been developing a moral conscience." he shook his head and chuckled, "It's clear now that you don't have one left."
"Which frees me to enjoy the things I value most," Lydia said, "Such as insuring your total loyalty and devotion for the rest of your life, Antipas."
They then collapsed to the floor in another bout of uninhibited lovemaking, but even amidst their mutual pleasure, the Libran sire was seething inside and vowing that someday, even if he had to wait ten yahrens, he'd find a way of freeing himself from her.


Far away across the reaches of space, there was restless activity taking place aboard the lead Cylon BaseShip of a taskforce of two. For more than a secton, the two massive warships had held their position in a particular quadrant that had been yielding too many conflicting pieces of information that was making the taskforce commander feeling emotions that his centurion crew was incapable of feeling, but which seemed to threaten the very well-being of his delicate IL circuitry.
"I am not impressed with this analysis," Lucifer did not conceal the disgust in his voice. "Why are our patrols not able to reach the outer edge and get some clearer signals for us to analyze?"
"The magnetic interference readings are too dangerous for any of our craft to penetrate effectively," the gold-plated command centurion, known officially as Moray, though Lucifer seldom bothered to use the name since he didn't see why any centurion, not even one of high rank, had a need for it.
"Then given our strength in available fighters, perhaps its time we sacrifice one by sending it through the magnetic clouds so they might at least have a chance to get to the source of these signal readings that have kept us stopped in our position all this time." Lucifer retorted.
The command centurion said nothing, the only sound being the steady whirring of his electronic eye back and forth.
"Well?" the IL Cylon demanded impatiently.
"That procedure has already been utilized," Moray said, "The fighter that sacrificed itself was unable to communicate from the other side of the magnetic cloud."
"Hmmm," immediately Lucifer's voice softened, "My apologies. It would seem then, that we must continue to search for an alternate means of getting to the source of these signals that on the one hand indicate survivors from BaseShip 1974, and these other signals that represent...something else."
"That would be a practical solution."
"Then keep working on it. I want results sooner, not later."
"By your command."
As Command Centurion Moray walked off, Lucifer found his two Cylon computer brains humming with activity, and he was forming two conclusions at that instant. Neither of which he found pleasing in the least.
The first, was the information that the centurions had already thought of a most unorthodox procedure of investigation that theoretically, their simple programming should not have come up with. It was something that almost bordered on....independent initiative. If Cylon centurions were suddenly for no apparent reason developing that kind of capability, that was a development that two-brained Cylons like himself could not consider positive at all. It was the kind of development that could have the potential to threaten their very existence as a class.
The second conclusion concerned the matter of the old Cylon code signals that represented a part of the transmissions on the other side of that impenetrable magnetic cloud that had held up their progress for more than a secton. The more he thought about it, the more he was finding it less practical that it could come from members of BaseShip 1974's crew. How could they have found an opportunity to escape to such a planet and after six sectons have enough power reserves to keep transmitting all this time?
If that were the case then the only thing that could account for those signals was that they came from someone or something that had knowledge of what the codes had been at that particular time.
And if that were the case, the only logical answer of who could be responsible for that, represented the very worst possibility for Lucifer's two brains to consider.
He hoped it wouldn't take too much longer for his fears to be dispelled on that subject...or confirmed.

************************************************************************

Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a ragtag fugitive Fleet on a lonely quest. A shining planet...known as Earth.


========================================
With much thanks to Maggie, Eric, Lisa, and that guy from the FBI who let me steal one of their skeletons...
_________________
"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.
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