DISCLAIMER: Battlestar Galactica belongs to R&D TV. Transcript of the episode courtesy of SadGeezer.com. Me, I’m just a fan.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: An AU of 2.3 ‘Fragged’.
The Height of Happiness
She wasn't quite sure any more exactly what the chamalla was doing for her. The pain was bad and getting worse robbing her of her strength, the power of thought her very will to live not just for herself but for her people. That number on the whiteboard in her office would not fall any further if she had anything to do with it. Well, perhaps by just one more.
And her visions... sometimes it was hard to distinguish them from what was real. Laura determined to call them visions, not hallucinations. There was a deeper meaning to all of this that just to say eluded her.
She couldn't even define what she was going through at the moment as the original illness or withdrawal from the treatment. She needed more chamalla of that she was certain.
Billy was doing his best to get her some medication but Cottle was overstretched and Tigh was being deliberately obstructive threatening everyone up to and including members of the Quorum with a stretch in the brig if they even reminded him of her existence or referred to her in his hearing as 'President'. Adama's decision to depose her and stand at the brink of declaring martial law continued to be unpopular especially now that it was Tigh who was nominally in control. The man's delusions of competency fooled no one.
And then there was his wife, Ellen, whispering at his ear all money-grabbing ambition with no virtue behind it, willing to do anything and anyone to get what she wanted.
For the two of them in combination to be in any way approaching a position of power over the fleet was a disaster that Laura Roslin would do anything, endure anything to prevent.
"He's never going to let you go, you know that," Six whispered in her ear.
"What?" Laura jerked awake. The cramps that wracked her bones and twisted her stomach and the unforgiving disorientation kept her huddled in her bunk. Even raising her head was too much and she sank back again with a groan.
Six stroked her sweat matted hair out of her eyes her long fingers wonderfully cool against her heated skin. "You're going to die in here, Laura, unless you let me help you."
"I can't... you can't, you're not real... figment..." Laura mumbled.
"How can you be sure, Laura, what with your illness... and the effects of the chamalla root and now your withdrawal..." Her clever hands continued to fondle and caress. "Let me take your pain away, Laura." Her cool lips whispered over her throat, the stark line of her collarbone.
Laura tried to push her away but her body betrayed her. Unreal as she was, Six's presence was something to cling on to against the rushing darkness that threatened to overwhelm her. "I need... I need to see clearly... the chamalla helped so much and without it... anything that impeded that understanding..."
Ellen Tigh stood in front of the cell watching the woman who would be president the woman with all the power and position she craved mumble and croon to herself obviously lost in some kind of haze. "Madam President?"
"... Clearly and anything that impedes that understanding..."
"Madam President," she tried again.
"I have to consider..." Roslin whispered.
For the first time Roslin seemed to focus on her. She blinked slowly, as if surprised to see her. "Hello?"
"Hi. Are you all right? I, uh, just came down to see if there was anything I could do for you. Anything I can get you?"
"I would like to have a conversation with my attorney. Could you arrange that?" Laura said clearly but her body language was strange. She arched her back and neck, her eyes half closed, as if...
As if someone were kissing her. Ellen could almost picture the ghostly lips caressing her jaw and the nape of her neck under the fall of dark red hair. Just who was the President imagining?
She chuckled. "Yeah... yeah, sure, right. Laura do you know where you are?"
"I'm in jail," Roslin's eyes fluttered closed.
"What's my name?" Ellen asked.
Roslin's eyes opened again. "Have we met? I'm... I'm sorry. Excuse me... there's just... just..." She stretched, her mouth dropping open, shuddering. Her pale cheeks pinked slightly. "Oh..."
Oh indeed. Roslin seemed to be having a one woman party back there. Ellen wondered again just who her invisible lover was. Did the President pine after Adama or was it the son, they were very close after all? Or young Billy, her aide? He was very attentive. Ellen could not believe it was Saul. Or did she hearken over old loves? Ellen knew all about Roslin and her predecessor in office and Alar had certainly been worth remembering, Ellen could vouch for that. And 'their' thing had never been much more than an opportunistic fling. But by all accounts what Roslin had had with him had been fairly intense, if discreet. Back in the day Ellen Tigh had made it her business to know such things. One never knew when such titbits of information could come in useful. She watched as Roslin's hand crept up to cup her own breast, fondling it through the material of her shirt whimpering softly to herself, her legs parting, her skirt riding up her pale thighs.
"There your fingers there goddess yes!" she whispered to herself. Ellen smirked, wondering if the security cameras were on. A tape of this could make a fortune on the black market. And goddess? Oh my, the possibilities there that journalist for one, D'Anna Biers. Sparks had flown there by all accounts. And there was that pilot who Saul hated Starbuck. According to Saul she was far too tight with the President. Or that pretty Sagittaron girl out of C&C Dualla but she was sweet on Billy by all accounts. Hey, and she still had it herself. Power and influence came irrespective of gender. She'd followed Sappho herself a time or two. She chuckled softly. Laura Roslin, you slyboots.
"Oh okay then. Take care." Just wait until Saul heard about this. And all those who held up President Roslin as some kind of living saint.
Someone was talking to her. Someone she knew. Someone dangerous.
"Ignore her," Six said. "Silly self-important no-one. She's not important though she thinks she should be. She's no danger to you or me."
Ellen Ellen Tigh Six was wrong about her. Forcing herself back into the here and now, Laura called after the woman but it was too late. What had she heard what had she seen? No doubt she was already spreading poison about her into the willing ears of her husband and anyone else who would listen to her. Of all the people
"It doesn't matter, Laura. None of it does," Six continued to caress her body. "Live in the here and now for the moment. The past is done, can't be changed. The future hasn't happened yet."
"I'm dying. I am going to die. That is my future."
"Perhaps. And if you do die, none of this will matter. And if you don't well, you can take care of Ellen Tigh then."
"But you said I can't die I have I have "
"A destiny yes, are things any getting clearer for you, Laura?"
If she was honest with herself, no things were more confused than ever. But she couldn't let anyone see that. That was what was important, articulating the truth that had been revealed to her. "I have been given the opportunity to perceive the scriptures more clearly. Anything that impedes that, I have to view as contrary to the survival of the human species. I trust" It faded again as anxiety over Ellen Tigh's motives seized her.
"She's an attractive woman," Six observed. "And you know she's drawn to power like a moth to a flame. All you would have to do "
"She's so not my type," Roslin snorted.
"Do you think she was wearing underwear? She's not the sort to miss an opportunity. And I've seen her she watches you all the time. As I said, I think that all you'd have to do is crook your finger " A series of images sizzled through Laura's mind, Ellen Tigh writhing in front of her as she rode Laura's slim strong fingers.
"That's ab absurd," Roslin gasped. "And given what we have inappropriate, I would have thought."
"Don't confuse sex with love, Laura," Six crooned. "I know I have your heart."
"Yes, of course you do," Laura said, surprised and a little horrified to find that she meant it. How had she come to this?
"I can always rip it out of your chest if I need to," Six smiled. Laura knew the Cylon well enough by now to know that she rarely if ever joked. Contrarily, that made her feel a little better about this 'relationship'. Six wasn't done playing with her yet.
"Would you like me to look like her? Would that make it easier for you?" Her face morphed, the platinum blonde hair stayed the same. Ellen Tigh's pale eyes stared back at her.
Laura shook her head. "No, I don't think so."
"The two of you have a lot in common, you know."
"I don't understand."
"President Adar... your lover. Before he slept with you..."
"He was sleeping with Ellen Tigh." It didn't come as a surprise which she found profoundly sad. Six looked at her with a kind of pity. "You're getting better at emotions, Six. Better at playacting them at any rate."
"I'm not playacting, as you put it. What I feel is very real. You have changed me, Laura. More than you know. You have taught me many things, to feel emotions more intensely, pity... passion hatred. And yet I still have so far to go. I envy you sometimes."
Laura felt the terrible weakness steal over her again. "I'm dying, Six. What is there to envy?"
More visitors. Billy hovered looking visibly upset. Beside him the guard, the young man Venner who had been kind to her looked like he was doing some serious thinking.
"Some of the things she's been saying. Well, it sounds like she's talking about the scrolls of the Prophet Pythia Pythia foretold the rise of a leader. A leader who would lead all humanity to salvation. So say the gods."
"So say we all," Six whispered. "Couldn't have put it better myself."
"You seem to know a lot about the scriptures," Billy said.
"I'm from Gemenon. We believe in the literal truth of the scriptures," Venner told him.
Which meant that Venner might conceivably know someone who knew someone who could get hold of chamalla extract.
The truth would out. There wasn't much time.
Ellen Tigh went back to the quarters she shared with her husband. He was fretting over the responsibilities of command and coping with it the only way he knew. Taking a drink.
"Guess it's happy hour."
"What's happy about it," Tigh groused. "The old man is still in surgery. And I got a boat load of politicians and press demanding to see Laura Roslin."
"Let 'em," she laughed, stealing his drink from him and taking a hefty hit from it.
"Yeah, right," Tigh scoffed.
Ellen smiled. "She's crazy, Saul. She's lost it. I just went down to the brig to see her."
"You did?" Tigh stared at her, wondering what had made her do such a thing. Ellen and the President had never struck him as being particularly close. And if he was honest with himself it was totally out of character for her to care about anyone's welfare other than her own.
"She's... completely nuts. She doesn't even know where she is anymore."
Tigh's smile widened. "You're kidding."
"You should let 'em see her. The Press, the Quorum... all of them. I mean, the little school teacher's mind has gone bye-bye. And the Vice President is either missing or dead. That leaves you in unchallenged command of this ship. And this fleet."
"Just until the old man gets back on his feet," Tigh said softly.
Ellen looked at him in a mixture of disbelief and pity. "Well, of course."
Sol's loyalty to Adama could be a liability sometimes. She tried her best, working her charms on anyone who might be useful. 'Me Myself and I' - that had always been her mantra. She had tried to stir things up with Tom Zarek, flirting with the man, trying to get something for herself and for Saul. For all his faults, for all her infidelities, they were a team. But Tom Zarek was far too savvy to be taken in by her charms and Sol Tigh's loyalty to the 'old man' seemed unshakeable.
And Laura Roslin... Ellen could not get rid of the sneaking suspicion that the mousy kindergarten teacher should not be counted out just yet.
Laura remembered her doubts about Ellen Tigh when she had mysteriously resurfaced several weeks after the Cylon invasion, her unshakeable conviction that Ellen Tigh was actually one of the crudely named 'skinjobs' a human-form Cylon. There were too many holes in her story, too many instances since when Ellen Tigh had been on the wrong side of an incident, stirring up trouble and discontent. She had Saul Tigh wrapped around her little finger, constantly feeding his baser instincts and appetites. Laura had no doubt that it was Ellen's influence that was driving Tigh and the rest of the fleet to destruction.
Her mocking words at that awful dinner party in Adama's quarters. "Well, there are a few people who still might wonder if a kindergarten teacher is really the right person to be President but it's just a tiny, tiny minority."
Six at the time had been more concerned about Ellen Tigh. "You know don't you, she's not what she seems. You should be watching her."
"Is she a Cylon?" Laura asked.
Six smiled and looked away. "I couldn't tell you even if she was. We can't talk about such things."
"You don't know."
"I can't say. I can't ever say."
Tigh led the group of pain-in-his-ass politicians down to the brig to see the President.
"Viewing time at the zoo," he quipped.
Tom Zarek glared at him. "Glad to see you hold the president in such high esteem."
"Your day's gonna come, laughing boy," Tigh growled. "Let's go."
They crowded in to the main area of the brig. Roslin was clearly visible curled up in her cell, her face pale and sweaty, brow creased in pain or confusion. She appeared to be muttering to herself."
"All right, the show is over," Tigh said after a few minutes. "Let's give her some privacy. Everybody out. Let's go back to the ward room and we'll, uh, talk about the business of how we proceed from here."
But no one was listening to him. Behind him, Roslin had got to her feet and approached the bars. Her eyes were clear, her face serene, untroubled. The chamalla extract Venner had scored for her had finally done its work.
"Thank you all for coming," she said, her voice soft yet strong. "I have a statement I'd like to make. The attempted military coup against the lawful government of the colonies is illegal, ill-advised and clearly doomed to failure. I have not resigned the Presidency and I will fight this action with everything at my command."
Tigh backed off, laughing uncomfortably. This wasn't how it was supposed to go down! Ellen said Ellen god-damn that woman. God-damn all women. "She's crazy, she's nuts. She thinks she's a prophet or some such nonsense."
"Let her speak, Colonel," one of the Quorum members said.
Sol Tigh had had enough. "Just ask her, ask her, she'll tell you. Just listen to her. What was it uhh, the Arrow of Apollo will open the Tomb of Artemis or some such nonsense."
"Everything I've done is consistent and logical. We have found Kobol, we have found the city of the gods and when we retrieve the arrow we will open the tomb of Athena and we will find the road to Earth," Roslin said. Only the tight whiteness of her knuckles as she gripped the bars gave her inner turmoil away.
Porter asked. "Madam President, have you read the Scrolls of Pythia?" The small dark skinned woman was from Gemenon - one of the colony worlds that took these things very seriously.
"Many times," Roslin smiled, "and I humbly believe I am fulfilling the role of the leader."
Tigh had to get things back under his control quickly. Some of these fracking politicians actually sounded like they believed this fracking crap. "Okay, enough of this nonsense, everyone out!" He signalled to the guard to start moving the politicians out.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," Zarek said. "Sarah, you represent Gemenon, you know more about the scrolls and the scriptures than anyone else here, why don't you speak up?"
"The scrolls tell us that a dying leader will lead us to salvation," Sarah Porter said slowly, staring at Roslin, not entirely convinced, not yet.
Tigh laughed. "She's not dying. She's crazy."
"I am dying," Roslin said quietly but clearly. Everyone fell silent. "I have terminal breast cancer. Dr. Cottle will verify the diagnosis. I have a few months to live. And in that time, I will lead the people to salvation. It is my sole purpose."
With a sinking heart Sol could see that Sarah Porter and several other delegates were already going down on their knees in front of Roslin. The conniving bitch had convinced them. And how was it going to look him keeping a dying woman locked up in the brig whether or not she was this blasted prophet. Oh yeah, he was going to have a word or three with Ellen when this was done. Her frackin' idea, pushing and pushing him to do this. Well frack her and frack Roslin.
"Sergeant of the Guard," he ordered.
"Remove these people from the brig and escort them back to their shuttle."
There was a fair amount of grumbling but no active resistance as they filed out.
It was inevitable in the power vacuum at the top with Adama in the infirmary and Roslin in the Brig that Tigh would declare martial law, dissolving the Quorum of Twelve.
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