DISCLAIMER: Battlestar Galactica is the property of Glen A. Larson, Sci-Fi Channel, R & D TV, Sky and NBC Universal.
SPOILERS: Episodes 2.05 "The Farm", 2.09 "Flight of the Phoenix", 2.10 "Pegasus", 2.12 "Resurrection Ship Part 2", 2.15 "Scar" and 2.18 "Downloaded".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
WARNING: Mention of rape and character death.
BETAS: Seleney, Birgitt.
"Careful," a voice whispered.
"I know what I'm doing." The reply was equally hushed but sounded slightly annoyed.
Suddenly something clattered to the floor. The two figures standing in the dark room froze. "Frak!" the shorter one cursed.
"I see you know what you're doing," the other one teased.
If there had been a little more illumination than the weak light of the stars falling through the porthole the taller one would have seen the glare she knew her companion had shot her.
"This was your idea. And you're the one who said 'We need no light'."
"I thought you could manage this in the darkness," the taller one shot back, still whispering. "What about that whole 'Cylons are superior' crap, huh?"
"You said it, I'm a frakking Cylon. Not a frakking bat." The Cylon felt highly annoyed and at the moment she wanted nothing more than to be back safely in her cell.
A flashlight was switched on. The beam was covered by a hand so that only a few small streaks of light shone through the fingers.
"You have a lamp?" Sharon asked, irritated. "Why haven't you used it before?"
Starbuck didn't answer. Instead she searched for the knife on the floor. After a few seconds she whispered, "got it."
"Alright," Sharon whispered back. "Next try. But now use the flashlight!"
"But if someone "
"Then it'll be your job to talk us out of this before I'm airlocked," Sharon cut her short and this time Starbuck could see the other woman glaring at her.
Starbuck hesitated and bit back her sharp reply. Sharon was right, she thought. Her companion took the much bigger risk. "Alright."
Starbuck directed some streaks of light at Sharon's hands and watched her cutting off the insulation from a fiber-optic wire. Sharon had worked inside the computer console for some minutes before she'd found the right one; most of the time she had depended on her eidetic memory about the wiring diagrams. Finally she had pulled out the wire and then she had dropped the knife.
"That was that. Now comes the nasty part of the show." Sharon muttered and handed the wire to Starbuck without looking at her. She fastened the grip around the handle of the knife and breathed heavily through her nose, then she stabbed the tip of the knife into her wrist and cut deeply through the flesh from the heel of her hand three centimetres up her arm. She gasped and panted but made no other noise. Sharon pulled the knife out of the wound, laid it to the side and took the wire from Starbuck. Without any comment she shoved the twenty centimetres of fiber-optic wire into the cut and up her arm.
Starbuck stood beside her and watched the whole procedure, at the same time disgusted and fascinated. She had heard about what Sharon had done in the C.I.C. to destroy the computer virus and send it back to the attacking Cylons. But this was the first time she had seen it. For some reason she couldn't turn her eyes from the blood dripping from Sharon's wrist to the floor. The iron smell of warm blood filled her nose.
Sharon closed her eyes and concentrated on her part of the mission. She allowed a section of her spirit to flow into Galactica's computers. She felt more than she saw where to go, she sensed computer codes and followed electronic paths to avoid dangerous places inside the system. If she made a mistake a part of her consciousness could be trapped behind a closing firewall or could be deleted by an anti-virus program. Inwardly she smiled. There were still so many ways to sabotage the computer. Lieutenant Gaeta had done his best to make Galactica's systems safer after she'd linked up the first time. The Old Man couldn't stand to have someone aboard his ship who could link up with the computers. But no one had ever asked her to help securing the systems. Right here, she thought. One simple command and Galactica's com-system would send out a signal on a Cylon frequency the Human's didn't even know that it existed. It would be so easy and no one would suspect she had done it. But she didn't do it. She couldn't. Instead she programmed a little subroutine that would monitor any use of Cylon frequencies and report this to C.I.C.
Starbuck watched Sharon and hadn't the slightest clue what was happening. Ten seconds after Sharon had shoved the wire into her arm she opened her eyes and looked at Starbuck. "Got it."
"Alright. Let me help you," Starbuck said and wanted to pull the wire out of Sharon's arm. But Sharon laid her hand on Starbuck's and stopped her.
"I've overwritten some codes. If I disconnect now the alarm systems will react. You've got to go. I'll wait here and when you're back I'll leave the system."
Starbuck nodded. "I'll hurry," she said and was gone.
Sharon watched her leaving and sighed. Again she asked herself why she had agreed to this. Mostly because of the fact that it was Starbuck who'd asked her. For some reason she'd started to spend some time with her. Shortly after the fight against Scar Starbuck had come to her cell and did nothing but standing in front of the window watching her. Finally Sharon had asked what she wanted and Starbuck had left without a word. One week later she'd been back. This time Starbuck had spoken to her. She had said 'hi'. It had Sharon surprised but finally she'd managed an answer. And so they'd started talking. Sharon liked to have someone to talk to and one day, when Starbuck had smiled at her, there had been something It had felt similar to what she'd felt when Helo had been with her Sharon didn't know what to think of that but it had felt good and she wouldn't miss it. She didn't have much that made her feel good
The other reason Sharon had agreed to this was because she could leave her cell for some time. But now, alone in this dark room with the wire in her arm it seemed far from a good idea. If someone should find her here in this situation Suddenly Sharon felt fear. She knelt down and tried to hide behind a shelf. The wire moved and pushed the knife from the edge of the computer-console where Sharon had put laid it.
Starbuck entered the next room using the flashlight from time to time. She made her way through the shelves and closets and finally she stood in front of her target. The red blinking lights showed her that the alarm was disengaged. She opened the door, grabbed for what she had come, closed the door and sneaked back out of the room.
Sharon heard the door to the hall way move. Her heart became an icy lump. Someone must've heard the clatter of the knife and had entered the room. It wasn't Starbuck because she had left the room through the opposite door. Sharon tried to melt into the wall behind her and stopped breathing. She stared into the darkness but saw nothing besides some weak glistening of metal.
Suddenly a flashlight was activated and shone directly into Sharon's face. She squinted, turned her head away, lifted her hand in front of her eyes, lost her balance and fell on her ass.
"Frak! I knew it!" An enraged voice echoed through the room.
Sharon blinked and tried to see who was behind the light. "I I can explain this "
The lamp moved a little and Sharon could see it was Apollo standing a few metres away. His face was a mask of anger and his gun pointed directly at her head.
Apollo stared at the Cylon. He didn't know how she'd managed to get out of her cell without causing an alarm but that didn't matter to him right now. "I'm sure you can," he replied coldly. All he saw was a Cylon connected to a computer.
The clicking noise as he pulled back the hammer of his gun was much louder than Sharon had expected. She breathed heavily, and blinked again into the light to make eye contact with Apollo. If she could make him listen Only for a few minutes "Captain I please don't do this I know how this must look, but it's not what you're thinking."
He didn't listen to the Cylon. Now he knew he was right. She couldn't be trusted. His father was wrong trusting her; Helo was wrong trusting her, hell, even Kara was wrong trusting her. Slowly he pulled the trigger. In a few seconds this would be over and Gaeta and Baltar could check the computers after the mess had been cleaned up.
Suddenly the door at the other end of the room opened and Starbuck scurried in. "Hey, I got it," she whispered.
Lee reacted without thinking. He turned half around, pointing gun and flashlight at the new target. Open-mouthed he stared at Starbuck who was holding some kind of bowl in her hands. She stood in the doorframe, rooted to the spot blinking into the light.
"Oh. Hi, Lee," she managed as she looked at him in surprise.
Apollo stared at her dumbfounded. "What!?" He looked back at Sharon, who was still sitting on the floor not daring to move. Again he stared at Starbuck. "What in the name of the gods is going on? Why is Valerii out of the cell?" he hissed.
Starbuck walked over to them. "If you stop waving about that gun and shut off the light I will explain it to you."
Apollo fumbled with the flashlight and then the room was dark again.
Starbuck put the bowl on the counter and squatted down beside the other woman. "Are you alright?" she whispered and laid a hand on Sharon's arm.
"Yeah. Thank god you came just in time," she answered.
Apollo couldn't believe the way Starbuck talked to to the Cylon.
"Lee?" Starbuck said a little louder and looked at him.
"Give me that kitchen towel over there."
"Sure." His voice held only the slightest hint of sarcasm as he grabbed the towel from the counter and tossed it to Starbuck. He stared into the dark to discern what was going on there but he could only see some movement.
Starbuck handed Sharon the towel and grabbed her arm. "Ready?" she asked.
Starbuck grabbed the wire and pulled it out. It made a disgusting wet slurping sound. Sharon whimpered quietly. Finally it was out of her body; she relaxed and let her head fall back against the wall, her eyes closed. Starbuck wrapped the towel around her wrist and helped Sharon to stand up.
"Now. Can you please explain why you need a Cylon to steal food?" Apollo demanded.
Starbuck glared at him. "We're not stealing food. Well, at least not the way you think we steal it."
Did Kara just say 'we', he asked himself. He couldn't believe how close she and the Cylon were.
"Come," Starbuck said and grabbed the bowl. With her other hand she led Sharon around the counter and they sat down on the floor. Apollo followed them after a second.
Behind the counter Starbuck handed the flashlight to Sharon. She thumbed it on and shielded the beam like Starbuck had done it. Apollo looked at the Cylon who sat crosslegged right beside him and frowned. For him there was much too little distance between them. Sharon recognised his look and ignored him.
"Look what we have here," Starbuck said.
Apollo stared at the bowl. "You're stealing ice cream?"
Starbuck grinned. "It wasn't stated in the logs. So I think someone had stolen it before. Stealing from a thief is not a crime."
Apollo shook his head. Only Starbuck could come up with an excuse like this.
Sharon chuckled and Apollo blinked at her. Since their trip to Kobol this was the longest time he had spent with her and she seemed very much like a Human to him. He didn't know how he could accept this. He turned his attention back to Starbuck. "Alright. No crime. But why in all the gods' names you're taking ice cream? I mean you know "
"Yeah, I know. The curse of the fleet. The 'Nordic Star'," Starbuck whispered.
When Starbuck said the name of the ship Apollo flinched. The Nordic Star was a freighter carrying 20.000 tons of vanilla ice cream. After all even ice cream was food and it would be a waste if they dumped it into space. Roslin had ordered that the ice cream had to be eaten to make room for other food that could be stored in the freezing cargo holds of the Nordic Star. At the beginning it was fun to have vanilla ice cream every day but now, after two years, it was torture. The cooks tried to serve the ice cream in any imaginable way because no one wanted to eat it pure anymore.
Sharon followed the discussion but remained silent. Since she'd come to the fleet she hadn't seen anything even close to ice cream. The last time she had eaten some had been before the attack. She had been on a covert mission on Geminon and she'd eaten strawberry ice cream. But she thought it wouldn't be wise if she mentioned this now.
"And that's why we're here," Starbuck went on, grinning widely. "Tada!" With a quick movement she lifted the top of the bowl and presented it to Apollo.
Apollo looked at it, blinked and looked again. He couldn't believe what he saw! "That's That's That's "
Starbuck nodded, still grinning. "Exactly."
"Alright." Apollo got his composure back. "But why is she here?" He tilted his head towards Sharon.
Starbuck looked at her. "Because I owe her," she said quietly. She looked back at Apollo. "She helped rescue me from the Farm and she gave me the information which allowed Kat and me to destroy Scar. I always pay my debts."
She smiled at Sharon and the Cylon returned the smile. There was something more, she thought. Sharon was the only person aboard she could openly talk to. About everything. There was always Zak standing between her and the Admiral even though the Old Man had forgiven her. Between her and Lee there was always the weird relationship they had. Sometimes they acted like brother and sister and sometimes like lovers and Starbuck didn't know how to handle it and there was her guilt about Zak.
After they'd returned from Caprica she'd talked to Helo until
After the fight with Scar she'd lost her position as top shot pilot to Kat. Kat had earned it; there was no doubt about that but it had made Starbuck realise that she wasn't invincible, that she was vulnerable. She'd had a bottle with the nastiest stuff she could find in her hands but then she dumped it. She wouldn't end up like Tigh, she'd thought. She had wanted to talk to someone and there had been no one she could talk to. Then she'd remembered how Helo had talked with Sharon. She knew how much it had helped Helo to get over the insults the other pilots had shot at him because he had stuck to Sharon. Anyhow, it had been not easy for her to start talking to an imprisoned Cylon about her private problems. But the more often she had done it, the easier it had been.
Starbuck patted Sharon on the arm and she blushed slightly. "And I needed her help to break the electronic locks of the refrigerator," Starbuck finished.
Apollo blinked; he felt something inside him aching. No, he thought. That couldn't be true. Starbuck couldn't be that close to to a Cylon! But this wasn't the time to discuss this. He glared at Sharon. "And what have you to say in that matter?"
"You want to know why I'm risking my life for a bowl of ice cream," Sharon clarified quietly.
"Since Helo and the Chief were killed by the two marines when they tried to rescue me from " Sharon swallowed heavily. " from Thorne there was no one aboard who showed me any sign of well " Sharon shrugged. "Any sign of sympathy. And why should they? I'm just a Cylon, a machine. It can be depressive to sit day after day in a cell and no one talks to you. And if you see other people outside the cell talking to each other it makes it much worse. Eventually Doc Cottle comes by to get some more blood samples or Baltar or Lieutenant Gaeta wanting more information. And then I'm alone again"
Apollo's expression became hard. What had happened at that time in Sharon's cell was Two men dead and a prisoner abused, the dead body of her lover right in front of her. Apollo didn't say a word but stared at the floor.
"After all Thorne got what he deserved," Sharon mumbled and stared at her hands folded in her lap.
Apollo flinched. As the Cylon Gina escaped from Pegasus' brig she 'met' with the Cylon Interrogator and paid him back what he had done to her. It had cost them half an hour to identify Thorne's body.
Sharon watched him and took his reaction as a sign of sympathy. "Starbuck was the only one who was there for me after the rape. And she was there for me after Hera's death. Don't get me wrong, captain. I'm thankful for your father's words after Thorne had " Sharon looked away. Even now she still felt She knew it wasn't her fault. But still If she hadn't been so uncooperative at Thorne's first questions If she had fought them more vehemently She knew it would have made no difference because Thorne had wanted to break her; and he and the two marines which had their turn after him would have done it anyway.
"And I'm thankful that the admiral allowed me to be at Hera's funeral. But Starbuck was really there for me. She listened to me and she talked to me. When she came to me and asked for my help to steal ice cream I agreed." She grinned sheepishly. "And she promised I get my divvy."
Apollo was silent for a moment. He didn't know if Sharon was telling the truth or if this was some sick way to earn some trust so that she could betray the Humans in the end. He looked at Starbuck. "And you trust her enough to let her play around with the computers?"
Apollo waited for more but Starbuck remained silent. He couldn't believe how much trust she put into this Cylon. He had to talk to Starbuck about this he thought and glanced at Sharon. But not now. "How did you manage to get her out of the brig?"
Starbuck smiled at him but said nothing.
Apollo sighed. He had to voice his suspicions. "She's a Cylon. They can't be trusted." He looked at Sharon. "Some day she will turn against us. It's in her nature."
Sharon didn't know what to say. Again she felt this pain deep inside her. She'd made her choice. She'd done it for her child and for Helo. Now both of them were dead but there were still Starbuck and the Admiral who seemed to have some understanding for her People she cared for. People who didn't deserve to die. Not even if God commanded it. She wished she knew a way to convince the Humans that she was indeed on their side. "Captain, I ," she started but Starbuck interrupted her.
"Lee, you're a male right?"
"Uhm, yes." He blinked, baffled. What kind of question was that?
Starbuck leant a little forward and looked him straight in the eyes. "Do you want me to call you a rapist because Thorne was a male, too?"
Apollo swallowed. That was something he hadn't expected. "That's totally different."
Starbuck laid her hand on Sharon's arm. "Yeah? Why?"
Sharon looked back and forth between the Humans. Starbuck defending her that vehemently made her feel much better. She looked at Apollo. "Captain, I'm not a Human but as well I'm not a thing. Cylons are not puppets following a program to the letter. We can choose. Every one of us can decide what's right and what's wrong."
Apollo didn't know what to say. If a Human had said this to him and had looked at him like Sharon had done, he would have believed this Human. But she was still a Cylon At the other hand Starbuck trusted her and he trusted Starbuck. "And what should we do now?" he finally asked.
"Well," Sharon stood up. "If I have to say anything in that matter " She rummaged through a drawer. "Ah, here we go," she said and again sat down beside Apollo. She held up three spoons. "We should eat the ice before it melts completely," she smiled at Starbuck and Apollo.
Starbuck grinned. "Good idea."
For a moment Apollo looked Sharon in the eyes. "The heck with it," he finally decided and took the spoon from Sharon's hand.
And so two Humans and a Cylon sat in a circle on the floor of Galactica's galley and together they ate the last bowl of chocolate-chip ice cream existing in the whole universe.
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