DISCLAIMER: Battlestar Galactica is the property of Glen A. Larson, Sci-Fi Channel, R & D TV, Sky and NBC Universal. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was a submission for the Fragments of Sappho challenge. Fragment: 25 - and with delicate woven cloths cover her up well
ARCHIVING: Shatterstorm Productions, Passion & Perfection, Celtic-Dragon's Fanfiction
BETA: Thank you, Ariestess, for helping out when no one else could.
SPOILERS: This story goes up to episode 407
WEBSITE: Celtic-Dragon's Lair
An Unexpected Conversation
Laura was more than sick and tired of the medical bay. The multiple shades of greys and whites lent a monochrome feel to it, and the starkness did nothing to improve her mood. She'd spent more than her share of time there for her diloxin treatments. The breaks in her days came when Cottle or his interns came to check her vitals and poke her with needles, or an assistant came with her schedule. Her favourite though was when the Admiral came to visit and would read to her, or just sit by her and talk about anything other than work.
Laura had gotten another aide to bring her most recent reports that she needed to review the situation with the rebel cylons. One of the Six models, one they called Natalie, was scheduled in the conference room in a couple hours and she wanted to be best prepared. She was weary of what she might have to say, and as much as she didn't want to know about the internal politics and civil war amongst the cylons, it was imperative that she be aware of the situation in case it became a problem for the Colonial Fleet. Was it too much to wish that they'd destroy themselves and take care of the problem for her, Laura wondered.
Laura stopped briefly to remove her glasses and pinch the bridge of her nose in a vain attempt to rid herself of an oncoming headache, figuratively and literally. Then she put her glasses back on and returned to her work. Once her treatment was up she'd have a short break from sickbay to attend the meeting with the cylon. Once Doc Cottle came to disconnect her from her treatment, her marine guard made his appearance.
"Madame President, it's time to go," the guard spoke only to earn a glare from Cottle.
"Thank you, Marcus."
"You, young lady, shouldn't be going anywhere right now. But far be it for me to dissuade you on this since you've got your mind made up." They'd already been through the argument earlier when she alerted him to the necessity of a move up time on her treatment. And she'd only gotten away with it on the grounds that she'd return thereafter, and the fact that holding the meeting with herself, the Admiral, Tigh, Tory, the cylon and half a dozen or so marine guards in sickbay was only going to be in the way and not terribly private. After more than a few aggrieved sighs, he turned around to face her. "You're more stubborn than the Admiral, and that's saying something."
"Thank you," Laura responded with a rather enigmatic smile before packing her belongings into her briefcase, and replacing her bandana for her wig.
The large conference room seemed hot and stuffy to Laura as she sat down. The recycled air left something to be desired and she longed for a chance to step foot on earth and breathe in the fresh air it promised. However, her thoughts on that matter were halted as two marines escorted the rebel cylon model Six into the room to sit in the sole chair in front of them. She had a different appearance to the Six in the brig, though the face was the same. As the Six scanned the individuals in front of her, she nodded. Whether one considered it paranoia or not, Laura felt the look Six had bestowed on her was one part healthy dose of fear mixed with respect, and a distinct curiousness.
As the questioning got underway, Laura found she was guardedly curious as well. The motive for vengeance as Six had so bluntly put it was tempting. The cylons would permanently lose their ability to download, thus when the individual models died, they would not resurrect. The rebels and colonials would learn the identities of the final five and the ultimate goal of the path to earth. Exactly what order things were to be done would be decided in detail later, but for the moment a tentative deal was struck.
After some time, Laura had returned as promised to sickbay for a post-treatment check and then she returned to the Admiral's quarters for the night. As usual, her nights were broken up by repetitive dreams of Six, Athena, Hera and herself running through the corridors of the opera house. A restless night spent tossing and turning as she sought to find answers in her dreams. But to no avail through much of it; they always ended up more or less the same with Six picking up Hera and passing through a door. Only this time Baltar stood in wait for Six and Hera. She woke up in a sweat after the latest dream only to find herself unable to return to sleep.
Quietly, she got up and headed over to Bill's kitchen intent on getting herself a cup of tea. Perhaps find a biscuit or two that Bill kept stashed. She returned to the outer room and rested upon the leather sofa, relaxing her head against the backrest. There was so much to think about and in such little time to do it.
In sickbay, once more undergoing treatment she stopped what she was doing to listen to Gaeta's mournful singing. The lyrics of an old battle song, she half remembered. It was hauntingly beautiful.
After Lee had stopped in to question her ability to lead when she's not even consulting the quorum on important issues to the Fleet, such as making a joint military alliance with the cylon rebels, she pondered what he had said. Maybe some of what he had said with regards to the quorum losing hope with the way things have been progressing lately with regards to the treatment of Kara Thrace, and lack of consultation into every decision had some merit. At least if she gave Six a chance to voice her point of view and why the military and president have agreed to an alliance with the cylon rebels they might begin to have some insight into the situation. Though she held no such allusions that it would be even a tolerable solution for all of the members of the quorum to accept. That was beyond her capabilities. But she could present them with the information at least.
Laura followed through on this, with the caveat that the military would by necessity be present when Six made her point. If Laura thought the conference room on Galactica was hot and stuffy, then Colonial One's close quarters for the quorum meeting room was almost claustrophobic in comparison with everybody present. Her patience with such matters was wearing thin. And yet she still managed to crack a weak joke at herself. Once the marines led in Six, there were murmurs of distrust and fear. Laura and Six could feel the palpable tension in the smallish room.
Six spoke her piece. And through the fear perhaps there was some resonance for the members of the quorum. Not all cylons were the same. Not all cylons were determined to destroy out humanity at all costs. The newfound mortality for these rebel cylons was beginning to give them meaning to their lives. And while the quorum members would not equate that meaning of life with much, given the millions of human lives that had been lost to the cylons, it presented a different perspective. Where once it was easy to download to the next body, there was no threat to their existence. Their goal had been to wipe out humanity's children. Now, with mortality a reality for cylons and the existence of the final five, the goal has changed. To seek out the final five has presented a more philosophical end game. Now all that remained was to find a path together, somehow. The meeting dissolved and Laura retreated to her office.
Only to find the marine guards assigned to escort Six back to the damaged base-star waiting with Six there in her office. Laura visibly bristled at the intrusion. Her wig was itching like crazy and her patience was somewhere lower than minimal. She proceeded through to her desk where she dropped some papers down on the desk, put her glasses down and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"What?" Laura semi-growled as she turned around to face them.
"Madame President, may I speak to you alone, please?" Six asked. Laura's eyebrows hitched up, as she contemplated why Six wouldn't just ask her right then. "It's personal, Ma'am."
If it were possible, Laura's eyebrows arched up further. What on earth could Six have to say to her that she couldn't say in front of her guards. Laura's marine attachment moved to close around the president. Their show of presence much more than Laura deemed necessary.
"Gentlemen, I can handle one cylon. She's not going to hurt me," Laura looked at Six and then back to her guards at the shake of Six's head. "She's got more to lose in this proposition than we do."
It took a few moments and a pointed look from Laura over the rooms of her glasses and they retreated. "We'll be right outside, Ma'am if you need us." They disappeared beyond the curtain into the room reserved for press conferences.
"You could patent that look and make a fortune," Six commented wryly as she stood still and clasped her hands behind her back.
"Comes in handy with a class of rambunctious and excited children and the occasional politician." Laura remarked as she kicked off her heels and sat down on the edge of her desk. "What can I do for you, Natalie?"
The cylon's head jerked up in surprise. "Pardon?"
"That is your name, is it not? What your peers call you?"
"Yes. It is. I just didn't expect you to call me by my name. Most humans just refer to me by my model number, if that."
"I find that I can disarm people's preconceptions by doing the opposite of what they expect. I also find with my current predicament, that it is easier and more expedient to get to the heart of the issue. So I'll ask again, what can I do for you?"
"I know you've been dreaming about Hera and the opera house. So have I. I'm not in them per se, more just as an observer but Caprica is, and Athena, and Hera. And you."
"What do you see?"
"Much the same I suspect as the three of you. Running towards Hera to protect her. She's special; a chosen one to bridge the gap between cylon and human. She'd already done that once…to save your life before she was even born. She sees something that none of us seem to be able to. Maybe she sees the final five, but it's possibly something she can't comprehend just yet and put into words."
"Perhaps." Laura seemed to pause as if to continue her thought but then she stretched her hand out quickly for her desk for support as a wave of dizziness passed over her.
"Madame President?" Natalie inquired as she moved closer to Laura.
Laura put her hand up to ward off any further advancement. "I'll be fine. It's a side effect of diloxin. The lesser of two evils: a trade-off for a potential delay of death."
"Why do humans always strive towards immortality? We've had our own immortality of sorts and yet now that mortality has forced upon us, I've found myself examining my existence, what I want to achieve before I die. Before, our model line's memories would download into the next model that was 'born' more or less so in essence there was no threat of real death. Until now."
"I suppose it's part of the ideal of to strive towards what we don't have. For some, though, immortality comes in having children, passing down our knowledge and our genes to the next generation."
Natalie seemed to absorb this information some before she spoke again. "I don't mean to be intrusive, but did you have any children of your own?"
"No. I don't. And my line ends with me. Even if our worlds hadn't ended as they did, my sisters died many years ago, when I was a child, in an accident." Laura paused and smirked. "I don't even know why I'm telling you all this. I don't usually tell a perfect stranger, let alone an enemy, my personal history."
"Maybe because I am a stranger to you. There's a certain freedom in that, I'm told. And am I, specifically at this moment, your enemy? I have no intention on harming you, nor any of your fleet. I want a peaceful end to this. We've fought and killed each other enough and it hasn't gotten us any further ahead."
"Semantics. You'd be hard pressed to find many amongst this fleet that do not wish the entire cylon population be eliminated completely."
"Are you one of them?" Natalie levelled a look at Laura Roslin.
"I won't lie and say that it wouldn't make my life a lot easier, or that I haven't seriously considered it. I have. But no, genocide is not the answer." Laura saw no point at that moment to bring up the fact that she had indeed given the go ahead to introduce the virus that they'd found to the entire fleet of cylons; a measure that would have, had Captain Agathon not tampered with the mechanism, wiped out the cylons. And Laura meant what she said; genocide wasn't the answer. As much as the need for vengeance was a powerful emotion, she had to balance the fact that in releasing that virus, she'd be no better than the cylons that destroyed the colonial home worlds.
Laura lowered her head and shook it slightly. The darker locks of her wig a different feel and texture than her natural auburn hair had been as it brushed along her cheeks. Had Natalie not been there, Laura would have shed the uncomfortable wig as soon as she got to her office and replaced it with the scarf. Another wave of dizziness passed over Laura and Natalie barely had a moment to react before Laura swayed and started to fall. Natalie's quick reflexes prevented Laura's head from impacting against the desk. The blonde cylon picked up Laura's body as gently as possible before placing her in one of the oversized leather chairs in the president's office. It wasn't great, but it was infinitely better than Laura's security detail finding her bent over Laura's prone body on the floor.
Natalie looked around the president's office in search of something to cover the other woman. Folded neatly as possible atop the credenza was a forest green soft lightweight wool blanket. Natalie picked it up and placed it over the president, just as her guards came in.
Levelling their weapons at the cylon, they started giving orders. "Back away from the President." One of them began to forcibly detain her. Natalie saw no point in resisting. She hadn't done anything wrong and to fight back would only give them justification for further punitive actions. Laura began to stir in her chair and take in the scene around her.
"Stop and release her," Laura spoke with quiet authority. "Now."
"Pardon, Ma'am? She was standing over you. You were unconscious."
"She poses no threat. I am more than capable of looking after myself most of the time. It just so happens that my latest bout with diloxin left me temporarily incapacitated. I'm fine now. She hasn't done anything wrong. If anything, judging by the fact that I don't have a nice gash in my head, she prevented me from falling against the desk since I was over there before being moved here. So gentlemen, release her."
"Yes, Ma'am." The guard that held Natalie's arms behind her let go but they still kept close watch on the cylon woman. Natalie rubbed her wrists where the guard had grabbed them as she moved towards the president.
"Thank you, Madame President. If that is all, I will return to the base star and try to work on our new alliance with my crew."
"Thank you, Natalie." Laura stole a glance at her guards before looking at the woman in front of her with an enigmatic smile. "For everything." True she had meant particularly for helping her with her fall, but also in stepping up as a leader of the rebel cylons to build a peace. "I look forward to meeting with you again."
"Yes, Madam President," Natalie spoke before turning and stepping back awaiting her escort from Colonial One.
Natalie left with the watchful gaze of her security escort making sure nothing was amiss while the president's security detail was all but hovering over Laura.
"I'm fine, gentlemen. I'm just going to take a rest before my next meeting aboard Galactica. Could you give me an hour of uninterrupted time please? Anyone asks how I'm doing, remind them of the location of the nearest airlock."
"Yes, Ma'am," they remarked with pleasure.
After they left, Laura quickly removed her wig and replaced it with one of her scarves. Then she settled back into the oversized leather chair and pulled her acquired blanket up around her shoulders before quickly falling asleep.
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