At a party celebrating his latest book Frontiers of Computing, the esteemed Dr. Gaius Baltar saw a woman with chin-length platinum hair across the room, dressed in a wisp of nothing. She smiled at him over her goblet of Aerlon wine, a teasing come-hither invitation. He considered accepting, but decided to turn back to the enchanting girl at his side. Her ebony hair tickled his neck where she stood pressed against him, a warm and arousing weight that had very little to do with her mother's influence on the defense acquisition board.
Blondes were so common, anyway.
"But Gaius," she said, all teeth and tensile strength, "you know I've wanted to work on this defense contract forever." An unpleasant whining note had entered her normally melodious voice, and wasn't it too bad for her that he'd tired of this game some weeks ago.
"Well," he said, trying for lofty unconcern, "I don't really care what you want. I have to do what's best for the project."
She reared back, and for just a second he was reminded of a cobra preparing to strike. Her face was a picture of confusion.
"Marathon Industries have bid their services at far lower cost, and with a proven track record to back their claims. I'm sorry, my dear, but you're an unknown commodity. Come see me once you've completed a few assignments, and we'll talk then." He turned and pushed through the glass doors into Caprica City's Freedom Park.
The day was too lovely to hide inside.
The code unspooled before Gaius's eyes, line after line representing weeks, months of effort. The command protocol for the defense mainframe was the most critical of the interlocking pieces that would comprise the Colonies next generation of satellites. Sensor arrays, signal processing algorithms, and command and control linkages had to work together seamlessly, cuing the massed defensive force of the fleet in case of Cylon incursion. It had been decades since anyone spotted a Cylon, but President Adar always spoke of the vigilance necessary to prevent another devastating war.
Gaius normally rolled his eyes at the scare-mongering, but the President had been especially eloquent tonight, and Gaius was relaxed after a lengthy romp with his vixen. She did have a way of draining his tension, and slept in a long arc of legs and arms and tousled blonde curls amid the wreckage of the bed.
He skimmed the code, nodding as it matched the vision in his head. Logic subroutine here, jamming command there, and -- wait. What was that? Gaius scrolled back and started to examine this section more closely.
"No, Commander, I must apologize." Gaius tried to still the trembling in his hands.
"Doctor Baltar, you know that whatever you need to develop the Cylon detector --"
Gaius couldn't take the lies anymore. "Yes, I know, it's just that I was mistaken when I said I needed it. Now that I've studied the problem further, it's apparent that a biological test will be needed, and well."
His tormenter, his goddess, was screaming. Gaius could see her lips move but his ears were blessedly deaf to her familiar litany of threats and orders. He took a deep breath and met the tired eyes of Commander Adama. "I admit I'd feel safer without a nuclear warhead in my lab."
"Can I speak to you a minute, Brother Gaius?" Captain Adama's manner was tentative, questioning, belying his bold proposals in the recent planning meeting where they'd discussed what to do about the fleet's food and water shortages.
The old beliefs were waning before the attacks, overcome by the modern taste for cool logic and reason, but in the aftermath many looked to the divine for guidance. And it was proper that a warrior would ask for advice from a priest dedicated to Athena, one who'd spent his entire life learning the arts of wisdom and battle.
Gaius smiled, open and welcoming. "How can I help you, Captain?"
Adama met Gaius's eyes, then glanced down at the deck plating. "It's just. Well." A quick inhale and Adama gathered his courage to continue. "Have you noticed anything odd about the President?"
"Odd?" Did Adama know about Laura Roslin's cancer? The chamalla extract she was using to treat it?
Now that he'd started, Adama could speak easily. "I've seen her, I don't know, muttering to herself, almost." The oh-so-earnest face exhibited true concern. "Doesn't she seem twitchy to you?"
"In my experience, Captain, the President is an extraordinary woman dealing with times of unimaginable trial." Gaius didn't allow any hint of censure to enter his voice. It was important that he be seen as approachable, neutral arbiter of all matters. For all that Gaius had been dedicated to the priesthood as a child, he still found himself challenged by this brave new world.
Adama nodded. "She is, I agree. I just, the last time I visited Colonial One, before she knew I was there, I heard her say the name 'Simon' like she was in the middle of a conversation."
Gaius smiled, sadly. "Who among us hasn't spoken to those no longer with us, Captain? Doubtless a valued friend, whose memory brings her comfort." Greatly daring, knowing how Athena's chosen were regarded, Gaius said, "Perhaps a lover?"
Captain Adama's cheeks flushed, and he barked a short laugh. Such a silly reaction, but dependable. The most dissolute libertine became prudish around those vowed to chastity in the service of the goddess.
(As the weeks pass, Brother Gaius will observe the President more closely than he otherwise would have. He will see that her judgment is compromised. Before she can transfer vital information to the striking black man that Gaius sees her conversing with on Cloud Nine, he will act, and disaster will be forestalled.)
All this has happened before. All this will happen again.