"How's my favorite bagel making appliance on this lovely afternoon?" Louis asked as he entered the room.
It had been five weeks since Felix was released from his cell and recommissioned as an officer in the Colonial Fleet. He'd been assigned as first reserve officer in the CIC, and had taken up quarters with Sharon and Helo. Things weren't ideal, but he was no longer a prisoner, and was even in some respects acknowledged as a human being, or at least as close as he was ever going to get to being one. Plus, he had a nice boyfriend.
Felix rolled his eyes at him. "Did you get the liquor?"
"Lucky for you." Louis sat down on the floor next to him. "You sure we should be drinking on an empty stomach?"
"We'll be fine," said Felix. He eyed the bottle Louis had brought him. "Ambrosia? How'd you manage the good stuff?"
"I did some bartering and got Joe that pool table he wanted." Louis took the bottle from him, twisted the cap open, and handed it back to Felix. "You know, it's too bad you can't actually make bagels. I could really go for one right about now."
"Technically, toasters don't make bagels either. They just brown them," said Felix, taking a swig of the ambrosia. It burned in his throat, the way a good ambrosia should. He licked his lips.
"Guess you're right," said Louis. "But I'm still hungry." Shortly after Felix was released from the cell, something in the food processing center had gotten contaminated, leaving the fleet without a food supply. It wasn't exactly the sort of "welcome back" celebration Felix had been hoping for.
"You sure that planet has algae?" Louis asked.
"Well, all signs point to it. The planet's only been able to sustain life for a few million years, which means algae is as high in the evolutionary chain as we're going to see there. There's no guarantee, but it's worth a shot."
Louis sighed. Felix passed him the bottle of ambrosia. "What do you say we hit up Joe's after hours tonight, and we can use that pool table you scored for him?" asked Felix.
"Sure," said Louis noncommittally. "I just wish I could actually take you while it was open."
"Yeah," replied Felix. "Me too." Despite his official status as just another officer, Felix hadn't exactly been welcomed with open arms by the rest of the crew, which was precisely why he had moved in with Sharon and Helo. It was one thing to share the CIC with a cylon, quite another to share racks with one. That had been made clear pretty quickly. So Felix slept here, on the floor. It wasn't great, but Felix wasn't complaining. It beat the hell out of a prison cell.
"By the way," said Louis, taking another swig of ambrosia. "I hope you like to lose, because I intend on kicking your ass at pool."
Forty-five minutes before the first of five jumps through the star cluster and the CIC was aflutter with activity. It was always better when they were busy, not just because people were less likely to be glaring at him, but because Felix liked feeling productive. He always had, even before the destruction of the colonies, when busy was just not a word one would use to describe Galactica. He'd made it his mission, back then, to find things to do, sometimes even ranging into the absurd, just so he could stay on his feet. He never thought he would, but sometimes Felix missed those days. Days when they weren't all living on the run. Days when he didn't know he was a cylon.
"So once we make the jump here, we'll -" Felix was interrupted in his last minute navigational explanation to Louis by a sudden eerie silence in the CIC. The last time such a dead calm had come over the CIC was when Admiral Adama ordered a network to be set up, but no one had suggested anything of the sort just now. Today's mission was practically by the book.
Then, someone began clapping.
Felix looked up at the hatch door. "Oh frak," he muttered to himself. This was the last thing he needed.
The clapping grew louder as Colonel Tigh descended the stairs. Louis was clapping too, even though, or perhaps because, he'd never had to serve under Colonel Tigh. Felix just glared. "Enough!" Tigh barked. "Don't you people have jobs to do?"
Colonel Tigh arrived on the CIC floor and glared at Felix even more harshly than Felix was glaring at him. But he said nothing. That alone was enough to tell Felix that Admiral Adama had already spoken with Tigh.
"Colonel," Adama greeted, diverting Tigh's attention momentarily away from Felix.
"Admiral," Tigh responded.
Dee gave Felix a quick look of sympathy, then, instead of letting the Colonel say anything more, launched right into mission communication. "Apollo, Galactica. Launch raptors on your orders." Felix breathed a sigh of relief. With all of them busy for the next few hours, Tigh would be too focused, or at least too busy, to say anything that might start a brawl. Felix was safe, at least for now. "Thank you," he mouthed to Dee.
One trip through the star cluster later and the aura in CIC was much lighter, with one very notable exception. The first successful trip allowed everyone to breathe a little easier, which unfortunately allowed Colonel Tigh the chance to look around. "Don't celebrate yet," he barked at the CIC, "we've still got four more jumps to go."
He turned to Louis, pointedly ignoring Felix. "Mr. Hoshi."
"Aye, Sir?" replied Louis.
"Begin preparations for the jump back."
Felix was grateful Admiral Adama has assigned him to DRADIS for this mission. DRADIS had always been the station Felix felt most comfortable at, and more importantly, it faced away from the center of the CIC. Even so, he could still feel the cold, harsh attitude of Colonel Tigh behind him.
"Relax, Felix," Louis came and whispered in his ear when the jump checklist was complete. "He's not concerned with you right now." Felix hoped that were the case. He just wasn't sure he believed it.
Nine more jumps ran by, with Colonel Tigh not speaking to, looking at, or in any way acknowledging Felix. Felix wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, but he knew once this mission was over, their confrontation wouldn't be far off. He hoped for something easy, like a swift punch to the face.
"Mr. Gaeta," said the Admiral.
"Get into your BDUs and report to the hangar deck. You'll be part of the first crew down on that planet, since you can operate on less fuel than the rest of us. Apollo will be leading the expedition, you'll report to him in fifteen. Understood lieutenant?"
"Yes, Sir," Felix responded. He didn't mention that he'd gone longer without food than the rest of the crew, as he'd been passing off his rations to Louis and Dee. He was glad to be staying away from Tigh for now. He had a feeling that was the Admiral's real intention.
After the first week planetside, Felix wasn't so sure that being assigned to work with civilians on a regular basis was such a good idea. Most of the military didn't like him, but at least they were getting used to his presence. The civilians were another story. It was like being imprisoned or worse, like New Caprica again, with the cold stares and the eerie feeling that someone was going to knife him if they got the chance. From what he could gather from the murmurs, they didn't even like the idea of having Sharon in the fleet. Captain Adama had already had to send one civilian back on account of attacking Felix after Felix had bumped into the guy accidentally.
Things didn't get any easier the second week. But at least he wasn't the only one having a miserable time down there.
"Dee would you quit glaring?" asked Felix.
"I'm not glaring," said Dee, eyes fixed on Lee. She was glaring.
"Frak him, he's not worth your time."
"He's my husband," said Dee.
"That's why they invented divorce," countered Felix. "You and I and everyone on this planet knows what he's doing. He's already left you, even if he won't admit to it directly. Why don't you just leave him and save yourself the heartache?"
"I'm not getting a divorce Felix. Just, stay out of it, okay?" Dee tossed her gloves down onto the table angrily.
"I'm a lot stronger than he is, you know," hinted Felix.
"I said stay out of it." Dee stormed off, her eyes never leaving Lee, who was on a call, more than likely with Kara Thrace. Felix had never been fond of Starbuck, especially since she had beaten him to a pulp in his cell, but the idea of her tearing Dee to pieces made Felix even more incensed than what she had done to him. At least he'd deserved his punishment.
Felix looked over at Sam Anders, who was busy working, or at least should have been. He was glaring angrily at Lee too. Only, he looked more likely to take out his frustration.
It was probably wrong of him, but Felix wondered if he should get a bet pool going.
Not more than ten minutes later, Chief Tyrol came running down the hill, faster than Felix had ever seen the man run before.
"Guys," he said, panting with every breath. "You've gotta check this out."
"What you'd find Chief?" asked Lee.
"I can't say for sure," replied Tyrol. "But I think it might be the Temple of Five."
"Temple of Five?" asked Lee. "What the frak is that?"
"The Temple of Five is supposedly a temple built by the thirteenth tribe, during their exodus from Kobol," explained Felix. "It's supposed to be a roadmarker on the way to Earth."
"I thought you weren't religious," Lee sneered.
"I'm not. I'm just well read," replied Felix.
"Well whatever this thing is, let's get up there and take some pictures of it. If it is a roadmarker to Earth, the President's going to want to see it," said Lee. "Chief, take some of your men up there to check the place out. The rest of you stay here until we get confirmation that this is something we're looking for. Maintain efforts to dismantle the base. Alright troops, let's move out!"
An hour passed, then two. Felix would have preferred to have gone with the temple crew, just so he wouldn't have to put up with Lee anymore. From his understanding of what Dee and Louis had told him, Lee had had some strong objections about the Admiral putting Sharon in uniform prior to the exodus from New Caprica. Whatever the circumstances then, it had become clear in the last two weeks that his objections extended towards Felix as well. The fact that Lee was so blantantly cheating on his best friend wasn't helping Felix's level of tolerance any. Lee was currently inside base headquarters talking to Starbuck. Dee and Sam were still casting evil glares at the structure. Felix began seriously considering a cage match.
As Felix was debating how much he could charge for tickets, Lee emerged from the structure. He looked none too pleased. Felix suspected at first that bad news had been relayed from the temple. But as Lee began approaching him, Felix knew that couldn't possibly be the case.
"Lieutenant Gaeta," ordered Lee, still using his title with a mild form of disgust.
"Admiral wants you back on Galactica. Stat," Lee said.
"He say anything else, Sir?" Felix asked. He'd been down here the whole two weeks, and the only time he'd ever returned to Galactica was to catch his designated R&R.
"Yeah," said Lee. "The cylons just showed up. And they've got Dr. Baltar."