Dr. Baltar. Felix hadn't seen or heard anything about Dr. Baltar since…well, since the day he left New Caprica, come to think of it. It was almost as though he'd forgotten the doctor existed entirely, it had been so long ago. Perhaps that was because the rest of the fleet simply wanted to forget Dr. Baltar as well. They'd almost succeeded.
"You wanted to see me, Sir?" asked Felix as he reported to the small meeting room. Admiral Adama, Colonel Tigh, and Louis all stood there at ease.
"Four base stars just jumped into orbit." Felix's eyes went wide. Last he knew of, four base stars was a third of the cylon fleet; that wasn't a good sign. "They're not attacking- yet. They're looking to negotiate," reported the Admiral. "They want the Eye of Jupiter."
"If you don't mind my input Sir, I hope you're not seriously considering the offer," said Felix, inwardly shuddering at the notion of the cylons getting their hands on any clues to Earth. Though if they had Dr. Baltar, it may have already been too late for that.
"I'm not," said the Admiral. Felix breathed a sigh of relief. "I need you to take a look at the surrounding star system, see if there's any way for us to mount an attack, in case it comes to that. The last thing I want to do is nuke that temple with our men down there."
"Nuke it, Sir?" asked Felix, perplexed. He'd been there on the Admiral's wild goose chase to find Starbuck when she crashed on the moon. Now he was prepared to blow both Lee and Kara to smithereens?
"Mr. Hoshi," said the Admiral, ignoring Felix's question. "Take Mr. Gaeta to the lab. Report to me what you find."
Once outside the room, Felix turned to Louis. "The cylons want to negotiate?"
"I was in the room when they said it, and I can hardly believe it myself," said Louis.
"And Adama is going to nuke the place?" Felix asked incredulously. "He's got to be bluffing. Did it come across that way to you?"
Louis shrugged. "Admiral Cain wouldn't be bluffing. She'd nuke that planet without a second's thought, if she believed it'd keep us one step ahead of the cylons."
"Yeah,"said Felix, "but Admiral Adama is not Admiral Cain. In case you haven't picked up on that."
"I noticed, thanks," replied Louis. "If we can find a good position though, the planet won't be where we're aiming those nukes. And don't tell me you wouldn't look forward to that."
Felix grinned. "Oh I would. I think I'd enjoy it quite a bit."
Felix blinked and looked at the screen again. "Well that's…weird. Louis, would you mind getting the Admiral?"
"I would, if you mind telling me what you're seeing," said Louis, peering over his shoulder.
"I'll tell you when you come back. Just…go get him."
"I noticed some anamolies in the solar radiation belt. I did an analysis of the star's vibration levels," said Felix, his eyes still running over the screen in awe. "Sure enough, it appears to be highly unstable. If you can believe it, on the verge of going supernova."
"When?" asked the Admiral. President Roslin had arrived with him, and she appeared just as interested.
"Could be tomorrow. Could be next year. There's no way of knowing for sure, Sir," explained Felix. "When it does happen, the only warning that we're likely to get is a fast helium flash, at which point, we'll have to jump out of here before it obliterates the entire planetary system."
"Frak," muttered Louis.
"My thoughts exactly," said Felix.
"Can you imagine?" President Roslin chimed in. "The odds of the humans and cylons converging at this very spot-"
"They probably tracked us here, Madame President," said Felix. "But it doesn't matter. If we don't get that Eye and get out of here now, this ship could be disintegrated in a second."
"Leaving the fleet with no chance of finding Earth," said Roslin. "Admiral, I hope your men can work quickly."
The mood in the CIC was tense. The longer they stayed and waited for the troops on the ground to return, the greater danger they put themselves in. And that wasn't even counting the four base ships in orbit nearby.
The DRADIS screen beeped with a new detection. "Just picked up six heavy raiders heading away from the cylon fleet," reported Colonel Tigh. "Definitely heading down toward the planet."
"I don't get it," said President Roslin. "They'd have to know we see them." True, thought Felix. But they're cylons, they don't give a frak.
"They're testing us," replied Colonel Tigh. "Wanna know if we're bluffing about nuking the planet."
"Fortunately we are bluffing," said Roslin.
"Are we?" said the Admiral. It was more of a statement than a question. "Mr. Hoshi," he ordered.
"Aye, Sir," replied Louis from the comm station. Normally the reserve officer would be at Dee's station when she was off ship, but in this case, Adama had put Louis there and placed Felix on tactical. Apparently the Admiral didn't think it was a good idea to have a cylon broadcasting orders to the civilian fleet. Felix didn't blame him.
"Order nuclear ground strike missiles into launch tubes for through ten." Felix's face went pale. He was serious.
"Aye, Sir. This is a nuclear mission order." Louis seemed to draw out the last three words. For all this talk of how this would have transpired on the Pegasus, he seemed nervous.
Felix checked the lights on his board, then double checked to be sure. "Missiles are loaded, Admiral."
"Open launch tube doors."
Felix flipped the switches to the corresponding launch tubes. "Doors are open, Admiral."
"What are you doing?" Roslin asked suspiciously.
"Getting ready to nuke the planet," stated Admiral Adama. As if it was just that simple. "Load target package three Bravo," he ordered, his eyes not leaving the DRADIS screen. "Set ground zero to the underground structure."
"Are we prepared to sacrifice Lee?" asked President Roslin. Everyone in the room had been thinking it. She was merely the first to ask.
Admiral Adama ignored her question. "Release of nuclear weapons is now authorized."
"Sir," said Colonel Tigh. It was more of a question than a statement.
A long, heavy pause permeated the room.
"Mr. Gaeta," said the Admiral. "Disable warhead safeties on launch tubes 4 through 10."
Felix nervously flipped the switches. "Safeties disabled. Warheads are on."
"XO," continued the Admiral, directing his attention to Colonel Tigh. "Please input your firing code."
Felix watched as Colonel Tigh opened the code box. He entered the numbers as ordered, but he looked none too happy about it. "These nukes will obliterate anything or anyone within twenty clicks of the temple."
"I know," said the Admiral. "Key."
Colonel Tigh grabbed the nuclear weapons key, just hesitantly enough for Felix to notice. "Standing by."
"Launch sequence set to auto," reported Felix. As if it needed to be said. Everyone in the room knew what the turning of that key meant. And they knew there'd be little chance of turning back now.
"Fire on my mark."
Felix turned towards his DRADIS screen. For all the violence he'd seen on New Caprica, he couldn't endure this. Colonel Tigh ordering to fire on his own men was one thing. Admiral Adama was another.
Felix tried to keep himself from biting his nails, as he willed something to happen on DRADIS. One second, two, three. Then something did. "Sir. The raiders are turning back."
Felix spun around in his chair, facing the Admiral looking for an order. "Not all of them," said Adama.
Felix turned back to DRADIS. "Correction, five turned back. One is still on route back to the planet." He hoped Adama wouldn't fire the nukes for just one ship. They'd be better off blowing the raider out of the sky and making a run for it.
"Weapons are still hot," reported Tigh.
"Safehold missiles. Close out our doors," ordered the Admiral. A collective sigh of relief emanated from within the CIC. Felix felt he could breathe again.
Once Felix had composed himself, he still felt the need for some fresh air. The mood remained tense in the CIC: no one besides himself had returned from the planet, and there was no word on whether they had found the Eye of Jupiter. But there was nothing any of them standing there could do. Short breaks were being authorized for select numbers of crew while they waited.
Felix stood up from his station and approached the Admiral. President Roslin was eyeing him cautiously, but for some reason, Colonel Tigh wasn't. "Sir," he greeted the Admiral. "Permission to take five."
"Granted," Adama replied.
His quarters- Sharon and Helo's quarters, to be more specific- weren't too far away, so rather than try to relax in the surely crowded head, Felix decided to head there to sit down for a minute. If he was lucky, Sharon and Helo would be gone, so he could flop down on the bed instead of being confined to a chair.
He'd just about made it when he heard what sounded like a gunshot go off. Felix didn't know who would be shooting there, and at what.
Then he heard Helo scream.