Lee wished he was dead. This didn’t make any sense. He should be dead, frak it! They all should be. Just like his father, Laura and Kara… He felt a knot tighten painfully in his gut.
But here he was, sitting in the conference room of Colonial One in a chair with a spotless cover that indicated that it had never been used before, at a table that smelled like it had been re-varnished yesterday. It was… disgusting.
Of the Quorum Captains sitting across from him some looked at him bored, some spaced out and others expectantly. Lee didn’t quite know what to tell them. That the toothpaste supply crisis was over? What? Thankfully he was spared any such embarrassing statement by a breathless Private stumbling into the room.
“Sir, I’m here to report that there is some trouble aboard the Astral Queen Sir.”
Great. That was exactly what he needed now; a prison riot.
“I- I wouldn’t call it a riot exactly Sir,” the Private answered at Lee’s inquiry as to the specifics of the situation and shifted uncomfortably from one leg to the other. His young face - gods he must have still been a kid during the Exodus – was turning an interesting shade of red too. “More like a- a celebration?” He made it sound like a question.
Embarrassed groaning from all members of the Quorum was the reaction to that kind of news. Right. Like the frakkers hadn’t frakked and boozed all over Joe’s the last two days.
“I see,” Lee tried to keep his composure, “and what would you have me do about that, Private?”
“I- I don’t know Sir. Captain Erics just sent me over to…”
“It’s all right Private,“ Lee cut him off, ”I’ll get back at Captain Erics shortly.”
“Sir.“ The Private saluted and bundled off before even being dismissed.
Lee sighed and rubbed his temples. He had planed to pardon all the prisoners anyway. This was supposed to be a real new start it seemed. It would be his first official act as President and also his last one as far as he was concerned. If the fleet really thought that he was going to be the leader of this cosmic joke they had become then they could think again.
“Presidential elections?” Captain Grace looked at him like she had never heard of that concept before after he made his suggestion to the Quorum. “But the way the distribution of political power in the fleet is right now Dr. Baltar will win such an election easily,” she pointed out concerned.
Damn right he would, Lee wouldn’t even have to rig the ballot. The frakker better got it right this time too.
Louis examined his reflection on the shiny new DRADIS console. The additional star on his uniform blinked at him merrily. Ha! Take that Tigh! Louis made a face. May his drunken toaster ass rest in peace, or goo, or wherever Cylons go when they die for real. In other news he needed a hair cut. Like last year. A bit of a tan wouldn’t be so bad either.
“Commander Hoshi?” Crewman Heller turned towards him from the communication station. “The test flight pilots are back and asking for clearance to land, Sir.”
“Clearance granted.” Louis nodded at him reassuringly.
Most of the CIC’s crew looked and acted like in a daze and Louis couldn’t really blame them. Naked singularities, non existent event horizons, whatever. If there was this One True God Baltar kept harping about then it was math and physics. Louis had always figured as much.
Moreover, the first time Tigh showed up sober for duty and the Admiral started smelling like a whole ambrosia barrel storage it should have been clear that they had entered some kind of bizarro universe.
Louis leaned back and took a sip of his coffee. Real coffee. It was a miracle. The only complain he had was that Felix wasn’t part of it. That stupid frakker of a boyfriend. Or ex-boyfriend rather, Louis had to remind himself.
Thinking of ex-boyfriends, he really needed to ask Noel what had been going on over on the Astral Queen, because his face when he and the other pardoned prisoners were brought back today, well, lets say he had seen that expression a few times before.
Louis sighed. He really seemed to be out of luck when it came to his love life. While he was searching with one hand for Felix’s dog tags under his shirt, the crew’s attention shifted short as Lee Adama entered the CIC. The guy looked like he just lost his lunch or really everything that meant something to him. Louis couldn’t say he felt overly sympathetic.
“President Adama I presume?“ He stood up and handed Lee the fleet wireless before he could even ask for it.
“President my ass,” Lee hissed through grinded teeth as he ignored the offer and braced himself on the CIC’s main console.
Louis gave him a once over. “I’ll think about it, Sir,” he said deadpan, shoving the wireless further into Lee’s face. Lee blinked at him in astonishment and Racetrack who had escorted him in broke into high pitched laughter behind his back.
Louis tried an admonishing glare. “Don’t you have anything else to do Edmonson?”
“Yes, Sir.“ She saluted and left the CIC.
Finally Lee took the wireless of his hands. “Men and women of the fleet,” he started, “here speaks Preside… this is Lee Adama. The enemy has been destroyed…“
Well, that’s one way to put it, thought Louis, tuning out pretty much all the rest of what was said. It wasn’t like they had had much to do with it though, since Cavil’s fraction and the rebel Cylons had just conveniently killed each other and the metal toasters had then run off like they had forgotten that it was sell-out day in Caprica City, or something.
Hoshi smiled dutifully, as Lee gave the wireless back to him later, hoping it wasn’t too obvious that he hadn’t listen to the grand victory speech at all. Maybe he wasn’t really cut out for this commanding thing. Maybe it wouldn’t even matter, since Agathon was still of higher rank than him and once he was fit for duty again… but that could take a while.
Karl pretended he was sleeping. Now that supplies weren’t an issue anymore Cottle had given him a rather generous dose of morpha, but there was pain that couldn’t be suppressed with any drug. Hot Dog had been here an hour before and expressed his condolences. He looked almost more devastated then Karl, but that was probably because nobody had given him any painkillers and because Hot Dog was a real nice guy; always caring.
He even gave Karl a Hephaestus charm, just like the one he had given to Gaeta. Yes, the guy was also a bit clumsy. Things had gotten awkward after that and Constanza had excused himself with having to get Nicky back from day care. Wincing a little before leaving, he maybe recognized that this wasn’t the most considerate exit he could have made either. No matter what, it wasn’t like Karl would stop thinking about them anytime soon. Sharon, Hera, and yes Felix. Wasn’t like he had had frakking visions of the latter for almost two days.
“Commander?” he heard Cottle accost someone entering the ward.
“How is he?” Hoshi's voice. Karl turned around and opened his eyes slightly.
“What do you think how? He lost his wife, his daughter and…” Cottle paused, “I don’t even now why you would…”
“Save his life?” Karl could see the good doctor roll his eyes at Hoshi. Then Cottle left the room, probably to light up again - plenty of smokes available again too now – and, yeah, had Hoshi sounded smug or what? Okay, that was a bit ungrateful. It wasn’t like Louis had saved his life out of spite, or maybe he had, considering Karl had pretty much begged him to let him be, what did he know? Having your boyfriend shot at, almost abandoned, and finally executed for mutiny, could probably make anyone develop something of a mean streak.
“You think this is pretty funny don’t you?” Karl asked, stopping the pretence after Hoshi had stepped up to his bed and looked him over, his eyes finally coming to an halt on his heavily bandaged right leg - or what was left of it.
“Funny?” Hoshi raised an eyebrow. “Like in the whole fleet being swallowed by a naked singularity and spit back out again with brand-new ships and technical equipment as well as supplies for the next five years? That kind of funny?” Oh yes, that one was a hoot, thought Karl, as Hoshi carried on. “No. Your leg being shot to hell isn’t funny like that, although there is a certain irony to that too, yeah.”
“Five minutes, Commander. The patient still needs rest,” Cottle poked his head back into the room.
Karl looked at Hoshi curiously. “Commander, huh? Got a promotion for your heroic deed?” Now that was really ungrateful but then Karl felt ungrateful. Hoshi didn’t bite though, just smiled and folded his arms.
“You got one too Major Agathon. All military folk that made it back got one, it was in the Old Man’s will.”
He could just as well have said ‘Ass Clown’ instead of ‘Old Man’ and what was even more astonishing to Karl was the realization that he himself hadn’t thought much better of the Admiral the last weeks. His mouth suddenly felt really dry and he tried to reach for the glass of water besides his bed but the pain shooting up in his leg cut him short.
“Man, just say something.” Hoshi leaned closer and handed him the glass. While taking a sip Karl caught a glimpse of the dog tags that had turned free from under Louis shirt. A pair of them.
“I’m sorry about Felix.” He offered looking Hoshi square in the eyes.
“Yeah. Now. Ever told him that when it still mattered?”
That didn’t sound as bitter as it could have. “I thought I did,” Karl answered earnestly. “Maybe I was wrong.”
“Maybe. Look I’m not here to talk about Felix. I just wanted to see how you’re. I need you to get better soon, to help me with the fleet. Technically you should be in command now,” said Hoshi.
“Nah, It’s okay. I’ll waive my privilege and you’ve got my blessing to fly us into the next big enough asteroid to put us out of our misery,” Karl tried to joke.”
“Fantastic plan Major, except that with our luck, we’ll come back out the other side unscathed, the dead half of the fleet resurrected in Cylon form greeting us with charged weapons, demanding that we surrender our new toothpaste supplies.”
Okay, that was funny. “Well, fine. But there will be no more morpha for Felix,” Karl responded before he could think about it. Maybe they should have shot off his tongue instead.
“I thought we had stopped talking about Felix.” Hoshi didn’t look angry, just sad.
“You loved him.” It wasn’t a question.
“I did. Wasn’t reciprocated though.”
“What makes you say that?” Karl asked confused.
“Well, first he doesn’t trust me enough to tell me about his little mutiny…”
“Would you’ve talked him out of it?” Karl interrupted him.
“No.” Louis looked determined. “I would’ve made it work.”
Well, that was honest at least. “I think you’re wrong. He did love you back.” Karl hadn’t thought Sharon could love him anymore after what had happened with Boomer. He had been wrong too.
“Maybe. He still asked for Baltar as his last wish. It’s pretty obvious he never really got over that guy.”
“Baltar.” Karl spit out the name like a dirty tasting thing. “That frakking wanker. Can you believe he came down here last night to pray with me? Wouldn’t lift a finger to save my baby, but now he wants to pray and even build a temple for Hera and Athena once we find a habitable planet,” he was bristling with anger now. “If I hadn’t been so out of it I would have punched him real good.”
Louis expression hardened. “Dear Gods, that man is so pathetic. I don’t care if he’s going to be President again, if he names any of his future kids Felix or Felicitas I’m going to shoot him.
Baltar President again? Now that was a terrifying thought. “What the frak? Lee made it back too right?” Karl asked vexed.
“Yeah, but he doesn’t really seem to be in the mood. Baltar’s cult has the political majority on almost all ships now anyway,” Louis shrugged.
“Well, great.” Karl let his head fall back on the pillow.
“We’ve had worse,” Louis shrugged. “I think we’re going to make it this time. We have to. I don’t think there will be another chance.”
Probably not. Karl nodded in agreement. Who would want another two-hundred pallets of toothpaste anyway.