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Habeas Corpus

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:: equal protection ::

One thing Evie certainly never thought she'd do in her life was walk a red carpet. But that's undeniably what it is, laid out in front of the grand North entrance and lined with paparazzi. She never thought she'd see a diplomatic gala become front page news, but a lot of things are different now. There's a spaceship looming behind her on the lawn. The reporters call out "Justice Lang" and wave their microphones; she ignores them. She isn't the main attraction.

The Colonial representatives are seated in a line across the stage for the ceremonies, along with Bartlet, CJ Cregg, Kate Harper, the governor of Utah, the UN Secretary-General -- the rest of the national and international dignitaries. Evie reviews the names she can remember in her head. President Roslin looks nothing like she does on television, but that's probably because instead of a suit she's wearing a burgundy silk gown with a slit up the back, and her hair is pinned up. She stands to give her speech and the room hushes before her elegance. The speech is about finding the promised land. The public is going to eat it up.

The rest of the addresses, even Bartlet's, pale in comparison, and Evie is glad when they're over. She ditches Chris Mulready and the hangers-on from the DoJ, and the eddies of the crowd sweep her toward CJ. CJ gives her that smile of solidarity -- what Evie calls the "first woman" smile -- and gracefully shoos away the military types she's talking to. "Justice Lang," CJ says, "what a pleasure to see you here." She puts her hand on Evie's arm.

"Well, I got an invitation," Evie answers. "It's not every day that one has the chance to witness history in the making. And I've told you, please call me Evelyn."

"You're more than a witness to history, Evelyn."

"Time will tell." Evie accepts a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, and hands another to CJ. "Congratulations to you for your part in this. How are you holding up?"

"I've been..." CJ laughs, bemused. "Probably what I ate for breakfast last week is classified. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. But we have a treaty, and I'm taking the day off from agonizing about limited sovereignty and Cylon defense. Cheers."

Evie scans the room idly after they toast. Kate Harper is tossing back shots at the bar with a blonde woman in Colonial uniform -- Captain Thrace, if she recalls correctly. The Geminese delegate is sticking predictably close to the Governor, and Admiral Adama is dancing stiffly with Abbey Bartlet, at the opposite end of the ballroom from the cordoned-off press area. President Roslin is seated at a table, effectively holding court.

CJ follows Evie's eyes. "Do you want me to introduce you?"

Evie pauses. "Yes, I think I do."

Roslin's gown is long-sleeved, but leaves her shoulders scandalously bare. CJ touches the downward sweep of Roslin's neck when they come up behind her, and Roslin turns away from the FBI chief and three senators. She smiles, a radiant smile that sets her eyes twinkling. "Ms. Cregg," she says. "Excuse me, gentlemen. Ms. Cregg, you throw quite a party."

"It had to be worthy of the preeminent guest, of course. President Roslin, I'd like you to meet..."

"Chief Justice Lang, I know. It's an honor to make your acquaintance."

Evie blinks twice before she thinks to take Roslin's outstretched hand. "On the contrary, the honor is mine. Frankly, I'm surprised you've had time to familiarize yourself with the judicial branch in the thick of the negotiations."

"I read your opinion in the terrorism case -- Salaam versus Fitzwallace. That was some dazzling rhetoric." Roslin stands and takes Evie's elbow. She nods at CJ, who raises an eyebrow and heads off toward the dancefloor, presumably to rescue Admiral Adama from the First Lady's teasing smirk. Evie finds herself being led, by the President of a lost alien race, to the relative privacy of a peripheral bay window. Roslin turns to face her, pulling off her glasses and lasering Evie with the full intensity of her gaze. Evie catches her breath, feels the fulcrum of time balancing on this woman's head.

"'It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our Nation's commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad.'"

"You're quoting me?" Evie is charmed.

"As I said, you impressed me." Roslin's mouth turns up at the corners, in a tight line. She's another first woman -- first woman President to arrive on Earth from outer space. "It's a beautiful document."

"So is the Bill of Rights."

"Absolutely. Our Articles of Colonization offer something similar -- 'No person shall be deprived of his or her liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by these articles' -- but without nearly the poetry and vision. I'm proud to be partnering with your nation. Of course, for now our status will be closer to resident alien than full citizenship, and given the emphasis on the Constitutional rights of citizens in your decision, I'm not sure where this leaves us." Roslin is twirling the champagne flute between her fingers, and angling her body toward Evie. Evie is surprised to realize that she's fishing for something.

"Well, the particular facts of the case made citizenship a consideration, and I can't say there's a clear, universal standard," Evie explains. She's intrigued. "But due process and habeas corpus are among the most primordial rights of Western jurisprudence, and any person subject to our law is subject to their protections."

"What's a person? I mean, legally speaking?" Roslin's voice thrums with an undercurrent of ferocity. It takes Evie a moment to figure out why.

"Oh God," Evie says. Her head spins, and she grips the back of a chair. "The leak, the rumor that there are human-type Cylons, that you have Cylon detainees -- it's true, isn't it?"

Roslin's eyes go wide. She clears her throat, and looks down. Evie is holding her champagne in her left hand. "Are you married?" Roslin asks. The cultural similarities are truly uncanny.

"Separated." Evie rubs her wedding ring with her thumb. "It makes life easier if I keep wearing it. You know I can't answer your question. There's no precedent for this."

"And you know I can't answer yours." Roslin meets Evie's eyes again. Her look is fiery. "There is precedent. There are procedures for the indefinite military detention of enemy combatants who pose an imminent threat. There's Roe versus Wade."

Evie shakes her head, a little awestruck. "Roe doesn't define what a person is."

"Roe suggests that there's a point, if an indeterminate one, before which a proto-human entity is not understood to have rights -- 'the word "person," as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn... the law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn.'" They stare at each other. "Have I mentioned that you look stunning in that dress?" Roslin says. Evie is swathed in strapless bronze taffeta. She blushes despite herself. Roslin grasps Evie's wrist, her thumb and fingers skewering Evie between two points of heat.

"We've agreed to come partially under US sovereignty, which includes adhering to most US law and signing onto all US treaties and conventions. We've been through a genocide, which creates an unfathomable tangle of juridical rifts that your national and international system is now inheriting. You need to understand that this is going to cross your bench. When you make those rulings, you need to understand what it means to see billions of people, your whole civilization, wiped out by a race of machines." Evie turns her hand to take Roslin's, clutching it under the gravity of an unimaginable loss. Roslin squeezes back.

Behind them, the band swells into a jaunty foxtrot. Roslin isn't letting go of Evie's hand. She watches Evie's face, licks her lips. Evie can read people as well as any politician. "You're responsible for inviting the Court to this gala," Evie says. "You wanted to get to me, the civil rights crusader, and you know the separation of powers makes an official meeting difficult."

And there's that smile again, the one that lights up Roslin's eyes. "Come with me to the New Kobol landing tomorrow," Roslin says. "I need a date."

Before Evie can demur, CJ reappears at their side, and Roslin unlaces their fingers. "I want to fly Justice Lang to Utah with us tomorrow as my guest," Roslin tells CJ, impishly. "Do you think I can clear that with State?"

CJ laughs, flushed with alcohol and accolades. "I'm glad you two are hitting it off," she says. "And I don't see why not -- she has security clearance."

"Really, I can't possibly..." Evie starts to protest, but CJ says, "Come on Evelyn, where's the woman who wanted to witness history? When else will you get that close to a fleet of spaceships? It's going to be spectacular." Roslin just sips her champagne and winks at Evie over the top of the glass. It's a challenge.

"I suppose I can't argue with that," Evie says. "Thank you, President Roslin, for the honor of an invitation."

"I'm looking forward to it," Roslin says. "We have a lot to talk about."

The Secretary of Education turns up, then, and Roslin gives him her attention. CJ says, "We're taking the Colonial shuttle from the North lawn at eight -- I'm sure you saw it on your way in," just as Chris arrives to demand the dance Evie had promised him.

"And what did the beautiful and distinguished President of the Twelve Colonies want with you, Evie?" Chris asks her, once he's leading her in a waltz.

"She wanted to know whether the rights and protections enumerated in the Constitution and the Geneva Convention would, hypothetically, apply to Cylons."

Chris's eyebrows go up. "Well of course not," he says, "Cylons aren't human."

"That's what they used to say about African Americans," Evie answers, absently. She's thinking about the vastness of space that arches above her, the burgeoning terrors of a geopolitics that has suddenly opened into three dimensions, and about how she looks to the photographer who is, at this very moment, snapping her picture.


:: due process ::

It was one of those events: everyone talks about where they were when they heard. Evie was backstage at a TV studio, having just been the featured guest on a PBS newsmagazine. She was against a wall in the dressing room, with her skirt hiked up and one leg wrapped around the waist of the program's host. He'd flirted with her shamelessly throughout the taping, and now he was biting her neck and inching his hand up her thigh. Maybe it was the adrenaline high of media performance; maybe it was the danger, the illicit thrill; maybe it had just been too long since she'd come by anyone's hand but her own, too long spent creeping silently into the bathroom during the night. It didn't matter to her, in that moment, how she'd rationalize this to herself afterward. Nothing mattered except getting her fingers under his shirt to skin, and grinding against the hardening ridge in his pants.

Then the door burst open. The two of them jumped apart, mortified and furiously yanking at their clothes.

Any other time, it would have been awkward. Any other time, the PA standing in the doorway would have frozen in embarrassment, and stammered, "Jesus, sorry, um, I should have knocked." And, while blushing fiercely, they would have pretended like nothing was amiss, cleared their throats and said, "Sure, what do you need?"

Instead, the PA just said, "You need to see this, now." He turned back down the hallway without so much as a pregnant pause marking the fact that he'd just caught them in flagrante. Evie knew then that something was desperately wrong. They ran after him, and found the production staff clustered around a TV monitor in silence.

Bartlet was holding an emergency press conference: NASA had just confirmed that approximately 40 unidentified spacecraft of extra-terrestrial origin had appeared in Earth's orbit. Audio communication had been established with the commanders of the fleet, who expressed no hostility and claimed to be of human descent. World leaders and the UN Security Council were in consultation to gather further intelligence and ensure the continuing stability and safety of the global community.

There was a grainy photograph of alien shapes looming against a backdrop of stars, and a recording, pockmarked with static, of a woman speaking in lightly-accented English: "People of Earth, we are your lost brothers and sisters. We come in peace."

None of it seemed real. Evie hailed a cab outside the studio. When the driver took one look at her and asked, "You all right, lady?" she told him to change the station to public radio. The President was taking questions: "What's the medium of the transmissions, and can people pick them up on consumer devices?" "Why wasn't the missile defense shield activated?" "Are the aliens considered to have sovereignty under international law?" Bartlet: "Obviously, this is an unprecedented and historic event, and we'll be passing along the facts through UN channels as they are substantiated and declassified. I can assure you that the situation is stable and there is no reason to panic."

The cabbie shook his head and said, "Praise the Lord, it's a miracle."

That night, Evie fell asleep on the couch in front of CNN, long after David had gone to bed. This wasn't an unusual occurrence. She woke up the next morning to a high-octane logo blaring the slogan LOST AND FOUND IN SPACE. NIH geneticists had verified that the samples the fleet had sent down were, in fact, human DNA. The UN Security Council was convening an emergency summit at an undisclosed US location, which would be attended by representatives from the aliens' government and military.

Evie took a shower and walked to her office. Her staff was sitting in the lobby, clustered around a table of coffee and donuts. There was a television there (this channel had dubbed the story HOMECOMING FROM THE STARS). "There's a press freeze," one of the clerks told her. "NBC broke a tape of a civilian message from one of the spaceships. It had all this religious mumbo-jumbo: the scriptures led us here, lost 13th Colony, prophets and miracles -- that sort of thing. Then they pulled it, with no explanation. There's no new information on the wire, only speculation and filler -- they're locking it down to official UN briefings." When Evie left the building, there were National Guardsmen with machine guns flanking the door.

The next day, she turned up unannounced at the ACLU: "You're forming a task force to monitor the domestic civil rights climate, right? I want to volunteer." When she got home, David was sitting at the kitchen table, dipping slices of apple in a jar of peanut butter. She took a plate and a spoon out of the cabinet and put them down in front of him. When she told him where she'd been, he said, "You can't work for the ACLU, Ev, it's a conflict of interest."

"I think that's the last thing that matters right now," she said.

"What matters now is that we maintain the rule of law. You think it's going to help anything if the public faces of sage governance -- that's you -- start running around like we're in a crisis? Except for the fact that one of the parties is extra-terrestrial, this is no different from any other diplomatic watershed."

Evie clenched her teeth and put down the piece of apple she'd been about to eat. She wasn't actually hungry. "I can't just sit around at home until this blows over, David. The world is never going back to the way it was." She got up to put away the peanut butter and turned on the TV. The video clip was military-issue: a sleek, menacing craft lowering onto an unmarked landing strip, surrounded by armored humvees. A hatch hissing open, and a surreally recognizable group of 30 or so... people filing out -- half in dress uniforms and riot gear, half in ethnic robes and business suits. Cut to the iconic shot of a striking middle-aged woman, with a palpably commanding presence, shaking President Bartlet's hand. The caption read "Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies." Evie chewed her lip and turned up the volume.

The Supreme Court went on hiatus, and Evie went on newswatch full time. She focused on following the fundamentalist spin, putting together an evangelical blogroll and clipping articles with headlines like "Biblical Evidence for Extra-Terrestrial Tribes," "Second Coming or Satan's Hordes?" and "Mormon Church Calls for Expedited Repatriation of 'Our Divine Cousins'" for an ACLU dossier on developing challenges to the separation of church and state.

Eventually, the summit broke from closed session and Roslin held her first press conference, which they all watched at the ACLU office. Roslin stood in front of the UN seal, resolute and regal. ("They sure do make 'em hot in outer space," someone quipped.) She gave a prepared statement: I am the President of a democratically elected government consisting of a representative from what remains of each of the Twelve Colonies, joined by Admiral Adama, the commander of our military. We believe that our civilization and yours have a common origin on a home planet called Kobol. It was a map on Kobol that brought us here for this joyful reunion. We are the sole survivors of a devastating civil war, and ultimately genocide, by a breed of artificially-intelligent machines called Cylons. We are eager to begin anew as a sovereign member of your rich global community, and treasure the interest and support of national and world citizens, especially those believers who recognize the sacred destiny that has brought me before you today. Evie's notes read: Press 4 details of civic + MILITARY structure! scientifically plausible?? ck NASA research. reconciliation w/ Genesis? -- Koball as Eden... IMMINENT SILON THREAT NEED INTELLIGENCE / bid 4 retaining sovereignty -- + working the fundies, lord she's GOOD. what isn't she telling us?? She stopped writing there, because as soon as Roslin finished speaking, everyone ran frenziedly for phones and keyboards and started shouting things like "Pull all the post-WWII caselaw on transnational security alliances!" and "Draft a press release about maintaining our commitment to peace, freedom, and civil governance, even in the face of exceptional uncertainty and peril!"

At home, David had on the first of a flood of prepackaged human interest stories, obviously calculated to preempt the inevitable NIMBYism by swinging public sympathy toward the Colonials -- the screen announced LIFE AFTER THE APOCALYPSE: ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY. The woman was named Anastasia Dualla, and she stared into the camera with hypnotically green and limpid eyes, which brimmed with tears as she explained how much it meant to her to find Earth, after losing the only home she'd ever known to a catastrophic holocaust.

"Are you still going to tell me this isn't a crisis?" Evie asked David.

"Their war is an unfathomable tragedy, but it's over. They'll heal, and they'll assimilate."

"Wars like that are never over."

David shrugged.

"Have you seen her since it happened?" Evie asked. 'She' didn't have a name, to Evie. 'Mistress' is such a sordid word.

"Yes."

"I made out with the PBS guy. We were making out when the announcement came on."

"Oh. Sorry."

"I'm leaving you, David. I want you to move out."

After that, she watched Roslin's regular briefings by herself. Roslin played the media like a virtuoso, and Evie suspected she was playing the other heads of state the same way. Limited sovereignty was a concession, but in exchange she got land and the muscle of the United States behind her. Evie suspected that Roslin wouldn't have hesitated to hide and embellish the truth if it would get her people planetside. She'd kept the leaks about polytheism and ongoing Cylon conflict to a trickle until the settlement treaty was ratified. Now, the rules of the game will change.

After the White House gala, Evie climbs into her empty bed and turns on the television. CNN is rerunning their coverage of the event, headlining it 'Reception Celebrating the Treaty of New Kobol.' There's the shuttle landing dreamlike on the lawn, and Roslin and her entourage stepping out onto the red carpet, resplendent. The anchor is saying, "...an illustrious guest list which included everyone from the Archbishop of Washington to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court." And there's Evie making her entrance, smiling inscrutably and avoiding eye-contact. The story continues, "...expected to announce further details of Colonial participation in US and UN defense programs within the week." Evie sets her alarm for 6:30. She slides her fingers between her legs and thinks about the things the camera doesn't capture: how Roslin's pupils dilate and sparkle when she knows she's winning, and how warm Roslin's hand felt in hers.


:: cruel and unusual ::

As they prepare for liftoff, Evie clenches the armrests of her seat. Roslin chuckles. "You won't feel anything," she says. "There's artificial gravity."

Evie takes a deep breath. "If it's all the same to you, I'm still going to hang on."

Roslin laughs again. "The first time is the hardest," she says, and covers Evie's white knuckles with her palm.

That's how Evie ends up holding hands with the President of the Twelve Colonies for the second time.

Roslin is right, though: there's a moment of vertigo, but then Evie can't even tell they're moving. She hazards a glance out the window and sees clouds below them.

"Once you get the security and intellectual property concerns hammered out, the engineers are going to go crazy," Evie marvels. "Aeronautics corporations and heavy industry will be throwing money at you for a look at these ships."

Roslin gives her a sly smile. "How would you like a head start with a free tour?" She tugs Evie to her feet and into the aisle.

The cast of luminaries from last night's party are all here. The President is dozing with his mouth open, snoring slightly. Abbey Bartlet winks at them as they pass and nudges him with her elbow. CJ Cregg and Kate Harper are lost in conversation over a file folder, doubtless classified. Evie catches fragments of French and Spanish -- 'tuesday's meeting'; 'call the ambassador.'

"It's a military transport," Roslin is telling her, "part of the arsenal of our newer Battlestar. Which means it has conference and storage in addition to passenger space."

Evie says, "I really shouldn't be here."

Roslin touches her waist, grinning. "All the more reason for you to make the most of it. We're required to keep to sub-sound speeds, so it'll take a few hours to get to New Kobol Territory."

Admiral Adama is sitting by himself, and he scowls at Roslin a little. She squeezes his shoulder. And then they've arrived at the door to the rear of the cabin. With a nod to the military escort, Roslin opens the hatch and ushers Evie into a grey hallway, starkly lit and thoroughly forbidding. The meeting room they enter next is somewhat friendlier, with beige panelling and a polished table. Roslin leans against its corner.

Evie crosses her arms. "What would you have done if we'd turned you away? If we'd said, 'take your weaponized technology, your geopolitical machinations, your prophecies and your Cylons and leave our planet in peace'?"

"That was never an option." Roslin crosses her arms too. It's like Evie is looking in a mirror.

"How did you do it?" Evie asks. She shakes her head. "I've watched you, these months, rally the whole world behind you."

Roslin takes a step toward her. "I learned what people wanted to hear. And then that's what we told them." She puts one hand on the wall next to Evie's shoulder, leaning in.

Evie smirks. "You're smooth," she says, grabs Roslin by the hair, and kisses her. It's a long kiss. When Roslin pulls away, breathing hard, Evie tells her, "if you're as good at reading personalities as you claim to be, you know that seducing me isn't going to garner you any judicial favors. It's not going to change the way I do my job, my dedication to the spirit and the letter of the Constitution."

Roslin's eyes stay on Evie's as she pushes the jacket off Evie's shoulders. She says, "I'll take my chances."

There's a lot of kissing after that. Roslin's lips are fluent against Evie's, her tongue insistent. Evie traps her lower lip between her teeth, sucking it. Roslin presses on Evie's chest, pinning her to the wall, and Evie clasps her wrist and pulls it behind her, backs her into the desk. Her mouth is at Roslin's collarbone, nipping toward the swell of her breast, and she releases Roslin's arm so she can get at the buttons of her blouse. Roslin grabs Evie's ass and tucks her tighter between her legs, pushing her center against Evie's thigh. Evie can feel the heat there, right through her clothes. As Evie is tugging the tails of Roslin's shirt out of her pants, Roslin says, breathless, "I banned abortion."

Evie pauses with one hand on Roslin's lace bra. "I had to do it to keep the support of the religious faction and win re-election," Roslin goes on, reaching for the side zip of Evie's skirt. "Don't stop."

There's some rancor to the way Evie's fingernails dig into Roslin's breast. She pinches her nipple more viciously than she has to, and Roslin gasps. "Why are you telling me this?" Evie asks. She steps out of her skirt and hangs it over a chair.

Roslin's fingers trace the tops of Evie's stockings, the elastic of her underwear. She twines one leg around Evie and teases a spot just below Evie's ear with her lips. "My society doesn't have the most illustrious human rights record. Back when I was Secretary of Education, before the holocaust, there was chronic unrest among the teachers' unions. Just one instance of a lot of repressive violence on the part of the government, which caused the left to escalate into terrorism as well. I was trying to mediate between the parties, but there was limited juridical leverage." Evie is scratching Roslin's back as she listens, digging her thumbs into Roslin's hipbones -- making her arch into Evie's body. "I'm saying that if we'd had someone like you, someone with the power to hold our leaders accountable, to strike down that abortion ban, I would have welcomed it. I am passionate about civil liberties." Roslin punctuates that by finding Evie's clit with her fingers, stroking it through the cloth. "But there's something that consumes me more."

Evie's hands are rough on Roslin's flesh, marking it. She lets Roslin turn them around so she's the one sitting on the table, lets Roslin strip off her underwear. As Roslin bites her inner thigh, Evie murmurs, "And what's that?"

Roslin's mouth is creeping upward. "The survival of our species," she says. "And I would do anything, I'd sacrifice even myself and my most cherished beliefs, to save the human race from annihilation."

Evie leans back on her elbows. As Roslin's tongue spreads her open, she whispers, "Are we all going to die?" The pleasure is so razor-sharp that she probably wouldn't care if they were.

Roslin puts her thumb where her tongue had been. "That depends on how soon the Cylons find us. But don't think, for a moment, that we're not in a state of war."

"And in wartime, survival takes precedence over freedom, Madam President?"

"Please, call me Laura," Roslin says, and her mouth goes back to work.

This sparring, the challenge of arguing lucidly while Roslin is doing -- that, right there -- makes Evie throb. "I don't think that would be appropriate," she manages.

Roslin slides three fingers into Evie and asks, "Is it appropriate now?" Roslin thrusts against the ridge inside her, sucks hard on her clit, and Evie moans "Laura, oh," and comes. She bites her arm to keep from screaming and soaks Roslin's palm.

She sits up, afterward, and pulls Roslin into a slick and languid kiss.

"There's a bathroom across the hall," Roslin says. She's buttoning up her blouse.

Evie says, "War is a bounded state of exception. If it becomes perpetual, if it becomes the justification for giving up the ideals that make us human, we've already lost."

Roslin stops. She gazes at Evie with a penetrating half-smile, rubs a bruise Evie left on her shoulder. "There's something I'd like you to see, Evelyn."

Evie starts putting on her skirt. "You can call me Justice Lang."

Roslin says, "Touché," and kisses her again.

Dressed and presentable, they pass a makeshift lounge off the corridor, where the military personnel are laughing and playing cards. Evie recognizes most of them from the news. Anastasia Dualla, who wept in the puff piece, is sitting on Commander Apollo's lap, proposing a toast. "To our new home," she says. No one spots Evie through the doorway.

Roslin invites her into to a room that's much like the first, dingier and with a mirror on one wall. Evie is looking around, mystified, when Roslin trips a lever and the mirror goes transparent. She can see into a cell, and in the cell a slight, dark-haired woman is shackled. She's lying on a cot, hands cuffed in front of her. Evie's heart hammers, and she presses her palm to the glass.

"Admiral Adama won't let her out of his sight," Roslin says. "She's too sensitive an asset."

Evie says, "I shouldn't be seeing this."

"Probably not." Roslin steps between Evie and the window, studying Evie's face. "But I'm sure nothing you see here is going to change the way you do your job. She looks like us, doesn't she?"

"I've been volunteering for the ACLU." Evie's voice quavers a little.

Roslin watches her, eyes searingly blue. "I know."

"My husband didn't approve. He found it unseemly. Do you know what I find unseemly?" Evie takes Roslin's arm, turns her around so she's facing the Cylon. "When the leaders of the people don't nurture justice above all else."

"They look like us," Roslin says, "but they're not like us."

"How do you know?" Evie asks her. "Are you proud of this?" She clutches a fistful of Roslin's hair, jerks her head toward the scene. Roslin gasps and grinds her ass back into the cradle of Evie's hips. That pulses straight to Evie's center, and she swallows.

"No, I'm not proud," Roslin answers. "But I'm not sorry. These are not the circumstances to countenance courtroom proceedings and habeas corpus. They're machines programmed to kill."

Roslin's breathing rasps audibly. Evie lets go of her hair and gropes for the fastening of her pants, shoves Roslin against the glass once she gets her hand inside. "I wish I believed that couldn't be true of humans, too."

"They never came into being as people, quickening in a mother's womb." Roslin moans as Evie's fingers open her without preamble, dipping into her and slicking the wetness up on either side of her clit.

"She's the augured foe not born of woman? Such a one are we to fear, or none?" Evie is still teasing, stroking the shaft but ignoring Roslin's efforts to force the touch lower. "'If you prick her, does she not bleed? If you wrong her, shall she not revenge?'"

Roslin growls in frustration, pins Evie's hand between her pelvis and the wall. "Negotiation of the security clauses is ongoing. If I think, for an instant, that our executive power over our prisoners will be compromised, that she'll be classed as anything other than an enemy combatant and an imminent threat, I will not hesitate to execute her. Whatever the personal cost."

"And I won't hesitate to ensure that you can never do such a thing again." Evie is no longer teasing. She circles Roslin's clit, hard and fast.

"Please..." Roslin says. Her hips arch backward, and Evie pushes her fingers inside and feels Roslin contract around them. As she comes, Evie manages to flip the switch with her other hand. It's just the two of them, and their images in the mirror.

Roslin takes a shuddering breath, wraps her arms around Evie's neck. "Just try it," she finishes. Evie looks at her, flushed and wearing a hazy, sated smile. Perhaps, Evie ponders, these are the real historic moments, the ones that will never be immortalized in photographs. The scales of time teeter between them, and the planet whirls through space.

When they disembark, the bank of reporters is waiting, corralled behind a velvet rope. There's an open-air soundstage erected, with an elaborate video rig and a newsdesk for William Shatner and the head of NASA, commentators for the live broadcast. Spread out beyond that is a vast tract of arid, craggy scrubland, bounded by Interstate 15 and littered with heavy machinery at work on the plumbing and irrigation infrastructure. The Territory is fenced, and encircling the fence on all sides is a throng of onlookers, pilgrims who came with jeeps and tents to witness the homecoming.

The dignitaries assemble on the soundstage platform, ringed with cameras and Secret Service. There's a buzz among the crowd, a euphoric expectancy, and the esprit de corps draws Evie to CJ's side. The Geminese delegate, Sarah Porter, joins hands with the Governor of Utah and says a prayer blessing the ground. CJ rests her hand on Evie's shoulder and says, pensively, "There's no place like home." Evie watches Roslin put on her glasses and join Admiral Adama at the podium. Adama radios the fleet the order to land, and an imperceptible hum from the sky builds gradually to a roar as the 28 planet-worthy spacecraft come screaming through the atmosphere. The ships grow larger on the horizon until one by one they're gliding to their perches on the landscape in a colossal ballet. The engines drown out the whoops of the Colonial officers as they go racing across the field towards them, in a charge led by Captain Thrace. And then, one by one, airlocks clang open, and émigrés spill out onto the earth. They're weeping and embracing each other, and even Evie finds herself tearing up. "See?" CJ murmurs, wiping her eyes, "spectacular."

After the landing, the follow-up interviews, the final logistics of luggage and shuttle busses to Salt Lake City, the historic event starts to dissipate into the oblivion of daily life. Roslin and the rest are staying to supervise the initial phase of settlement; Evie will fly home on Air Force One.

Roslin is saying her goodbyes to the Washington and New York contingent, for the present. She comes to Evie and shakes her hand, with that same inscrutable half-smile. "Until we meet again, Justice Lang."

Evie grins, lets her fingers linger against Roslin's palm. She says, "Call me Evie."


:: life, liberty ::