“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Captain Adama, please report to the Commander's quarters."
Lee sighed as the announcement came over the intercom. He set his pen down on top of the weekly CAP schedule, which he'd been trying to fix for the past four hours. Lieutenant Birch had completely frakked it up, and it wouldn't work out to Lee's satisfaction. The schedule was so screwed up Hotdog had pulled two double shifts in two days, and Lee had pulled a triple shift himself two days in a row to give the other pilots a break.
Exhaustion and guilt steeped through him as he made his way through Galactica's corridors. He acknowledged the smiles and nods from the crewmembers he passed, but didn't speak to anyone. Lee wasn't feeling up to discussing personnel problems he couldn't fix. The pilots worked too hard and there weren't any more recruits trained yet. He made a mental note to ask the Commander to put another class through training with Kara. Though no one had complained, Lee couldn't help but feel he'd let his pilots down when he'd left.
When he'd pulled his gun on Colonel Tigh, he hadn't seen any other way to make his point—both his father and the President had committed wrongs against each other and he couldn't let them destroy the Fleet.
Of course, that had nearly happened anyway.
Lee stopped and took a deep breath as he reached the Commander's quarters. With the civility and excruciatingly military courtesy they'd used to interact on Kobol, he and his father hadn't really moved on from their disagreement. Well, Lee amended, his father hadn't. Yet he still didn't feel quite comfortable around his father and he knew Bill felt the same way about him. Lee knew he hadn't done anything wrong, except technically he should've tried to relieve Tigh of command before pulling his gun on Tigh. But in the end, the President had capitulated. She'd been right about not wanting bloodshed, yet he couldn't help but wish she'd decided that before he'd pulled a gun on the XO.
Lee's eyes snapped open and he met the guard's inquisitive gaze. Lee shrugged at the guard, who smiled ruefully back. He didn't want to go in the room, knew his father was probably still upset about Lee pulling the gun on Tigh and the subsequent break-out of the President, but duty called.
Duty always called.
"Thanks, Sergeant," he said, knowing he'd probably spent at least five minutes staring at the door.
He couldn't quite make himself knock, and was glad the two Marine guards didn't do anything but let him stand there. He didn't want to see his father, though he wouldn't have minded if Kara were with him.
He hadn't really seen much of Kara since they'd returned to Galactica, and he was still painfully aware that he owed her an apology about his behaviour after Colonial Day—and still painfully aware that the impulsive kiss he'd given her on the Astral Queen hadn't been a mistake. Lee felt unsettled, about Kobol, Kara, his father, the President. And he felt awkward, out of touch with himself and the other pilots.
Enough of this, Lee thought to himself, and rapped sharply on the Commander's entrance hatch.
"Enter," his father's voice called.
Lee walked the room, eyes going directly to his father sitting behind his desk. Bill Adama looked tired, paler even than he'd looked on Kobol, shoulders slumped. His head was bent, eyes down. He didn't look up at Lee.
Tigh was sitting in the chair next to the Commander, so Lee, quickly surmising this was an official call, snapped to attention and saluted.
"Captain Adama reports as ordered, sir."
"At ease, Captain," Tigh said. "We're just waiting on one more person."
Lee relaxed a fraction, though his eyes strayed to his father's bent head. Watching him, wishing his father would look at him, Lee suddenly realised he hadn't looked his father in the eyes in days.
Not since they'd been on Kobol, though he wasn't quite sure they'd even looked at each other then.
"Lieutenant Thrace reports as ordered, sir."
Lee looked at her, standing perfectly still, at attention, saluting. Kara looked good, though her eyes were wary and exhausted; she'd pulled nearly as many shifts as he had. She'd gained a few pounds back after losing weight on Caprica, and she looked healthy. He smiled at her, a small quirk of his lips, and she smirked back.
Tigh nodded at her and Lee turned his attention back to Tigh as the XO stood up. His father, Lee noted, didn't move at all, just continued to stare at the floor. Lee wondered, just for a moment, if his father even knew he was there.
A sick, familiar feeling dropped into his stomach. It was the same feeling he'd had as a kid, anxiously waiting for his father to come home, to approve of his activities and friends, and to praise perfect scores on assignments.
"Effective immediately, Captain Adama is under arrest under Article 56 of the Colonial Military Code for mutiny and insurrection," Tigh announced. "Court martial proceedings will begin in two days. Captain Adama, you have two hours to gather personal belongings and report to the brig until your hearing."
Buzzing filled Lee's senses, drowning out everything around him. He knew Colonel Tigh's lips were still moving, but he hadn't heard any of it since the words 'under arrest'. He knew he'd be facing some sort of punishment for pulling the gun on Tigh, but he'd never expected this. His father had tried to overthrow the civilian government—something he wasn't legally authorised to do without cause. Lee didn't think disagreeing with the President was 'cause' and so he'd had no choice. The people of the Fleet needed some semblance of normalcy—even if that's all it was—and deserved a civilian government.
"…Thrace's promotion to Captain and assignment as CAG of Galactica."
What the frak was going on here?
Kara stared at Tigh, shocked and sure she'd misheard, then slid her gaze over to Lee. His face was frozen, stiff, in what he liked to call his 'thinking' face—small frown line between his eyes, jaw nearly clenched shut—but she had no idea what was going on in his brain.
What the frak had happened while she'd been gone?
She'd heard the rumours, though the pilots and other crew members stopped talking as soon as she was anywhere near them. Kara had felt alone since she returned from Kobol--there were looks and comments from the pilots she didn't quite understand--and was glad Helo and Lee still talked to her.
When she'd asked Lee about what happened, he had explained the story only reluctantly because she wouldn't leave him alone. Lee had told her he'd "pulled a gun on Tigh because I didn't agree with the order given and then broke the President out of jail to gallivant around the solar system chasing a frakking myth that was actually true" before changing the subject. Understanding the desire not to discuss personal issues, Kara hadn't pressed.
She suddenly wished she had.
But this new development had her worried. Lee on trial? She was getting a promotion? This was seriously frakked up. Beyond frakked up. On the other hand, she'd momentarily forgotten about the surgical scar on her stomach, and the people still on Caprica. And the exuberant kiss from Lee on the Astral Queen--which had seemed to surprise him as much as it had her.
Abruptly realising Tigh was still waiting for her to respond, Kara snapped to attention. "Yes, sir."
"Captain Thrace, please escort Captain Adama to the pilots' quarters for his belongings and to the brig, then report to the CIC for further instructions."
"Yes, sir," Kara said, saluting, and watched Lee numbly follow suit. Lee executed a near perfect about face and walked toward the hatch, and Kara quickly followed.
He didn't speak to her, not that she expected him to. She was sure she was still in shock herself, and for Lee it must've been worse. The guards outside the hatch nodded as they walked past, and Kara thought she caught a sympathetic look on their faces. And nearly every crewman they passed nodded or smiled at Lee—something they hadn't been doing before she'd left, since Lee was still mostly an outsider—and she wondered what else had changed while she'd been gone.
She hadn't believed the President when Laura Roslin told her Commander Adama lied about knowing the way to Earth.
Hadn't wanted to believe it.
He'd taken her in at one of the lowest points in her life. Allowed her to fly, without worrying about anyone else. After Zak, she'd desperately needed to fly. Needed the release it brought her. And over the next two years, Bill Adama had earned her loyalty.
So when the President told her Adama lied about Earth, she refused to listen. Adama had never lied to her before, and though the she believed in the Scriptures, she couldn't imagine Adama lying about this. She denied he'd give them—his crew, his family—false hope. President Roslin insisted she was telling the truth and said she should ask the Commander. So she did.
And he lied to her face.
Kara had listened in growing disbelief as Adama brushed her questions aside and refused to give an answer. It'd been obvious he'd had no idea how to get to Earth. Roslin had been right. So she'd taken the Raider and left. Hoping that her belief in the Scriptures would prove true, and they'd find the Arrow of Apollo and the Tomb of Athena.
Hoping he'd forgive her.
Later, though, after gunshots and Cylon farms and way too much orange sky, she'd finally understood why he'd done it. As she dropped a dog tag into the hand of Sam Anders, she forgave him.
False hope was better than none.
Lee stopped in front of her. Kara glanced up; saw the pilots' bunkroom just ahead. She'd just entered, two steps behind Lee, when she realised Commander Adama hadn't once looked at them.
Lee pulled his duffle bag out of his locker and methodically packed it. Boots on the bottom, then flight suit, followed by dress greys—he knew the exact order to pack so that everything would fit properly. Though he didn’t know why he cared.
He knew Kara was his security escort, despite the fact that Colonel Tigh hadn't specifically mentioned it. Tigh was trying to avoid a scene, Lee knew, but his brain was on frozen on court-martial 'and' dishonourable discharge. He couldn't care less about making a scene.
Taking the last item—his running shoes—and placing them in the duffle, Lee turned and sat on the bunk. He stared at the wall across from him, mind churning. Why hadn't his father said anything to him? Tried to stand up for him with Tigh? He'd known—when his father hugged Kara and not him on Kobol—that his father wasn't happy with him. And Lee didn't know if he ever would be. And Kara…
His thoughts trailed off as he felt a hand on his knee. Lee looked over and saw Kara sitting at the table, leaning toward him.
Lee laughed bitterly. "Yeah. Fine."
To Lee's relief, Kara didn't say anything else. She just smiled and patted his knee, an uncharacteristic gesture from Kara. There wasn't anything else to say, after all. He'd be on trial for mutiny in two days, every action taken since he'd pulled the gun on Tigh under a microscope.
He'd defied orders, he knew that. And Lee had involved the crew after specifically promising Tigh he wouldn't. But he'd had no choice. Tigh's orders had gotten the civilians on the Gideon killed. Over supplies, for frak's sake.
And he'd discovered that in standing up for his beliefs he'd lost the game.
At least he could hold his head high, knowing he'd done the right thing.
The CIC was quiet, with none of the chatter normally present during a duty shift. Kara entered and immediately noticed the angry, almost bitter glances sent Tigh's way. He either didn't notice or preferred not to draw attention to it. As Kara stepped to the Command Console to report, she realised the entire room was completely still, eyes trained on the two of them. Some accusing, others annoyed and resentful.
She didn't really like this new dynamic on her ship.
Kara ignored them and saw Tigh wave her toward the mission planning room, where she could see Commander Adama waiting. She followed and sat when Adama gestured to a chair. Tigh took a seat across from her, next to Bill.
"This briefing is to inform you of your new responsibilities," Tigh said.
Kara nodded. She had a general idea of what Lee's job--frak, her job--entailed. And though some of it seemed more like paperwork an XO would do, she understood that with limited manpower everyone in positions of authority had to do more work than they normally would. Frak, she was in a position of authority now. Who was Tigh kidding? There was no way she'd be able to do this job.
As Tigh listed her daily and weekly duties, her gaze wandered to the commander. He looked old. Really old. And tired, and just plain worn down. Was all of that the result of the shooting or was there more to it? Kara wanted to talk to him about Lee but didn’t know how to broach it. And the mission planning room was not the right place. She resolved to see him later in a more private place.
"Some of the crew were complicit in helping Captain Adama and President Roslin escape, but we have no concrete proof who they are," Commander Adama told her when Tigh had finished his portion of the briefing. "This might make your adjustment to CAG a bit more difficult than we'd originally hoped."
Kara listened closely and understood immediately. She'd thought there were lingering feelings of resentment for Tigh's command, and now she knew for sure. The crew who'd helped Lee weren't going to take this well. And she had to figure out what to tell the pilots. The pilots who'd put their loyalty behind Lee, not Colonel Tigh.
That had to piss Tigh off, Kara thought, slightly gleefully, until she realised the pilots might not be Lee's anymore in a few days.
"Do you have any questions, Captain Thrace?"
Her new rank startled her, and for a moment, she simply stared at Tigh. When the Commander, next to him, shifted uncomfortably and cleared his throat, she shook her head.
"Daily pilots briefing will remain at 0700, followed at 0900 by a meeting with Commander Adama, myself, and Lieutenant Gaeta. Dismissed."
After exiting the Mission Planning room and winding her way through the CIC into the corridor, she leaned against the wall, taking a deep breath. The tension--and the oddness--in the CIC had gotten to her, Kara realised as she relaxed her shoulders, rolled her head from side to side. She didn't know how she was going to handle this, but the crewmembers deserved to know the truth--not some watered down version they'd get from Tigh or the Commander.
She noted the glances sent her way but ignored all those brave enough to question her, though there wasn't many anyway. She needed to tell the pilots first. Right now, it was the middle of the third shift, so most would be in the rec room or the bunkrooms. She would go to the rec first, and let them carry the news back to the bunkrooms. Satisfied with her plan, she moved toward the open hatch and could hear the laughter and conversations the pilots engaged in on their off-duty shifts.
The immediate silence in the rec room when she entered alerted her to the fact the ship's gossip mill was working overtime. It had only been six hours--one CAP shift-- since Tigh had informed her and Lee of their respective changes in status. Kara ignored the stares as she sat at a table with Helo and Racetrack.
"What happened with Apollo?"
Racetrack's question focused all attention in the room on them and Kara sighed as she set down the folder she'd been carrying. Racetrack sure hadn't wasted time but Kara couldn't blame her. Kara knew the pilots would be worried since the gossip had already begun to circulate.
"What have you heard?" She asked, and practically felt the room lean toward her. It was a bit unnerving to be the focus of attention for something other than flying or Triad.
She decided to listen to what was said and correct as necessary. Lee's fate was unlikely to stay a secret for long, and it was better to get the facts out now than let the gossip and rumours swirl for long.
"He's getting kicked out," Racetrack said. "And Tigh's out for revenge and is conducting a witch hunt for the crew that helped him."
"We heard you're getting promoted to CAG," Kat added, and the other people in the room nodded.
Kara leaned back. The rumour mill was, as usual, almost correct. "Lee was arrested for mutiny and insurrection and sent to brig until his court-martial begins," she said. "And as far as I know, he's the only one getting in trouble."
Relief swept through the room, and the pilots instantly relaxed a fraction. Kara wondered, just for a moment, which of these pilots had helped Lee. She brushed that thought aside. If Tigh wasn't worried enough to find out who helped Lee, she didn't care. "And I'm the new CAG."
The low murmuring that had started when she'd first spoke stopped, and every eye in the room was on her again. There were some resentful looks and some of the pilots exchanged angry glances with each other, though no one said anything. No one seemed pleased, which she wasn't surprised about--Lee had apparently won them over at some point--but she hadn't expected outright hostility. Annoyed, Kara stood up.
"Frak, guys, I don't like it either. But that's what happened and it's directly from our CO. So just get over it and deal."
Kara left the room, anger building. This wasn't her choice and she wasn't happy about it either. But they were soldiers. There was nothing else to do. They had to do their jobs, but if the pilots didn't like the situation, that was fine. She didn't need them to like her.
She just needed them to do their jobs.
He was in the same cell.
Lee didn't think it was on purpose--the guard wasn't the same--but the Marine Sergeant on duty in the brig put him in the same holding cell he'd occupied before. And this time, there was no Laura Roslin or his CAG duties to help time pass.
This time, he was alone.
Lee sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the bars. Tried not to think about the future, but everything Tigh had said surged through his mind. Court-martial. For mutiny and insurrection. He'd known, even as he asked for help from the crew and they'd responded, he was breaking his word to Tigh. Lee hoped the crew wouldn't get into trouble for helping him.
With Tigh, though, one never knew. If it looked like the crew might be punished, Lee decided, he'd insist he ordered them to help with threats of violence and that they were good, obedient soldiers and had done so.
The guard coughed and fiddled with the piece of paper in front of him. Lee wondered for a moment if the guard wanted his attention but ignored him and returned to his own thoughts. He wondered who was going to preside at his court-martial and whether he'd get to speak in his own defence. Could they find him a lawyer? His Colonial Law class at the Academy seemed so long ago and he hardly remembered any of it.
What would happen if the judiciary party found him guilty? He knew mutiny wasn't a death penalty offense, even in wartime, but couldn't remember the exact punishment.
He didn't think he wanted to know.
And he was a pilot. A Viper pilot. Lee wasn't even sure he could do something else.
Though growing up he'd wanted to be anything other than what his father was--maybe even a lawyer, or a political lobbyist--he honestly didn't know how to be anything other than a Viper pilot. He'd joined the Colonial Fleet at 18 and knew nothing else.
Of course, if he was convicted, it wouldn't matter anyway. He'd be in a cell on the Astral Queen, or on another ship, doing a job no one really wanted.
He certainly wouldn't be on Galactica anymore.
"Sergeant, please wait outside."
It took a moment for his father's voice to register. His head snapped up. Lee knew his face showed his shock and quickly schooled it into his formation expression, completely blank and staring straight ahead. His father hadn't even looked at him during Tigh's pronouncement of his fate and now he was trying to speak to him? Lee just stared as the guard smiled sympathetically at him and exited through the hatch to the corridor outside.
The silence stretched and awkwardness settled over the room. Bill shifted his feet, stuffed his hands in his pockets. Lee didn't remember the last time his father had looked this uncomfortable but thought it might have been the day the worlds ended. They'd been required to have a photo op and neither of them had been pleased. He still remembered how awkward he'd felt and knew his father had felt the same.
"Lee," his father began, "I wish it didn't have to be this way."
Lee didn't say anything. He wished it were different, too. But it wasn't and his father--the only person who could reverse the process--didn't seem inclined to do so. He wondered if his father was letting this continue because Tigh wanted it. Tigh was, after all, one of Bill's oldest friends and his Achilles' heel. Lee remembered several visits when his father had brought Tigh and Ellen over during his infrequent leave and had practically ignored his own family as he and Tigh talked and reminisced.
Bill was staring at him, puzzlement etched on his face. Lee didn't know the last time he'd seen his father confused. He was normally so stoic, so guarded, that Lee could never figure out what Bill Adama was thinking.
Lee realised his father was waiting for him to speak when Bill cleared his throat. But he didn't know what to say and he didn't know what his father wanted to hear.
"What do you want me to say, Dad?"
His voice was harsher than he'd intended and his father flinched slightly. Lee felt a sense of satisfaction, quashed the small twinge of guilt, and continued.
"Want me to say I was wrong? Or that I'll never do it again? That I'll blindly follow orders you gave after you felt personally betrayed? The Colonial Fleet doesn't work that way! I'm sorry, Dad, but I'm not the one who tried to stage a coup because Kara left."
Silence. Complete, utter silence.
Bill's face flickered from confusion to guilt and settled on angry before Lee realised his father registered the words he'd just spoken. His father's mouth opened then closed with an audible snap. Bill hadn't moved, though his face still showed anger angry. Lee wondered why his father wasn't saying anything. He'd never seen his father speechless before.
As they stared at each other, both unmoving and in apparent shock, Lee suddenly realised his voice hadn't risen at all. It had stayed level, collected. Cold. Unfeeling.
He'd sounded like his father.
Frak, frak, frak. As much as he—some of the time—admired his father, he didn't want to be him.
Bill sucked in a breath, let it out. Lee wondered if he was trying to hold on to his temper. "Captain Adama—"
"No, Dad, you don't get to do this," Lee interrupted, anger simmering underneath the calm words. "You started the conversation with Lee, don't finish it with ranks."
Lee hated that his father even tried this. It was enough to give someone whiplash, for frak's sake. He knew he sometimes struggled with the division between personal and professional while working with his father, but Bill had it down to an art. He treated his entire crew like family, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere, but sometimes it was difficult to figure out which person you were dealing with: Commander Adama or the Old Man.
His father heaved a sigh. Tried again. "Lee, no matter what you think, this is not a personal decision. You committed mutiny and then explicitly disobeyed a superior officer after you assured him you wouldn't. You knowingly and unlawfully broke a direct order. We can't let this go."
Right. We. Was we the military, Lee wondered, or Colonel Tigh and his father?
It was nothing more than he'd expected, Lee realised, and yet he'd hoped Bill might have a better explanation than the standard military line. "I understand."
Lee looked at the man standing across from him. Something in his father's tone struck him as unlike Bill Adama and the way his father was staring at him momentarily distracted him. "What does that mean?"
Bill's mouth opened. He closed it and shook his head. "It's not important, Lee. Don't worry about it."
Lee sighed and looked away. Why couldn't he and his father ever discuss anything important? Almost every conversation they'd had since the world ended--except the question he'd foolishly asked when Kara was stuck on that moon--had been simply work or superficial.
"I've got to go," Bill said into the silence that had settled heavily over the room. "I'll see you later?"
Lee nodded. "Sure, Dad." As Bill turned to walk through the hatch, Lee couldn't stop himself as the bitterness overflowed. "I'm not going anywhere."
His father paused but didn't look back.