Six months and two days after our homes burned, I was writing a resume. I was being honest about it too. I couldn't be blamed for stretching a few things. I was a member of my 230-member college branch of Women, Politics, and Action (our acronym WPAA, a running joke among us for overemphasizing the And part). And who would confirm or deny that I was elected Vice President (a title that commands one-heartbeat-away importance) rather than my actual "co-chair of Internal Affairs" role (sharing basically the duties of Secretary with two people)? But no, I thought: Be yourself. Be yourself and don't stutter.
And that worked out; no one else even thought to turn in a resume. "You missed your calling," the woman said, Gina, with some vague kind of suspicion lurking underneath, something judgmental almost. "You could serve half the Quorum with this." (I could see Jahee - Royan, I needed to call him - giving her a defensive look, as if to chime in that I belonged right there, that they were making a difference and could use the most competent people they could get, the pitch he'd already given me.) But she found a stronger voice and added, "You must be very committed." I nodded, unsure what to say. Royan put a hand lightly on each of our arms, wonderful, and I noticed she breathed in tightly, nudged away at her earliest convenience so violently I couldn't believe none of us said another word about it.
The job occupied most of my time those weeks, and I was grateful for that. She'd asked for a woman specifically, I knew that from the beginning, and she mainly just needed a go-between, a liaison to limit her contact with anyone outside her suite. I also had a gun. This wasn't on my resume, but I did learn to shoot back home -- small things, birds, cans. It helped her stay less distracted if I trained it on the door when someone passed outside. I never used it, never really believed I'd need to, but I'm not scared of holding it; I belonged right there. Gina had a talent for strategizing, for coordinating our scarce human resources into a machine, and seemed -- not surprising, considering the agoraphobia -- to be the only one in our faction less concerned with growing our numbers and more with making our mark with the little we had.
We didn't talk about whether she was a Cylon. I didn't ask anyone, for lots of reasons. I didn't know who else knew, if anyone else knew, even Royan -- it felt dangerous, treasonous to be the one to say it (I'm her assistant, her protector; all we want is peace). Or maybe they did know, maybe it was so obvious to them that I'd look stupid for bringing it up. I told myself it was the latter. I didn't even know if she really was. It was a thought I had, it was only that.
Six months and twenty-five days, she showed me the nuke. This is another thing I wanted to tell someone, but I just didn't and it went away, stored under the bed or in someone else's cabin maybe. (No, this isn't true either. I saw it some days after that. She touched it sometimes, haltingly, running her hand along the edge for a moment and then abruptly tearing it away like something had singed her.) "They dropped thirty of these on Caprica in the first six minutes," she said with her eyes far away, and I felt goosebumps cover my arms. "We have one," she continued. Limited resources.
"What are we..." I trailed off, the weight of saying we just because it felt like some share of control. "Why do we need it?"
"The rest are in the admiral's hands." The answer was clearer than I'd expected. "Pegasus and Galactica," she breathed, her voice wavered. "And somewhere, the baseships. They have everything." She looked in my eyes, and something uncharacteristically certain was there, the faintest smile, and I knew at that moment I was doing the same. "They don't get to have everything."
"It's a war until it's over," I heard myself say. It was a slogan of sorts we would try to adapt, but never quite get right. I was not scared of holding an unfired gun. It was safety, leverage, not a weapon. A touch of a button and all its power would be gone. I never told anyone this, any of it, not years after, but she wasn't wrong then.
"Does Royan know about this?"
"Yes," she said in a tone that was like obviously but also a bit like unfortunately. Whatever possessed us that second was gone now. She frowned and let go of my hand, which I guess she'd been holding. It's the only time she touched me.
The last time I saw her, maybe anyone saw her, I didn't think anything was strange. The fact is Demand Peace had fallen to pieces leading up to the election, breaking off into even smaller and more useless sects behind anyone with a moderately loud voice, all with disparate priorities and tactics and demands that should've never tried to get under one banner. Cynicism and apathy set in pretty soon. I was hanging on for loyalty and that suitcase, the terrible knowledge and control. Early that afternoon, she was barefoot and folding pamphlets on the carpet, and she told me not to go far. But I was honest, I said I was going to the Chiron, that I was seeing someone there -- was that close enough?
Her eyes wandered anxiously, that wasn't strange, and they landed on me for the longest time, but then she continued with her papers, creasing and tearing and setting things aside for the trash bin. "No," she said. "No, that's all right."