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Duet of Silence

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One thing Laura Roslin has always been good at was silences. From a child, she's always known when to keep silent, for eventually, every child learns what is necessary to survive or not. That she has spent the last half-century under the weight of her silences is a testament to how well she has learned; a burden she has learned how to bear.

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William Adama scrubbed his face in exhaustion as he loosened the collar of his uniform and sat down on his couch. Galactica and her fleet of refugee ships had just finished their tenth consecutive Jump in as many days after leaving the system where the Temple of the Five and the Eye of Jupiter had been found.

He'd managed to get Lee, Tyrol, Anders and most of the others off the planet, but they'd lost Kara. Gods! She'd been shot down and captured by the Cylons; it almost made him wish he'd been able to nuke the planet as he'd intended.

"Are we prepared to give up Lee?"

He didn't want to think about Laura Roslin right now, but her soft voice and her question had burrowed into his heart and lodged there like a thorn, for at that moment--may the Lords of Kobol forgive him--the answer had been "yes". And although the Gods had seen fit to spare his son life, he'd lost Kara, the young woman he'd held in his heart like a daughter.

In any case, the nukes had not worked; the system's primary was a pre-nova star, and its instability and prominent solar flares had made a hash of the weapons' guidance systems. Galactica had barely been able to get a raptor through to rescue her people--their only saving grace was that Cylon weapons were similarly disrupted.

In those incredible moments, the Eye had been revealed; a great ray of energy had burst forth from the Temple--from the Five Pillars themselves, according to eye-witness accounts--focused through the great lens of the domed roof and straight into the heart of the star.

And it was Kara Thrace who'd somehow made it happen--sweet, unruly ... frakked-up Starbuck. Badly injured and dragged into the Temple by Gaius Baltar and the Cylon, D'Anna Biers, she'd been the only one who'd known how to manipulate the design that Tyrol had found in order to activate the device.

The energy released by the Temple had pierced the star's heart, which in turn had released another bolt of energy that streaked through the heavens straight as an arrow pointing the path the Thirteenth Tribe had taken. Of course, the Cylons had also received that information. Bill thanked the Lords that it was only a direction not a destination they'd gained. In the end, he'd only had moments to grab his people off the planet and jump out before the star went nova.

Galactica had joined up with the rest of the fleet and they were now following the path illuminated the Eye, but he knew that the Cylons were there, if not ahead of them, then shadowing the Colonials on a parallel path. He could only hope that they would not find the next clue to Earth first.

A pounding on his hatch jolted him from his reveries. Lee rushed in without waiting for his acknowledgement, followed by Helo, Athena, Anders and Tyrol.

"Dad!" his son gasped. "We have to get Kara back--she's the key, Dad," he said. "She is the key."

"I know, son," he said wearily.

"No, you don't understand!" Adama's eyes widened at his son's agitation; beyond him he saw the raw hope on Samuel Anders' face. Adama knew of the mess of the relationship between Lee and Anders and their respective spouses, so it had to be important for the other young man to come here.

"Dad, Kara knew about the Eye before we even left the Colonies!"

Adama gaped at him. Rising slowly from the couch, he gazed at each hopeful face in turn. "Lee, what is this all about?" he asked hoarsely.

Lee slapped down a picture on his father's desk; a laughing Kara looked lovingly into the eyes of the dark-haired young man whose arms circled her waist with obvious pride and love. Adama had never seen his youngest son, Zak, look more happy or alive.

"Chief, what's this?" Lee demanded, stabbing at a circular design on the wall behind the young couple. It was out of focus, but the brilliant colours in concentric rings caught the attention and held it.

Tyrol stepped forward; his face blanched as he studied the picture. "I don't understand," he said hoarsely. "It's the design, sir--it's the design of the mechanism from the Temple of the Five. The one Starbuck used to activate the Eye of Jupiter."

"Exactly!" Lee said. "It's the design of the mechanism from the Temple, but there are no descriptions of the Eye or how it was to be activated in any of our sacred writings or histories; so how did Kara know? How is it that she was able to paint this design for Zak nearly three months before he died?" William Adama stared at his only living son in utter shock. "She painted this over two years before the destruction of the Colonies. That was five years ago, Dad--five years ago!"

"What are you saying, Apollo?" Anders said.

Lee shifted his gaze to meet his rival's levelly. "I'm saying that Kara may be the key to this ... to whatever this whole frakking prophecy we're all caught up in! She retrieved the Arrow of Apollo, brought it back to Kobol in order to open the Tomb of Athena, retrieving the first part of the puzzle that would get us to Earth. Now she's the only one who knew what that design was and how to activate it. Hell, even Leobon keeps saying that Starbuck has a destiny--whatever the frak that means to the Cylons! And now they have her."

"But Starbuck didn't do any of that consciously," Karl "Helo" Agathon said. "And it was Roslin--hopped up on Chamalla--who sent her back to Caprica for the Arrow." The hatred in his voice as he spat the Colonial president's name was palpable.

"But the point is that she sent Starbuck," Lee insisted. "Athena, why are the Cylons--and Leobon in particular--so interested in Kara? Doc Cottle thinks they harvested some of her eggs. Why?"

Sharon "Athena" Agathon's face was pale. "I honestly don't know, Apollo," she said. "The only thing I know about Leobon and Kara is from before I disconnected from the Link back on Caprica. The Leobons have a thing about the Hybrids at the centre of Cylon ships; they study them ... take their words as Gospel from God. But Hybrids just speak a lot of gibberish; it's a side-effect of their existence. Little of what they say is even coherent."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Lee asked.

"Because the Leobons believe that a Hybrid may have mentioned Kara in its ramblings," Athena replied in resignation. "From across the chasm, Artemis directs her stag among the stars carrying on its back the fleet-footed huntress. Favoured Atalanta's arrows will pierce each target in the Hunt--let fly flaming torches across the sky to light the path," she parroted in a soft chanting voice.

She wrapped her arms about herself. "The Leobon models believe that Kara is Artemis' stag among the stars--a stag is also a buck. So she is the star-buck and she is also Atalanta, the goddess' favoured handmaid."

"Why haven't you ever said anything about this?" Adama said, voice rumbling menacingly. A horrible suspicion gripped him; had he trusted her too much?

"Sir, after Kobol, I didn't think that it was applicable anymore," the Cylon woman replied. "I thought it only applied to the Arrow of Apollo. I didn't consider it after that incident and none of what the Hybrids say is really taken seriously by the Cylons--"

"Except by Leobon," Adama husked.

"Yes sir, they see it as prophecy and study every word."

Lee tapped the photograph again. "But that prophecy mentions arrows and targets and a hunt--if you look at that design, it looks like an archery target. What if there are other targets out there? Other clues," Lee said hoarsely. "Kara's first arrow opened the Temple of Athena, activated the first map and gave us a direction to head in. Her second activated the Eye of Jupiter in the Temple of the Five, illuminating the next part of the path. What happens when it comes time to shoot the next arrow in the hunt for Earth?"

"What happens if the Cylons find the next target and they have Starbuck?" Anders said hoarsely. "Sir, Leobon has already shown that he has no compunction about torturing Kara. We have to get my wife out of there."

"I know, Sam." Adama regarded the young man's face contorted in pain. He loved Kara as much as Lee did, and all at once--but not for the first time--Adama felt ashamed of his son; ashamed that his son would be so dishonourable as to come between another man and his wife, no matter what problems they might be having in their marriage, and especially since Lee was also married. But the mess his son had made of his life was his own business, and Adama had promised himself not to interfere.

"And what about my daughter?" Resentment dripped from Karl Agathon's every word these days--not that Adama could blame him, but it did get tiresome after awhile. "My baby is an innocent in all this, but not one word about getting her back. She's sick and she might be dying at the hands of the Cylons, but not one word about rescuing her! But your son comes here with some nebulous prophecy about Starbuck and I can see that you're ready to give him everything--risk all our lives on the faint hope of getting her back. Meanwhile, my wife and I work our asses off to prove ourselves to you every day--"

"Helo, enough," Athena said. However, there was a quiet resignation in the young Cylon woman's voice that told Adama that she agreed with her husband's assessment. She agreed, but she was too demoralised ... too disillusioned with the people to whom she'd given her loyalty to have any hope of convincing them to rescue her daughter, or to waste her breath voicing her anger.

An answering anger rose in Adama's chest as he thought of the reason for Athena and Helo's disillusionment with humanity. Laura Roslin. President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. For she was the reason behind Adama's greatest disillusionment as well. Looking into Roslin's eyes that day when he'd asked her about the Cylons' accusation that she'd stolen Athena and Helo's baby and hidden her from them, had told him that everything he'd thought he'd known about this woman he'd come to love was a lie. Behind that lovely façade, she was a lie.

Adama knew what it was like to lose a child--to have part of your soul irrevocably hollowed out with that loss. To know that Laura Roslin was capable of something like that ... to know that she was capable of inflicting that sort of pain on anyone by telling these two young people that their baby had died soon after birth was unforgivable.

Oh, he knew the reasons behind her thinking, but he wasn't in the mood that day to listen to her blithe, politician's rationalisations behind such an unspeakable act ... to protect the hybrid human-Cylon child from the anti-Cylon sentiment within the fleet ... to protect her from being captured by the Cylons for whom she was some sort of messiah. So he'd done the only thing he could do that day; he'd walked away from her without a word.

But now, because of Roslin, the child had fallen into Cylon hands anyway. The woman she'd fostered the child with had never made it off the ill-fated settlement of New Caprica and the Cylons had found baby after the evacuation.

"I'm not ready to risk anyone's life on rescuing Starbuck or Hera until you can bring me a viable plan," Adama said, casting his gaze around the room. "Until then, this subject is moot."

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