The news that contact had been made with other survivors had spread through the Fleet like wildfire. It was as if a tremendous burden had been lifted from the shoulders of the survivors—civilians and military alike. President Roslin had made the announcement—much to the dismay of Gaius Baltar who is running against her in the upcoming election. But behind closed doors aboard Galactica
, not all celebrated.
Bill Adama slammed his fist down on the table and he shoved the copy of the file onto the floor. Sidewinder knelt down and he placed the papers back within the folder and set it on the table—away from the Admiral. Laura Roslin looked sick—physically sick. And Lee Adama; well, the Admiral’s son just swallowed and he closed his copy of the file.
“According to our Cylon defector
,” Sidewinder said, emphasizing the word defector, “they have no memory of being Cylons, Admiral. Madame President. They were sent into exile because they disagreed with the rest of the Cylons—their memory of that time has been blocked. Unlike Lieutenant Valerii, who was sent back as a sleeper agent, these four have not been implanted with hidden commands. They are, for all purposes, human beings. They have lived their lives as human beings. They have fought for the Colonies and loved and bled and sacrificed as human beings. The fact that they are copies of murdered individuals shouldn’t matter.”
“They are Cylons!” Laura snarled, and then she drew in a deep breath. “Your prisoner
,” she as well emphasized that word, “could be lying. It is what the Cylons do.”
“I don’t think he is, ma’am,” Sidewinder said softly, “and neither does Commander Lorne. He—and Anders—are being watched closely on Scorpia
, but they have not been subjected to the . . .,” Stefan Greene looked away and made himself force down the bile he felt rising in his throat, “the illegal
manner in which your prisoners have been treated.”
Laura glared up at the pilot and he stared unwaveringly back into her eyes. “Torture is illegal under the Articles of Colonization—you had Leoben tortured. Admiral Cain had Gina Inviere beaten and gang-raped and starved. Your Lieutenant Valerii was murdered,” and now Adama’s glare joined the Presidents, “and her killer was given what? Thirty days in hack for unauthorized discharge of a firearm? Cain’s people tried to rape Helo’s Sharon—and you, Madame President, attempted to force her to have a late-term abortion!”
“She isn’t a person, she’s a Cylon!” Laura snapped.
“That is where you are wrong
!” Sidewinder barked right back at the President. “They think, they feel, they bleed, they know right from wrong, they are human beings just as we are! That doesn’t mean we aren’t at war with them—it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t kill them to protect ourselves. They are our enemy
of them, at least. Not all
of them. Certainly not the ones who are innocent of planning the attacks and carrying them out! And even if they are guilty of that crime, their origin doesn’t matter, Madame President! We hold to our laws and our principles for ourselves
, not for them! Throwing away the rules because we don’t like them? That’s what the SMF terrorists did, Madame President. If we are a civilization worth saving, then we have to live by these laws that provide everyone
with rights—otherwise, we are just a bunch of barbarians who will gleefully throw away everything we cherish in the name of safety and security and pure blood-lust to see those damned Cylons suffer
Laura sat back, and she had this look of absolute disgust on her face. She opened her mouth, but Lee spoke before she could manage to get out a word.
“He’s right,” Lee said simply. “Or are you going to sit there and say that Saul Tigh
—the man who threw you in the brig, Madame President—is doing anything but what he feels is right to protect this ship and the Fleet? He’s a drunk and he’s a mean son-of-a-bitch; he is an outright bastard. But he will lay down his life to protect this small, small band of survivors from the Cylons. Can you say that he is now the enemy? Because of something he doesn’t even remember, Madame President?”
Her jaw worked, and Sidewinder could see it in her eyes—the question of you too, Lee? And then Admiral Adama sighed. “No,” he said. “No. I know Saul Tigh—I know Galen Tyrol. And gods help us, I know Ellen Tigh. None of them will pose a threat to the Fleet.”
“They are Cylons
!” Laura thundered.
“Whatever else he may be, Laura,” Bill Adama said quietly, “Saul Tigh is an officer in the Colonial Fleet. And no matter what problems he has had, no matter what he has faced, that is the man he has always been and always will be. Even if he dies, today, he will die as a loyal human being. And the best friend I have ever known. FRACK
!” he cursed as he slammed his fist down on the table again.
“We don’t know if they have been programmed—just this word of a Cylon ‘defector’ that we cannot question,” said the President. “We have
to remove them from duty and put them in custody with the other Cylons.”
“And then what?” asked Lee. “Shove them out an airlock? Put them on trial? Charged with what crime? Being a Cylon unknown even to them? Baltar will use this against you in the campaign, Madame President—he will say that you had a Cylon working for you as your closest aide ever since Billy’s death.”
“Don’t you even mention him!” she snapped.
“He will, Laura. And he will paint your aide Tory as the source of all our problems—from your desk to the Cylon hands,” the Admiral said as he rubbed his brow.
“We can hold them without leaking the reason why,” Laura said.
“That is illegal
, Madame President,” Sidewinder said.
“I am President of the Twelve Colonies—I have the authority to make these decisions, Captain Greene.”
“No ma’am. You are bound to the Articles just as everyone of us in uniform that swore an oath—and frankly, you are out of your fracking mind if you think Commander Lorne will follow the orders of someone who ignores the law to suit her own purposes.”
“She is the President of the Colonies,” the Admiral snapped. “And he will follow my orders!”
“Your orders, Commander
Adama? If they are legal, certainly Commander Lorne will follow them—illegal orders, on the other hand, he will refuse. As is his duty—as is my duty. As is your
duty. And yours, Madame President.”
“What if,” began Lee, heading off the rapidly heating confrontation between his father and the President and the Raptor pilot from Scorpia
. “What if we just burn this document? Pretend that we don’t know about Colonel Tigh, Mrs. Tigh. Chief Tyrol, Ms. Foster. Or Samuel Anders—think about how Kara
is going to react to that,” he said with a wry grin that showed absolutely no humor.
“Ah, frack,” whispered Bill.
“They are Cylons,” Laura said again. “We are risking people’s lives here.”
Sidewinder started to speak, but he closed his mouth as Lee held up one hand. “Madame President, we risk people’s lives every single day
. But we gauge that risk—if this information had not turned up, if we hadn’t read it, would you still trust Tory? And Colonel Tigh? And Chief Galen?” He held up a hand. “Don’t
lie to yourself, Madame President. Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to the Admiral, but most of all, don’t lie to yourself
. If you didn’t know, how would it make a difference?”
“If this gets out, we can’t protect any of them, Laura,” Bill Adama said quietly. “The people will demand their pound of flesh—and we have other fish in the fleet. I’ve already sent Marines to take D’Anna Biers into custody—she can join Cavil in the brig.”
“Fine!” she snapped. And then she began to laugh. “Is your commander as hard-assed as you, Captain Greene?”
“Harder, ma’am,” Sidewinder answered bluntly.
“Well, I think we are in for interesting times ahead,” she said as she picked up the only three copies of the archive records aboard the ships of the Fleet and struck a match. She put the flame to the corner of the paper and when it had started, she dropped it in a waste can.
“If something goes wrong, if they turn out to be pre-programmed and they are activated . . .,” she began.
“Then we are all probably dead, Madame President. Either Saul or Galen could destroy this ship if they wanted to and there isn’t a thing we could do to stop that. They haven’t,” the Admiral interjected as he reached up and turned off the fire alarm before it could begin to blare at the smoke coming from the waste can.
“We keep this to ourselves—for now,” he continued. “And that means we don’t treat them any differently. Agreed?”
One by one, Sidewinder, Lee, and finally the President nodded.
“Good. I think this is enough surprises for one day, Captain Greene, so this meeting is now adjourned,” she said as she rose.