“SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!” One screamed, even as D’Anna continued to wail.
“Do something useful, John,” Simon said calmly, even though his hands were shaking. “Pass me that medical kit.”
The One shook too, and he ignored Simon and sat down, tears cascading down his cheeks. Instead Leoben grabbed the medkit and opened it, handing a compress to Simon as he extracted a syringe of morpha and when Simon nodded he injected the drug into the frantic D’Anna, even as Simon pressed the compress down on the ragged bullet hole in her stomach.
D’Anna screamed again at the pressure, and then her breathing slowed and she passed out—a combination of the drug and the shock.
Leaving Simon to tend the wounds of the Three, he turned to face the Six. “How’s the arm?”
“Broken,” she whispered, as she held it tight against her chest. Aaron nodded and he gently took hold of arm above and below the break.
“Help me, Leoben,” he asked and then he looked at the Six. “This is going to hurt, Shelly.”
“I never liked that name,” she said. “Call me Natalie. And do it", she said as she put a leather belt in her mouth and bit down.
Leoben put his arms around her chest and Aaron nodded and then jerked the bone into place—and the stifled scream of Natalie echoed through the blood-stained interior of the Raptor.
Sharon crawled back from the cockpit—a stunned look on her face. “No pursuit—not yet, anyway.”
“Good,” answered Leoben as he consoled Natalie while Aaron fixed a splint to her arm. “John, pull yourself together,” he snapped.
One just sat on the deck holding his knees and he cried and he rocked. He didn’t answer. He never heard the order. He just kept seeing the scene replay itself inside the command center on Daniel’s Basestar—the Guardians hadn’t gotten to all
of Daniel’s Centurions . . . but they had gotten to enough.
Daniel barking orders for the Centurions to save the children, the Centurions grabbing them and shielding them with their own bodies, the running gunfight through the corridors, the Centurion carrying Six falling and breaking her arm, D’Anna getting shot, the Centurions dying as they covered the scared fracking children running away to the Raptor!
He should be angry, he thought—he wasn’t a child. But he wasn’t angry—he was scared. Sharon had gotten the Raptor free, and they saw the holocaust with their own eyes as Daniel’s Basestar tore apart their own fleet—his suborned Centurions combining their fire with that of the Guardians.
And then Daniel’s last broadcast as he detonated the self-destruct—FLEE.
The Fleet had been gutted and One didn’t think they had destroyed a single Guardian Basestar—not one.
He had not understood—he had never understood. He had pretended to understand and to emulate the ruthless action of the machines—but until now he had never actually seen that ruthlessness applied to him.
“John?” asked Leoben. “We need a decision,” the Two asked as the One finally looked up.
“We are getting reports from all the ships and outposts—the Guardians are attacking everywhere. They’ve already started landings on Cylon Prime,” he said. “They have the growth bays—they have all of our replacement bodies, except those onboard the Resurrection Ships. Where do we go?”
One swallowed. And he nodded and he wiped away the tears. “Order all ships that answer to rendezvous with our forces pursuing Galactica
—all ships but one. Set course to meet the nearest Basestar.”
“John, what are you . . .,” Aaron began.
“I’m not crazy, Five,” One said. “But I am not giving the Guardians what they want. When we reach the Basestar, we will evacuate the crew—you will rejoin the rest of the Fleet. I will jump to Cylon Prime and we will see how THEY handle what Scorpia
did to us at Caprica.”
The others stared at him in abject horror.
“I will set the weapons to auto-launch once my strike hits the surface—maybe I can thin out their Fleet,” he said, the before they kill me went unsaid but was heard all the same.
“There won’t be a Resurrection Ship in range, John,” Simon said softly.
“My line will continue,” One said as he swallowed. “I am a machine,” he said with another tear. “I will not be afraid.”
And the Eight knelt on the deck next to him and held him close to her chest as One—John—began to cry again.