Sidewinder peered out of the hatch and he saw Commander Lorne speaking to the Marines and to Chief Sinclair; both nodded and began barking quick orders to their people, as well as the line of pilots present; and then Commander Lorne gave the signal to open her up. All ten of the remaining Raptors had already unsealed and their crews had gotten out—Sidewinder could see that some were getting nervous at the delay.
He cracked the hatch open and swung it up. And he stepped down onto the wing and then to the deck, followed by Lee, then Sharon—and thank all the Lords of Kobol, no one reacted—followed by Kaboose.
“Attention on deck!” barked Chief Sinclair, and the pilots, Marines, and deck hands all snapped to attention. Sidewinder walked forward to stand directly in front of Commander Lorne.
“Sir!” he snapped out with a salute, and then he smiled. “They followed my home—can I keep them?”
Mathias snorted and then his face blanked. “Welcome home, Captain Greene. We had a very nice funeral for you and Kaboose—and the others we lost that day,” and a momentary expression of sadness passed over his face. “Who are our guests, Sidewinder?”
“Commander Lorne, may I present Commander Lee Adama, son of Admiral William Adama, and formerly the CAG of Galactica
before he was appointed by President Roslin as Commander of the Battlestar Pegasus
in the wake of the murder
of Admiral Cain,” he said in a loud voice that carried to all the ranks.
Mathias’s lips twitched at the convoluted introduction and he stepped forward and exchanged salutes with Lee.
“Permission to come aboard, Commander?” Lee formally asked.
“Permission granted, Commander,” Mathias answered. And then he held out his hand—which Lee took and then shook.
“I have dispatches for you—personal messages—from Admiral Adama and President Roslin, Commander,” Lee said briskly as they shook and then stood back. “I also have messages from all twelve members of the Quorum, including Vice-President Baltar.”
“Thank you, Commander Adama,” Mathias said. “We will talk about that later,” and he turned his attention to Sharon.
“Commander, may I introduce Lieutenant Sharon Agathon of the Battlestar Galactica
“Lieutenant,” he said simply as he returned her salute, and then he noticed her left hand and the single gold band upon her finger. “Agathon? Would that be the Karl Agathon that Sidewinder speaks of being the best ECO in the Fleet?”
“That would my husband, Commander. I left my people because what they did was wrong—and I fell in love in Karl Agathon. And I bore his child.”
Now Mathias’s eyebrow raised in response to that, but he extended his hand and shook hers.
And then he and Sidewinder and Lee walked down the line of the remainder of the pilots and ECOs, each one being introduced and the Commander taking a moment to speak with each of them—if only briefly.
Finally there was only one officer left. “Lieutenant Margaret Edmondson,” Sidewinder said and then he noticed the expression on both of their faces.
Mathias stopped in his tracks and the blood drained from his face; Racetrack’s jaw dropped as well and her eyes grew wide and round.
Maggie,” Mathias whispered. “My Gods, the last time I saw you, your father was rather upset at the dress you decided to wear for your freshman dance—your mother thought that you were absolutely gorgeous though, and so did Emily and I. Sara would be so proud of her little girl, all grown up and a Fleet pilot just like her mother was.”
“Uncle Mat?” Racetrack gasped. “I didn’t know you . . . ,” she swayed, and then began to cry. “I thought you were dead! After Mom died from cancer, Dad never said anything about you and Aunt Emily—not after we moved to Caprica. I thought you wanted to go back to Scorpia when Josie was born—leave the Fleet. I never thought . . .,” her voice trailed off.
“Twelve years is a long time—and your father always hated
me because of the uniform I wore. I was surprised when Sara married him, as vehement as he was against the Fleet,” Mathias said in a soft voice. “But Sara loved him and he loved her—and they both
loved you very much.” His quiet voice got even quieter. “Emily and I shared that love of you with them both, Maggie. We didn’t stay away because of you—we stayed because Alex didn’t want us in your life, after Sara died. And he was your father—more important than an Aunt and Uncle. But we never
stopped loving you, girl.”
Racetrack’s face was wet and she nodded. “Did Aunt Emily and Jos- . . .,” but her voice trailed off at the look on Mathias’s face.
And a tear leaked out of the corner of Mathias’s eye. And then Racetrack was in his arms and Mathias Lorne rocked his niece and held her tight.
Lee leaned over and whispered to Sidewinder. “I’ll let you
tell him why you cracked down on her in the berthing compartment, Captain Greene. Rank does have its privileges.”
“Gee, thanks, Apollo. And here I thought you had my back,” Sidewinder whispered back.
And Lee laughed. “In this case . . . absolutely not. My father didn’t raise a fool.”