Mathias handed Lee a glass and he sat down on the corner of his desk. “Bit much to take in all at once, eh, Commander Adama?”
“Excuse me?” Lee asked as he accepted the liquor and took a sip.
“You looked frazzled and delighted and frankly like you are scared to death, Commander,” he said. And he took a sip from his own glass. “No offense meant.”
“None taken,” Lee whispered. “I think we are going to have some problems when we make the rendezvous with the Fleet. The demographics for your ships alone—it will have major ramifications on the election and the Gemenesse are not going to be happy that they aren’t the second largest population block anymore. Never mind that my father is going to . . .,” Lee winced. And he took another sip. “Let’s just say that he isn’t going to find your solution to the SFM very pleasing. He could barely stomach having Tom Zarek around, and now you are bringing in one of Zarek’s field commanders and six hundred people that belonged to the SFM? And you have let them retain possession of a Battlestar?”
He took another sip—no, a swallow
“I understand, Commander. But I was actually referring to you suddenly becoming a father,” Mathias said with a laugh, and then he stood and walked around his desk to his chair and sat down. “I remember exactly how frightened I was when Josie was born,” he said, getting a faraway look in his eyes. “Afraid to pick her up because I might hurt her; I had no idea what to do—but I learned, Commander. And so will you.”
Mathias stared at Lee until the younger man nodded and then he took another sip. “But on the broader point of integrating our forces, that is something that Admiral Adama, yourself, President Roslin, and I are going to have to do some . . . serious
thinking about. I’ve got Sidewinder’s report on the general condition and morale of your Fleet—there are many elements to it that . . . disturb
me. Not the least of which is that your own Executive Officer aboard Pegasus
is a woman who cold-bloodedly gunned down civilians at the orders of Admiral Cain,” and Mathias’s voice grew cold.
Lee winced again. They had shown him the recordings from Scylla
and Umino Hana
and the other ships that had been left behind by Cain—looted and left behind. And they were damning. He began to open his mouth, but Mathias shook his head.
“I wouldn’t recommend that you defend her, Commander. And I will demand
that she—and everyone involved—stand a courts-martial for their actions. That is non-negotiable.” Mathias paused and he waited until Lee nodded. “That being said, I realize what a horrible position William Adama is in. Both Galactica
are severely undermanned, if these numbers you have given me are correct, and I do not doubt your veracity. You have 44,929 civilians versus 4,650 Fleet personnel, pilots, and Marines. Those civilians are spread across sixty-one ships, all of which need fuel, air, provisions, water, and are in desperate need of maintenance.”
“I, on the other hand, command two Fleet ships that currently have crew complements in excess
of full nominal strength and a third warship crewed by members of the Saggitaron Freedom Movement. All riding herd on just four civilian vessels to protect, provision, and maintain—and I’ve managed to put Fleet personnel in as command and crew on each of those ships since we took aboard the station personnel of Cerberus. We have a grand total of 3,256 civilians—more than six hundred of whom belonged or were associated with the SFM—to our 2,206 Fleet personnel. That gives me more options on how to maintain discipline and authority—options that William Adama did not have; certainly not before he managed to make rendezvous with Pegasus
Mathias scratched his head and he chuckled. “Believe it or not, I admire
your father, Lee. He’s held a rag-tag band of refugees together with nothing more than his will and spit, and he has done an amazing
job considering the circumstances.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Lee said.
“That doesn’t mean we aren’t
going to be at logger-heads over a tremendous number of issues,” and the Commander of Scorpia
sighed again. “Tell me that this Gaius Baltar isn’t as much of an ass as his letter makes him out to be? He all but solicited my support for his candidacy for President—as if campaigning
for elected office were the single most important element at this exact moment.”
“I could tell you that, Commander, but I really don’t want to lie to you,” Lee said.
And Mathias snorted. “The rest of these Quorum members I have never heard of—although some of them are familiar to a few of my people. At least Roslin’s letter was not filled with pleas to support her and veiled threats in the event that I do not.”
“They are the elected representative of the people, Commander,” Lee said. “We’ve sacrificed much, but we still hold by the Articles of Colonization,” he said and then immediately regretted it as Mathias smiled.
“You do? Then the reports I have received of torture and rape and illegal power grabs by the executive are false?”
Lee blushed and he began to open his mouth, but Mathias waved him off. “Desperate times call for desperate measures—that is understood, Commander. But I do expect you to inform the President and your father upon our rendezvous with Galactica
’s fleet that there is a limit to how far I am willing to see civil liberties pushed. A hard limit—and they are right up against it. Especially in regards to the treatment of Cylon prisoners of war.”
“I understand from the scuttlebutt that you executed a Cylon yourself, Commander,” Lee snapped.
“I did, Commander. And if the Admiral and the President want to put me on trial for that action—they are most certainly entitled to do so. I did not have my prisoner beaten. I did not have him raped. I did not deprive him of food and water and medical care. I did not engage in psychological or physical torture. I deemed his execution necessary and proper and carried it out with my own hands doing my best to make certain that he did not suffer needlessly. And since my other two Cylons believed that we were still within range of a Resurrection Ship at the time, I in effect paroled
him to carry a message for me.”
Mathias took another sip. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“It was a command decision that you made, Sir. Just like the command decisions that Admiral Adama and President Roslin have had to make over the past eight months.”
Mathias snorted. “You’ll do
, Commander. You’re a bit green yet, but I think that rumors of nepotism aside, William Adama made a fine choice in whom to assign as the commanding officer of Pegasus
. Now,” he said as he stood. “My ship commanders want to meet you in person, and my pilots are festing your pilots; Gods only know how many of them will be in hack by morning. But I have informed my ship captains that they will meet you after dinner this evening. Why don’t you go spend some more time with your fiancée and daughter, Commander?”
Lee stood. “Sir, I don’t want to ignore my duty for personal matters.”
“Consider it an order then,” Mathias said with a smile. “Until 1800 hours, you are off-duty, Mister Adama. Don’t be late—I had my chef break out the good stuff.”