The pilots were exchanging stories while gathered around a buffet table—several were clustered Racetrack and Skulls as they described one of the many encounters with the Cylons, others were singing, still more were playing cards. But all of them were celebrating. Except Athena who stood against the bulkhead with an energy drink in her hand, sipping it on it alone—not quite alone, as the two ‘escorts’, otherwise known as ‘guards’, kept a watchful eye on her from a distance.
She heard a throat clear and she turned to see Sidewinder leaning in the hatch. “Want to take a walk, Athena?” he asked. And she smiled.
“Sure, if you don’t mind them tagging along,” she pointed towards the Marines.
Sidewinder snorted, “Ah, there goes my dastardly scheme to steal you away from Helo,” he said holding one hand to his heart. “Come on, I’ve got some people who want to meet you.”
She raised one eyebrow and then nodded. The two of them moved out into the immaculate corridors of Scorpia and Athena snorted.
“You find something amusing?”
“It’s a bit of culture shock, Sidewinder,” she said. “I mean, not even Pegasus
or Cloud Nine
is this clean—and the pilots, our pilots from Galactica
, are a bit peeved that the beers were non-alcoholic
“And people wonder why I seemed off the deep-end when I showed up on Galactica. Commander Lorne believes in running a tight ship, Athena. It is all what we are used to,” he laughed. “I’ve spent two years away from the Colonies on this ship—two years
. And we kept discipline and order; seeing how far the Fleet has fallen in just a third
of that time was . . .,” his voice trailed off.
“Not where it mattered—they fly well and they fight well,” Athena answered.
“They do, but you need something more
than flying and fighting. You know, I asked Racetrack why she—and the others—were just ignoring the regs. Her answer was, all of us are going to die—there are too many Cylons and every time we fly, someone doesn’t come back. She said we will keep on flying and fighting, but that in the end we are just going to run out of bodies and planes and then everyone is going to die
He stopped and looked at Athena. “They lost hope; they almost lost faith; that is why I pushed them so hard to get their minds off such fatal thoughts.”
Athena nodded—and then she drew in a sharp inhalation of breath as she saw the Marine standing next to hatch marked COMMANDER, BSG-25.
Sidewinder nodded. “Commander Lorne wants a word, Athena.”
She nodded and stepped forward, and the Marine opened the hatch. Stepping inside, she saw that it was a large and spacious as Admiral Adama’s quarters, divided in an outer office, a sleeping area, and small dining room—and then she stopped dead cold. Her jaw dropped.
“Hello, Sharon,” Brother Cavil said as he stood, along with Sam Anders and Commander Lorne—two Marines were present as well, along with a tall dark-skinned man in the uniform of a Colonel.
“Lieutenant Agathon,” Mathias said. “I believe you have met John Cavil and Samuel Anders; this is Colonel Thomas Jayne.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” the Taurian said as he held out his hand, and Athena shook it.
“We have a lot to discuss, Athena, and not much time. And it would probably help if the two of you removed her memory block,” he said to Cavil and Anders.
She looked puzzled, and then both of them said the code-phrase that Daniel had used on them—and she remembered
. “Oh, frack. Starbuck is going to freak out,” she blurted as she stared at Sam—her brother. And then her face blanched and she groaned. “And the others
!” she snapped.
“Admiral Adama, Commander Adama, and the President already know,” Sidewinder said. “But you can see why we wanted to keep it under wraps.”
Her knees felt weak and Mathias pointed to a chair. “I have Sidewinder’s report—but before I make any decisions, Athena, I want to hear from you. Don’t hold anything back, I want the full story—if you have to, consider that an order.”
She nodded and took in a deep breath. And then she began.