Episode 15: From Bad to Worse
The XO’s phone buzzed at the central console of Galactica
’s CIC and he Saul Tigh lifted it from the rack. “XO,” he barked.
The news from earlier today had shocked him no less—but he couldn’t deny the truth of his own memories. And being the man that he was, he had spent a few moments with Ellen and then he showed up here, in the CIC, because Saul Tigh was now damned and determined to never again let Bill Adama down. It was funny, because since the revelation, since that final drink that his best friend—probably his only friend—in the universe had given him, Saul had not desired so much as a drop.
Instead, he had thrown himself into his duty—and CIC was as quiet as a church mouse because of it. Adama hadn’t said a word, he just nodded as Saul handled tasks that had always been his, just handed off to other personnel.
“What?” he said into the phone. “WHAT?” he exclaimed, his eyes growing wide. And then a chuckle escaped his lips as he smirked—Saul Tigh actually smirked. “Understood. Inform Pegasus
,” he said and then racked the phone and struggled to keep the laughter roiling up inside him from escaping.
Adama looked at the XO as if he were a man possessed. “What was that about, Saul?” he asked.
“The President has landed in a Raptor, Admiral,” Saul said with a smile.
“Tell her to turn her ass around—I don’t want to speak with her right now,” Bill growled, but he frowned at the . . . giddy
expression on Saul’s face. The XO was almost incandescent.
“We can’t, Admiral—she’s being taken to the surgery with a broken jaw and two snapped off teeth,” he said, as he tried—and failed—to keep all expression from his face.
“WHAT!” snapped Adama.
“Commander Lorne,” Saul said with a faint smile, “boarded Colonial One
and conducted a shipping inspection
of the vessel. In the process, he confiscated the chamalla that the President has been taking, placed Hera Agathon and Maya into protective custody, and ransacked the President’s personal papers—handing them all over to High Justice Lampkin.”
The Admiral groaned, and Saul grinned broadly as his friend looked at the deck, erasing the smile when he lifted his head. “With Marines?”
“Masters-at-arms, JAG, and FCIS personnel—no Marines
,” Saul reported. “The President returned to Colonial One
while they were getting to depart—with Hera. She issued an order to keep the girl onboard, apparently Commander Lorne had a . . . slight
. . . break with reality, and he punched her. Breaking her jaw.”
“And two teeth,” added Adama.
“And two teeth,” agreed Saul. “She was knocked unconscious, but the Raptor brought her here—she’s en route
the to surgery. Maya and Hera are here as well, and being escorted to the Agathon’s quarters by Captain Greene. High Justice Lampkin is also onboard and is heading there as well to speak with the two of them.”
“And Commander Lorne?” growled Adama.
“You are going to love this,” Saul said with a smile that he didn’t try to hide, “he is en route
to be held in their brig. Since ours is full with Cylons at the moment. The son-of-a-bitch ordered his own JAG officer to arrest him after he punched out the President. Colonel Jayne has assumed temporary command aboard Scorpia
The closeness of stations in CIC ensured that the people working at them had overheard this—and Adama sighed. It would be scuttlebutt across the Fleet by the end of the watch, if not sooner. He scratched his head, and slammed his fist down on the console. With Laura in the surgery, and Baltar having already turned in his resignation . . . Bill groaned. The Quorum would have to elect a temporary Vice-President to assume Roslin’s duties until she could return. And he knew who the most likely candidate for that post was.
Saul nodded. “Zarek,” he said. “Looks like he might be our boss for a while,” he whispered.
“Frack, Saul. I did not
need this right now,” the Admiral whispered. He slammed his hand down on the console again. “You have the conn, XO,” he said as he turned.
“If I need you, Admiral, where will you be?”
Adama paused and he slowly turned around. “Frack them both. I’m going to bed.”
“What the frack were you thinking?” asked Lee as he entered the brig. Commander Lorne sat in a cell, and the MAA had not taken his belt or his boots. His uniform jacket had been removed, though, and one of the doctors assigned to Pegasus was wrapping his arm and hand in bandages around a metal and rubber splint.
“I was thinking about my own daughters and I got angrier and angrier, Commander Adama,” Mathias said, with a wince as the doc pulled the bandages tighter.
“Too much, Sir?” he asked.
“Don’t worry about me, just get it right,” Scorpia’s commander said to the physician.
“Nothing else we can do—you’ve probably fractured a few bones, but none are out of place. It will take time to heal, Commander,” he said as he pulled out a syringe and injected Mathias in the upper arm. “It’s a mild analgesic and sedative—to help you get some rest, Sir.”
Lee waited until the doctor had gathered his things and left—Mathias stood and he pulled back on his uniform jacket and worked one-handed to button it up and secure the belt.
“Let me, Sir,” one of the MAA’s said, and then he looked at Lee. Who jerked his head in an expression of his own anger. Mathias raised his arms, and the crewman finished buckling the belt and securing all but the top two buttons of the jacket.
“So that’s it? You were angry and you punched out the President?” he snapped. “You broke her jaw! And it was because you were angry?”
“No excuse, Commander, Sir. I am ready to stand before the Admiral’s tribunal and defend myself.”
“Oh, that’s what you want
, isn’t it, Commander? A forum—a public forum
—where you can destroy what little stability we have left in this Fleet! What is going to happen now, Commander? You are in hack, the President is in Galactica
’s surgery, the Vice-President has already resigned in disgrace . . . in just four days
you have turned this entire Fleet upside down! Never mind half of my crew are pissed at your crusade against them for actions we have already considered and dismissed!”
Mathias nodded, and he sighed. “You love her, don’t you Lee?”
“The President—oh, you don’t love her in a sexual sense, you aren’t IN love with her, but you love
her. Warts and all.”
“What has that got to do with any of this?” Lee growled, and Mathias smiled. He had no idea of how much he looked and sounded like his father when he did that, he thought.
“You aren’t mad that I hit the President
who ordered a child kidnapped, Lee; you are mad that I hit Laura Roslin
. You are mad that Laura Roslin
dared to cross the line and take that child in the first place. I know you a bit from your time on Scorpia
—and everything I have heard about you since joining up with Galactica
has impressed me, Lee. What is going to happen now? Do you want to know what I think should
“Enlighten me, o font of wisdom?”
“Come on Apollo,” Mathias said with a chuckle. “Sarcasm doesn’t suit you. I think you are desperately unhappy, mister. I believe that you are here as the Commander of Pegasus
because you don’t want to let your father down. But that your heart isn’t here. Your heart is with that young wife of yours and that child, and you would be so much happier out of this military and doing something you can be proud of.”
“I am proud of what I have done,” Lee whispered.
“Proud of what you have done
, yes; but you take no
pride in the service, Lee. It isn’t your life like it is that of your father, or Saul Tigh, or me. You, I am willing to bet, never dreamed of spending your entire life in uniform until retirement—am I wrong?”
Lee didn’t answer.
“You want to know what I think this Fleet needs? It doesn’t need a Laura Roslin. It doesn’t need a Gaius Baltar. And it doesn’t need a Tom Zarek. Not as President. But I think that Lee Adama
could do the job, and that it would be a job he could pride
in and be happy doing.”
Lee Adama just stared at him, his eyes wide. “I’m the Commander of Pegasus
! I’ve got responsibilities!”
“You are responsible for yourself and your family. And if you don’t think that the President has more responsibilities than a Battlestar Commander, then I have underestimated you. Lee, you and I share a sense of idealism. We do. But you don’t act on that. You put everyone else’s needs over your own. You put your father’s expectations above your own. Don’t worry about Pegasus
. If necessary, your father can put Elias Thorean here—he has command experience from Solaria
, and you don’t need two arms to command. Or Mark Foeswan. You cannot
argue that you are the indispensible man, Lee. Because, manifestly, you are not.”
Lee just stared and Mathias nodded. “Ask yourself this, Commander Lee Adama of Battlestar Pegasus
: where can you the most good for all of the survivors? Here? Or in that office on Colonial One
? Who do you trust to do this job? Baltar? Zarek? Your father might well not like it, but damn it man, it is your life. And this Fleet needs a . . . principled
man to lead us. I think that you are that man, Lee Adama.”
Lee backed up out of the cell, and he cleared his throat. “Lock him in,” he ordered. “You’re wrong, you know that? I’m not nearly as principled as you think.”
“For me the choice is a simple one, Lee. Are you a better man than Gaius Baltar or Tom Zarek? Who do you think will sacrifice their principles for power? You? Or those two? I don’t know you as well as I should, but based on what I have seen. What I have heard. I like our chances a lot better with you in charge instead of Roslin or them. Will you do what is best for the fifty-four thousand survivors of humanity? Or will you stay miserable doing a job just to make your father happy?”
“That is up to you, Lee. You and your wife. Think about it. Do you want that little girl of yours growing up in this environment?” he said point his hands at the bulkheads and deck and overhead.
Lee turned and he marched to the hatch without a word, and he stopped.
about it, Mister President,” Mathias cajoled. And then Lee left.