Laura Roslin stepped forward to the podium on Cloud Nine. She smiled at the reporters (and the members of the Quorum who stood in the audience), but the smile did not reach her eyes. The guests from the Thirteenth Tribe had managed to repair her jaws (over the objections of Doctor Cottle!) and remove the wires that had kept her silent—their ‘bone-fusing’ gear had repaired the fractures, but she was still in desperate pain. And she was beginning to feel the first symptoms of withdrawal from the chamalla.
She and High Justice Lampkin had met earlier, along with Admiral Adama and Lee; together, the four of them had come up with a solution. Not a good solution—and she cursed Baltar, Zarek, and Lorne again silently. She had done her best . . . despite what anyone else might think of her actions, it had always been for the Fleet. But she was so tired, so very, very tired, and this solution would give her a chance to lay down her burdens for a short while.
“Thank you for coming,” she told the journalists and spectators. “Before the Quorum convenes, I have a number of announcements to make. First, as you are already aware, Vice-President Baltar has resigned from the government and withdrawn his nomination for President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. His reasons are personal, and he will address them later. I have already accepted his resignation and informed the Quorum thereof. He is present today,” she smiled at Gaius, who nodded back and gave a half-hearted smile, “and will answer your questions on that subject later.”
And he had best stick with the cover story—the Fleet will tear him apart if the truth that he let a nuclear weapon slip out of his hands and into those of terrorists emerges, she thought.
“Second, I have decided against continuing my campaign for President,” she said. And immediately the flash-bulbs began popping and reporters jumped to their feet shouting questions. Laura held out her hands and slowly, the shouted questions and exclamations of shock faded, and she smiled. “As all of you know, I have cancer. It is in remission, but for reasons of health, I—and my physicians—feel that I should concentrate on recovery, not subject to the stresses of my current post.”
And that was the second part of the solution, she thought bitterly. Lampkin had given her a choice—a way to retire in honor or publication of the entire Hera affair, along with criminal charges. The Agathon’s were furious—but between the Adamas and that meddling Lorne, they had agreed to bury the issue, if she stepped aside. Which led to the third point.
“While the elections are fast approaching, we must have a Vice-President in place. Today, I will be submitting the name of a candidate to the Quorum and ask that they confirm him as my Vice-President. Upon his being sworn into office, I will be resigning the office of the President and stepping aside.”
Utter shock resounded through the crowd—even the journalists were stunned. Laura nodded. “I have given this much thought, and selected a man whom I believe will be able to lead this Fleet. He has shown in the past principle of character, leadership ability, and the dedication to our laws to stand against Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh when those officers have been in the wrong. He is a decorated and highly-skilled veteran of the Colonial Fleet, who earlier today resigned his commission in order to seek this office. I endorse him, not only for the post of Vice-President, but as a candidate for President in the up-coming election. His name is Lee Adama.”
The curtains to one side of the stage parted, and Lee—dressed in a business suit—marched out onto the stage and waved at the reporters with a wide smile on his face. Laura turned to face him and she took his hand, and then kissed him on the cheek. But Lee could see the cold fury in her eyes, even as she anointed him in front of the media and the Fleet.
“He will be speaking to you and the Quorum later today,” Laura continued. “But there is a fourth announcement which must be delivered at this time. I promised you—Admiral Adama promised you—a very long time ago that we would find Earth. Discover the Thirteenth Tribe. It is with relief and joy such as I cannot express in words, that today I inform you we have established contact with men and women of the Thirteenth Tribe.”
Absolute silence fell over the crowd as they literally gawked at Laura and she nodded.
“We are but one jump away from a major colony of Earth. And when we arrive there, we will be beginning negotiations with our long-lost cousins to find for the Fleet a new home. I cannot tell you everything we know at this time—but the end of our journey is drawing to a close. I have kept my promise to you; I have brought this Fleet, our family, home to Earth.”
And the resounding thunder from the crowd was as if a bomb had just gone off.