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06 January 2012 @ 02:05 pm
In the Whole World: Chapter 5, "A Hail Storm"  

“A Hail Storm”
Chapter 5/13
Word Count: 2,153

It was twenty minutes after the pulsing on the hull began that Kara forced Lee to admit that there was no hail storm: Galactica was under siege by angry people with handfuls of rocks. He could have verified it sooner if they hadn't disassembled the video surveillance cameras on the exterior two days before in order to save on tylium.

"We knew they wouldn't be happy about this." Petty Officer Davis leaned forward on her platform desk across the CIC. Her tone married patience and pragmatism. "Shall I order out the Marines to settle the crowd, Commander Adama?"

She was talking to Lee, but looking at Kara, and her eyes were almost pleading. She had, after all, made this request to Lee twice already. "No, Major Adama won't be doing the sensible thing." Kara rolled her eyes. "He's going to wait for the light of pure reason to calm those couple dozen angry reactionaries out there. They'll hear him speak, and all at once, they'll stop burning him in effigy and start toasting to the sheer wisdom of his having disabled the launch keys of every ship in the fleet."

Lee met the mocking glint of her eyes with steel in his. "I have to try. I know you don't understand."

It was true. Kara didn't understand his plan. If she were to draw up her survey of Lee's ethical interior, it would look something like the bluffs of the Great Canyon on Scorpia. You saw him coming—hell, you saw him from space—and he still surprised the hell out of you. Unfathomably vast, unknowably deep, undeniably rigid.

Still, she followed on his heels as he strode to the exit to call off the guards blockading the entrance. He was going to speak to the people. Her dread at this plan was all-consuming. Sure, they were just throwing rocks, but what if someone among them had a gun? Even rocks could wound. She flung her shades over her face just as the door was opening, to retain vision in the harsh light of the sun. On the stair platform, she moved to flank Lee. She stood at the ready, as though she were a member of the president's Public Guard detail.

Standing just slightly behind him, she didn't see the expression on his face—and was relieved he didn't turn around to see the horror on hers—when they found that there was a crowd not of dozens, but of hundreds, maybe over a thousand, teeming outside Galactica, spewing invective. They didn't stop hurling those rocks when they saw Lee.

Lee was patient. When had he become this patient? He held up his hands, and bowed his head toward them, allowing them to yell their fill. When the crowd, at last, subsided, only then did he begin to speak.

When he did, he shocked Kara again.

"Fellow citizens. You know by now that my administration has disabled the flight capacity of all the major vehicles of the fleet. I'd like to take a minute to explain to you, in my own words, why I decided on this course of action."

Good gods, Kara thought, he sounds just like Laura. Patience and plain talk? From Lee Adama? I never thought I'd see the day.

But then, she hadn't wanted to. Lee's fits of recklessness were one of the things that showed their souls were twin.

"First, and most importantly," Lee's microphone picked up his voice suddenly, and he stopped shouting, "our resources are very limited. As you all know, no new tylium reserves have been found in over a year, and our scouting of the nearby sectors has uncovered no leads. For now, we're operating on the premise that we'll soon be without most of the technological conveniences that even the poorest of us has always enjoyed. Machines have cleaned our water, built our buildings, transported us from place to place. They've scanned our blood and bones and organs so we knew how to heal ourselves. They've allowed us to communicate over long distances and, perhaps most importantly, they've been our home for the last four years."

It was as if the air suddenly got colder, to see the heat subside from the crowd so swiftly.

"This means, in purely practical terms, that we're at the beginning of a new age. Without these mechanical resources, it's my belief that we will face quite a few difficulties in the coming weeks, months, and yes, years. Famine, water shortages, poor shelter, and disease will threaten us. But I believe that—together—we can beat our odds. Remaining united allows us to conserve our material resources, make effective plans, and lean on each other for the spiritual strength we'll need as we continue to fight to ensure our survival.

"Secondly," Lee took a breath, audibly steeling himself, "I undertook this course out of solidarity with our Cylon friends, who—"

Jeers roared from the crowd again, as one. These people, who had been raptly listening—Kara had even seen a few people nod, and shove hands that had been full of rocks in their pockets—turned on him at just his use of the word Cylon, before "friend" was even past his lips.

"Our Cylon friends," Lee continued firmly, holding up his hands compassionately, looking like a conductor directing their roar rather than a speaker enduring it, "who joined their cause to ours, have subsumed their government within ours, and without whom we could never have made it here. To Earth."

"We wouldna needed to find Earth if it hadn't been for them!" yelled a man, better-dressed than most here, his eyes bright with anger, hands clenched in fists. A rumble of solidarity crashed behind him.

"True. But the origin of our tragic history with the Cylons didn't begin with the recent destruction of the twelve colonies. It dates back as far as our history does—to Kobol, when another generation of Cylons and humans made war against each other—to before that. Which wars were begun by humans? Which by Cylons? What responsibilities do we have to our sentient, autonomous creations? Which do they have, to us?"

Kara could see in Lee's eyes the moment he realized that there was a bit of his father speaking in him, too, just at this moment. His shoulders tensed, then squared; his jaw hardened.

"I only know one thing. Separation, in the past, has always led us right back to what destroyed us four years ago. To hatred, to plotting, and then to bloodbaths. To genocide. To the quest to wipe one another off the face of the universe. This time must be different. If we fail to learn the lessons of history, all of this that has happened before will happen again. And again. And again. Would you wish our fate on your children? On your one-thousand-times-great-grandchildren?"

Lee heaved a deep breath, and Kara saw the crowd take it with them. Gods, I'll have to eat my words, she realized. This is actually working. "So. This time, we won't separate. This time, we must be better than our ancestors. We must find a way," Lee paused significantly, "to live together."

That roar again, rushing up and around them, threatening to swallow Lee whole. Though it was quieter this time, Kara's hands slid upwards, wanting to cover her ears. She gritted her teeth and kept them at her sides. "Reel 'em back in!" she hissed at Lee's back. A slight tensing of his shoulders told her he'd heard her.

"Third. Third. Third—listen, now, this is too important to shout through! Third, we needed to hold onto these ships—their metal—for another reason. Our development commissions are beginning to draw up plans for our city, here. Because we don't have the mechanical resources to mine for new metals—we don't have the tylium for them—we need to convert our ships, our ships that have been our homes for so long, into new homes. Our ships—our homes—must become the nails, the railings, and the window frames, the doors and doorknobs and the walls of our new civilization."

Kara fought the urge, now that the tension had ebbed from the crowd, to move closer to Lee, both because it would look overly protective, to his audience, but also because it would betray to Lee her intense feeling of protectiveness.

Just let one person throw a frakking rock at him. She wasn't relaxing her guard.

"We lost five lives today, human and Cylon, civilian and military, on the side of union and on the side of rebellion. But I believe that we have secured all our lives. Together, we will build a new world here. Together, we'll plant gardens on the ashes of our sad history. We'll fight—together—and we'll thrive—together. Thank you."

Lee moved to return to the interior of Galactica, but a high-pitched cry, its accent unmistakably Gemenese, froze him in his tracks. "Kara Thrace! What did the gods tell you about this place when they sent you here?"

Buried inside every way that Lee and Kara were exactly alike, there was a way in which they were exactly opposite, and that, too, was the nature of their souls' twinning. Where Kara was baffled by the public Lee but could play his private self like a fiddle, Lee was mystified only by the private Kara. Kara's public persona was clear as glass. If he had this circumstance explained to him in its barest details, he could have predicted what Kara would do next from almost the moment he met her.

She was going to tell them what to do—lead them home. Again. And not kindly, because she was, herself, so afraid.

Kara's hands started to shake. He saw it—sensed it—reached for one, but she clasped them quickly behind her back, as though she were only standing at attention. "The gods…" Her eyes flicked around, a touch wildly. "The gods chose this place—for a reason."

If he were to draw up his survey of Kara's interior, it would follow something like the shape and path of the Leto River which had cut the Great Canyon on Scorpia. All twists and raging current and rushing rapids, jagged rocks and changeable depths. But always, inexorably, tugging toward the ocean.

She tugged now. "They came to me again. The gods. Because they want us to—like Lee, er, like President Adama said, they want us to find a way to work together, to live together. They told me to build a temple. A Temple of Unity. One where we can all worship in the way we choose, in the same place—where we can read the scrolls together, or pray to the one god, if we choose, or where agnostics can reflect in the presence of other people. Because—that's what this has all been about. Fellowship. Coming to understand each other. The—the best things about community."

Lee watched her fingers unclench and smiled. Here it comes. Her tone picked up speed and confidence.

"So you can throw rocks. You can yell at people who put their lives on the line for your survival. You can demand to go your own way, demand to carry your grudges against the people that you're leaving behind with you. But we will not let go. Hear it now—and those two ships that jumped away earlier, they can hear it, too, if any of you have contact with them—we will not let go, and when rocks are thrown at us, we will hold on even tighter. This is not about you, or your grievances, or your rights. This is about fellowship. About not just survival, but a survival we can be proud of—one based on loving each other, despite all the reasons why all of us don't deserve it."

Lee did grab her hand, then, as a new shout went up. He'd heard people chanting her name before—well, chanting Starbuck—but there was something pure, and primal, and electrifying, as they began this time to shout Kar-a-Thrace, Kar-a-Thrace, Kar-a-Thrace…

But her eyes had that wide, hunted look again, and it hurt to look at it, so he stepped in front of her once more. "One last promise!" he interrupted their chant. "While construction begins on the temple, we'll start work to devise the groundwork for a new constitution. Everyone's invited to be a part of that conversation. So when the temple's completed, we'll be ready to have our first election on Earth."

They didn't chant his name, but he hadn't come expecting miracles.

Lee waved, then tugged Kara's hand back in through the doorway, sealing them up inside the safe confines of Galactica. "We're putting guards on our tent tonight," was all he said.

She nodded mutely, and followed him back to the CIC so she could check on Sam.

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