Authors: Peter David - (ebook by Undead)
Laura Roslin is having the strangest feeling of déjà vu.
She is standing in the middle of afield, and there is a collection of what
appear to be obelisks encircling her. There is a firm wind wafting her long
brown hair, and she looks down to see that she is wearing a nightgown. This is
rather odd, since she is the president of the Twelve Colonies and is not one to
go wandering about in her sleepwear under any circumstances.
She is not in pain. This is no small thing to her, for there has been a long
period of her life where she literally forgot what it was like not to be aching.
It is a terrible thing to have one’s body turn against one. Yes, if one is
attentive enough, one can sense the everyday aches and pains as one’s body dies,
molecule by molecule, over the standard wear and tear of its lifetime. But what
Laura has been experiencing is hardly anything that is remotely typical for a
body’s daily wear. This has been her body in open revolt, as if she had somehow
been inconsiderate of its needs or harsh in her dealings with it.
What anger, what venom there must be, for a body to feel that the soul of the
person inhabiting it must be punished in the way her body was punishing her.
Constant agony as uncontrolled cell replication literally ate her breasts alive. She wondered every so often—not true,
she wondered all the time—what in the world she ever did to deserve this.
Did it attack her breasts as a symbolic message that she had been a bad woman?
Did it attack her at all as a specific message that she had led a bad life?
Certainly there must have been some sort of reason. It wasn’t possible that the
gods could be so randomly cruel.
Perhaps they could. After all, look at the millions upon millions of people
who had died thanks to the Cylon attack. What had humans ever done to deserve
Well… there are possible explanations for that, aren’t there. Explanations
she does not like to dwell upon, since they do not exactly cast humanity in the
Better to enjoy the here and now of where she is… wherever that may be.
Yes… yes, she recognizes it now. It is strange that she would have
forgotten it, or had the slightest unfamiliarity with it, even for an instant.
She is on Kobol, the birthplace of humanity. Kobol, the home of the temple of
Athena, which is destined to guide them to their goal: the planet Earth, their
salvation, a haven from the Cylons that pursue them.
Except she is not on Kobol… not exactly. It is difficult to determine
whether she is on Kobol, but that which surrounds her is an illusion… or if
she has somehow been miraculously transported, through means she could not begin
to guess, to the destination she has been seeking. Be it illusion or miracle,
either way the result is the same: She is standing on the planet Earth. She and
the others have…
She looks around and says, “Where are the others?” Her mouth moves, but no
sound is emerging. She cannot determine whether she has been struck dumb or if
she has suddenly gone deaf. Even if she did know which condition had afflicted
her—or rather, which additional affliction she had just acquired—it would not have answered the
question as to where the others had gotten off to.
Commander William Adama had been there. Yes, that’s right, this had already
happened. She had been there and Bill Adama had been right nearby, which was
fortunate since a pragmatist such as he might well not have believed it if it
had merely been described to him. He would have had to see it for himself. But
now, faced with the indisputable reality of ancient prophecy given form, he
stared in wonderment at the skies, at the constellations that gave crucial clues
to the way home. For the scriptures had said specifically that when the
thirteenth tribe landed on Earth, they looked up in the heavens and saw their
twelve brothers. This, right here, is (was) the ultimate religious experience
and leap of faith for one as rooted in matters of military necessity as the
commander of the last of the Battlestars.
With him was his son, Lee Adama, a Viper pilot who went by the name “Apollo.”
Lee, who had become an advisor to her on military matters, and had a
relationship with his father that was, to say the least, complicated. Also
present was Kara Thrace, another Viper pilot who had served under Lee. She was
nicknamed “Starbuck,” and it was she who had recovered the sacred arrow of
Apollo, the relic which has made this amazing journey possible.
They are all there.
They are not.
They should be there, and Laura Roslin should be dressed in normal civilian
clothes. But they are not there, and Laura remains in her nightgown and is
She does not know how this could possibly be. Has she somehow made a return
to Kobol for some additional knowledge of Earth? But when did this happen? She
doesn’t remember experiencing any sort of adventure that would have brought her
to this pass. She racks her brain, thinking and thinking, and suddenly she
laughs (still with no sound emerging). Obvious. So obvious. She has no
recollection of anything that brought her here because nothing happened to bring her. She
is dreaming. Yes. So simple, oh so simple. She is dreaming, reliving that
amazing moment without any of her companions.
Again, though… why? Well, at least this wasn’t something over which one
could question the motivations of the gods. This was a product of the sleeping
mind, and certainly no one could hope to comprehend whatever scenarios the
sleeping mind might throw together.
She finds it curious, though, as if she’s watching from outside herself.
Typically one doesn’t realize one is dreaming while it’s happening. She would
think that the sudden comprehension would be enough to kick her out of the dream
entirely. But it does not. It seems to be of no relevance whether she
understands or not. Rather it’s as if she is a spectator at some sort of film
that will be unspooled if she is watching or no.
The obelisks. She remembers them so clearly, constructs of abstract faith
brought to rock-hard reality. Each made of stone, each one bearing an engraving
of one of the symbols of the Twelve Colonies, studded with jewels that are
twinkling in the night. Each of the symbols representing the colonies back when
they were called by their original names: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and so on. They
ring the perimeter of the meadow where Laura is standing, as the stars of home
beckon to her above, pointing the way to their destination.
Except… she has already been here. Why is she here again? The vagaries of
dreams, certainly, but…
Something doesn’t look right. Something is different from the last time.
It takes her long moments to notice something on one of the obelisks that was
not there before. Some sort of darkness, dripping from the pointed arrow, nocked
into the bow of Sagittarius the archer.
Laura Roslin approaches it slowly, the hem of her nightgown swirling around
her legs. She reaches out toward the dark stain on the Sagittarius obelisk and
touches it tentatively with one extended finger.
She looks at her hand closely, rubbing her fingers together to get a feel of
the liquid’s consistency.
The color is red, dark red.
The liquid is blood.
Sagittarius is bleeding.
Uncaring of what it will do to the fabric, Laura uses the sleeve of her
nightgown to wipe the blood away. It’s gone for only a moment, and then wells
back up. Blood is dripping steadily from the arrow, and then she notices that
the twins, Gemini, are bleeding from their chests as if they’ve been wounded.
She takes a step toward them, and then her head snaps around as Aquarius, the
water bearer, sees the water in the top of his jug transform to blood as well.
She cries out in alarm without hearing her voice doing so, and starts to back
up, putting one hand to her chest. It’s on fire once more. She calls for help,
but none hear, including herself. They’re all bleeding now, blood seeping from
the edges of the engravings. The stones are all running red with blood. She
looks and sees that there is blood on her hands as well, and she’s not
sure if it’s there because she was touching the bleeding obelisks and got some
on her, or if it started generating there spontaneously.
And then, slowly, Sagittarius starts to fall forward. It is coming right
toward her, and she backs up even further. It seems to be growing, casting a
vast shadow over her, and she is running and running and it is becoming
impossibly larger and longer, as if it is growing for the specific purpose of
catching up with her. Laura Roslin throws herself forward in a desperate effort
to escape, and is rewarded with hearing the obelisk thud to the ground behind
her. It is the only noise she has heard in this eerie silence.
She rolls over onto her back, clutching her chest and watching in goggle-eyed
amazement as, one after the next, each of the obelisks collapses. They fall upon
each other from all angles, ponderously slow, and the ground beneath her
trembles every time another one collapses.
Within moments they are piled up, a stack of stones like so many cards. Then
great cracks start appearing in them, as if in delayed reaction to their
crashing one atop the other. They begin to break apart, slowly first and then
faster and faster, and the chunks in turn transform into dust. A strong wind
picks up and, minutes later, the obelisks representing the Twelve Colonies have
completely blown away, traveling in different directions and scattering to the
Laura Roslin is alone.
She wants so much to cry, to sob deeply over what she has just seen. But
Laura has always prided herself on her strength, and tears will not—never
do—serve any purpose. She creeps forward on her hands and knees, for she
does not feel as if she has the strength to stand. There are some small piles of
dust and rubble still there, and she picks one up. She stares at it for a long
moment, and then allows it to slip through her fingers. The granules twinkle
like stars as they fall through.
She remembers stars twinkling. She has become deeply nostalgic for that. When
she was at home and looked at the stars in the sky, naturally they twinkled as
their light passed through the atmosphere.
Now when she looks out the window of her ship,
It is the little things you miss. The little things that pile up on you, one
by one, until you are crushed beneath their weight.
Crushed. Beneath weight.
Laura’s head whips around. There is something behind her, something she was
unaware of until just this second.
There is a thirteenth obelisk. It is right behind her, falling toward her.
There is a carving upon it. It almost looks like a cross of some kind, but it
is upside down and it is not quite a cross. She realizes what it is: a crude
representation of a war hammer.
That is all she has time to notice before the obelisk slams upon her and she
lets out a scream, and this one she hears because
Laura Roslin screamed.
She sat up in bed in her room, gasping for air, her nightgown plastered to
her skin, and she swore she could hear her own outcry echoing in her ears. Her
breath came in ragged gasps, and her hair was hanging down and blocking her
eyes. She shoved it out of her face, fully expecting to see crumbled obelisks
everywhere, but there was nothing except the darkness of her own bed chamber.
That, and a loud thumping which she first mistook for the pounding of her heart,
but then she slowly realized was someone thudding the door with his fist. “His”
was an easy deduction to make because she heard the alarmed voice of her aide,
Billy Keikeya, shouting, “Madame President! What’s wrong! Are you under attack?
Should I call the—”
Her voice sounded slightly raspy as she spoke, and she realized she’d
irritated her vocal cords when she’d screamed. Plus she was still gasping for
breath, so she sounded as if she’d been running a marathon as she called back,
“It’s all right, Billy. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.”
“No one’s holding you at gunpoint?”
“No. No one is.”
There was a pause, and then from the other side of the door Billy said, “With
all respect, Madame President, if someone
holding you at gunpoint,
they could be making you say that.”
Despite the circumstances… despite the horrific images that were as vivid
to her waking mind as her sleeping one… she smiled slightly. “Damn, Billy.
You’re too clever by half.” Even as she spoke, she slipped her feet out from
under the covers, lowered them to the floor, got up and walked over to the
closet. She pulled her robe on and continued, “It’s all right, come in.”