Title: Past the Red Line Part 2
Warnings: One honest-to-god curse word besides "frak".
Summary: The resistance group led by Admiral Cain makes plans. Anders and Tyrol have some doubts.
Admiral Helena Cain addressed her small group of Resistance fighters in the tent with confident tones, but she herself was searching for doubt.
Her constant search for second thoughts, skepticism, troublemaking, had kept her one step ahead throughout her military career. It had kept her safe when most of the colleagues resented her for moving up the command ladder so quickly. She had learned early to hunt out dissension, and the seeds of dissension, doubt. She was well practiced at ferreting out doubt in the eyes of those under her command.
Her eyes narrowed as she spotted it now, in her circle of soldiers. No, she corrected herself. None of them were real soldiers anymore, not even the ones here who had served on Galactica. Life on this planet had turned them into undisciplined civilians. They lacked focus.
What other kind of man would
For a long moment, he said nothing, his lips twisted in anger.
Saul Tigh’s head snapped around and he fixed his gaze on the man. “Let’s have it, Anders,” he growled. “If you got something to say about this plan, say it. You got butterflies in your belly or what?”
Anders’ eyes flashed dark. Finally, he spoke. “We’re moving into some pretty frakked up territory here, don’t you think?”
Cain had no patience for such weakness. It was the most capricious, unreliable factor in a mission. On Pegasus, her tolerance for
“I’ll tell you what’s frakked up,” Tigh growled, “joining a Cylon police force and turning traitor on your own species. That’s frakked up territory.”
“What about sending in suicide bombers to blow up your own species?” Anders shot back across the circle.
Tigh spat out his answer with unbridled disdain. “Those Astral Queen scum collaborate with the toasters, they get what they deserve!” He turned in
Cain noticed that
“One of them tried to rape his wife when we sent her on a mission to that prison ship. Did you know that?” Tigh shook his head in disgust. “They sure as hell don’t get any of my pity.”
“Look, Colonel, I don’t give a frak about those lowlifes either.”
No one said anything.
“There’s a line here,” he said, “and we’re crossing it, and nobody seems willing to admit that…”
“The target’s solid,” Cain cut him off, “and so’s the plan.”
Doubt, she thought again. It will kill us from the inside.
“This is the best break we’ve had yet.” Tigh’s voice shifted to a deeper, colder tone. “Ever since
Cain watched the way all those doubting gazes considered Tigh, considered his words. Many of them were clearly spooked by the nature of the mission, but their grudging respect for him carried a lot of weight. He had a way of making even morally difficult choices feel unequivocal. Cain would never dare admit it, but she envied that quality in him.
Tigh was a good XO, especially when he was focused on a single, clear problem. She had not seen that at first when she met him on Galactica. She had to admit she had seen nothing but a drunk. Until they met again on this planet, she hadn’t seen how crisis reminded him of who he was. When push came to shove, he had that clear-eyed focus she so wished she saw in the others.
She worried that one day, when the shit hit the fan, he would be the only one she could really count on.
“Saul.” She snatched the former Galactica XO’s attention and held it. “How close are we?”
“The truck is still sitting out in the woods, but it’ll be ready after tonight,” he replied. “
“Good. Then it’s official. We go tomorrow, after the morning shift reports for duty.” She looked into the eyes of two of her newest soldiers.
“Hauser,” she said, addressing the young woman sitting in faded workman’s overalls next to Jammer. The girl had pulled her long corn-blonde hair into a carelessly practical ponytail. Cain noted again how the girl looked down at the floor whenever possible, how she perched herself at the edge of the wooden bench, as if fearful of taking up space. She seemed to be perpetually unsure what to do with her hands or where to place her gaze.
Cain sighed. “Eyes on me, Hauser,” she said, trying to hide her annoyance. She knew she couldn’t afford to alienate the girl, but she also found her infinitely frustrating.
“All right, listen up,” she told her, “you’re meeting with Anders and me immediately after this to outfit you with the remote.”
She did not miss the flash of resentment in Anders’ eyes, but she didn’t really give a frak, now did she? He had led a resistance. He ought to know the drill.
The girl, who couldn’t have been more than twenty-one, finally met Cain’s gaze and nodded. Her entire demeanor screamed weakness, frailty. She practically jumped at her own shadow. She had no training whatsoever in anything even remotely military. She was a driver; she had never thought she might be anything else.
Cain hated to use her. She could easily screw everything up tomorrow, get herself arrested, and give up names. But Jammer had been right to bring her. Because Tama Hauser had two things that the Resistance couldn’t pass up. Underneath that skittish cat exterior, Cain had spotted an unmistakably genuine, unquenchable hatred for the New Caprica Police.
The other? She was an otherwise unimportant supply driver whose route happened to include the New Caprica Police headquarters.
As the meeting broke up,
“Just give me a minute, Colonel. I need some air.”
Tigh shrugged, but watched with raised eyebrows as Anders, who had finished ladling out a mug of coffee from the small hearth in the back of the tent, took off after him almost at a run. He considered following them to see what was up, but just at that moment, Cain appeared behind him, wanting his attention, her strong hands resting on the shoulders of a ghost of a girl with her heart set on being a martyr.
To Anders’ surprise,
“Since when do you smoke?” Anders teased him.
“Last few weeks, I guess.” He blew out a harsh puff of white smoke into the cold night air. “Cally hates it. She won’t let me do it anywhere near Nicky. But I figure, if we’re all gonna die from the Colonel’s second-hand smoke anyway…”
Anders smirked. But he’d heard the grimness in his friend’s voice, and found he couldn’t bring himself to keep up the banter.
A silence fell between them. Anders watched the red coal glowing in his friend’s hand and waited.
“Anders,” he began. His voice faltered for a moment, and he took another drag off the crumbling cigarette
“When you were a Resistance fighter back on Caprica, did you ever count how many bombs you set off the whole time you were there? I mean in total?”
“Eighty nine,” Anders replied immediately.
“No,” Anders said emphatically, “We always found a way to get our people clear.”
“But if you’d ever had a situation where it would have been impossible to get them clear, what do you think you would have done?”
“We always found a way,” Anders repeated, in a tone that brooked no more discussion.
“Jammer told me her parents got killed by the NCP.”
“Motherfrakking gorilla cops.”
“We’re not going to change their minds.” Anders’ head cocked back towards the tent. “No matter what we say. We either have to decide for ourselves that we can live with this, or else we…”
Anders stared at him. “Or else we walk away.”
“She should be committed,” Anders joked.
“Shut the frak up, Anders,”
“She doesn’t scare me.” Anders didn’t give a frak about Helena Cain hearing him. Lately, he found it hard to care about much anymore.
Still, he lowered his voice out of deference to
Anders crossed his arms over his chest. “The idea that the Cylons are building a police force out of convicts and desperate people, and giving them unlimited power. My father was a sergeant in the Caprica City Constabulary. I’ve seen how a badge can change even the best of people. These people may be human, but once they put on that uniform, it becomes… easier to turn the switch off, to start thinking about everyone as either ‘us’ or ‘them,’ even if they meant well to begin with. So maybe our job here is to convince people not to put on that uniform. Scare ‘em out of it if necessary.”
“There’s got to be other ways than blowing up anyone who joins.”
Anders went silent.
“Yeah,” he said finally, not sounding as sure as he did a minute ago. “Maybe.”
“Hey!” a voice interrupted their conversation. “What are you two gossiping about out here?”
They turned to see Jammer’s head sticking out of the tent flap, a shit-eating grin on his face.
“What else would we be talking about? Your girl, of course.”
Jammer snorted goodnaturedly. “Get in here, you motherfrakkers. The Admiral and the Colonel want you..”
“Yeah, yeah,” Anders replied easily. “I’m coming.”
Jammer ducked his head back into the tent.
He nodded. “Come on, Galen,” he said. “We’ve still got work to do.”
Here's the link to Part 1