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Pegasus were right;
Galactica was a piece of shit
, Faith thought as she strode down the corridor, her eyes lazily scanning her surroundings Still, it was better than another trip to the brig. Her duffle bounced lightly against her back as she forged an unfamiliar path towards the pilots’ quarters. She’d never stop and ask for directions, though, and kept a swagger in her step to ward off anyone who’d even think of asking her if she was lost.
Rounding a corner, she was nearly run down twice. First by a tall young man wearing nothing but a dopey grin on his face and a pair of briefs. Second by the short young woman chasing after him, damp hair spraying droplets of water as she ran. The woman was brandishing a towel with her arm clutched across her bare chest. “Hotdog! Give me back my bra!” she screamed as she trailed him. Faith stopped in her tracks and turned, watching the pair dash off down the corridor and disappear around another bend. A smirk came to rest on her lips. Maybe this reassignment could be fun.
She made a few more wrong turns and hit a few dead ends before she finally found her intended destination. The clock said it was 1730, or whatever passed for 1730 out here in the middle of nothing, and the duty locker was devoid of life; everyone was probably in the mess trying to stomach their sad excuse for dinner. It suited Faith just fine.
A quick survey of the room and she found an empty rack and heaved her duffle off her shoulder. The bag landed on the thin mattress with a thud. She shimmied her green jacket off her shoulders and tossed it alongside the bag. She laced her fingers and stretched her arms up into the air, arching her back, rising up onto her toes, and cracking her neck from side to side.
Sighing contently as the tension left her muscles, she reached up and unzipped her bag, digging out her life--duty blues, dress greys, briefs, socks, sports bra, a single set of civvies. Faith opened up the locker and grabbed a couple of unoccupied hangers. She hummed to herself, bobbing her head and silently screaming words to the last song she’d had the chance to rock out to in her favorite club before the attacks—it kept her mind off how mindnumbingly boring unpacking was.
However, she didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on her boredom before the thud of boots on metal announced the arrival of another person. Faith turned her head to see a blonde step through the hatch; her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, grey sweatshirt unzipped and half hanging off one shoulder. Her mood resembled something along the lines of a rainy day on Aerilon. Move,” she said gruffly, gesturing towards the lower rack.
Faith held up her hands in mock defense as she stepped back, watching as the other woman stooped over reaching for something on the shelf above her pillow. “Nice to meet you, too,” she replied.
The light in the room glinted off the single dog tag that hung from around the blonde’s neck. Its solitude was enough to pique her interest. Stepping close, Faith snagged the ID tag, pulling it towards her and dragging the woman along with it.
“K. Thrace 462753,” she read, relinquishing her grasp as Thrace tore back from her with a scowl crossing her features. Faith’s face, on the other hand, burst into a thousand-watt grin as she brought up her arm to block the fist that came swinging at her face. “So, you’re the legendary Starbuck.”
“You’ve got some balls.” She shot a glare towards Faith-- who had taken to leaning against the ladder, gazing intently at the captain—before turning to rifle through her things. “Now, who the frak are you?”
“Lehane,” she said, pushing herself away from the wall. “Faith. Lt.” She held out her right hand as Starbuck stood upright as well, but didn’t move to reciprocate the gesture. In fact, Faith noted as her gaze wandered, it seemed she’d rather be making friends with her booze, the way her right hand was clutched around the small brown bottle. “Oh hey, can I get some of that?”
Without waiting for an answer, she seized the bottle from Kara’s hand, her grip loose with disbelief as Faith raised the bottle to her lips. Tipping her head back, Faith let out a contented moan as she felt the liquor tear down her throat. The feeling didn’t last long as Thrace’s hand shot out, grabbing the bottle back. “That would be mine,” she snapped.
A few drops of the brown liquid dripped down Faith’s chin and fell, leaving damp marks on her tanks, right above where her dog tags hit her chest. She dragged her thumb across her chin just below her lip as she stared at Starbuck, her eyes fixated on the other woman’s lips. Kara’s eyelids hung low, emphasizing the flame of rage that flickered there, a flush of red covering her cheeks. “What’s the matter?” Faith said as her lips curled into a smirk. “Never learn to share?”
“You need to learn to keep your hands off my stuff,” Starbuck barked, stepping towards her, making use of her minimal height advantage. She jabbed her finger into Faith’s chest, her voice dropping to a warning hiss. “And you refer to me as Sir
, got that?”
Faith’s laugh was an easy one as she pushed past her. “Sir, yes sir.” She spun around to face her as she backed out of the room, left hand buried in her pocket. “Yo, I got the CO to report to and all that shit. Catch you later, K,” she said, treating Thrace to a sloppy salute before turning on her heel and sweeping from the room.
Starbuck was on her heels in seconds. “Lieutenant!” she snapped as she grabbed Faith by the back of her tanks and pulled her around to face her. “You do not report to the Admiral for the first time dressed like that
“The Admiral,” Faith scoffed. “Right.”
“You get back in there and get in your blues or, gods help me, I will strip you down and dress you myself.”
Faith bounced her eyebrows, but before she could say anything, Thrace barked another order. “Move.”
With a grin, she slipped past Starbuck, stripping off her tanks before she’d even disappeared from sight.
“Have a nice trip, Apollo?”
Kara must have been waiting, because she ambushed him right outside the hangar deck. Lee surreptitiously rebuttoned his jacket (he’d missed one stubborn placket in his haste to meet Racetrack who’d agreed to fly him back privately from Cloud 9
.) He looked at her carefully, trying not to signal alarm. She couldn’t possibly know about… no. Could she? She couldn’t. The edge in her voice had to be about something else. “Fine,” he replied, trying to sound smooth, easy, and knew he utterly failed to do so. It didn’t seem like she had picked up on the fact. Something must have really been bothering her.
As he started down the hallway, she dogged his steps closely. “I take it you weren’t just waiting there to welcome me aboard,” he said, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. “What’s on your mind, Starbuck?”
Kara glanced up and down the corridor, as if expecting something to jump out at her at any given moment, before snagging his arm and dragging him into the empty ready room. She slammed the hatch shut behind them and heaved a sigh that didn’t seem to alleviate any of her frustration.
“New pilot,” Kara said through gritted teeth. “Accent… think she’s from Scorpia or something; already a royal pain in my ass. Ringing any bells? Or alarms?”
Lee turned towards the white board where the list of pilots was displayed. He tapped the name on the bottom, a new addition in solid lettering—unlike most of the faded names-- read Slayer
. “I take it you met Lieutenant Lehane.” He turned back towards Kara who had slumped down in one of the seats, sideways, with her legs dangling over into another chair. “Fisk transferred her over here.” A smile crossed his face. “Sent a little note and everything; something along the lines of ‘She’s your problem now.’” He crossed over towards her and swatted her legs off the second seat before settling himself into it. “And Fisk is a pretty easy-going guy, so she must be-”
“-a walking nightmare?” Kara finished. “Yeah, I’m getting that. What I don’t get, though, is, I was CAG on Pegasus
,” she rolled her eyes up to the ceiling, “for a couple of days, anyway. Why the hell didn’t I know about her?”
“According to Fisk, she was in hack until a few days ago.” He slouched down in his seat, unbuttoning the top few buttons of his jacket and allowing it to hang open. “It seems there are some people on Pegasus who don’t think Fisk have what it takes to be in charge.”
Kara mirrored his posture, her eyes fixed on the new name on the white board. “I’m shocked,” she said flatly.
“Apparently, Lehane and a few of her buddies started stirring up some trouble, and he couldn’t just sit on his ass about it.” He ran his hand through his hair, realizing it was still slick with sweat from his activities earlier that night. “He needed to break up the group, figured they’d be weaker without their ring leader.”
“And he couldn’t just stick her back in the brig?” Kara grumbled, slouching forward, resting her elbows on her knees.
Lee twisted in his seat to look at her as she played with a loose thread at the inner seam of her pants. “Aren’t you being a little harsh, Kara? She hasn’t even been here a day. She’s probably frustrated, doesn’t know anyone. She’s probably not… all
“Not all bad?” Kara echoed, finally looking at him for the first time in the whole encounter. “Lee, she pissed off Fisk
. She got sent here as a punishment
Lee felt like he on the verge of being ready to just throw up his hands and be done with the whole thing. Instead, his voice adopted a teasing tone. “What’d she do exactly to get your briefs in a bunch?”
“She’s a booze thief, for one.” Kara said, her eyes narrowing as Lee raised an eyebrow. “She has no respect, at all. Professional or personal; it’s like she just does whatever the frak she wants to do; how the hell she even got into the fleet is beyond me.”
“I don’t know,” he said. A hint of a smile starting to appear on his lips. “She kind of sounds like someone else I know.”
Kara gave a snorting laugh as she sat back in her seat. “I don’t know if you just complimented her or insulted me.”
“A little bit of both,” he replied leaning closer to her. “And if she really crosses a line, I’ll make her life hell.”
As if on some instinct, she leaned in towards him; a smirk crossed Kara’s lips and lit up her eyes. “I guess there’s an advantage when the CAG’s…” She trailed off mid-sentence, her nose wrinkling as the glimmer faded from her eyes. She sat back in her seat, eyes wandering over him before she pushed herself to her feet. “You know, Lee. I’m pretty sure the rooms on Cloud 9 have showers. You might want to look into that next time.”
He could feel his heart rising into his throat as he watched her turn away. His feet moved on their own, dragging him out of the chair to catch her by the arm before she could tear from the room. “Kara, wait,” he pleaded. “It’s not… it’s… I just…”
Kara turned back to him. “Whatever, Lee.” She wrenched her hand out of his grasp. “About time you got laid.”
He couldn’t move or even find the words to get her to stay. Lee just watched her as she opened the hatch, pausing momentarily to look back at him, her face unreadable. His brain was telling his feet to move, but they weren’t listening, and she slipped out of sight, closing the door behind her.
Kat heaved a sigh as she folded on yet another losing hand. “I think I’m out,” she muttered, glancing towards her ever-dwindling pile of cubits.
“You can’t leave now,” Racetrack said, looking up from her cards. “The game is just getting good.”
Kat turned her gaze to Maggie’s quickly accumulating stack of bills and coins and rolled her eyes. “That’s because you’re winning.”
“Well, yeah,” she replied as though it wasn’t even a question. “Stay. I don’t want to be stuck playing with these losers.”
“Hey!” Helo and Hotdog groaned simultaneously; Racetrack shrugged, barely acknowledging them.
Kat reached out, grabbing the last of her money and shoving it into her pants pocket. “I’m not just gonna sit here and lose my shirt.”
“Yeah,” said an unfamiliar voice behind her. “Think you’ve done enough of that already.”
Kat craned her neck looking up at the only vaguely familiar woman standing over her, long waves of brown hair hung loose around her shoulder, and she had a dangerous twinkle in her eye as she looked down at her. “I think I saw you earlier.”
“Yeah, and I saw you. A lot of you.” She turned her gaze towards Hotdog. “You too.”
Helo cast a gaze from Hotdog to Kat and back to Hotdog. “What did you two do now?”
“Nothing,” Costanza protested.
Kat could feel heat rising in her cheeks, but she wasn’t quite sure if it was rage towards Brendan, or the proximity of newcomer who’d now pulled up a chair beside her. “I was taking a shower and he stole my clothes.”
Helo gave a soft shake of his head before turning towards the brunette. “Sorry, things aren’t usually so crazy.”
She waved it off. “Nah, it’s five by five. Good to see people know how to have fun aboard The Bucket.”
“I’m sorry,” Racetrack said in a voice that let it be known she was anything but. “Who the hell are you?”
She introduced herself as Slayer, and after the motions of introduction were carried out, Helo dealt her into the game and Kat suddenly didn’t feel up to leaving quite yet. There was this way the new girl had of carrying herself-she leaned over, elbows on the table, but she didn’t slouch and she didn’t show her cards. She was… something.
“So there’s Shaw with her pants around her ankles,” Faith sat up straighter, trying to stop her own laughter “And she’s lookin’ like she wishes she could make bullets come outta her arms like a godsdamned centurion. And she trips and knocks me over into a puddle of engine grease, and the guys are just laughin’ their asses off. Then she was tryin’ to crawl over and trip Gage, so I grabbed her around the waist,” Faith wrapped her arms around the air for emphasis, “and she was slippin’ all over the place. And then Fisk walks onto the deck, and just sorta stares at us. I have it on good authority he spent a good couple hours alone in his quarters after that.” She winked towards Hotdog who seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed her tale. “Good times,” she sighed.
“Yeah,” Kat looked up to see Starbuck who seemed to have strode into the rec room mid-story. “Sounds like fun.” She pulled up a chair directly across from Slayer. She looked like she wanted to sneer but for some reason Kat couldn’t figure it seemed like she was trying to be civil. “Do a lot of that kind of partying on Pegasus
? Cain actually let you get away with that kind of crap?”
“Cain had a bit of a soft spot for pretty ladies,” Faith said, shuffling the cards and seeming pleased with Kara’s forced politeness. “Thought you knew about that, K. Heard she bumped you up to CAG pretty frakking fast, didn’t she?”
Starbuck sneered. “Yeah, and look how far that got me.” She glanced down at the table as Faith flung a card towards her before resuming her dealing duties.
“So…” Helo said, not looking up from his cards, but his voice had dropped a little bit. “You’re good friends with Gage?”
“Gage is my man,” she grinned, holding up her right hand, middle finger hooked around her pointer. “Me and him and Vireem are tight, yo.” She shook out her hand and dropped some cubits into the middle. “Ante up. Anyways, I heard while I was in the brig, a couple of frakkin’ toaster lovers got Lt. Thorne killed. They ended up in hack too, and my buddies showed up and–” she broke off, noticing the sudden silence at the table and glanced around. “What?”
“I’m one of those ‘frakkin’ toaster lovers’ that your ‘buddies’ tortured.” Helo glanced at Slayer. Kat was pretty sure she could feel the temperature in the room drop about 10 degrees.
Faith bit down on her lower lip and gave a shrug of her shoulders. After what seemed like an interminably long silence, she spoke once again. “Got what you deserve.”
Whatever had spurred Starbuck to hold her tongue before finally shattered as she shot to her feet. “Okay, you know what? Frak you.”
“Kara,” Helo warned. “It’s fine just… let’s forget about it.
“No, okay? Pegasus
Psycho here can’t just walk in acting like she’s better than all of us.” Kara stepped out around the table, to meet Faith who’d also risen from her seat.
Lehane stepped forward, standing toe-to-toe with her now. “Better than him anyway. Our job is to blow up the cylons, not get blown by
Kat was pretty sure Kara threw the first punch, but she wouldn’t bet on it. The pair hurled threats, swears, and fists at each other; Slayer seemed to have the upper hand when she threw Starbuck into a table occupied by Duck and Beano. As the table and Kara hit the ground with a clank and a thud, Kat could see some blood starting to pool on the floor. It didn’t seem like it was enough to stop either of them.
Faith tripped forward, landing on top of Kara. The captain cried out as her head hit the floor, but retained enough of her faculties to slam her knee up into the lieutenant’s stomach before throwing her off. Faith flew into a chair, landing with her arm twisted behind her.
Starbuck got to her knees, swaying slightly before she aimed another punch at Slayer. The blow barely grazed the target but the momentum carried the captain down onto the floor once more. Holding her arm, Faith rose to her feet with a smirk, her breathing ragged and heavy. “So… that… that’s it? That’s the great Starbuck?” She let out a laugh as she delivered a kick to Thrace’s side.
Groaning, Kara rolled over onto her side, grabbed Faith firmly by the ankle, and pulled her off balance, sending her careening into the chair once again, this time catching her face against the seat, and leaving a deep gash on her cheek.
“What the hell is going on in here?”
Kat turned to see Captain Adama storming towards the brawling pilots. “Anyone care to explain?” He wasn’t just looking at the pair on the floor, but at all the others who had just stood around letting it happen.
Faith groaned as she sat up. “She started it.”
Lee shot her a glare before kneeling down beside Kara who kept her hand pressed against the back of her head. Kat could see the bit of red staining her fingers. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” she groaned. “Just… kind of dizzy.”
Lee grabbed Kara by the chin, studying her face and it became very clear that she was having trouble focusing. He slipped his arm underneath hers and pulled her to her feet. “Come on, I’m going to take you down to see Cottle.” Starbuck looked like she wanted to protest, but instead she just held on tighter to Lee. He turned his sights towards Faith, who had pushed herself to her feet and was testing the mobility of her arm. “You too. And that’s an order.”
Faith opened her mouth to object, but the cumulative rage that filled the room seemed to be too much even for her. She strode out of the room ahead of the captains.
Kat moved to set the table upright once again, glancing over to where Hotdog and Racetrack stood clustered away from the fight. “Think that was her idea of fun?”
Kara cracked one eye open lazily when she heard the shift of metal and fabric, the sound of someone pushing back the curtain around her bed in sickbay. She didn’t know who she expected to see, but she definitely didn’t expect to see Faith standing over her, her elbow bound up in a brace and a piece of gauze taped over her cheek. She didn’t show any sign of hesitation as she walked up; in fact she was almost grinning as she lowered herself down at the foot of Kara’s bed. Thrace almost growled as she spoke. “What are you doing here?”
“What’d the doc say?” Lehane asked. The tone in her voice made it seem like she was asking Kara for the latest on who was frakking who.
Thrace would’ve shook her head in disbelief if it wasn’t so godsdamned painful to do so. “Concussion. Minor. And again,” she said, her eyes narrowing into a glare. “What are you doing here?”
“You hit me first,” Lehane replied with a raise of her eyebrows. “I’m bein’… y’know… gracious. I mean, I don’t even know you, and all of a sudden you’re slammin’ your fist in my face.”
“Right,” Thrace scoffed. “Because you didn’t steal my stuff and insult my friend, or anything.”
“Come on, you gotta know how it is when you haven’t been in the cockpit for a while.” Faith nudged her leg. “It’s like you start to feel like you’re losin’ it and you’re skin just starts crawlin’ and you just gotta fight or frak somethin’. Tell me that when you haven’t seen action for a couple of days you don’t just start itchin’ for a cylon raiding party to show up so you can just get in that little unh
.” She jabbed with her good arm for emphasis with the grunt.
Kara cocked an eyebrow at her but remained silent, not wanting to admit that she could possibly have anything in common with the lunatic sitting at her feet. She settled back against her pillow and turned her eyes up towards the ceiling.
Faith’s enthusiasm never wavered. “So yeah, pickin’ a fight. Not the best idea, but I’m not exactly up on who’s boinkable ‘round here.” She paused and gazed off out the small opening left by the curtain, her mouth curling into a wild smile. “CAG’s quite the muffin, though. Anyone got dibs on him?”
Kara bit down on her lip. She was in the middle of debating whether or not it would be worth it to get up and slam Faith’s head into the floor, when for the first time she saw the lieutenant’s bravado falter.
“...oh. Oh!” The smile was back. “I shoulda known after the way you were hangin’ on him earlier.”
“What? No. don’t… I mean… we’re not… I was having a hard time walking.”
“Uh-huh,” Faith edged closer to her. “Come on, K. What’s he like?”
Kara remembered the scent of sex that had lingered on Lee’s clothing earlier that night and grimaced. “I’m not sleeping with Lee.”
“Damn. I don’t know if that’s willpower or stupidity because if I had a guy lookin’ at me the way he was lookin’ at you earlier, I’d be on him in two seconds flat.”
Kara eased herself back down onto the bed, her voice was firm and final. “I am not having this conversation with you.” She closed her eyes. “You’re dismissed.”
Faith made no motion to leave. “Sounds like you need to have it with someone, ‘cause-”
“I said you’re dismissed
. That means ‘get out.’ RFN!”
She felt the bed jostle slightly as Lehane got to her feet. There were no footsteps, just a long pause until she finally spoke. “Somethin’ in your bottle needs some serious uncorking, sir
.” And she was gone.
Kara rolled onto her side. It’d be another hour or so before someone would bother her awake just to make sure she could. As she drifted off to sleep, she couldn’t help but wonder if, for some reason, Fisk had actually sent Lehane to Galactica
to punish them.