"Colonial Heavy 798, this is Viper 7242.
Tara Maclay only briefly looked out the window in order to catch a short glimpse of this almost fifty year old fighter. Even though it was astonishing to think that this very model had flown and fought in the Cylon Wars more then forty years ago was astonishing, her mind was far to occupied with this cute little Viper pilot, Willow Rosenberg - 'Red' and the way she made her feel. Tara vividly remembered the long and interesting conversation yesterday, not so much the conversation though, even Tara had found it intellectual stimulating, but more what had happened between the lines, in the subtext so to speak.
And subtext wise Tara had been flirting quit subtly. Because from the first moment she had laid eyes on this young attractive Viper Pilot she had been drawn to her.
And so Tara had continued to flirt discretely, in order to find out if the cute little redhead was indeed playing the same 'team' like herself.
Much like Kennedy, her best friend and now the fiancé of her ex Faith, had once put it: "It's like flirting in code, it's using body language, and laughing at the right jokes. And looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you, even though she's not saying a word. And that sense that if you can just touch her, just ones, everything will be okay. For both of you." (Pause) "Or if she's really hot. You get her drunk and see if she comes on to you."
Tara of course rather went with the former then with the later way. Mostly because it was far more romantic, and she'd always been a big romantic, and secondly because the later involved alcohol and Tara never drank this stuff before and certainly wouldn't start now, not even for this lovely lieutenant.
Either way, after an evening of coded flirting, Tara was fairly certain that Willow was the one. The one girl she had been dreaming of for all of her gay life.
Why not call it by name? Tara thought, it's love. Even though you spent only a handful of hours with her, you're already head over heals in love with her. Literally love on first sight, one could say. She's the one you've been looking for all your life- she's your soul maid.
But where do we go from here? Tara thought.
She was working in a ministerial office in Caprica City and Willow aboard the Galactica. They had promised each other to stay in contact, via Email and phone if they where within voice range, and after Galactica's return to Caprica, Willow wanted to spent some of her extended shore leave, of three month with Tara in Caprica City.
But after that Willow would leave for the Battlestar Pegasus.
So even if Willow felt the same way towards her then she did, how much chance for survival could such a long distance relationship ever have?
Tara sighted, wasn't that typical for herself. She didn't even know for sure if Willow loved her too and she already looked for excuses to back out again.
But why should it not work? Many members of the colonial forces where married, with only one of them being with the service.
She also knew that Willow didn't plan to be a pilot forever. But within the next five years or less, she wanted to secure an assignment to the fleets department for advance computer technologies at fleet headquarter on Picon. No doubt Tara could get a job at the University of Picon City, literally right around the corner of Fleet HQ and then...
A sudden movement interrupted Tara's train of thought, it was Laura who stood up and rushed towards the cabin's bathroom. She wasn't well Tara could tell, and remembering her own mother, Tara suspected that her boss was seriously ill. Maybe cancer - like her mother.
Tara's wireless phone rang and she answered it, "Hello?"
"Tara is that you?" a familiar voice filled with panic and terror cried into her ear.
"Kennedy?" Tara asked, feeling right away that something terrible was happening.
"Yes... didn't know whom to call... there are explosions... in the distance! All to clear to see!"
"What kind of explosions?" Tara wanted to know, fighting hart not to panic.
"Nuclear Explosions! The Cylons... I think. I'm sure they bombarding... Fleet Headquarters! If not the entire planet. I can't find Faith she left just moments ag..."
The line went dead and Tara's face as white as a sheet of paper.
Kennedy was working as a freelance journalist and right now she was in Picon City, preparing to travel to Fleet HQ the next day. She was working on a report about how, following the implementation of new laws, things had slowly started to improve for gays and lesbians within the military services.
But now the line was dead and this could only mean one thing: not only the fleet headquarter had been destroyed, but Picon City too. Kennedy was dead and Faith, of course Faith, she too a journalist, had accompanied her fiancé and so her ex girlfriend was dead too.
Tara felt completely numb, certainly the Cylons wouldn't attack merely one of the Twelve Colonies, but all of them.
Tears dwelled in Tara's eyes, but right now wasn't the time she knew and when she saw Laura return to her place, Tara went over to tell her what she'd just learned - that they where at war with the Cylons again.
The next hours, Tara literally watched herself as she went over to Billy and Laura and told them about Kennedy's call. Laura went directly to see the captain and returned with an official colonial communiqué confirming what Tara had been dreaded all along, not only Picon had been nuked, but there where reports of nuclear explosions on Caprica, Arilon, Sagitarion, Trevor, Tauron and Gemenon.
Even though there hadn't been any further reports, it was clear to the most of them that the other five planets must have been attacked too.
Laura then did the only possible thing she could do and that was to give anyone something to do, and to get the ship ready to pick up people stranded here among the stars, since President Adar suspended all kinds of civilian flights between the colonies.
Together with other passengers Tara moved boxes of cargo from one cargo compartment to another, in order to clear space to accommodate as much fugitives as possible, who couldn't stay upon their own ships.
Moving heavy containers around without the help of dock loaders helped Tara not to think all the time about what was happening at the Twelve Colonies.
It didn't work completely though. One part of Tara's mind always returned back.
Back to Gemenon and her father and brother and Rene.
Tara assumed that in their first waves of attack, the Cylons would primarily target military installations, but major city's as well, like the capitols.
Living in the country her family might still be alive. But beyond that, who could tell what the Cylons actually where up to. If they wanted to enslave humanity as they had been enslaved by humans, or if the simply wanted to wipe them out completely. So her father and brother might already be dead as well.
Rene on the other hand being a city girl, she and the eight million other people in Gemenon City where certainly dead.
She and Tara hadn't parted on the best of terms, they both had said some unkind things. But even though Tara had wanted more then ones to call Rene and clear things up between them, so they could at least meet in the streets and have a word or two, the hurt she still felt, because of the way Rene had behaved after she'd broke up with her, had kept Tara from contacting her ex ever again. Now it was to late, now her entire world seamed to be coming to an end.
Suddenly an even more alarming thought entered Tara's mind. The Cylons would certainly not only assault planet bound military installations, but the fleet as well!
"Willow!" Tara cried out, not caring for the puzzled looks from the people around her, she ran towards the nearest restroom. After she had looked herself in Tara let herself go, she sat down on the floor and started to cry. She cried for her father and brother, Rene, Kennedy and her ex Faith, but most of all she cried for Willow.
'Calm down, her mind tried too reason with her. You do not know if she's really dead, so don't you give up hope yet.'
"But the Galactica is old", Tara whispered to herself, tears running freely down her face. "What chance does a fifty year old Battlestar have against what ever the Cylons put up against her, or Willow in her single Viper? And if she's dead I missed my chance to tell her how much I love her. She might have died without knowing about my feelings toward her." Her voice broke and she started to cried harder.
'Call me crazy, her mind said, but I think she knows. Maybe not in her mind, but in her heart I'm certain she already knows. There was definitely some chemistry between the two of us. So don't give up hope, don't give her up until you know she's dead.'
Tara graciously rose and splashed some water into her face and stared into the mirror.
"Don't give up hope", she told her reflection. "You know, the Galactica is old, but maybe that's her chance. Maybe the Cylons don't consider her a threat, it's easy to overlook a single Battlestar."
"Maclay you're in there?" It was Billy, Laura's personal aid, knocking at the door.
Tara quickly cleaned her tears away and then opened the door. "What is it Billy?" she asked as she stepped out of the restroom.
"You have to come upstairs. Laura is about to be sworn in."
"Sworn in, as what?" Tara asked not understanding what Billy was saying.
"You haven't heard?" Billy asked, as the two of them made their way towards the upper passenger compartment. "President Adar and most of the cabinet are dead. Laura is sworn in as the new President of the Twelve Colonies."
Several hours later, "Colonial One" - formally known as "Colonial Heavy 798", approached the Gemenon Liner 1701, who had been hanging dead in space for some time. The first of many ships President Roslin hoped to find. She wanted to gather as much ships as possible, form a convoy and then leave the star system never to return. "The war," she said. "Is over. We lost."
Tara was just on her way to the ships cockpit, when Billy joined her to fill her in with the latest news. "The Battlestar Atlantia, the fleet's flagship, is destroyed. Admiral Nagala is dead. Commander Adama has taken command of the fleet. Right now he and Laura are..." Tara didn't hear any more of what Billy was telling her. Adama had taken over the fleet. That meant that the Galactica was still operational and that meant that there was the chance that Willow was still alive. There's still a chance, she thought, as she arrived at the cockpit.
"Inbound Enemy fighters!"
These words, uttered by Colonial One's captain, made Tara's hopes crash down right to the ground again.
"How long till they get here?" Laura wanted to know.
"E.T.A. 2 minutes," the captain said.
"We must leave", Captain Lee Adama - 'Apollo' advised.
'Why wasn't he outside in his Viper?,' Tara wondered.
"We can't defend this ship," he argued, but Laura objected. "We're not going to abandon these people."
'Apollo' wasn't about to give up yet: "But Sir we..."
"I made my decision," the president cut him off, making absolutely clear who was in charge. "You're the president," 'Apollo' said, before he asked permission to go down below. Not waiting for the president approval he left.
In the meantime Tara simply stood there and tried to understand what was happening around her. The Cylons had found them, but Laura refused to abandon the civilians over there onboard that other ship, and so she might have doomed them all together.
Could it be that just in the very moment she had learned that her beloved Willow might still be alive, that she herself was about to be blown apart by some Cylon Raiders? Could the Lords of Kobol really be that cynical?
"Colonial One, this is Galactica," the voice of Commander Adama coming from the speaker got Tara attention. It was the commander crying out for his son, who was no longer listening. "Apollo you have inbound enemy fighters coming towards you. Get out of there! Apollo! Apollo! Lee, get... Lee!"
The ground beneath her feet gave way and Tara felt herself hurling towards the floor. 'Is this the end?', she thought sadly.
She hit something, "I love you Willow," Tara sighed, before she lost consciousness and an ever-growing darkness took her into its deep embrace.