"So say we all!
Sleeping in Light
Doctor Tara Maclay took of the glasses she needed for reading and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She felt awfully tired and groggy from the past week.
And the past seven days had literally been hell - in Colour! ('Bernd das Brot', anyone?).
Merely one day after they had successfully jumped from Ragnar and only maybe three hours after the funeral service aboard Galactica, the Cylons had caught up with them.
They managed to jump away again all right, but then the real nightmare begun. Because exactly thirty three minutes after they'd completed a jump, the Cylons caught up with them again and again. Over a series of 238 jumps - a number Tara only later learned from Willow, for she completely lost count after the first fifty or so - the Cylons where right behind them thirty three minutes later.
Thirty three minutes, not thirty two, not thirty four, but exactly thirty three minutes.
After the first hundred or so jumps, Tara felt completely devastated, even though, or maybe because she had nothing to do but sit around and wait for the things to come. Unlike Willow, who flew one combat mission after the other, with little to no sleep in between and later even had been forced to take stimulants.
Herself Tara had been unable to get more then a short catnap here and there. Even Miss Kitty had started to show signs of fatigue.
But then, following the two-hundred and thirty sevenths jump, the attacks simply stopped.
There wasn't another jump after thirty three minutes. Another hour later, with no new jump, Tara collapsed onto her bed and slept for almost halve a day, until she was wakened by a rather beaten looking Lt. Rosenberg.
Willow had only wanted to stop by briefly, to assure her girlfriend that she was still alive. But she then stayed for another hour, since she so desperately needed to talk to someone, about what had happened out there.
During the last jump - number two three seven - the fleet had lost one civilian ship, the Olympic Carrier, with 1342 civilians onboard. After the Cylons didn't show up for another forty five minutes, 'Apollo', 'Starbuck' and 'Red' took up the first regular patrol together with 'Boomer' & 'Crashdown', aboard Raptor 478.
All the other pilots where send back to Galactica and ordered to get some very necessary sleep.
Then right after the others had just returned to Galactica, the Olympic Carrier reappeared. They claimed that engine problems had kept them from following the fleet right away, but they where unable to give any plausible explanation on why the Cylons had sparred them.
It was at that point that 'Galactica Actual' - Commander Adama, ordered all communication from and to the Olympic Carrier to be jammed and he ordered 'Apollo' and his patrol to stop the Olympic Carrier from closing in on the fleet.
But the Olympic Carrier did not stop, and did no longer respond to any form of communication ether. Not to the visual signals of Raptor 478, nor to 'Apollo', breaking radio silence, ordering them to stand down or be stopped by force if necessary. To that effect he let 'Starbuck' fire a round across there bow, with no response ether.
On flying by, they couldn't see no people thru the windows of the luxury passenger-liner and when then Galactica's sensors picked up a radio electrical signal from the ship, there was only one conclusion left. The Olympic Carrier must have been infiltrated by the Cylons and with a nuclear device on board, it was on a attack run for the Galactica - the fleet's only protection.
And thirty three minutes after the Olympic Carrier had reappeared, and right in the same moment that the Cylons reappeared yet again, the order came from the Galactica and backed by the president, to eliminate that threat to the fleets safety.
'Apollo', 'Starbuck' and 'Red' opened fire and destroyed the ship that hadn't even slowed down.
Even though they had most properly saved the entire fleet, and the civilians of the Olympic Carrier had possibly already been killed by the Cylons anyway, the responsibility of having carried out the order to shoot down one of their own ships, weighted heavy on Willow's shoulders.
It was a weight, Tara knew she couldn't take of Willow, but she could at least help her by offering her a shoulder to cry on.
And crying Willow did, while Tara held her in a loving embrace, until her tears eventually stopped running down her face.
Then it was time for Willow to return to her quarter, to get some sleep before her next duty circle the next morning.
That had been two days ago and Tara hadn't been able to spend much time together with Willow. Every now and then, when they managed to meet in a hallway, they would happily sneak a kiss in a empty corner or yesterday morning, they had a short but intense make out session before Willow had to report for duty.
Otherwise they both had their work cut out for them. Willow with flying patrols around the ragtag fleet and Tara with her new job.
Right after the funeral service, Laura Roslin had taken Tara aside and asked her to serve as her liaison between Colonial One and the Galactica.
She also asked Tara to take over the post of the Secretary of Education, within the new provisional Colonial Government that she was building up, in order to maintain the democratic traditions of the Twelve Colonies.
Tara gratefully accepted both jobs offered to her and soon found herself very busy trying to rebuild something of an educational system throughout the fleet.
Tara put her glasses, back on and continued to read through the papers send to her from Colonial One, through Galactica's CIC.
These lists and reports, gave her an first estimate of the school aged children and students living throughout the fleet. There was also a list of people who ether where teachers or at least partially qualified to teach.
Now she only needed to find a way to get the teachers to the children they where supposed to be teaching. Some of the largest groups of the especially younger children, where living on a small number of ships and so she merely needed to find some teachers willing to be relocated to those ships. Others, especially young students, would have to learn by correspondence courses and wireless radio. Of course there where also problems, like teaching materials and facilities...
It knocked upon the door (bulkhead or whatsoever) of Tara's cabin.
Tara stood up and after she'd made sure that Miss Kitty, who had been busy shooting through the room like a fury black & white cannonball, chasing a red gummy ball, would not shoot out of the quarter, she opened the bulkhead and found herself surprised, by standing face to face with her girlfriend Willow Rosenberg.
She was even more surprised, when she realised that it was in the middle of the 'day' and Willow still supposed to be on duty. Willow was indeed wearing her flight suit and had, as Tara recognised, broad another one complete with gloves and boots with her.
"May I come in?" Lieutenant Rosenberg ask sincerely .
"Of course," Tara replied rather confused, moved aside so Willow could enter and closed the bulkhead behind her. She then turned around to face her girlfriend again.
Willow, in the meantime, had placed flight suite and gloves on and the boots in front of the bed. At first Tara had wanted to give Willow a 'hello how nice to see you at this time of day welcome kiss', but something in the way Willow was standing in the middle of the room - something like the military at ease stand, she figured - kept her from doing so.
"So, Madame Secretary", the Lieutenant in front of Dr Maclay said, in her official voice, that Tara had never heard before, "I've been told, you would like to participate in a Viper flight." She continued, while Tara seriously considered that she might have been fallen asleep over her work and all of this was just the most craziest dream she'd ever had.
It was the completely confused look on her face, that made Willow crack and burst into laugh.
"Tara!" she giggled helplessly holding her side, "you should see your face. Oh goddess, I had never dreamed of fouling you so completely."
She continued to laugh excitedly and soon Tara joined in, but only briefly before she took Willow by her hips and drew her into her own arms and started to kiss her passionately, witch was just the thing Willow needed, to bring her laughter to an end.
After a short and happy moment of making out, Willow returned to her grounds for showing up during her duty circle. But before that she shortly held her side again and said "Oh, I think I actually pulled a muscle, I haven't laughed so hart in a long time. Anyway." She straitened herself up again. "Remember the evening we first met , I mean really met, at the reception?"
Tara nodded, only vaguely pondering what Willow might be up to.
"Well after I told you, that the best place of being between the stars was in the seat of a Viper, you asked me..."
"Does that mean you're offering me a flight with your Viper, Captain...?" Tara completed Willow sentence. Of course she remembered. She remembered each and every detail of this evening. As did Willow, she could tell from the short dreamy look within the redheads eyes, before she said, "now I've gotten the permission from my new CAG - Captain Adama, and Col. Tigh to take you on a flight with the only two seat Viper aboard.
"It's a Mark V Training Viper. You know one of these planes where the trainee sits in front of the instructor, on their first flights outside the simulator, with the instructor able to intervene if necessary."
She caught the somewhat alarmed look on Tara's face and hurried to calm her obvious fears. "Don't you worry Tara. It is completely impossible for you to push the wrong button. Because the controls of the cockpit your sitting in - the trainee cockpit if you will - will be locked out. I will be in control of the Viper," she explained and added with some extra warmth in her voice, "you're save with me, promised."
"Of course I am," Tara said softly and kissed her girlfriend once more, before it was time for her to change into her flight suit.
As Tara stood in front of the closet, wearing nothing more then panty and bra, [Socks too of course. But that kinnda ruins the romantic image I'm trying to created here.]
Willow said dreamy, "did I ever tell you how rather sexy you look in your undies?"
"Yes you have", Tara assured her, glad she was wearing her private white underwear right now, instead of the "military green and grey" ones Willow had brought her yesterday for change.
'But you haven't seen the best of me,' she added in her mind. 'Wait until tonight my precious.'
Something within Willow's looks, told Tara that her girlfriends thoughts where driving in a very similar direction.
With Tara suited up and her hair put up to a nice pony tale, in order to fit it under the helmed, Willow lead her towards the port hangar bay and with every step she got closer to the parts of the ship that where off-limits to civilians as herself, Tara got more exited.
Not only because of her very first Viper flight, but for the prospect of being together with Willow in a way she would never ever have dreamed of.
Arriving at the landing bay, the two woman where awaited by Jessica Cally, the cute specialist Tara had already noticed during the decommissioning ceremony - an eternity ago.
Cally first saluted to Willow, then nodded her greeting to Tara. She then started to make some notes on her clipboard before she looked up again. "Ok Sir," she said to Willow, "now lets get you and 'Sorceress' into space."
With that she turned around and led Willow and Tara through the hangar and towards the bay where their Viper was waiting for them.
Not paying much attention to all the new and unfamiliar sites within the hangar, Tara turned to Willow and whispered: "Sorceress?"
"You know," 'Red' explained to her, "even though you're a civilian, when aboard a military vehicle like a Viper, you do need to have a call sign of your own and so I took the liberty to pick one for you. Hope you like it."
"It's wonderful," Tara whispered. How much she wanted to kiss Willow right now. But since this was hardly the time or the place, she told her: "it would have been quiet right for you too, you know. Because I'm under your spell."
There was so much more Tara wanted to tell her right now - no, there was only one thing she wanted to tell. But just as she was about to whisper the most important three words into Willow's ear, they had reached the Viper and Cally turned around towards Tara.
"Madam Secretary," she said, "if you would please come with me. I will help you get into your seat." But at first she helped Tara to correctly put on the gloves.
After that, Tara climbed the ladder up to the cockpit, took her seat, and got strapped in. Right behind her Willow did the same. She was sitting a little bit elevated, what enabled her to pilot the Viper from there.
"Ma'am, if you would please lean forward a bit," Cally asked her respectfully.
Tara did as she was asked and the young specialist attached the collar around her neck and connected it with the life-support system. Next she helped Tara put on the helmed and pressurized it, what made Tara gulp in order to get her ears cleared again. The last thing Cally did, was to show her how to work the suit controls for air regulation and communication.
"There you go, Ma'am," she said and gave the nervous Secretary of Education the thumps up.
"Thank you," Tara said, "but please, as long as it's just the two of us, call me Tara."
She could tell that Cally felt a little bit uneasy, calling an 'Official person' like herself by the first name. But when Tara gave her a friendly smile, Cally returned it shyly. "Maybe next time, Madame Secretary," she said. "Maybe next time."
'She's cute,' Tara thought watching the young specialist climb down the ladder again. At the same time her 'Gaydar' told her, she was definitely as gay as Willow and herself.
'Out and proud one could say,' Tara thought, even though properly not around here. The military only slowly adjusted positively towards gays and lesbians, and that despite the new laws, she knew.
"So you're ready 'Sorceress'?" came Willow's voice right into Tara's ears, like she was sitting right next to her, instead of behind her.
"As ready as I can be 'Red'," Tara assured her pilot slash girlfriend. "Considering, I'm about to be shoot out of a Battlestar, strapped to a rocket."
"You know what?" Willow whispered directly into her ear, "you stick with me, I guaranty you safety and fun."
"Of course I know that I'm save with you", Tara assured Willow and smiled happily. 'And I'm yours,' she added in her mind.
While Willow was completing the pre launch procedure, Tara's mind went back to the memorial service and what Commander Adama had told them about the mystical 13th tribe of Kobol and the planet they had settle on - Earth and the distant and unknown star it circled. He had said that he knew where it is.
But even though in her heart, Tara more then everything wanted to believe that he really did, and that Earth could become their new home, the historian inside her mind had serious doubts. For how could such an enormous secrete be kept?
Maybe Commander Adama had told the truce, but even if Adama had lied to them, Tara understood the possible reasons behind his lie. For with the hope of a new home, Adama had given them, what they all needed more then anything else, a reason to live. Because to simply exist, was not enough.
The Viper started moving, Tara looked up. Willow had completed the pre launch procedure and the cockpit had been closed. When did that happen? Tara wondered, as she watched the Viper being moved into the claustrophobic launch tube.
Fascinated Tara listen to the dialog exchanged between Willow and one Capt. Dax.
"'Red' this is 'Shooter', I have control standby. Viper 1061 clear forward. Nav-con green. Interval check. Thrusters positive. Mag-cap ready. Gap door open." The door right in front of Tara opened, and revealed a long tunnel, at witch end Tara could make out some stars.
"Thrust positive and good luck."
With that Tara was slammed hard into her seat and for a short moment it felt to her, like a very heavy person had taken seat upon her chest. And within seconds they had cleared the Galactica and were between the stars.
Tara was absolutely overwhelmed. Unlike the countless hours she had spent on passenger liners, ever since she'd started working for Laura Roslin, this time she really felt like she was moving right between the stars. Felt like she was part of the universe.
Like a Princess of the Universe, with Willow as her gay Knight in a shinning amour.
It clicked in her helm speaker and then Willow warm voice came right into her ears. "So, did I promise to much?" she asked.
It was so much like she was sitting right next to her, instead of one seat behind her. What made for a kind of intimate conversation.
"It's absolutely beautiful Willow... I mean 'Red', Sir." Tara said not sure if regulations aloud her to call her pilot by the first name.
"Relax Tara," Willow laughed. "We're on a protected channel. No one onboard the Galactica can hear what we are talking here. While CIC still be able to reach me if necessary."
"That's good," 'Sorceress' sighted and return her attention to what was outside the cockpit window. Willow was flying a view hundred meters 'above' the fleet, and so Tara had a clear impression of the fleet. Of that what was the last best hope for the survival of the people of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol.
"Tara?" came Willow's voice into her ear again, but this time Tara noticed it to be lacking the confidence it had displayed before. Feeling that Willow gathering all of her courage to say what Tara had wanted to say in the hangar bay. As the silence continued, without Willow saying it, she said it herself: "I love you too Willow."
Willow didn't answer right away, but Tara could hear her letting out a short sight off relive that made her smile to herself.
Because to say these three little words was never easy, she knew. Because the weight of these words was quiet heavy indeed. You just didn't say them without meaning it.
"And I love you", Willow finally broke this happy silence. "I... I already wanted to tell you after Ragnar." she went on. "But you where asleep and then everything got so busy and... and..." Her voice trailed of.
"I know what you mean," Tara assured her girlfriend softly, wishing that right now she could take her into her arms. For several minutes they remained silent, but kept whispering to each other, even though they didn't say a word.
This happy silence continued, until Willow pointed something out to Tara, "Oh look Tara! To your left, there's Buffy, she's our escort. You know, watching out for us, since this is a flight with an government official."
Tara watched fascinated, as Buffy matched them in speed an altitude. She was flying one of the old Mark II Vipers, she could tell and since Buffy flew fairly close, Tara could also examine the plaque on the side of the Viper. It read: Lt. Buffy Summers "Slayer".
"How did Buffy come to be called 'Slayer'?" she asked Willow, while she kept watching the other Viper flying side by side with them.
"That's a long and rather interesting story," 'Red' answered. "But you should ask Buffy yourself. You see, she loves to tell this story about how she's the chosen one and she doesn't like anyone but herself telling it."
"Maybe I will," Tara giggled. "But not today, for I have special plans for the two of us tonight."
"And what would that be?" Willow asked, her tone of voice already telling Tara that she very well knew what her girlfriend was hinting at.
"You'll find out," Tara laughed and turned her attention back to the incredible view ahead of her.
Later it was time to return and so, flying a wide curve, Willow broad the Viper around and followed by 'Slayer' they flew back to the Battlestar Galactica, this flying peace of armoured metal, that was now their home in the emptiness of dark space.
But Tara knew that despite all the darkness and despair around them - on the run from the Cylons and in search for a new home and a new beginning - she would always be living, and sleeping in light, for Willow Rosenberg was the light of her life, her true love and soul mate.
Closing in on Galactica, Tara listened to Capt. Kelly, another of Galactica's flight officer's give Willow clearance for her final approach. "Viper 1061; this is Galactica. Approach port landing bay. Hands on. Speed 106. Checkers red. Call the ball."
"Copy that Galactica. Port landing bay. Hands on. Speed 106. Checkers red. I have the ball," Willow reported back and flew the Viper into the enormous landing bay.
Only moments later Willow broad them gently down to the ground and Tara could hear Captain Kelly speaking once more right into her ear:
"Skids down. Mag lock secured. On behalf of Galactica: Welcome home 'Red'; 'Sorceress'."
Is only the beginning.
The world is over, the fight is just beginning.