Return to A Love Beyond the Stars: Love on the Run Chapter Six

A Love Beyond the Stars

Author: Dax
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters are registered trademarks of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Battlestar Galactica, created by Ronald D. Moore. Based upon the 1978 Series Battlestar Galactica created by Glen A. Larson. Copyright 2004 USA Cable Entertainment Inc. Chapter titles come courtesy of Babylon 5, created by J. Michael Straczynski. Copyright 1997 Warner Bros. PAY TV.
Feedback: Please leave feedback on the A Love Beyond the Stars thread on the Kitten Board.

A dying leader will lead the people to Kobol, which will lead the way to the promised land; but will not live to enter the new land.

The world is over; the fight is just beginning.

Chapter Seven
The Deconstruction of Falling Stars

"Everybody hit the deck!" Lt. Rosenberg yelled as she watched in horror the spider web of cracks spread further throughout the Raptors windshield.

Just in the nick of time Willow protectively brought up her arm to cover her face, before the windshield literally imploded into the Raptor. Feeling fragments of glass blast past her arms and head cutting her; Willow fought desperately to blindly keep control over the dying plane.

Grabbing the controlling joystick of the Raptor with both of her hands again and ignoring the cries and shouting coming from behind her, Willow braced herself against the sharp cutting winds that hurt her face and eyes, she kept struggling with the Raptor's controls as the ship plunged towards the planets surface.

With the wind blasting into the Raptor like a thunderstorm and cutting into her face like a knife, Willow thought:

'How did I get here - how the hell?'

Twenty-four hours earlier

"When did morning happen?" Willow asked, as the set alarm switched on the bedrooms lights. "When the moon went down," Tara said while she silenced the alarm clock standing on her nightstand.

"Huh?" The redhead lying in the crutch of her arm asked puzzled and shifted her head upon Tara's shoulder so she could kiss her.

"It's something my mother used to answer, in order to get me out of bed," Tara answered. They kissed again, but then Miss Kitty jumped onto the bed, took up position upon Tara tummy, and looked like she wanted to say: 'you two snuggled enough. Now's my turn!'

Eventually they both had to get up.

"So we'll be going to breakfast together?" Tara asked, while going through her rather limited collection of outfits.

"Sure why not. Have you seen my bra?" Willow asked, sitting up and suddenly Tara had to concentrate hard because the blanket had slipped from Willow's bare breasts.

"On the nightstand," Tara answered and blushed considerably as she spotted the bruise where she had kissed Willow to hard. "It's just a big step and if you're not sure we can wait."

"Why wait - my socks?"

"Under the bed."

"Thanks, I mean, what did we talk about last night?" Willow bent under the bed to discover both of her socks and her panties.

"We talked last night?" Tara asked, looking in the mirror and combing her long blond hair, while Willow kept hunting for her clothes.



"Of course we talked Tara - not much though I admit. Anyway, you told me about coming out and how liberating it is. So why keep hiding - trousers?"

"Sideboard," Tara said and followed her girlfriend into the living room, while she in turns was followed by Miss Kitty, who loudly demanded to be fed at once.

"I'm also fairly convinced that most of the talk will be going away, once we're going, you know out and proud," Willow said while she fashioned and zipped her trousers and collected her uniform jacket, witch she found on the floor somewhere between the outer bulkhead and the bedroom door.

Before reporting for duty though she would have to freshen up and change into her flight suit, she knew.

"After all," she went on, "it's only 'fun' talking behind other peoples backs as long as they try to hide something like this."

Willow turned around to Tara who had been preparing Miss Kitty's dish, "so Tara, are you ready for some out and proud breakfast?"

"Sure, but are you positive you're not forgetting something?" Tara quizzed her girlfriend with a really big grin on her face.

"What?", Willow asked and followed Tara's glance towards the desk and her boots, that were standing right in the middle of it.

"Now how did they get there?", the redhead wondered and retrieved them at once.

"Don't ask me", Tara laughed, as she watched her girlfriend put on her boots.

Willow's theory turned out to be fairly accurate, for when she and Tara walked hand in hand to the officer's mess, no one seemed to pay any special attention to them. They were greeted by people like on any other day. Some smiled warmly at them, and only some looked like they actually disapproved of the sight of two woman holding hands in public, but being alone they didn't seam to have the courage to say anything about it. In order for Willow to salute any superior officer she might encounter - without having to let go of Tara's hand first - Tara walked on Willow's left side and Willow could feel how proud she was for walking so openly with her. Or perhaps even showing off for having an officer and Viper pilot for a girlfriend.

Over a fantastic breakfast - though when you're in love even the worst breakfast is fantastic - Willow and Tara talked about their respective plans slash duties for the day.

"So what are you up to?", Tara asked while drowning her funny shaped pancakes in syrup. "More patrolling around the fleet I assume?"

"Absolutely," Willow answered enthusiastically.

"You really love flying don't you?"

"Yea, there's absolutely nothing like flying through space in a Viper." She smiled seductively, "except of course when I'm with you. You make me fly and I love it more then anything."

Willow lowered her voice, so that Tara had to lean closer in order catch the last words her girlfriend was whispering: "I love you, you know that?"

"I know," Tara whispered back.

"And you?", Willow asked while munching away on her pancakes. "More governmental duties?"

"No absolutely not," Tara laughed, "today I'm going to do what I'm best at and what I love the most."

"Pleasure me?", Willow asked and seductively let the tip of her tongue move over her lips.

"Well yes - tonight," Tara said blushing considerably on the thought, "before that however I will be teaching again."


"Here aboard Galactica of course," Tara explained, "the Ministry of Education thing is running smoothly and so I decided to take some time off and teach the kids here a little bit of my favourite play from my favourite playwright."

"Richard III."

"That's right and I hope those kids will like this play as much as I do."

"I'm sure they will, if you tell them about it", Willow said and remembered when Tara had read this play to her; using different voices for the different characters.

"But now I'm afraid we've got to break it up. Before I can report for duty I have to get a shower and change into my flight suit," Willow said with a rueful smile.

Tara nodded and finished up her tea. "Let's head out into the day," she said cheerfully, then more gloomily added, "ever noticed how ridiculous such phrases sound nowadays?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean like I just said, 'head out into the day', 'or good morning'. When at the same time we're travelling through eternal darkness. And our clocks are tuned to a planet that's lost to us."

"Hey," Willow said softly and gently caressed Tara's cheek, not paying any attention to the few raised eyebrows around them. "Don't you go all blue on me. Look Tara maybe I can pull some strings and get us a day or two at the Cloud Nine. I mean it's only a fake simulated sky, but as you know it's quiet realistic - so what you say?"

Tara opened her eyes again, which she had closed on feeling Willow's touch. "That would certainly be nice," she said warmly and then added, "but I think as the Sec Ed I might have a bigger cloud to get us this short vacation." She smiled thoughtfully, "even when I'm at my worse - you always make me feel special, how do you do that?"


"You know, this magic of yours it's really working. I'm all better now," Tara said gladly. "It was properly just a phase I went through."

That made Willow laugh, "you know that's what some people say about us girl loving girls."

Hand in hand, Willow and Tara left the mess hall. Having to go into different directions from there, they said their good byes right in the halls.

"So have a nice day," Tara said and kissed Willow on her cheek, "love you."

"Love you too. See you tonight," Willow answered and returned the kiss.

Only reluctantly she let go of Tara's hand and walked away, but not without turning around for one last yearning look upon her girlfriend.

On turning back Willow spotted fellow pilot 'Mouse' coming to a dead stop just a few meter's away from her. Obviously, she had been heading for the mess hall together with her daughter, who was looking curiously at her mother. Willow was just about to open her mouth to greet mother and daughter Barkas, when 'Mouse' suddenly turned around and dragging her daughter behind her hurried away - away as it seemed from that Lezzy. It was in that moment that Willow decided that enough was enough.

"Ludimila," she said, but her comrade was obviously ignoring her, as she kept walking away from.

Knowing that as a lieutenant she outranked 'Mouse', who was 'only' a lieutenant of the reserve, Willow reluctantly decided to play the 'rank card'. Stepping up besides her, Willow addressed the fleeing mother once again. "On a word Lieutenant," she said officially and when 'Mouse' still didn't stop, she added, more formally this time: "Lieutenant Barkas attention."

This too was of no effect and so Willow speed up her pace and stepping right in front of her, she brought 'Mouse' to a full stop. "Lieutenant Barkas as your superior officer I gave you an direct order and you will obey - so attention!" Willow bellowed.

With an ill will, Ludimila Barkas let go of her daughter's hand - who looked somewhat bewildered by what was happening before her eyes - stood to attention and saluted her superior officer Lt. Rosenberg.

Willow returned the salute briskly: "At ease," before she turned to Ludimila's daughter Katharina. "Would you please excuse us," she said, "your mother and I have something to talk about. Why don't you go ahead to the mess hall. The pancakes are really excellent this morning, even though they're funny shaped." Following a short wordless exchange with her mother Katharina left, while Willow asked her mother to follow her to the nearest empty briefing room.

"Please have a seat," Willow said and pointed to one of the chairs.

"If you don't mind I would rather stand, sir," Lt. Barkas answered coolly. 'Well that had to be expected,' Willow thought bitterly, when you call upon your higher rank. A lesson to be remembered if you should ever make CAG.'

Loud she said, "Ok, have it your way 'Mouse'. But I'm telling you, this whole 'attention thing', would not have been necessary, if you had just talked to me, instead of turning around and running away."

"I did not run away!" 'Mouse' protested.

"Do you think I'm stupid, Ludimila?" Willow said calmly. "For the second time, since the change was made to my name plaque, since word went out that I'm gay."

Ludimila flinched on hearing Willow saying it out aloud. "You turned and hurried away with your daughter when you saw me coming. So don't tell me you just happened to change your mind about having breakfast with your daughter, just when I came your way."

Willow waited for 'Mouse' to reply, but when none was forth coming she went on. "Look Ludimila, I'm not contagious. It's not an illness. It is just the way I am. I have not changed. I'm still the same Willow Rosenberg you've met when you first reported to me for duty."

"But back then I did not know that you were a..." 'Mouse' stopped, unwilling to call it by name. Also unable to look her in the eyes, as Willow noticed miserably.

"What Ludimila ? A lesbian? A Queer?" Willow paused before she quietly added, "a pervert - a abomination?"

"The scriptures say, it's not supposed to be," 'Mouse' said weakly.

"So it says," Willow replied dryly. She felt rather disappointed that the older comrade should play the religious - if not bigots - card.

"But this particular part of the scrolls also tells us not to cut our beards, not wear linen and wool together nor eat crayfish or frogs or snails. And I'm afraid if we adhered to that then many people from Saggitaron would be an abomination in the eyes of the Lords." Knowing that Ludimila was divorced, Willow added: "The scrolls also say that marriage should be for life."

"That's different!" 'Mouse' protested weakly.

"Is it?" Willow asked in return, "Once it was believed that a marriage should not be divorced and that homosexuality was offensive and morally wrong.

"But people changed... learned that sometimes it's better to end a bad marriage, then to continue it until it gets really bad. And the same is true for gays and lesbians. So I love a woman. She's my soul mate, she completes me. How can this be wrong?"

She paused for a bit, "in the end it all comes down to love. And the most important message of the Sacred Scrolls is love isn't it?"

There was another painful silence, and Willow could see that she could not get through.

"Listen Ludimila," she said, "I'm not seeking your approval - I don't have too. You just have to understand you're hurting me when you hurry away from me with your daughter, like I would harass her or something.

"Can't we be civilised about this? You see I can't and I won't change who I am. But at the same time I'm also not of the 'all in your face kinda way'. My girlfriend and I are more private, nothing more then holding hands or a kiss on the cheeks in public," Willow said trying a bit of humour. "After all, as part of my patrol group you have to get along with me - trust me. Trust is essential when you want to survive in combat. Like when we took the asteroid from the Cylons? I trusted you with my life and during that mission you even saved my life...

"You no longer want to fly with me do you?" Willow finally understood the mixed signals she was getting from 'Mouse'.

"No," Ludimila Barkas answered flatly, still avoiding Willow's look. "I can't handle flying with someone like you."

"So it is," Willow said, trying not to show her hurt. "You've already filed for a transfer with Captain Adama I gather?"

"Not yet, but I will be shortly."

"Well until then, like it or not, you will be flying patrol with me today. For regulations state that requests for transverse have to filed at least one day in advance and it might take 'Apollo' some time until he decides about it.

"But in the meantime, unless you're planning on leaving, service and the Galactica all together, I expect you to behave yourself when around me, whether or not your with your daughter or not. Or believe me I will be pressing charges against you for disrespectful behaviour towards your superior officer - dismissed Lieutenant."

Sitting down heavily in a chair, Willow let out a heartfelt sight. 'Well that could've gone better,' she thought sadly. But for that, it needed two people and sadly to say that Ludimila Barkas was not one of them. Granted she obviously only wanted to protect her daughter - but from what? Homosexuals? Life? She seemed to be literally afraid of gays. Afraid because people like Jessica, herself and Tara were different from what people once considered 'the norm'. How ridiculous it was though, here they were, diminished to less then fifty thousand people and pursued mercilessly by the Cylons; not to mention the threat of Cylon sleeper agents living among them, and this mother was afraid that her daughter might 'turn' gay, when she got into close contact with a lesbian. She'd tried her best, Willow was sure, and now all that was left for her was to hope and pray that Katharina would not take on the homophobic attitude of her mother, but would turn out to be open-minded toward alternate forms of life.

"And now you better get going if you want to take a shower, before changing into your flight-suit," Willow advised herself, and left the room.

Following a (very) quick, but nonetheless refreshing shower, Willow put on a new flight-suit and made her way to the pilot's briefing room. She was just about to enter, when a familiar voice called her back, "Lt. Rosenberg?"

"Captain Adama," Willow said saluting her CAG.

"On a word Lieutenant," 'Apollo' said and led 'Red-Dyke' to a quiet corner, while her thoughts went into overdrive. Had 'Mouse' gone strait to 'Apollo' for a immediate transfer? Had she protested for the way Willow had talked to her earlier? Would he agree with the way she had handled the situation.

'Just play it cool,' her voice of reason, advised Willow.

"Is this about Lt. Barkas?" it burst out of Willow and onto a obviously unprepared Lee Adama.

'I think you somewhat missed the playing cool mark,' her inner voice commented dryly.

"What about Lt. Barkas?" 'Apollo' asked puzzled.

Nothing, Willow wanted to say, but realizing that once she had started she couldn't back out again, she explained. "Lt. Barkas might address you about a transfer from my patrol group."

"And why is that?"

"Well it seams that she has a problem with my personal leanings."


Kicking herself mentally in the butt for not saying it, Willow remembered all of her out and proud talk and said, "she seems to have a problem with me being gay, sir."

"You know Lt. If you're old enough to do it, you're old enough to say it." Willow flinched on hearing the captain repeat what Xander had told her once before - a long time ago.

"Anyway," 'Apollo' said cutting to the chase, "the sexual orientation of my pilots is of no concern of mine." And more to himself he added, "As long as they don't shack the vice-president."


"Never mind - or any other politician."

"It's the Secretary of Education sir," Willow said weakly, feeling like the ground may give way beneath her any second.


"My girlfriend - it's Dr. Tara Maclay the Secretary of Education," Willow explained.

"Education? Well I don't see any conflicts of interest here. Unless she's promoted to Secretary of Defence that is, wouldn't you agree?" 'Apollo asked. Willow nodded and her CAG added confidentially, "and please forget the whole vice-president, politician thing okay?"

"Already have," Willow assured him and so Lee Adama returned to the subject at hand.

"Your up to a eleven hour patrol right now right?" he asked.

"Yes, that's twice a week."

"Well you know, we're spread pretty thin pilot wise, and not that much pilots to follow. It still will take some time until we can add any of 'Slayers' Potentials onto the duty raster. Anyway, report to me after your patrol. I need you for a special assignment tomorrow," 'Apollo' explained.

"Yes sir," Willow answered and then curiously asked: "can you already tell me what this assignment will be all about?"

"You 'Crashdown', and 'Cardman', together with two other Raptors will be part of a ground survey mission," Adama explained

Willow interest into mission peaked at once. Had they found Earth, was their quest over at last? "This planet we're to survey," she asked keenly, "is it Earth?"

"No it Isn't," 'Apollo answered and stepping closer her lowered his voice. "Listen, it's not yet spread around and we don't want the get the hopes up just yet. But we are pretty sure that this planet is Kobol."

Willow eyes went wide. "Kobol? You mean Kobol like Kobol? Like the Lords of Kobol - Kobol? That Kobol?" she babbled away, taking her CAG quietly by surprise.

"Yes Lieutenant, Kobol," he hastily confirmed. "Lords, if we could pluck this mouth of yours into a Viper, it would have FTL capability."

"Sorry," Willow said with a guilty smile.

"Never mind, just give me a short warning before you do that again. And remember this ought to be confidential for the time being."

"Yes sir. Can I tell my girlfriend sir?" Willow asked before she could stop herself.

"Given that as a member of Laura Roslyn's cabinet she probably knows already, yes. But no one besides that. Not even your patrol group understood," 'Apollo' clarified once more.

"Understood sir," Willow acknowledged.

"Good, now get to your patrol 'Red-Dyke' - good hunting."

Kobol, legendary planet from which the twelve tribes had started out countless centuries ago, to find the Twelve Colonies, and home to the mysterious thirteenth tribe who travelled far and wide to settle on a planet called Earth.


Now no longer a myth but a real planet, and if Kobol was real - then Earth could be real too, couldn't it? Commander Adama did not know the true location of Earth, Willow had no doubt about it, for how could've such a secret ever be kept. But with Kobol now being a reality, maybe the prophesy could become true - that Kobol would lead the way to the promised land - Earth.

Of course, there was also the possibility of settling permanently on Kobol, provided the planet was still hospitable. But then, what about those Cylon sleeper agents, they might still be hiding out within the fleet? The sleepers could lead the Cylons to them once they settled. Could they seriously risk settling on Kobol? How could they know for sure the Cylons would not come after them? And if they settled, they would be sitting relatively defenceless upon the planet's surface. And what if, on the other hand, Kobol would lead them to Earth - what moral right had they to go to Earth under these circumstances? Cylons were created by the men of the Twelve Colonies. What right had they to bring their demons upon the innocent people of Earth? Quite the big philosophical question, but during long eventless patrols like these Willow liked pondering about such heavy subjects - even though she wouldn't have the answer to them.

The patrol itself went by pretty smoothly; 'Rogue' was all 'Five by Five', as usual and 'Mouse' a little more friendly as during the previous patrols since Willow's coming out. Perhaps the seemingly fruitless talk might have nudged her into some kind of understanding. Willow didn't know, but certainly she hoped so, 'cause she really respected Ludimila as a comrade and would like to have her as a friend too

Armed with a stag of preliminary - as well as highly classified - topographical charts, and first survey pictures of Kobol, Willow headed towards the visitor quarters and her girlfriend. She was to make herself familiar with these materials prior to the planetary survey mission to Kobol tomorrow morning. While 'Cartman' was to lead the planetary survey team, 'Red-Dyke' and 'Crashdown' would conduct further mapping flights over the main continent. Willow had come aboard this mission as a replacement for 'Boomer', who accidentally had shot herself while cleaning her gun. Luckily though it was just a scratch and she would be alright soon. Odd though that an experienced soldier like Sharon should forget to check the chamber of her pistol before cleaning it.

"Hello Lt. Rosenberg!" Willow turned around to see young Katharina Barkas coming up right behind her, smiling uneasily.

"Oh hello," Willow greeted the adolescent warmly "you're looking for your mother? Because I haven't seen her for the past hour, I've been in a special meeting."

"Not at all," Katharina said hurriedly, "I was looking for you, because I wanted to give you this." She handed Willow an envelope. "Now I've got to get back, or my mother will be wondering were I am. Bye!"

"Bye," was all Willow was able to say before the young girl had run away again. 'Nice Kid,' Willow thought and looked at the envelope she was holding in her hands.

To Ms. Rosenberg, Battlestar Galactica, she read.

It wasn't written by 'Mouse' Willow could tell, but suspected it to be written by her daughter. Pausing at a corner, Willow opened extracted the one sheet letter and began to read it.

Dear Ms. Rosenberg,

I'm writing you because I want to say how sorry I am for how my mother reacted the past two times we meet you in the halls. You have to believe me when I'm telling you that this isn't what she's like. I mean, usually she's quite cool - for a woman her age that is. It is just when it comes to homosexual people like yourself, that she can't really help herself. My grandparents were all conservative, old fashioned and very religious. You know like fundamental religious, like only fish on Fridays and so on. I think you can imagine what their stand on homosexuality or even mixed raced marriage was.

However, my mother never taught me to be disrespectful towards people of different race, gender, religious beliefs or even gays and lesbians. It's just herself, even though she tries to get off the tracks her parents forced her into, she can't help it but to be caught by the teachings of her parents. Of course, there's also the problem that with so many people dead and killed, including my father - whom she still loved despite them being divorced - that she really wants to protect me from harm. Even though there's, of course, nothing to protect me from when it comes to people like you and your girlfriend.

Anyway, I fully intend to talk to my mother about this and hopefully I will be able to make her see that we can meet you in the hallways, without walking away from you again. I also hope that she will keep flying with you, because she really respects and admires you as a fellow pilot and comrade in arms. (her words not mine.)

Katharina Barkas

PS: Would you send my regards to Dr. Maclay? As a teacher, she really rocks and I hope to become as good a teacher as she is. No offence to you and your line of work.

'Nice Kid,' Willow thought once again. 'And bright too,' she recognized.

After all old habits really do die hard, as the old proverb says and maybe Katharina could help her mother break out of the religious bigot mould of hers. "Can't wait to tell Tara about this," Willow whispered to herself and started walking again.

Honey, I'm home, Willow had wanted to call upon letting herself into Tara's quarter, but only got as far as "Honey..." as she was greeted by a scarcely lit room and Miss Kitty sitting right in front of the bulkhead, looking at Willow like she wanted to say: Stop calling. Your Honey ain't here, just me. So pick me up and cuddle me instead!"

Switching on the light, Willow absentmindedly picked up Miss Kitty Fantastico and looked around the room, Tara should have been here by now she knew.

The laptop was missing, she saw. Tara must have been called away on some governmental business or something like that. In that moment, Miss Kitty jumped of her arm and onto the living room table, like she wanted to turn Willow's attention to the envelope lying on top of it. Taking Miss Kitty up again, Willow sat down on the couch put the mission documents on the table and took up the letter. With Miss Kitty sitting comfortably in her lap, she read letter left to her by her girlfriend.

Dear Willow,

I'm sorry to not be here to greet you upon your return today. Due to some unexpected problems aboard the Vanguard, I will not be able to read to you this evening as I promised. Of course, this also means that I will miss the feet and other parts massage you've promised me in return. You know, of course, that you wont get of the hook so easily, or don't you?

I shan't be gone long, just until tomorrow, probably around lunch time. We then could meet for a romantic dinner at my place - I will be cooking. That's right, me! Jessica Cally promised to lend me a hotplate and I organized some food supplies, and from that I will cook you... mustn't tell you yet, it's to be a surprise.

I've got to hurry, my flight will be ready soon, so I have to leave for the shuttle bay and I have to leave you. I will be counting the hours 'till we're back together again.

I am yours. Love Tara

PS. Would you please look in on Miss Kitty for me?
You could also sleep here if you like. Unless you feel the necessity to prove to your bunk mates that you're not completely fed up with sharing a room with them.
See you tomorrow my Love.
Kisses Tara.

"See you tomorrow," Willow repeated the last words written by her lover. But more likely the day after tomorrow. Her part of the ground survey mission, with Raptor One was to take one day for starters - setting the ground work for further missions.

Pre flight briefing together at six hundred hours, with a return scheduled for around twenty three hundred hours, but as missions go, it might as well get later then that. Willow wasn't sure if she wanted to disturb Tara at so late an hour. But then the thought of sleeping under the covers next to sleeping Tara, made Willow feel all warm and tingly - so it was settled.

After playing with Miss Kitty, and looking through her papers, Willow sat down at Tara's desk to write a letter for Tara to find upon her return tomorrow. Sealing the letter with a kiss, Willow placed it on the table, right were Tara had placed her letter. Following a short stop at the washroom, Willow then changed into her nightshirt and slipped under the covers that still held the scent of her girlfriend. Despite Miss Kitty taking up sleeping position right in the middle of her tummy, Willow went to sleep as soon as she put out the lights.

"Ok, ok cut the chatter down," 'Crashdown' ordered the crews of the other two Raptors. "Spin up FTL drives." he went on, while 'Red-Dyke' tried to make herself comfortable, as comfortable as you could be sitting on the floor of a cramped Raptor. Ten people including their pilot 'Cartman', 'Crashdown' at the dradis consol, and Vice-President Baltar slept on the seat right next to 'Cardman'.

"Cally hold on to your lunch," 'Crashdown' mockingly advised the young petty officer sitting right in front of Willow, who responded with a equally mock salute.

"Still haven't got used to it?" Willow asked.

"Nope, still gives me butterflies in my tummy," Jessica Cally answered, lowering her voice she added just for Willow to hear, "and I'm not talking about the good kind of butterflies, if you catch my meaning, though some of them are present as well."

"I guess so," Willow whispered back, but something in the young dyke's face made her take a closer look into Cally's face. There certainly was a particular gleam in her eyes.

"So, are there two kinds of Butterflies coming along?" Willow asked whisperingly.

"Reasonable well sir," Cally said with a wry smile, "though right now the 'I hate flying' butterflies are in the majority."

"And for whom would the others be flying?" Willow asked even more quietly, "if you don't mind me asking."

"I don't mind, but I better tell you later," Cally answered, turning a little bit green around her pretty nose as 'Crashdown' started to count down the seconds to jump.

".. three, two, one - Jump!"

Then there was the familiar flash and without actually moving, they had travelled from where the fleet was to Kobol and the many possibilities it held for the people of the Twelve Colonies.

"Jump complete," 'Crashdown' reported and over the wireless Willow could hear 'Elo' advise the Pilot of Raptor 2 - 'Shadow' to bring down the nose in order to see the planet. There was this short moment of peace when Willow bent her head in order to catch a first glimpse of planet Kobol.

Then all hell broke lose.

Everything happened at once, the moment 'Cartman' brought down the nose of Raptor 1 the Dradis Consol went wild, reporting multiple enemy contacts all over the planet. An uncountable number of Raiders and one Basestar, Willow could make out on the screen.

"What the hell?" 'Cartman' cried out and in that very same moment, Willow could here a desperate 'Shadow' cry: "Hell no!"

Then there was a sudden fireball to their right and Raptor 2 vanished from the telemetry-screen, as he'd virtually been run over by a Cylon Raider - blown to peaces and all ten souls aboard instantly killed.

With enemy fire all around them, and the Raptor only equipped with defensive potential, all was in complete chaos. With people crying or yelling all around her, Willow tried to get a grip on the situation - in that moment the Raptor was hit.

"Fire in the turbine shutting it down!" 'Cartman' yelled and right in front of Willow something blasted through the floor, exploded at the back of 'Cartman's seat; and send the pilots head rocking forward - blood spieled on the windscreen and a crack damaged it's integrity.

"Pilot down! Pilot down!", Baltar yelled in panic, stating the obvious, while Tyrol sealed the breach in the floor.

Staggering to her feet, Willow yanked the panicking Vice-President roughly out of his seat and sat down in front of the controls. Taking a quick inventory of the instruments, 'Red-Dyke' saw they could only go into one direction - down. She had to bring this bird down, or they would all be dead.

In the mounting chaos behind her, Tyrol yelled at 'Crashdown' to order the remaining Raptor to get the hell out of here.

"Oh no!" Willow gasped as the windshield further dissolved. 'At least we're already inside the planet's atmosphere,' she thought before she yelled: "Everybody hit the deck!"

"Watch that mountain!" Tyrol yelled into Willow's ear, meaning the huge rock formation right in front of them. "Thanks for watching!" 'Red-Dyke' yelled back.

"I love you Tara," Willow whispered with tears in her eyes.

Loudly she yelled out: "All hands brace for impact!"

Continue to A Love Beyond the Stars: Love on the Run Chapter Eight

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