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.
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Galactica is not coming back, just accept that.
Will contact this frequency every twelve hours. Prepare sit-rep for command authority.
Have hope. We're coming for you.
The fight for the survival of humanity continues.
New Caprica City
Day Five of Cylon Occupation
My beloved Willow,
I'm writing this letter to tell you about what's happened since we said good bye aboard Pegasus five days ago. Of course you won't read this letter and certainly many others for a long time. Not until you, the Adama's, Pegasus and Galactica come up with a plan of action to return here and rescue us all.
It's only the fifth day and already it feels like an eternity. You know, before I came to Caprica, my life had always been controlled by others. First by my father and later by Rene; but despite that I always knew, that as a citizen of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol I was free. Now I'm a subject to the Cylons and the puppet government of Gaius Baltar. That's right, the way it seems he's willingly working with the Cylons. Gods know what will come of this or what they really want.
I never understood why they came down on us so hard and merciless back then or why they kept on chasing us. You know, even after all that we have gone through since the attacks, I never believed it could get any worse. Actually I even started to feel some hope that things might get better, especially after we found New Caprica and the hope it presented. Even though I didn't want to come down to settle here right away, I admit. But even in our darkest hours on the run I thought that it would come down to the Cylons becoming our masters.
No self aware life form should ever dominate another.
It was wrong when we made them sentient, made them our slaves, only to make things easer for us and it is wrong now. Maybe it's even worse, now that they look like us, even have feelings like us. I keep seeing the same seven or so faces of the humanoid Cylons we know of. Some models more than others. Coming to think of it, there are still at least five more Cylon models that we don't know of. If there really are only twelve models. After all we still don't know for sure where this quite mysterious information: "There are twelve Cylon models" really came from.
To answer the question that is certainly on your mind: Yes, the Cylon model that you knew as 'Rogue' and who I knew as Faith - she's here too. Though until today I only saw her once. So far only another copy of No. 10. I don't think that the Faith I saw, was really 'her'. Because even though I walked right past her on the street this Faith did not recognize me. Maybe Cylon Faith was being honest when she told me that not all Cylons of one model share the same memories and experiences.
I like to hope that Faith - 'Rogue' is not among those humanoid Cylons the occupational forces consist of: But I'm afraid that she is out there, only waiting to make the most of her 'return'. To think that I once loved this woman...
Got to go, Willow, sun's coming up. I'm going to get myself some breakfast. Need to stay strong for Hope and for you when you return. And for my search. Four days and I still haven't found Dawn. She took it so hard when Cloud Nine got blown up, presumably by the Cylons. I'm afraid to think how she will take to the Cylons occupation of New Caprica.
So long my love.
I'm yours always
Tara looked in horror at the handful of dark blond hair she held in her hand and all the more hair lying in front of her on the ground together with a electric razor. 'Where did she get this?' Tara wondered, pulled herself up to her feet and sat down heavily on Dawn's bed. Weeping silent tears Tara absentmindedly stroke the soft dark blond hair of her wife's best friend's sister.
Ever since the destruction of Cloud Nine the young teacher's psyche had been kinda frail and the past four months of Cylon occupation hadn't been designed to make things better for anyone. But now Tara was very afraid that something might have happened to finally push Dawn all the way over the cliff, but what? There was only so much a human soul could take and they all had taken so much for the past days of the occupation.
With the "administration" cutting down on food, supplies and energy, living had become quite difficult for everyone. Except of course for those who had joined the New Caprica Police forces, or had found other ways of arranging themselves with the Cylons. 'Frakking collaborators' Tara thought angrily, thinking of those people who had made a deal with the devil and were now living in relative comfort, compared to the rest of the people.
Tara would never do something like that and to that effect she had successfully withstood several advances of her Cylon ex Faith to make things better for her in exchange for Tara's public support to the Cylon rule. As well as some other concessions on her part Tara suspected.
It wasn't easy standing up to Faith, but then Tara had something to hold on to - hope. Both for the child she was carrying under her heart and for Willow to come back to rescue her. Even after four months there was no doubt in her heart that the two Battlestars would make it.
Dawn however, what held her together?
New Caprica City
Day Twelve of Cylon Occupation
My Dearest Willow,
Two days have gone by since the first encounter with my Cylon ex that I wrote you about yesterday. Since then I haven't seen her nor any other copy of her model. Though I'm not sure that's necessary a good thing.
The Faith I knew was very persistent, once she overcame her initial shyness, that is. Not that she was very shy when it came to dumping me for my best friend. You know I'm still keep asking myself what a Cylon agent like her - the Cylon you knew - thought to accomplish by living the life as a lesbian journalist on Caprica. I mean there was certainly no strategic value in that, was there? Or why she had been putting up with me as a girlfriend for that matter. Me as a member of the ministry of education, never had any access to information that could have been of some use for them in their, no doubt, long planed attack on our home worlds.
And Kennedy as a fellow journalist... wait a minute! Kennedy! She regularly used to work on stories concerning the position of the military on gays and lesbians on the force. To that extent she often travelled to military bases and even one or the other Battlestar.
Willow! I think that might be it! Or at least that could be it! I mean the reason why Faith dumped me for Kennedy. You know to get some low level access to a military installation. Maybe in order to place one of these devices there. You know like the one that was found in the Galactica's CIC and with this Cylon Leoben .
I think I'm going to be sick.
To imagine that she really used both me and my best friend, to get nothing more than information on our defences. Or maybe even to 'guide' the nuclear warhead into it's target - the Fleet Headquarters? Think about it; even with the complete element of surprise on their side, they still needed to make sure they destroyed an important target like the fleet HQ on the very first strike! And what would be better than a living homing beacon. How very machine-like, logical and effective. How utterly perverse.
I will write you another letter tomorrow Willow because today I just can't continue.
Absentmindedly Tara kept stroking the strands of Dawns hair she was still holding in her hand. Then she reached for a small wooden box - a present from Katharina Barkas, daughter of former Viper pilot 'Mouse' - and gently gathered up all of the hair and put it into the box. She was just about to place the box on her nightstand next to the alarm clock when she opened it again, took out one curl of dark blond hair, tenderly rolled it up and placed it into her wallet which she then stored back into the parka she was still wearing.
Tara sat for another moment on the bed before she took off the parka. She laid down on the bed again and covered herself with a blanket. It was with an ill will that she did it but she knew that she had no choice right now but to wait until morning, before she could start looking for Dawn. Tara killed the lights and tried to get some sleep.
'Maybe Dawn will be back tomorrow,' Tara though, though she found it difficult to really believe it. She turned around restlessly and it took her another hour before she finally fell into an equally restless sleep haunted by nightmares.
New Caprica City
Day Fifteen of Cylon Occupation
Oh Willow, my Willow,
At last some good news and you know with all the darkness surrounding us, you become grateful for even the tiniest bit of good news you can get. Now even more than when we had been "merely" on the run. And these are really good news my dearest Willow.
I found Dawn! Two weeks into the Cylon occupation I finally found Dawn!
Yesterday I was back on my way from school - I'm doing some teaching now, didn't I tell you? - Gods know you need something to keep yourself busy and keep yourself from going crazy. For me it's teaching and writing these letters to you.
So where was I? Right, on my way back...no not home. Because it could never be home. Though if you were here, even this draftee old tent would be home. Anyway - I was on my way back, walking down main street, when I spotted Dawn standing in the crowd. It was a sight that made me both happy and frightened. Happy, because I had found Dawn, a person that was always very dear to me. After all I had been searching for her all these days, hoping to find her alive and well. Alive I found her, but well?
Willow you can't imagine what she looks like! First of all she is really, really thin. I mean she had always been kinda slim - you know like healthy slim but now she looks like she rarely ate the past days, weeks months. And it isn't like we're not getting enough to eat from the Cylons. Whatever their plans for us are, it doesn't seem to include starving us. Dawn also looked like she hasn't sleep in days too. Her face was all pale and dark shadows ere around her bloodshot eyes.
So Dawn was standing there, leaning one of the metal lampposts lining the main street, staring into the crowed, but not really seeing anything or anyone. She really looked very much like someone who had lost all hope. I'm telling you it cost me some effort to break my own stare and walk over to Dawn.
Dawn... she didn't take any notice of my presence when I addressed her.
"Dawn?" I asked carefully, she didn't reply but kept staring into the crowed or more like staring into a great big void of nothingness.
"Hey Dawn, it's me Tara." Now I stood right in front of her, her glance went right through me as if I was made of glass. If I hadn't been worried before I certainly was now. She stood there like... like a mannequin on display.
"Dawn, sweetie," I said and gently touched Dawn on her shoulder. It was like my touch woke her from a deep sleep because she blinked and then looked at me surprised.
"Hi Tara," she said, "you are here too?"
"Yes," I answered, not sure what else I could say to her.
"Thought you were up there on Pegasus," Dawn went on, pointing up into the sky.
"I was," I told her, my hand still on her shoulder, like I was afraid she might fall into this come like state again if I left go of her. "Came down to make some deliveries. I had been down here for an hour when the Cylons..." My voice failed me at this point. You should have seen the look of silent fury in her eyes.
Willow, I've never seen so much hate and hopelessness in another person's eyes. Not since we've been on the run! I'm scared Willow, I'm really, really scared.
"So Tara, you are lost here too," Dawn said after a while in a flat voice. "Destined to live out your life under the iron fist of the Cylons." At first I wanted to take Dawn into my arms but I shied away from her when she silently added "Buried alive." Neither of us said a word for the next few minutes. I stood next to Dawn and together we watched the people go to and fro in their daily lives under the Cylon occupation. Though if Dawn really saw anything of what was going on in front of her was hard to tell.
"I've been looking for you for the past fifteen days," I said after a while. "Where are you staying?" Dawn turned her head looking at me but turned away before she eventually answered,
"Nowhere," she said in a whisper. "Never had a need for a place to stay."
"What do you mean?" I asked puzzled. "You spent the better part of the pat year down here on New Caprica. So surly you must have a place where you're living."
She looked blankly at me. "I didn't go down to the planet to live in this so called city," she explained to me. "You know as soon as I arrived here I got myself a little tent and camping gear and went out into the wilderness."
Her voice sounded alive and vivid for the first time. She even smiled when she spoke again. "It was wonderful being out there on my own. You know this planet might look a little rough but it is really beautiful once you get out of this hell hole. And that's where I went - out there. Just me, the sky over my head, the grass beneath my feet and only my own thoughts to keep me company. Back then I was at peace with myself for the first time, ever since..."
Suddenly her look hardened again and her voice turned cold. "But then, two days ago I ran into a patrol of these chrome toasters and they dragged me back to this.... Only then found I out about the occupation. I don't care about it, not at all. They could just have let me stay out there, I would not have bothered them, not at all. But they brought me back..." Dawn fell silent after that and I actually expected to see tears in her eyes. But nothing, her eyes were as dry as the desert and her face again void of any emotion.
Willow, I really fear for Dawn. Ever since the destruction of Cloud Nine, she has been really fragile and with the occupation; I fear she might break after all.
To my surprise Dawn didn't reject my invitation to stay with me, on the spare bunk in my tent. She is sleeping opposite me right now. She turns restlessly in her sleep, murmuring. I can't understand the words she's saying but it is pretty obvious that she is having a nightmare.
Got to go now Willow, need to catch some sleep myself. No doubt, our daughter will wake me up early again tomorrow.
I love you Willow Rosenberg and I'm counting the days till we're united again.
It was about seven o'clock in the morning when Tara woke up, feeling sluggish and tired, like she hadn't slept at all. Like every morning she send a short prayer to the Lords of Kobol, that they might deliver them to safety again soon. That they would not permit her daughter to be born to live in captivity or slavery. Intriguing how one learned to pray when presented with such a dark and desperate situation.
"Morning Dawn," Tara said sleepily and turned herself around which in her condition cost her some effort. "I had the weirdest dream," Tara went on but fell silent as she faced Dawn's empty field bed. It hadn't been a dream after all and Dawn hadn't returned. She was gone. She had cut her hair and was gone. She was just gone in the sense of 'not being here right now'. The cut hair in the box on her nightstand told Tara that Dawn had gone, not intending to come back but where to, Tara could not think of.
Very slowly Tara got out of bed, dressed herself, got her "bag of necessities" and headed out to the tent housing the 'bathroom' to freshen up a bit.
'First order of business: survival'. Tara remembered the words of Lt. Dana Kim as she hastily consumed her breakfast. And she knew Dana had been right. She needed to eat something before she started looking for Dawn. 'We have to be strong, Hope,' Tara thought, resting her hand on her belly. 'We have to go and find your Auntie Dawn.'
How much Tara missed Willow at her side at times like this or a good friend like Dana Kim. But the lieutenant had remained with Pegasus. She could ask Jessica for help, Tara thought, as she left the tent housing the cantina. Yes, Jessica Cally would certainly help her and she could be trusted to tell nobody that Dawn was missing. Because if she left the city without permission - if that was what Dawn had done indeed as Tara feared- she might be in big trouble.
Tara found Jessica right outside the tent she was living in with a friend and former comrade from Galactica's deck gang.
"Hi Tara!" She beamed, "how are the two of you?" She gave Tara a bear hug, mockingly complaining about how difficult is was to do so.
"Hope's fine," Tara said with a weak smile, "but..."
Cally became serious at once. She took Tara by the hand and led her into the tent. Guiding her to sit down on a chair, she sat down on the ground in front of Tara and waited for the pregnant woman to start.
"Dawn's gone," Tara whispered breathlessly. "She didn't sleep at our place tonight."
"So she spent the night elsewhere," Cally said, reminding her that Dawn had done so one other night in the past month.
"This time it's different," Tara said and then told Jessica Cally all about the cut off hair, as well as of the more recent changes in the former teacher's demeanour. When she'd finished Cally looked as worried as Tara felt.
"We have to find her," Cally said, "before she does something stupid. Of course we have to be careful, if the Cylons or this New Caprica police force frakkers hear about it we all could get into serious trouble.
"So where do you want to start Tara?"
Tara thought about it for a while and then told Cally about the one place where she knew Dawn usually went when she wanted to be alone. It was a long shot Tara knew that and Dawn would probably not be there, but maybe they could find some clue to whereas she might have went.
And so both Cally and Tara went out to search for Dawn. But even though New Caprica City might have felt like an over extended summer camp, it still was a quiet big city, especially for two lonely woman in search of an apparently desperate teenager.
New Caprica City
Day 96 of Cylon Occupation
Lately Hope's been kicking so hard, it makes me wonder if she might become a dancer later on in her life or maybe a football player.
Or maybe it's just her way of protesting against the Cylon oppression. Things are starting to getting bad Willow, really bad. There's a resistance cell at work. Essentially it's a good thing. After all we can't just let the Cylons rule us as they please. We must fight for our freedom - our survival. Fight to be ready when you come back to get us off this damned planet.
No, it's the way those people fight against Cylon oppression that is starting to really worry me. Passive resistance is one thing but committing acts of violence? And that's what they are doing. I mean, what's separating the freedom fighter from the terrorist?
It started out as acts of sabotage where nobody got hurt or killed. Neither human nor Cylon. Later they started blowing up vital installations of the Cylons, like the base for their raiders and heavy raiders. These attacks of course brought Cylon casualties with them. Casualties to which the Cylons reacted like every oppressive system has reacted in the past. With random arrests and people literally vanishing into the night.
It's all bad enough already but Willow, today a member of the insurgents blew him- or herself up among the newly to be sworn in members of the New Caprican Police Force! So now we have come to the point where humans kill humans!
I mean, yes they willingly collaborated with the Cylons. They used the power given to them by the Cylons to round up fellow humans and they where the ones responsible for a shootout at the temple that killed several humans, woman and children among them. And for that they should be put on trial, but blowing them up? I mean are we really better than the Cylons if we start killing each other like that? I don't know.
It has been almost two and a half months since the occupation started and Willow I'm telling you at times I'm close to losing all hope that you and the Adama's will ever come back to save us. But then I feel Hope move under my heart and I know that I can be strong. Know that I have to be strong for her sake. I also know that I have to be strong for Dawn too. Willow, I'm afraid that Dawn might lose herself over all of this and there is nothing I can do!
There are times when she acts all normal, relatively speaking. I mean we talk, we play chess (she always wins of course) and she seems fine. Sometimes she even laughs, even though it's the bitter kind of laugh of a person who lost too much in her life already. These good days however are rare, very rare. Most of the time she simply sits in the tent or on the outside of it and stares into the sky. Or from the looks of it, it's more like she's looking into the abyss of her own soul.
Of course I try everything to get her interested in other things, to keep her mind busy. But when she's really down, she just keeps sitting there and I'm not getting through to her at all and only barely get her to at least eat and drink something. Lately there are days when she disappears for hours, even entire days and only returns late at night. And way past curfew! I tried to ask her where she's going, but she simply refuses to tell me.
Willow! I'm really afraid that some day she might not come back.
Almost two and a half months, and I'm not sure how much Dawn can take anymore, how much I can take. You know, for the past few days I keep remembering a song from a movie or something and strangely enough these words manage to give me some comfort.
Hear our call
Lords of all
Remember us, here in this burning sand
There's a land you promised us
Deliver us to the promised land...
I love you Willow Rosenberg.
It was already getting dark when Tara returned to the empty tent. She lingered for a moment at the threshold to give her eyes time to adjust to the darkness inside. Tara didn't want to switch on the light because she couldn't stand the thought of having to look at the empty bed again.
Throughout the entire day she and Cally had been searching the city for a sign of Dawn, had asked as many people as they had dared to, without causing too much suspicion. But nothing. Nobody had seen or heard from Dawn. Then there had been another suicide attack, this time on one of the power stations, again with many civilian casualties. And after that, with all so many centurions and NCP people on the streets, Tara and Jessica Cally had to abandon their search for the day.
'What if...' Tara didn't dare to think any further. While entering the tent Tara again stumbled over the boxes that she had collided with the previous night. Cursing silently under her breath Tara succumbed to switching on the light. Sitting down onto the bed Tara reached for the top box at her feet and placed it onto the field bed right next to herself. With trembling hands she released the latches on the top of the box and put the cover aside.
Unbelievingly Tara stared into the box and its contents. She saw an old discarded west. Also electric wire, some strange electric components and most alarmingly to Tara, two small cylindrical objects, wrapped in brown paper. Tara remembered those objects all too well from her weapon training aboard Pegasus - Explosives!!!
Continue to A Love Beyond the Stars: A Race Through Dark Places Chapter Three