Voyage to Earth
by AJ Marks
Shadows of the Mind
Crystal watched as Rigel looked on in shock at what she said. Such strong emotions came from the woman it made her wonder if she said something wrong. The silence stretched out for several seconds before anyone said anything.
“Adama, that the commander,” Rigel finally stated. “I think you need to talk to Commander Tigh.”
Crystal had a feeling she was about to be involved in something she had no idea about. It felt so strange, yet also so familiar, a position she understood. The figures in power were people she understood.
“Come on,” Rigel said, forcing Crystal to go with her.
She tried to keep up with where they were going, but got completely lost in the maze of tunnels. Finally they arrived at a door, which opened on its own. They walked in and she spotted the same man, dressed in blue, she had seen earlier when arriving on board the battlestar. Also in the room were Aaron, Jason, Starbuck, Boomer and Apollo. She looked on sensing confusion in the room.
“Sorry sir, but she has something you might want to hear,” Rigel said. “She overheard something about the commander and poisoning.”
Crystal watched as the group’s attention went from confused to sudden interest. She watched them now all look at her.
“Come in, close the door,” the man in blue said. “Now, what did you hear?”
“Um, well, something about this,” she looked over at Rigel for the word again.
“Yes, to be used on Adama,” Crystal said, watching everyone look at her.
Crystal felt trapped by the sudden questions she could not make out, as three people started talking at once.
“Quiet,” the man in blue said, taking a breath before continuing on. “Lieutenant, guest, what I’m about to tell you is classified, we haven’t told anyone.”
“Yes sir,” Rigel said, as now everyone looked over at her.
“I don’t know anyone here yet except the people in the room,” Crystal said, wondering what she had gotten herself into now.
“The commander’s heart condition was a result of Ithian poisoning. We got lucky in that someone overheard the conversation that it was to be used on someone. At the time we didn’t know it was the commander, and we kept it quiet while looking for the suspect. We found the person who did it, but they died before we were able to question them,” the man said.
Crystal watched as Rigel slapped her hands to her mouth in shock. Whatever they had been told, it meant a lot.
“Where did you overhear this?” the man asked. She was bombarded with intense emotions, coming from them all now and it seemed to overwhelm her for a moment.
“Are you all right?” Rigel’s voice said, breaking though the confusing fog.
“Um, yeah, honestly I’m not sure. I thought I heard someone say something about the council,” Crystal said, fearful of what they might think about her if she told the truth.
“Perhaps we should take her over to meet with the commander?” Starbuck said.
She watched as they all contemplated that. She knew their answer before they said it. She would be heading over to meet another new person. Was he the one, the one with grey hair, and commanding presence she had seen before?
Apollo walked into the office of his father, seeing him sitting there looking over a few reports.
“You are taking it easy?” Apollo said, watching him look up.
“Yes, between Cassiopeia and Athena, they are making sure I’m not over-exerting myself,” Adama said. “What happened on your patrol? I haven’t read the report.”
“Ah, no much to tell,” Apollo said honestly. “We were checking out a planet, getting a recruit use to such things in case they had to do it themselves.”
“Yes, good introduction to it,” Adama said.
“We checked out the planets in the system, one had some resources and life. Went down to check it out. I sent Jason to the charcoal deposit while I went to the town. In hindsight it should have gone the other way.”
“Yeah, seems like there was a pervious ruler which they called emperor, who I happened to look like,” Apollo said.
“Amazing,” Adama replied. “Strange how things work.”
“Yeah, except they wanted to kill me. I ended up running, but went the wrong way at first and with a large crowd after me, well I didn’t get far. Fortunately Jason got worried and came down to see what was going on. We managed to talk and I sent him for help. Figured Starbuck would be able to come up with a plan better than he would,” Apollo said, recalling that moment. He wasn’t scared and knew Starbuck would not let him down.
“I learned that as I was on the way to the Galactica to resume some light duties, and Cassiopeia went off with the mission,” Adama said.
“Yeah, anyways, they thought I was the emperor. Wasn’t going to get a trial, whoever this guy was he must have terrorized them,” Apollo said. “I had two visitors, one basically said that, the other, she knew I wasn’t him, but also seemed disappointed. Anyways, Starbuck and his group came up as they were taking me out to be executed. The woman was with them and confronted this guy, and then the guards charged them. They had their weapons set to stun and shot a few which allowed us to escape. The woman asked to be brought with us.”
“I see, so any further attempts of diplomacy?” Adama asked.
“Don’t think it’ll work,” Apollo said honestly. “Especially after what happened.”
“Too bad,” Adama said. “Now, about this woman, you said something interesting happened?”
“Yeah, she mentioned overhearing a conversation about you being poisoned,” Apollo said, pausing a moment. “She’s unusual, that much is for sure.”
“Oh, how so?”
“I don’t know, just a hunch, she’s hiding something from us,” Apollo said.
“She came over with you?”
“Yeah, she’s waiting with Starbuck and Cassiopeia in the officer’s club,” Apollo said.
“Perhaps we should go meet her,” Adama said, standing up.
Crystal felt a bit out of place in the room. It was not a bar like she knew. There were no loud, ruckus people in here. People were drinking, but she felt an air of calm, relaxation she never felt back home. Looking at the two who were watching her she could feel the emotions coming from them. They liked each other a lot. She had missed it earlier on, but now, it was evident.
“So, what did you do?” Cassiopeia asked.
“I did what I could, odd jobs, and other things I’d rather not talk about,” Crystal said. She had done a lot in her short life.
“How old are you?” Starbuck asked.
“Eighteen summers,” Crystal said. “Been on my own for most of it.”
“Yeah, I can understand that,” Starbuck said. “Orphan as well?”
“Orphan?” Crystal asked, unsure of the name.
“My parents were killed in the war, as least I think so. There’s a guy who might be my father,” Starbuck said.
“Um, no I was abandoned,” she said, not really the truth but close enough. When her parents discovered her abilities they tossed her out. “You lived on a planet as well?”
“Yeah, but when I was old enough I joined the military, wanted to get back at the Cylons,” Starbuck said.
“Yeah, I was a socialator,” Cassiopeia said.
“What’s that?” Crystal said, sensing something.
“I worked in the arts of body pleasures, everything from just talking to sex,” Cassiopeia stated. “Where I was it was considered an honorable career.”
The words washed over Crystal. A woman who might understand and unable to help it, tears came to her eyes. She had no idea how, but found herself in the blonde’s embrace, comforting, reaching her very soul.
“You okay,” Cassiopeia asked a few moments later. She looked up to see on she and her, Starbuck had moved off talking to a group close by.
“Yeah,” she said, feeling the emotions from Cassiopeia, all concern. Wiping her eyes a bit from the tears as she was handed a cloth to wipe her face and a drink.
“Here, you look like you could use it,” Starbuck said.
Crystal took a drink, and coughed a bit at the strong drink. It had been unexpected, but it tasted good. She relaxed a bit taking another drink this time able to enjoy the taste.
“The commander wants to see us,” he said.
“Then go on ahead, I’ll be fine here,” Crystal said.
“He wants to see you as well,” Starbuck said.
“Oh.” Crystal felt surprised, but finished her drink and headed off with them down another maze of corridors she felt she would never get used to.
Crystal entered the room, seeing Apollo sitting there, along with Aaron. She spotted the man in blue with white hair and stopped. He was the one she had seen. He was a powerful man from her visions. He led a group of people, and she realized, this was the group here.
“Come in,” he said warmly to her. She had expected something else, a more commanding voice, rough not warm.
Crystal took a seat looking on as the man looked at her. She felt uneasy for the first time in a long time, until she realized she felt nothing coming from him. Did that mean something?
“My name is Adama, commander of the Galactica and the fleet,” he said to her.
“I’m Crystal, it’s a pleasure to meet you” she replied, doing a curtsy like she had been taught when meeting other leaders.
She heard him chuckled slightly before he replied. “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well,’ he said. “Please have a seat, I’m not royalty, just a military man.”
“Are you not the leader?” Crystal asked confused.
“We have a council that works to guide us, I’m one of twelve,” Adama replied back to her. “I hear you overheard a conversation.”
“Um, yeah,” Crystal said.
“Could you recognize him, or tell us where you were when you saw him. It could narrow down our search,” Adama said.
Crystal could feel the overwhelming desire by the others to know this information. It was very important to them, that much she could feel for certain. However, her fear of them finding out about her warred with giving them this information. What should she do, she could not expose her abilities and alienate her only friends here.
“You did hear them right?” Adama asked.
“Yes,” Crystal said in a whisper.
“Please we need to know where, before anyone else gets hurt in all of this,” Adama said.
“I didn’t exactly hear him,” Crystal finally said. Silence greeted her statement before she continued on in a quiet voice, looking down at the floor, unable to look into eyes that might hate her. “I saw it in his mind.”
She wanted to curl up and hide after saying that. Would they toss her out like so many others had? She looked up after the silence stretched out to see Adama mere looking back at her, his expression unchanged.
“I see,” he finally said, moving a small glass to the center of his desk.
She watched as after a few seconds, it moved on its own. If she had not seen it, she would have described it as sorcery.
“You have what we call telepathy, or the ability to read minds. It’s rare, but not unknown,” Adama said to her. “Untrained, and quite strong, very rare. I take by your reactions you were shunned by others on your world.”
“Yes,” Crystal said.
“We can train you to understand your talents, and use them at will,” Adama said, catching her by surprise. “Now, where did you come into contact with the person?”
“In the hallway, he knocked me down, when we touched it was overwhelming,” Crystal said.
“The senator,” Aaron said suddenly, as every eye went to him. “We ran into one of the councilmembers, knocked Crystal over, looked down at her and stormed off saying we should look where we’re going.”
“Do you know which one?” Apollo asked.
“No, but I would recognize him,” Aaron said.
“Okay, and I have another plan as well,” Adama said, suddenly looking over at Crystal. “You worked with the leaders of your world?”
“The emperor, yes,” Crystal said.
“Yes, I think you should meet with the council,” Adama said. Crystal looked on to see him smiling. She felt very unsure about everything. Their acceptance of her had been unexpected. They were still there, no one had gone running from the room, nor did any of them seem to fear her. She would need time to process it all. “I also think, for now, we keep her abilities a secret, at least for a few days. Don’t tell anyone unless they ask. Its all part of a plan.”
Crystal worked with the commander as he prepared her to meet with the council. He wanted her to pick out the person, and see if she felt anything else. While she did that, the others were doing some investigating that Crystal did not understand. Terms like ‘black market’ or name changes.
Adama had told her that he wished her to meet the council to inform them of her hoomeworld, and her petition to be part of the Colonies. Not that he would toss her out. For her, it felt odd to work with someone, be touched or touch without some ability to feel what they were either feeling or thinking.
Sure, she did not feel it all the time, but usually strong emotions she would feel at least once. In a way, she felt glad for it. He treated her normally, something she always wished for.
“Ready?” Adama asked, as they approached the council room.
“I guess,” Crystal said.
“Just be yourself,” Adama told her as he placed a hand on her shoulder and led her into the room.
Like everything on board, it was beyond what she had ever seen. Sitting at the table were eleven others as Adama led her to the head. He sat down and look at the group.
“Is this the young woman who wishes to join us?” one man asked.
“Yes Sirus,” Adama replied.
“I think she can answer for herself,” another man said.
“Yes I am, I’m Crystal,” she said, doing a small curtsy to them.
“Someone with manner, surprising,” another man said.
Crystal looked around with the realization this was no different than council meetings with Brandon, in fact, ignore the technology and their body language was almost identical. With that knowledge, she squared herself, a battle of was about to begin.
The group went around and introduced themselves to her. The names blurred a bit, something she was never too good with. She looked at their eyes, seeing a few were warm, welcoming, others not so much. She could also feel a mixed emotions from them all.
“I’m not that comfortable with this. Why would you leave your group to join ours?” one said, and she recalled his name as Armhe. Everyone looked back at her. This was the challenge and she could almost feel Brandon with her now.
“And what don’t you feel comfortable with?” Crystal said, looking at the man before walking over to him. “What could I threaten you with? I come from a world all of this is magic. What could I process that could make you feel uncomfortable? You have more knowledge on how the universe works than I do.”
She paused at his chair, bringing her hand down on the man next to his shoulder. An unconscious behavior taught to her by Brandon as she waited for the answer from the man. After a few seconds of silence she forced herself to remain calm at the sudden images she got from the man. She looked around at the group, noticing they had not expected that from her.
“I pose no threat to you. I do not know how to fight, I barely know how your instruments work, and I get lost easily on this ship,” Crystal said, walking back touching each person as she gave a point before stopping next to Adama, placing her hand on his shoulder.
The group looked back towards Armhe who paused for a second. He seemed to back down, as the talk turned to her home, reasons why she wanted to join and if she understood their position. Crystal answered and listened patiently.
“So, you wish to stay, despite the fact you may never set foot on a planet again,’ Rexx, one of the members she had finally learned a name from.
“Yes, back home I am dead the moment I am captured. Here, I have a chance at a fresh start, despite the peril,” Crystal said.
“It will give us a chance to learn from her as well,” Rexx said. “I think it’s a great idea. We might never know when something she knows might help us.”
“I agree,” Adama said.
“Then we welcome you aboard,” Uri said to her.
The group broke up and Adama ushered her back out and to his room where Apollo and Starbuck were waiting.
“Find anything?” Adama asked.
“Possible,” Starbuck said.
“I did,” Crystal said, as they looked at her. She told them what she had seen. Adama listened patiently before asking for the council member to be brought to him.
Adama sat at the table waiting for his attacker to enter the room. Apollo disagreed with this idea, but Adama felt it best. He had been slightly shocked to learn who it had been, but combined with what the group found out, it almost made sense, and why he had been so agreeable to Crystal. Fresh starts were indeed wondrous. The chime indicated he was here, and Adama granted him permission to enter.
“You wanted to see me Adama,” the man said, walking in.
“Yes Rexx, have a seat,” Adama replied, watching him sit down. “I’ve found out s few things over the last couple of days, and I am disappointed to discover you are behind them.”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about?” Rexx said, calmly. He was smooth even when caught.
“Sure you do, you wanted me out of the way so you hired a man to poison me with Ithian,” Adama said. “Quite ingenious I might say, with eth knowledge of past heart problems no one would have thought to look for it.”
Adama watched as Rexx paled at the news a bit. They both knew the consequences for such actions. However, Adama had other plans.
“I must admit, I wanted to arrest you right away, lock you up, toss the key away, but we also know there is more to your story, yes?” Adama said.
“Yes there is,” Rexx said, a bit defeated at the moment.
“Why?” Adama asked, catching Rexx off guard a bit.
“Power,” Rexx replied honestly. “Remove you and the rest are easier to manipulate, even Uri. Settle down somewhere, forget this Earth business. The people deserve to live free, not trapped in cages.”
“I see,” Adama said. “then we have a same goal. I want my grandson to grow up chasing bugs though a large park, not in the hull of a spaceship.”
“But, I also know the danger still lurks behind us. We haven’t put that much distance between us and the Cylons. If they catch us now, even with three battlestars, defense will be hard at best. The mobile fleet provides us a better chance,” Adama said, watching Rexx. He was quite for several seconds.
“So, now what?”
“I also know you were once Recci Exxape, a crime lord of tremendous power, and you were against the peace treaty,” Adama said.
“Bad for business,” Rexx said very logically.
“Yes, but here, you are Rexx, a trusted councilman. A fresh start, much like Crystal,” Adama said.
“You’re keeping me on the council? Why?”
“We both want the same thing, to protect our people,” Adama said. “I wouldn’t be much of a leader if I ignored opposing views. Stay on the council and continue with your beliefs, just stay away from assassinations.”
“I’ll try,” Rexx said, standing up. “You’re a formidable man commander, I wish we had more of you on the council before Baltar’s betrayal.”
He left the room leaving Adama to wonder about that. In a way they both were so similar, perhaps that was why they had come to such blows. The next council meeting would be interesting for sure.
Continued in Finding the Path