- January 15, 2017
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Love & Logic
When I first saw the broken mirror and the blood I figured Kendra must be really upset with one of her officers, because she seldom lashed out that way,but when she asked me if I would still love her no matter who her father was…I didn’t see THAT coming.
As long as I have known Kendra she has always tried to make the right decisions. Her moral compass is finely tuned and her foundation rock-solid. Thus I knew something was really eating at her. This was my chance to be supportive in a way that didn’t involve battle tactics. Kendra was the strongest women I knew, but she was a perfectionist in many ways…much like myself.
Honestly, it’s a miracle that we ended up together, because getting to know each other was no “walk in the park.” Kendra never really discussed family during our earliest interactions, and of course I didn’t pry. When we first met, we were both single-mindedly focused on our service and careers. We were not looking for a tumble-between-the-sheets, love, or any “emotional complications.” Thus, our relationship started off entirely professional and innocent.
Every time Kendra earned recognition or a promotion, my curiosity and respect for her grew. I later discovered that she was monitoring my own advancement in much the same way. Eventually, our curiosity got the best of us and we chose each other as partners during some Battle Simulation Exercises that we referred to as BSE’s. After dominating the competition, we realized that we worked really well together. Although I won’t deny finding her attractive, I think we both felt “confident” that we could keep things strictly professional. Clearly, we both fell victim to the overconfidence of youth, because at some point our lips locked for the first time during our post-BSE victory celebration.
Unfazed and in “full control of our faculties” at the time, or so we thought, we shook that moment of weakness off and blamed it on an excessive combination of hubris and alcohol. Of course at the time we had no idea that we were already in over our heads.
From that point on, slowly, and with a great many starts and stops, our relationship grew. Looking back, it’s funny how many little barriers we both tried throwing in each other’s path. Still, each time we managed to overcome the obstacles, or we discovered that we both had similar philosophies and a barrier didn’t actually exist.
For example, when Kendra first told me that she felt the marriage bed was where such vows should be consummated, I told her that I felt the same way. I explained to her that my parents had raised me with those same values, and that they had lived their lives in harmony with that philosophy. The sudden revelation that we were both virgins was somehow comforting as well as eye-opening. Our view of marriage and intimacy was not a common one in The Fleet to say the least, but it was something unique that we had in common.
While it became clear that Kendra and I were alike in many ways, we were different enough to expand each other’s views on many topics. I swear the force drawing us together was unrelenting, and at some point we stopped fighting it. When I finally asked her to marry me and she accepted, I was at peace. Then The Fall happen and suddenly Kendra was lost to me. Most of us didn’t even have time to consider our losses because humanity was on the brink. When things finally settled enough for us to take a breath, The Dervish Encounter was already playing out and I had little time to consider my losses. Although this new focus consumed me, nothing was quite the same without Kendra. I often wondered how she would view the Dervish incident, and I was convinced that she would do the same thing if she were in my shoes.
Returning to reality, Kendra soon shared with me the reason for her outburst and I had to admit I was momentarily shocked. But once the shock passed I knew we would find a way to get through our latest obstacle. Still, I was concerned about her state of mind and wanted to support her in any way that I could. We finally decided that Song could help answer her questions, so I contacted him and asked him to speak with her after filling him in on the situation.
After a bit of one-on-one discussion with Song, Kendra convinced me that she had to go to the President to determine if she would remain the Commander or be removed from her post. She could sense my concern for her well-being, so she told me that whatever was to occur would not interfere with our love. She then departed with Song as I tried to distract myself with duties on The Pegasus.
Reaching out to The Guide should have been easier, but it wasn’t given the personal nature of my internal conflict. Kayla’s words assured me that Faith could co-exist with logic and reason. I expressed to her that I was worried that The Fleet was completely compromised by the fact that 3 of our highest ranking officers were either hybrids or had some form of intimate relationship with a known Cylon.
For her part Kayla told me to follow my instincts and talk openly with Kendra and I decided that I would. Kayla then asked me to provide her with a trained human pilot and a ship so that she could enter the black hole and prove that our faith had led us to Earth. At the time I felt that I was the best pilot in the fleet so I tried to convince her to remain on the Pegasus while I tried to pass through the black hole. Why risk two when only a pilot was essential? Kayla was having none of this plan though and I could see that she believed that this was her destiny. Furthermore, the longer I debated the issue with her, the more likely It was that somebody wouldevemtually learn about the hybrid officers and Fleet secrets. Finally, I agreed to make arrangements for and get back to her in a short time.
While I was considering what to do about Kayla’s request, Kendra returned in a foul mood. I used this opportunity to open up to her about my personal and professional feelings. I explained to her that we had an obligation to everyone in The Fleet and it might be necessary to replace officers that might be compromised in the future with less risky options. I told her that after this discussion it was time to put this behind us and move forward. I assured her that no matter what happen regarding her position I would always be there for her. I was willing to sacrifice my reputation, position, or my very life, to remain at her side always. When she relayed to me that The President decided to keep her in command, she expressed her desire that I “put her down” if she ever did anything to compromise the fleet. I told her that love would not allow her mind to be taken, and thus put me in that situation. That statement caught Kendra off-guard and she mentioned how poetic it sounded. I wasn’t trying to be poetic, but I’m glad my words were music to her ears.
I’m not one to sit still, to let others do what I can do myself. Kayla needs the best pilot she can find to fly through the black hole in her search for Earth. The vision she showed me some several weeks back was the catalyst for change in me.
Before that moment, I had always envisioned being the Commander of my own Battlestar someday. I imagined leading men into glorious battle and having my name spoken as a true hero. It’s funny how much our experiences can change everything. Since the time of those youthful fantasies I have experienced an endless stream of battles. So many have died that I once knew I have started forgetting their names. I have become so skilled at burying my emotions sometimes I actually feel dead inside. Even now I hesitate getting close to anybody because they are going to die soon anyhow. That was the monster I was becoming before Kendra returned to me and before Kayla opened my heart to a vision.
It’s hard to believe that I once yearned for fame, respect, medals and all the glory that came with being a great solider…perhaps the greatest soldier ever. During my time in The Service I acquired most of that. I earned respect. I got medals. I got promotions and commands of my own. But it always felt like I was missing something. Then the Dervish Incident occurred and my world was turned upside down…even though my eyes were just starting to open. I had always viewed the world black and white before, but there I was, a loyal soldier turned traitor to some and hero to others. I know now that the blemish on my honor and reputation has been a worthy sacrifice. I made the right choice given the lack of options that I had. Still, sometimes our choices suck. It’s not about glory or heroism…its about making the right choice at the right time and moving forward. Being a leader is hard and thankless work. But I truly believe that The Fleet is better off because of our efforts.
On the other hand, Kendra’s return spurred me to find a way of returning to service after we finally made some political in-roads for the people. Still, lessons were learned along the way but it felt good to have some of my honor restored. The men and women that followed me were able to return to their lives and I had my chance to prove to Kendra that I was the same man…maybe a better man, than I was before we were separated. Some grudges die hard though and some of the powers-that-be still question my loyalty openly and behind my back. I have always been loyal to The Fleet and its people but I am also loyal to the inner voice that compels me to do what is right. Just because my loyalty is not blind does not make me any less of a patriot. I have never put myself above a mission or worthy cause. But at least now I know that I want more than glory and medals.
The vision that Kayla revealed was no trick of light or manipulation because it felt so right…like a part of me. Since that point I have strived to make what I saw a reality. When Kayla first came to me looking for a pilot to take a leap of faith, I hesitated. I did not want to leave Kendra’s side when I thought she needed me the most. Then I realized that honestly, this was what Kendra and I needed the most. This is what every person in the fleet needed the most…real hope and a real home. I suppose there was a good chance that we wouldn’t return, but the rewards were worth the risks and I felt I could give her the best chance at success. While my logical side was telling me that this trip couldn’t be done, faith and past experiences was telling me something very different.
Looking back, I could have never imagined opposing my commanding officers and the power structure that was put in place by the fleet, but it happened. Somehow Kendra returned to me. I resumed my place in the fleet as a pilot and later became a Commanding Officer. Eventually, Admiral Cain was replaced and a Cylon Peace Agreement emerged. Now we have hybrids mixed throughout the fleet and the woman I love is one of them. So many things have occurred that I wouldn’t have thought possible,so who says I can’t fly a Raptor through a black hole. If Kayla thinks earth is on the other side, then I will get her there. Still, the easy part was flying into the black hole. The hard part was telling Kendra.
Kendra was not happy with my decision to say the least, but she could tell by the look in my eyes that I was determined to see this through. I was happy to discover at that same time that Ainsleigh had found a way of blocking Cylon influence on the hybrids. This pleased Kendra greatly, but she was still angry at me even as we shared a final embrace. After promising her that I would return, I left and realized that I missed her already. Still, I was determined to return to her side and share with her the life that I had been longing for.
Surprisingly, Madame President contacted me while I was packing my things and asked for a favor. Apparently, her husband was in need of some bone marrow and I was the only suitable donor. The timing was probably not the best but there was no way I was going to refuse. I told her that I would make my way to the lab but I asked her if she would explain to Kayla why I had to be her pilot. The President said she would talk to Kayla.
Down in the hangar bay I came across Ainsleigh prepping the Raptor. I used this opportunity to thank Ainsleigh for her support and for helping the hybrids. When she conceived of an idea to create a message capsule using a nuclear warhead, I was able to use some favors to get her what she needed. We worked on the capsule together, and after we were finished, I felt more confident that Kayla and I were going to get through this. After promising Ainsleigh that I would get Kayla back in one piece, I made final preparations while Kayla loaded our supplies.
The next moment of truth came when Kayla and I prepared to leave and X.O. Song and his mother The Admiral tried to shut us down before we could even take-ff. That moment brought back a flood of emotions for me, even though I held them at bay. In many ways this felt like Deja-vu. A part of me wanted to lash out, but I never really expected an apology after the Dervish Incident. I knew no thank-you card was going to be waiting at my door when the facts finally came out. That’s not how the military works, and I was fine with that, but I didn’t want to get labelled a traitor again. I didn’t want to see another barrier come between Kendra and I. Kayla needed this. The Fleet needed this. Everyone, including myself, needed this.
The calm that came over me was strange, but the words came from the heart. Kayla had faith that I would choose the right words, and I’m glad to say that I didn’t let her down. Surprisingly, The Admiral just stated that “webetter come back”…in the language ofTauron! As Kayla and I made our way to the hot-zone I was even more determined to come back with good news and show The Admiral that I have always been on her side…on humanity’s side.
The trip through the black hole was like no trip I have ever taken before. All my instincts, training, and logic, told me we were going to be crushed into particles. But I just kept telling myself over and over to stay the course, find a way through, find earth and return to Kendra.
As the ship began to shudder violently and white light filled the cockpit I told Kayla to secure herself in the back. The ship was holding up...mostly, but radiation was starting to leak into the cockpit and I had no way of stopping it. The ride started to get even more violent and I started to wonder if this was the end of the track when suddenly the white light gave way to total darkness and silence....a still eerie sort of silence. At that point I wondered if I was dead. But soon distant stars began to flicker into my awareness and I quickly realized we had made it...we were someplace entirely new.
Kayla soon re-joined me and we tried to get our bearings on where Earth might be. But looking at the expression on Kayla's face I could tell something was wrong. At that point she told me that Earth appeared to be on the brink of war. As we prepared to track the signals coming from Earth, I told her that she needed to learn how to fly the ship on our journey to Earth because there was a chance that I may not make it due to radiation exposure while we were in the black hole.
At that point Kayla changed her mind and decided that we needed to return to the Fleet and make sure they got the news. Surveying the damage done to the ship and how quickly my health was deteriorating, I told Kayla that I wasn't sure we would survive a return trip through the black hole. She asked me for an honest appraisal of our options and then told me to make the decision...she trusted my judgment.
I suppose if it was only me in the ship I would have took the chance of flying back through. That was what the soldier in me would have done. But her life was in my hands now. If we died on the return trip the Fleet would never receive the news and promises would have been broken. If we sent the capsule back the rest was out of our hands...we would need to have faith that The Fleet would also have faith as a collective and follow us. For the first time I felt like I needed to stand-down and let others choose make the final decision. That was not my nature but it all made sense at that moment. If The Fleet did not follow us into the black hole then I would die on this Raptor. Of course I would try and teach Kayla everything that she needed to know to get to Earth. But my part in this long journey would surely end.
As we launched the capsule into the black hole I felt confident that it would make the trip. Ainsleigh was brilliant. I always had faith in her creations. When the leaders of The Fleet got our message there would be much discussion. There would be fear, apprehension, and much discussion. Still, I knew President Boyle was a woman of faith and she would believe in us....or at least in The Guide. I suspected that Song would also want to follow and I hoped...no I knew, that Kendra would come as well.
I'm not sure how much time passed in that Raptor but it was great having that time with Kayla one on one...in the darkness...surrounded by silence. As my condition continued to deteriorate, she kept me very distracted by talking my ear off. She was quite a woman and I wasn't the type to be easily impressed. At some point I started to consider the possibility that The Fleet would get there a little too late for me, and while I accepted that as a possibility, I was determined to fight harder than I had ever fought before. When I asked Kayla to say some things from my heart to Kendra if....I didn't quite make it. She told me I would have to tell her myself because she wasn't going to. I just gave her a sideways look but I knew what she was doing...and I appreciated it.
During my short bouts of sleep my dreams were vivid. They were happy dreams and Kendra filled my subconscious. With so much time for personal reflection I considered the friends I had made during our trails and I was so thankful that most of them had their honor and place in the fleet restored. Those men and women took a leap of faith with me during and after the Dervish Incident. The men and women who flew with me during battles and followed my commands must have had a measure of faith as well, because we were often outnumbered and overextended. I never really thought about this way before but I was all surrounded by faith. Some people may not believe in the Gods but they still have faith in something....friends, family, their abilities, or even something as profound as the "inherent good" or "right to live."
Perhaps I was a soldier at heart, maybe even a leader, but when the Battlestars finally appeared I decided at that moment that I wanted to be more. Perhaps the human remnant would survive The Fall, but that didn't mean the rest of the road was going to be an easy one. Mankind needed to look inward and start correcting mistakes that they had made in the past. Leaders needed to promote real values and our new government needed people who wanted to serve the greater whole rather than serve themselves or the interests of a select few. We needed to nurture our planet because space had its uses and even its beauty, but men and women were meant to grow things in the soil, build and breath fresh air.
As I carefully guided the Raptor into the Battlestar, I was anxious for the potential future of mankind...but mostly I was anxious to see Kendra....the woman I loved, the woman I wanted to start a family with. So many had lost their lives during our exodus and I was just thankful that I was able to fall in love and maybe, just maybe, take my vast experiences with me and help build a better world, a better society. I didn't deserve this opportunity anymore than others who had lost their lives, but I was going to go forward and strive to be the best man that I could be.