Cylons were created by men. They revolted. They evolved. They look and feel human.
Secrets of the Soul
"Things fall apart. They fall apart so hard, you can never put them back the way they were", Tara sorrowfully spoke to Miss Kitty Fantastico, stroking her gently.
Right now the tiny kitten was doubling as a paperweight, lying on a pile of papers that occupied a great corner of Tara's undersized desk.
Only five days ago, Tara had been moved into a slightly bigger quarters. So instead of one small room, she now had two small rooms. She used one as her living room slash study and the other one as her bedroom. She had done the best she could to make these rooms as friendly as possible, by hanging up some of her favourite pictures, printouts of files out of her laptop; which luckily contained an almost inexhaustible supply of favourite pictures, movies and music. Willow had organized a broken parachute; from which they had made a tester-bed, making the bedroom the most comfortable one. Still they were only windowless rooms within the endless 'innards' of a Battlestar on the run.
Tara let out a heart felt sigh, there just were some days she felt like crying all the time, with the weight of the current situation lying heavy on her soul. Of course not all days were so horrid; today for example had in fact started quite wonderfully. She had spent most of the night together with Willow, simply sleeping cuddled into each others arms. Early this morning Willow had left for her bunk and they had managed to 'meet' again, for breakfast in the officers' mess, where Tara had been aloud to take her meals.
They had been known to be friends ever since Tara had come onboard for the first time, without anybody knowing about the real depth of their relationship.
"No one knows", Tara told Miss Kitty, who didn't seem to take much interest.
There was no one who knew that she and the young Viper pilot had been in a steady relationship ever since the fleet had made it safely out of Ragnar. And with the exception of Billy and President Roslin, properly no one even knew she was gay in the first place. All right, like back on Caprica, she had neither made it a secrete nor had she broadcast it all around. And even though in the mean time she'd talked to many people, officers, crewmen and civilians alike, the conversations had never come to a point where this particular subject might have presented itself.
'Oh you're lying', Tara thought angrily to herself, 'you've been avoiding this as much as possible. You even made Willow promise:'
"I'm keeping you a secret", Tara spoke out aloud.
Was that wrong? Tara wondered.
All she ever wanted was to protect Willow from possibly bad homophobic reactions of her comrades, as well as other people. Especially given the fact that with only fifty thousand of them left, even some of the more open-minded people might have no sympathies at all for two women living together without having a baby, you know in order to sustain the human race. Tara let out a sarcastic laugh. Just because the two of them would be living together, did not mean that they would not start a family. As a matter of fact, Tara always wanted to have children, two or three perhaps. As long as Tara could think, she had always dreamt of it, the fact that she had come out gay hadn't changed that dream at all. Meeting Willow had merely intensified her wish to become pregnant someday in the future.
'I think you're getting off topic here', the little voice in the back of her head reminded her. 'Let's come back to the true reason why you made Willow promise.'
"I don't want Willow to be hurt", Tara whispered, actually starting a discussion with herself. 'Right, but only partially so, because more then anything else you not want to go to a difficult and possibly upsetting coming out all over again.' Why come out again? She had been out and proud ever since she had been outed by Rene.
'Yes, but that was before the world ended', pointed her inner voice out to her, referring to the attack of the Cylons. 'But as you already said yourself, except for Billy and Laura nobody knows any more. Only Billy and Roslin ...'
"And that's it", Tara whispered, absentmindedly stroking Miss Kitty.
Nobody else really knew that she was gay. And their was only a very slim chance, that somebody within the entire fleet might actually remember her from she short stint in the media spotlight during her fight with the board of trustees of her university. But then there was nothing as old, as yesterday's news, and so as a matter of fact, coming out around here would mean to come out all over again. Tara took of her glasses and placed them at the desk, only to vividly remember all the bad things that had happened to her when Rene had outed her so prematurely. Of course there had been almost equally as much positive feedback as bad. Nevertheless Tara had to admit to herself, that she feared going through all of that once again, all over again. And so making Willow promise not to come out yet, had truly been motivated more by the wish to protect herself then her girlfriend.
'What as selfish bitch you've been', Tara thought. 'You even kept Willow from telling her one and only best friend - Buffy.
Tara shook her head, it was wrong of her to keep Willow from telling Buffy. From the very first moment Tara had met Buffy, she had felt that she was like a sister to Willow. And now with her family killed on Caprica and her oldest childhood friend Xander killed by a fire aboard the Galactica, during the Cylons first attack on the Battlestar, Buffy was all the family Willow had left. And you should never have any secrets from your best friend, Tara knew.
Absentmindedly Tara rubbed the bridge of her nose.
She had to release Willow from her promise and she could help her find the right way for her to tell Buffy. After all Tara had collected some experiences in this matter. Right after starting working at the ministry of education, she had joined a gay and lesbian centre in downtown Caprica City, as a councillor, helping especially young teenage girls finding their way through their coming out to their friends and family.
A knocking at the bulkhead brought Tara's thoughts back to the reality of the day. Tara keyed her laptop's media player mute, but not without listening to the lyrics of the song playing, Caprican rock group 'Queen', for a moment:
To love and live forever, in each others hearts.
It's a long hard fight, to learn to care for each other.
To trust in one another right from the start.
When you're in love."
Tara rolled her eyes at her laptop, which always seamed to play just the song that reflected her present frame of mind. She 'plucked' Miss Kitty from the desk and against her most sincere protest, sent her flying upon her bed. Leaving the bed room door closed behind her, Tara went to answer the bulkhead.
It was Yeoman Alyson Benson from Communications.
"Good afternoon, Madam Secretary", she said cheerfully, knowing only to well how much Tara hated being addressed so formally and consequently earned herself a murderous look as the secretary of education invited her into her 'office'.
"Very well yeoman", Tara said and took her seat again. "Let's have it."
Yeoman Benson opened the folder she had broad with her and got out a small pile of papers. "There you go," she said, "new dispatches from Colonial One, mostly concerning the upcoming Colonial Day and the interim quorum of the twelve. Then there are some requests from the Cloud Nine, as well as Serenity and Farscape. Oh and a rather harsh reply from the White Star." She handed the papers to Tara, who took them with a wry smile, "thanks Ally."
"You're welcome Tara. Any messages you want me to send? Ah!", she took the papers Tara handed her and put them into her folder. "I'll see to it. Anything else I can get you?"
Tara smiled at the young yeoman, who was always so kind and helpful. She had liked her from the start, "Maybe some chocolate chips cookies?" she asked innocently.
"I'll see what I can do", Allyson returned the smile. "One of the cooks still owes me a favour."
"Oh and maybe he would have something too for..." Tara pointed at the bedroom door
"He'll certainly have something for her, I'm sure", answered yeoman Benson.
Ally was the only person besides Willow who knew about the presence of the little kitten aboard the mighty Battlestar.
She had found out about Miss Kitty, when water had to be rationed, because the Galactica had lost more then sixty percent of the fleets' water supplies, due to sabotage. During that time Tara had shared what little water she had with her cat. However one day Miss Kitty had skipped out of the bedroom while Ally had been bringing messages for Tara. Ally had promised not to tell anyone and had also helped Tara care for Miss Kitty ever since, especially by organizing food for her from the kitchen, in exchange for playing time with the tiny feline. She also looked in on Miss Kitty whenever Tara was away.
"Well, it's time for me to return to the CIC", said the young Yeoman and Tara accompanied her to the bulkhead, "see you tomorrow Madame Secretary."
"See you tomorrow Yeoman", Tara answered, but then remembered something, "no you won't Ally. I'm leaving today for Colonial One. And from there I will go strait to Cloud Nine. So if you would be so nice and look in on Miss Kitty for me? Only once during the day, Willow Rosenberg will visit her later in the day."
"Of course I will", Ally assured her, "I'm looking forward to it. You know how much I like her. So see you after your return."
She left the room and Tara closed the bulkhead after her.
After opening the bedroom door, with Miss Kitty not coming back again, Tara sat back down at her desk and went through the messages Ally had brought her.
As expected, the communiqués from Colonial One were confirming timetables and proposed agendas for the quorum. Oh and there was a personal message form Billy, reminding her that she should not forget her meeting with the president today. Tara rolled her eyes upon the underlying tease in Billy's message. After all, she had never forgotten an appointment with the president, at least not directly so. Only one time she had forgotten to confirm the necessary Raptor Flight with the CIC - which then had been cancelled - because a short afternoon visit of Willow had gotten slightly out of control and had turned into a rather memorable quickie.
'But now on to other matters', Tara commanded herself and turned the pages to the requests sent to her from other ships in the fleet. Serenity and Farscape both asked for teaching materials, Tara saw. Which meant, that before she left the Galactica, she would have to go down to the one sublevel computer centers, that previously had been filled with gigabits of data, for the future use of the Battlestar as a museum and schooling facility. This database now provided Tara with almost all the necessary materials to enable her teachers to teach. So Tara drew up a list of the required materials, which she would have downloaded to portable data modules and send to these ships.
Last Tara took up the message from the White Star which sent her relatively better mood crashing back to the ground again. The people responsible onboard this luxury liner, from Gemenon refused to let Delenn Sheridan, a high school teacher with majors in Math, Physics and English, transfer to the Cloud Nine unless they would get a bigger share in food, fuel and other supplies.
Tara let out a very frustrated sigh and let her head sink heavily upon her desk. "Frakking politics", she sighted in utter frustration. Even though they were on the run from the Cylons, with their futures looking bleak at best, there were still people who acted like they were back on the colonies. And that meant, in this special case that a Luxury Liner, the White Star, with five hundred business women and men and their partners, would refuse to let go of the only teacher aboard, unless they'd be compensated for it. Originally they had been on a pleasure cruise throughout the solar system when the world had ended. They didn't even need a teacher, since there where no children aboard. Ms Sheridan had made the trip, taking the place of her brother, who had to stay back at Caprica with the flu.
Tara sighed again: Delenn was the last teacher she needed to get transferred to Cloud Nine in order to finally have everything in place. She'd successfully created something she could call a working school system. It hadn't been as difficult as she had expected when taking on the job. Only five families had to be relocated, and that was almost no trouble at all. The same had been true for moving Buffy's sister Dawn as a elementary school teacher from the Light-Space Express 8, to Cloud Nine.
There were now four children living aboard the Galactica. Boxey a boy brought aboard by Lt. Valerie. Katharina, the daughter of one of the senior Viper pilots. And Emma & Hermione, twin daughters of a Galactica flight officer. Luckily all around the same age and were now taught by one of the cooks. He'd originally worked as a teacher, but then had given up this career in order to pursue his real passions: space travelling and cooking - despite its reputation, the "catering", at least here aboard the Galactica wasn't as bad as some claimed it to be.
Now if she could only find a way to get the White Star people to let go of Ms Sheridan. Of course she couldn't give in to their demands, that would mean giving in to blackmail, but could she simply order them? Her alarm clock went off, reminding her of her soon departing flight over to Colonial One and she would have to go right now, since she had to stop by at the computer centre on her way down to the port hangar bay. Tara once more shook her head. Sometimes it became just too frustrating, all of it. The overall situation, the promise she had Willow make, and the need to actually get all involved into fraking politics, it made Tara feel like she was just sitting there waiting...
It sounded out of her laptop's speakers.
Somewhat annoyed Tara looked at her laptop. Hitting hard on the keyboard, she keyed off the media player before she shut down the laptop all together. She then went into her bedroom, where she packed the laptop into the small travel pack she had already packed before. After she had said good bye to Miss Kitty and promised her that Willow and Ally would be looking in on her, she left her quarter feeling rather down and blue.
Coming down from the computer centre and heading for the port hangar bay, walking Galactica's sheer endless hallways did not help to brighten Tara depressed mood. And Tara felt rather proud of herself, for no longer getting lost around here. Today all it did was to darken her mood even further. Made her feel rather small, insignificant and lonely. How much she yearned for Willow, to hold and embrace her. How much she wanted to kiss her right now. How much she needed Willow to feel alive and loved.
"Oh please Lords", she whispered pleadingly to herself, "let me be loved."
Walking around a corner, her heart started to beat faster as she spotted her girlfriend walking straight towards her. 'How beautiful she looks', Tara thought, even though she wore that somewhat bulky flight suit. Come to think of it, this uniform too made her look rather sexy.
"Hey you", Willow said smiling brightly. This was all she could say, before without thinking, Tara took her by the hand and led her around a corner and another into an empty hallway.
"I missed you so much Willow", Tara whispered and giving in to her immanent need, she pulled Willow into a tight embraced and kissed her hard and hungry until they had to part in order for them to breath.
Gasping for breath through a delighted smile, Willow said something, but Tara didn't hear the words she spoke. Instead she pulled Willow's head close again for another and even more passionate kiss. During this second kiss, Tara slowly opened her eyes and smiled in her mind, for she saw that Willow's eyes where still closed, as she was lost in her lovers kiss. Tara was just about to close her eyes again when; from the corner of her eye she thought she saw some movement.
She froze and pulling away from Willow she starred towards the corner of the hallway she had just come around together with Willow. It was empty. Ignoring Willow's questioning look, thoughts went spinning around inside Tara's head.
Had someone seen them kissing? If yes would he or she be telling anyone else? Or was she just imagining things out of guilt for keeping Willow from coming out on her own terms?