Sell Yr Soul 4 Rock’N’Roll (Part One)
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Disclaimer: Moore’s the man with the master plan.
Summary: Um, part one of the AU band idea. Six, AKA Natasi Harvey, isn’t quite sure of her place in the universe, loves Baltar even though it’s a bad idea, and plans to use her fame to further the Cylon plan. Did I mention it’s an AU? Good.
Sell Yr Soul 4 Rock’N’Roll
Part I: Natasi Harvey
Spinning Rock: The Cryptic Return of Krypter
by Callista Henderson
Like most Caprican women who’ve picked up an instrument, written a song, or just waited for hours outside a stadium to hear a band, I own a copy of The Brass Ear. I’ve sung along to “Something Not Inside” and I played “Givin’ All to You” as a breakup anthem. And yet, despite adoring the sound, recognizing the lyrical power, and seeing the influence, I’ve never been able to quite connect to Krypter’s acclaimed lead singer, rock legend Laura Roslin.
I never wanted to be Laura Roslin — during my failed rock diva phase, I wanted to be one of her heirs, like Lyzz Fair or Lovely Courtnay — but she was cool. Even during the era when she spent all of her time hanging out with Bill Adama (and her lowest point, the oh-so-Oedipal moment when her teenaged stepson asked her to the prom and her flustered response was, “maybe in ten years, okay?”) and making Destiny Ship with a lineup that screamed out-of-touch and high on something other than life.
She was cool and she was intense, and then right about the time when her former guitar hero and conservative senatorial candidate Rich Adar died three days after the Cylon Riots, she disappeared. Laura Roslin went AWOL. Not into seclusion for a well-timed album about the Adar years, not into rehab, though given her stance on chamalla, this would seem obvious — she was just gone. Not even Ba-Noh’s plea to do a duet of their award-winning song about Adar and Roslin’s troubled relationship earned more than a “We regret that Laura is unable to do this” from her label.
I agree with Ba-Noh (there’s a first for everything, right?) that hearing Laura sing “Dear Me, Love You” would be wonderful and chilling — the part of me that cried about the botched abortion in “Something Not Inside” wants to hear the lady’s take on this one. You Too almost carries the song — it’s lyrically brilliant, and the guitar riff is an elegy to the era — but Ba-Noh can’t quite convince me he should be singing the regrets of a man who lost this she “throws out her arms and says, give me a choice and tell me my fate.”
And now Laura Roslin and Krypter are back, and while I understand the male-dominant cries of “stunt” for an all-woman band still using the name Krypter — one that we’d given to Roslin’s youth and romance — there’s an authenticity and edginess to the choice I respect. Rather than turn herself into the passive woman who wants to know her faith, she’s beating back the legend of Laura as part of Laura-and-Rich and listening to her critics.
The one leaked track — security at C-1 Records is tighter than at the spaceport or the site of the former Capitol — reveals a stripped-down sound, but one that’s rich with emotion and a surprisingly talented lead guitarist. Sharon Valerii, otherwise known as Boomer, is out of nowhere. She was working with KT’s band, Buckos — which has the dubious distinction of giving us Sam Anders’s solo career — but nothing from Buckos signaled Boomer had it in her.
It won’t be The Brass Ear and Laura Roslin will never again be the rock musician who practically deep-throated the mike stand on Picon, demanding not just respect but adoration for her songwriting and vocal skills. But if Skinjob sounds as good as its previews, her new incarnation will have even more allure and some personal appeal to add to it.
Being a Cylon rock star had some potential benefits, Natasi thought as she watched Laura Roslin field questions about Krypter and Skinjob with steely good humor. The press loved her; she had that presence that made a good musician into a great performance.
But as for herself, Natasi was thinking that Cylon technology had some pluses. If she overdosed on drugs, she got to come back two days later, no rehab needed. In fact, most messy rock ways of death, like the disease that had claimed Laura Roslin’s most famous lover, and the car accident that had killed Natasi’s idol, Annie Wilson from The Dilettantes, would be a temporary inconvenience.
Of course, that only worked if d.Anna was willing to cover for Natasi, but so far they seemed to be in accord with each other.
Two frakking Cylons in one high-profile band. The odds were astronomical, and Natasi wasn’t sure there weren’t three. Sharon, their timid little guitarist out of nowhere, was a little too good. She was the first to click into Laura’s very distinctive sound, and a little too good at what she did.
Then again, what self-respecting Cylon would nickname herself Boomer?
“Why keep the name Krypter?” some woman was asking. “The original lineup only lasted for three years and with the death of Rich Adar four years ago, it must bring up painful memories.”
“Good question,” Laura said, throwing her head back. Natasi figured she was really tired of answering questions about the album name. Natasi could have given her a few new twists on the answer, but she didn’t think Laura would want to protect actual biological Cylons if forced to. “Rich and I had a bond that can’t be duplicated, that’s true, but as long as I’ve been in music, I’ve been part of a band. This band. And I hope to die a member of this band, even if the band doesn’t have a single member in common with the lineup on stage today…”
Natasi snorted as the music press rumbled with some kind of awed approval. Smoothly done. “She just let us know we’re all replaceable,” she pointed out to d.Anna with a snort. “And that our jobs will probably be taken by jailbait.”
“Possibly even boy jailbait if this all-woman thing doesn’t work out,” d.Anna agreed. “But remind me again, how much was that job at the makeup counter paying you again, Natasi?”
“More than your faux-hardcore bartending gig, bitch,” Natasi snarled. “I worked on commission, remember?”
“Femme sellout,” d.Anna muttered, smiling as the lights suddenly came up on her. “And a keyboardist, too.”
“Bassists are stuck-up, just FYI,” Natasi growled before breaking into a winning smile.
After all, they were part of the most powerful female rock band in the Twelve Colonies. Laura Roslin was a legend, and she’d listened to them all play for six hours straight in a t-shirt that had probably belonged to the greatest front man of the last two decades, and jeans that screamed real before telling them they were already in.
The press was part of the deal, and Natasi wasn’t going to back out now. She was in until the government dragged her away from being a skinjob or Laura dumped them all and went to smoke up with yet another washed-up actor, rocker, or activist type.
Even with another secret skinjob in the band, Natasi was thinking life was pretty good.
Her phone buzzed against her hip, and Natasi quietly slipped it out to see who’d texted her.
cant w8 2 frak my rock* ❤ gb
So it wasn’t poetry. Natasi was still frakking crazy for GB, AKA Gaius Baltar, the genius behind the C-1 Records, who was banking Laura Roslin’s career was about to make a serious comeback and bring up her new band with it.
And he kept sending her these kinds of messages, so life was definitely good.
He was in her deep and hard and good, better than anything Natasi could think about.
Not that she was thinking. She was straddling GB, frakking him with her head tilted back and mouth open.
No thinking. Thinking was bad and he was giving it to her, making all these little groaning noises. Reaching up and touching her breasts, resting his hand on her sweaty, warm thigh.
Natasi needed him, loved him. He made her feel like something beautiful and hot. He’d seen her and d.Anna, back when she was Deanna and about thirty times less stuck up, and they’d frakked in the hall behind the stage, his head between her breasts, whispering filthy little endearments.
GB was the first man who was so confident about himself that he didn’t treat her like an unattainable object, a pre-rejecting bitch goddess that they wanted to frak but wouldn’t dream of bothering.
That and God, he was tireless. He loved every little thing about her body, and he took a craftsman’s pleasure in watching her come.
Just like she was doing right now, moaning and spasming while GB took the initiative.
He just flipped her over with a lazy, vicious little frak of a smile and took her hard and fast, using her body with abandon. Enough that Natasi almost came again with it, and ached wantonly as he pulled out of her with another cheeky smirk.
“If anyone ribs you for your performance, darling, just tell me and I’ll be happy to set them straight,” GB said, patting her shoulder. “Because you are a virtuoso.”
Natasi rolled away from him, looking for her clothes. The downside of GB’s confidence was that it was a cover to say blandly cruel things and know he could get away with it.
“Thank you for taking my concerns about my future so seriously, GB,” she said icily, pulling on last night’s blouse and skirt and trying not to feel distaste.
GB snorted. “Natasi, darling, beloved, view of the morning,” GB said, stretching with a big smirk on his face. “Why are you so worried about the punters and the reviews? It doesn’t matter how good you are. Laura just has to put on her grande dame of rock and roll shtick and make a few noises about Cylon rights and we’ll all be very rich and very happy.”
“Nice, GB, very nice,” Natasi said. She’d told him — more than once — that she was pro-Cylon, and GB had told her that he thought Cylons were basically the same as humans, but apparently that was more GB grandstanding. “Is all that matters to you wealth and privilege?”
“Yes,” GB said. “I enjoy being rich. I enjoy all that goes with it. Everyone does. Anyone who tells you differently — even that middle-aged redheaded harridan — is telling lies.”
Natasi snorted viciously. “You’re a smart guy, GB,” she said, looking at herself in the mirror and wondering how basically every last flaw was at its most blatant during her morning once-overs at his penthouse. “Why do you insist on talking like a racist, sexist piece of crap?”
“Because then no one will mistake me as a smart man, or someone who cares,” GB said cheerfully. “I might indeed care, darling. I may care passionately, but no one will hold me to the high standards of a man who does.”
“I’m out of here,” Natasi said. “I cannot stand to hear another minute of your bullshit, GB. It’s bad enough that you mock me for trying to hold you to any standard, but the way you talk about yourself…”
Natasi walked out. She picked up her coat in the entryway, pulled on her boots, and ignored any wheedling sounds from GB as she strode away, down the stairs, into the street, and onto the next cab.
She was so sure it was him when her phone rang that she answered it with an angry, “What? What do we need to talk about?”
“What crawled up your butt and died, Nasi?” Boomer asked, sounding taken aback. “Laura’s amped about the press conference and invited us all over for a pancake lunch thing. Also I think to talk about the weak songs for the first of the War Memorial concerts next week, but you know Laura.”
“Food first, bonding second, devastating, soul-destroying critique to be doled out as needed,” Natasi said with a gallows snicker. “She’s making us pancakes? Who taught her the recipe, Janyce Gopplin?”
There was a quick pause on the other end of the line.
“Her aunt Kathleen,” Boomer said with a sheepish tone in her voice.
“You’re already over there?” Natasi asked. She knew that the girl-leaning part of the band all lusted after Laura Roslin, but the sapphic tendencies were getting ridiculous. Unless… “Is everyone over there?”
“No, I just ended up crashing on Laura’s couch because we were up late trying to rough out some jams and by the time we’d gotten done, it was two-thirty in the morning and I didn’t feel like taking a cab home so I stayed and then I woke up and she was wearing a robe and fuzzy slippers and making orange juice like we hadn’t knocked back a fifth of ambrosia,” Boomer said. “Chill out, paranoia princess. We haven’t been thinking up ways to kick you out of the band.”
“Thank you for not letting that die, Boomer,” Natasi said sourly. “I’ll be over there, um. soon.”
She turned to the driver, who had been listening with great interest to her private conversations, rolled her eyes, and shrugged.
“37th and Oceanline,” Natasi said. “Try not to crash the cab, okay?”
“You got it,” the driver said.
Except for the forbidding and very necessary privacy fence, Laura Roslin’s oceanfront home was surprisingly cozy and relaxed. It was a four bedroom with a big basement that served as practice space, with a great big deck. Big enough, but private parties at Laura’s house necessarily topped out at about fifty or seventy-five, if that.
Natasi liked it. She would have liked it more if she didn’t feel like an interloper every time she knocked on the door.
“Hi, Nasi,” Boomer’s cheerful voice greeted her as the door opened and the smell of cooking food and chaos wafted out. “Ignore the mess. We were in a creative frenzy, you know. KT’s twenty minutes out in traffic and d.Anna’s in the bathroom.”
“Okay,” Natasi said. She had no idea why Boomer called her Nasi, but it was almost friendly, so she went with it.
“Is that Natasi?” Laura called from the kitchen. “Send her in here. She sounds like she could use something to eat.”
Natasi wandered in. True to Boomer’s phone call, the first woman of rock was wearing a bathrobe that was now stained with grease, a very long t-shirt that hit mid-thigh, and fuzzy slippers. Also her glasses, but that didn’t count.
“Hey, boss,” she said wanly.
“What did he say to you this time?” Laura asked, her attention focused on the pancakes. Laura knew all about GB, didn’t approve, but as she said, someone with her background didn’t need to be listened to.
“The usual lines,” Natasi said, spearing four pancakes off the plate and actually grabbing the butter. Today was a day for butter, and bacon if d.Anna and Boomer hadn’t eaten it all already. “Don’t worry about that ridiculous little music thing, darling, the punters just want to see T&A and Laura being political!”
“GB really is the best label executive he could be,” Laura said dryly, pointing Natasi to the syrup pitcher with a deft move of her elbow. “He doesn’t have to worry about selling bad music, or the problems of selling great music to people who want okay-but-catchy music. Because he’s not selling art in his head.”
“He also knew you would say that,” Natasi said, cutting into her stack of pancakes with grim determination on her face. “He said you liked fame and fortune, too.”
“I do,” Laura said with a gracious shrug. “Who doesn’t? It means I can stay up until two in the morning arguing over a B flat or B sharp variation in the third chorus with intelligent musicians half my age. And drink the best possible wine and ambrosia while doing so.”
“I still think we’re using too many flats. It’s too timid,” Boomer said, right on cue.
“Restraint has its place, especially if you’re still going on about Brother Love Blues,” Natasi said, mouth full of pancake. “Gods, Boomer, it’s a ballad. Do you know how much work I’ve had to do on the intro to deal with your crescendo?”
“Money makes this possible,” Laura added, as d.Anna made her appearance, raising her eyebrow at Natasi’s outfit, of course. “Let’s take a moment to be grateful to GB, Tom, Tory, and other scumbags like them.”
The other women all looked at each other, clearly unsure of what they were supposed to do. Fortunately, before any of them had to ask and look stupid, the front door banged open with a loud clatter and then slammed.
“Ladies, the light and love of your musical world has arrived,” KT said. “Do you have blueberry syrup? I brought blueberry syrup.”
Natasi rolled her eyes. “We need to write a song about how KT has the best timing in the universe,” she said. Laura chuckled. “We could call it Blonde Luck.”
“Oh, you only say that because you know I’m awesome,” KT said affectionately. “Maybe when you get kicked out of the band for telling secrets to that wanker GB, you can name your side project that.”
“KT, not necessary. Natasi, sit. sit. sit back down,” Laura said, both hands flying out from her hips. “I am too old and hung over to deal with a fight today. Besides, I still have to deal with Ba-Noh at the release party and he’s going to be pressing the issue about Dear Me, Love You.”
“Whyyyyyy?” KT whined. “We tried. It sounded bad. Even GB, the big corporate whore, said it sounded bad.”
“Because everyone in the press wants the cover,” Laura said. “I’m doing the best I can to dodge, but at some point, we will have to do that cover.”
“It’s not really a bad song,” Natasi said, thinking about it lazily. “It’s just not really your speed, Laura.”
“Yes, I know, but I am so gods-damned tired of that song…” and Laura sighed. “Come on. I didn’t ask you here to complain about Dear Me, Love You.”
What she had asked them there over, of course, was about the products of her session with Boomer, which had produced yet another variation on Brother Love Blues, and a great deal of warning about the hell that were release parties.
“A bunch of people who didn’t make the album will be there, helping themselves to glory,” Laura said, taking a long swig of orange juice. “And everyone should be dressed up. Label’s request.”
She said it in that fake-sunny way that made everyone look at Natasi.
“What? Why are you looking at me?” she asked. “Did you realize you were wrong about rhythm being more than your drum kit?”
“You date the doofus,” KT said, leaning back in her chair. “Can’t you smother him in his sleep?”
“Yes, because he is the only part of our corporate management that sucks,” Natasi snarled back. “KT, just because you’re single and bitter doesn’t mean you have to take it out on GB every single time.”
“Oh, frak you, I’d rather date my right hand than the slick little weasel,” KT shot back.
“Gods, do you two need us to leave the room?” d.Anna quipped.
“We can take it outside all by ourselves, d.Anna,” KT said. “Can’t we, Nasi?”
“KT,” Laura said quietly.
Before KT could apologize, Natasi’s phone went off and she grabbed it, fleeing the room with thoughts of murder by drumstick in her head. Maybe then they could add some innovation to Krypter’s rhythm section.
“Hello?” she asked.
“I hate how we left things this morning,” GB’s voice teased in her ear. “Sometimes it’s difficult to disentangled our rather entangled private and public lives, Natasi love.”
“I know,” Natasi said. Her heart was pounding; he’d never bothered to apologize before. “I’m at a band function, GB. I need to be a little quick, sorry.”
“Oh, that’s quite all right. Mustn’t disrupt the bonding process,” he said. “But I would like to make it up to you. Could I pick you up at noon and take you to lunch?”
Natasi glanced back at the kitchen. KT had her hands over her face and was getting a stern but quiet lecture from Laura. d.Anna was rolling her eyes Natasi-ward, and Boomer looked like she was thinking about some secret guitar genius thing.
“Yes, yes you can,” she said gladly.
“The release party’s an event, Natasi, and you’re the only one that seems to listen,” GB said, petting her hair while the intro to ‘Tell Me, Tell Me, Tell Me’ blared over his eight thousand cubit Virgonian car speakers. Natasi had done some rhythm for the song, but it had definitely been one she hadn’t had much involvement in. She liked it anyway, despite the slightly derivative nature of the tune. “Why isn’t this the opening single? The hook is fantastic.”
“We wanted something that showed all of our skills,” Natasi said, feeling dry and wan. “Remember?”
“And of course that was the political song,” GB said with the infinite sarcasm of dry charm.
“Apocalipstick is a good song,” Natasi said, rousing a little. “It kicks out at the end and the initial reactions have been just as strong, if not stronger, than the reactions to Tell Me, Tell Me, Tell Me.”
“It’s political and it doesn’t recall the heyday of Krypter, but we gave Laura Roslin the power to destroy herself if she wanted, so her call,” GB replied. “You, on the other hand, I would greatly prefer not destroyed. As well as turned out like the celebrity you are.”
“Oh?” Natasi asked. “So you’re going to take me shopping?”
GB produced a translucent black credit card with an impish smile. “Never leave the office without it, darling,” he said. “And won’t that rather show your vexing little rival, KT? She’ll be sapphic and you will be chic.”
Natasi hid a smile. “KT’s not that bad,” she said. “Just a big loudmouth. And I thought you were taking me out to lunch.”
Smoother than the leather interior of his car, GB shifted gears and lanes before favoring Natasi with a devilish wink. “Where I’m taking you, Natasi, we could send out for people to shave your legs. We’ll simply eat while we find the perfect outfit for your debut as a bona fide star.”
“Can it be red? I like red,” Natasi said. “Red and slinky.”
“Oh, be still my heart, a musician with decent fashion sense,” GB said. “You will have red and slink, with breathtaking lines to match. Every eye in the room — and especially mine — will be on you.”
“Really?” Natasi asked, slyly putting her hand on GB’s leg. “Do you think the exclusive spot where we’re headed will mind if we’re, oh, fifteen minutes late?”
She ran her tongue over her lower lip, and GB’s eyes widened appreciatively.
“Gods know that if they do, I’ll take care of it,” he said, pulling the car off the road. “I adore you, Natasi. Absolutely adore you. I hope you realize that.”
It made her heart leap in her chest. “Me, too,” she admitted. “I’m crazy about you, GB.”
“I know,” he said. “And it makes my day better.”
Maybe they’d be half an hour late. Natasi didn’t mind, and the look on GB’s face suggested he wouldn’t care much, either.
“Motherfrakker!” Natasi screamed, glad for all the soundproofing in the room.
Some release party that had turned out to be.
She’d known they weren’t exclusive, her and GB. But to show up at her frakking release party with twins. Obvious hooker twins who were maybe twenty-one and wearing skintight purple gauze. After the whole Cinderella moment, it was like getting stabbed in the heart.
Natasi wanted to be alone, she wanted to cry, and maybe she wanted to destroy an instrument or two. If it weren’t for the damn concerts, she might download out of this frakking mess. Let GB go, get back to business of making the world safer for skinjobs via excellent music and pr.
“Release parties rarely live up to the hype,” a familiar, rough voice informed her. “Everyone’s all about the appearances, the drugs are too expensive, and they send out for the ass.”
“I can’t believe Ba-Noh actually brought Bill,” Natasi agreed, trying to smile as she recognized Laura, who was glaring at music stubbornly. “Your ex-husband is a jackass.”
“Yeah. I could have done worse than his son, actually,” Laura admitted, ruffling her hair idly. “Lee is a little bit uptight and idealistic, but he’s got a good heart.”
“That’s so wrong,” Natasi said with a half-hearted snicker.
“So is this ridiculous…nonsense,” Laura said with clear frustration, throwing the papers to the floor. Being sheet music, they drifted, and she sighed ruefully. “Sometimes, don’t you wish they were made of something you could really throw?”
Natasi looked at the much-abused sheet music on the floor of the rehearsal space.
I don’t want to tell you, but
For both of us, it’s always been too late.
Tell her all about it. Natasi knew exactly what it was like, wanting something that was always going to be bad.
Something turned over in Natasi’s stomach and she swiveled toward Laura quickly.
“They won’t let up about Dear Me, Love You, will they?” she asked Laura. Her brain was suddenly whirring faster than it had in a long time. Something electric was going through Natasi, and she didn’t know why.
“It’s not a bad song, but it’s not a song I could ever sing,” Laura said, having a lemon water. “I don’t understand the woman in the song. And I know she’s supposed to be me, but she’s not. When I took my break from Rich, I was thinking frak him, Mom needed me, and frak him for saying otherwise. We got into a screaming match.”
“I bet,” Natasi said. “Give me a minute.”
Natasi wandered over to the piano with the sheet music, thinking about GB’s whining that they needed a Krypter version of this damn song, GB whining that he was not yet bathing in liquid gold, GB telling her that he didn’t bloody care about the music but her keyboarding was quite respectable, GB GB GB.
Natasi needed to break up with GB, but she wasn’t going to, because she was a woman in love. Even if she was a Cylon in love and at some point she was going to be busted for it.
And it wasn’t a bad song, really. The whole thing had a powerful effect, but Laura singing the whole thing pretending that she was the woman in the song was absurd. Laura wouldn’t know how to regret a mistake if she thought she’d made the best decision she could.
Natasi started to play, at first just repeating the opening three chords. It wasn’t until she had done the introduction three times that she realized the answer, and started singing.
“Well, she throws out her arms and says, give me a choice and tell me my fate. I don’t want to tell you, but for both of us, it’s always been too late,” Natasi started, hearing the quaver in her voice. It was too low, written for Laura’s alto, but if she went this way…KT could come in on drums there, and…
“Dear me, you ain’t the man you wanted to be,” Laura came in, not quite in harmony, but Natasi could almost hear the effect. They could pull it off. “You lost that woman and she lost too…”
Natasi felt her whole body relax. She could do this, even as she let the piano trail off after the first chorus. And when she met Laura’s eyes, she saw the excitement that was shivering just under Natasi’s calm reflected and amplified.
“It’s rough…we’re going to have to work on it a lot more than Boomer and I have to work on Wired,” Laura said. “But you’ve made something out of the albatross tied around our necks. And frak Ba-Noh if he can’t deal. We can put it on the second album if this goes well. It’ll probably end up being the first single.”
Natasi shivered. “You never let anything throw you too far, do you?” she ventured. Laura smiled bitterly. “What? You make cake out of everything, woman.”
“Not exactly cake,” Laura said. “And trust me. I’m regularly thrown, but I’m not willing to lose everything over being surprised anymore. What about you? You had your own moment of making cake, too.”
“I’m not breaking up with GB,” Natasi said flatly.
“But you wish you could,” Laura said succinctly. “And that you should.”
“I wish he wasn’t a selfish, childish son of a bitch more,” Natasi said, running her fingers over the keys. “So what the hell are you, anyway?”
She’d meant it in reference to watching a half-dressed KT stumble out of Laura’s dressing room, and to the incredible kismet with Boomer. Laura didn’t take it that way.
In fact, Natasi felt a rumbling of fear because Laura Roslin was thrown.
“I’m a musician,” Laura managed, stumbling over the words slightly.
“So…open, huh?” Natasi said. “Because there’s what, three ex-husbands? And I know that Mr. Zarek almost wants to ask you out, but then after all the drunken late-nights with the girls…”
Laura laughed. “You’ll never get me to answer that question sober,” she said, composure rapidly returning.
But it was enough to make Natasi wonder. Enough to make Natasi think that at the next Cylon gathering she went to, if there was anyone who knew anything about Laura.
Besides the rocking part. Everyone knew that.