Strange Little Girls
by Jennifer-Oksana (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Disclaimer: Moore’s the man with the master plan. The songs are in order from Tori Amos’s cover album, Strange Little Girls, and the quote from each are from Neil Gaiman.
Summary: Twelve short fics about various women in the fleet, and the stories that make them who they are.
i. “New Age” (Laura Roslin)
Passion flows through her like a river of blood.
It wasn’t until her body betrayed her that Laura realized how comfortable she was in her skin, how well it fit. It wasn’t until then that she realized that she wasn’t sad about the prospect of dying, she was angry.
Furious. And the strangest part was how that death-driven rage made her a leader, made her real somehow, more alive than she’d ever dreamed she could be.
Dying made her live and glow, and even that moment of imminent death, when she arched up in a grotesque parody of ultimate ecstasy, she wasn’t giving up. She was fighting, and then, Death having had incomplete satisfaction, she sagged against the bed, spent and sweating as though he had.
But it wasn’t until she felt that kiss brush against her naked shoulder that Laura realized how much she’d missed a lover’s touch.
How ready she was to say yes, yes, now, to stop thinking like a pragmatist and give into the passion that matched her quickening pulse, her hot and living anger.
Her head turned to catch and devour the mouth seeking hers, trying to suck life from it as best she could.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
ii. “97 Bonnie and Clyde” (Ellen Tigh)
Now that she is dead, she tries to remember only the love.
If the Cylons had never come, she would have never died like this.
If the Cylons had never come, she would have never realized that she loved him.
So what does she wish? Does she wish that she were alive or that she didn’t know how much she loved her husband? If the dead can wish, and Ellen’s not sure they can.
It doesn’t change the basics of the situation. Her choices that weren’t were to die knowing she loved Saul and that he loved her, or to live never knowing how much she could love.
Ellen doesn’t know what she wishes about that.
iii. “Strange Little Girl” (Hera Agathon)
somewhere in her mind it’s always raining a slow and endless drizzle.
Her nightmares are waking. Her nightmares define her. Hera can’t remember, but the nightmares tell her about the thing that happened when she had a different name, when she was a different little girl, one who might have been happy.
They show her how to project her nightmares, and she conjures up a school full of happy children and two women who Hera knows and doesn’t know.
They tell her to never do that again. Hera does it anyway.
They blame it on her humanity while they lust after her. All of them want that human part of her with all of their imperfect, flawed hearts, grasping after her pathetically.
Hera wants to understand the universe, and she can’t do that until she understands herself. About the place in her mind where it’s always a war zone, and Mama won’t get up, Mama get up Mama get up, gotta go, Mama get up.
They tell her that Mama was not her mother, that it was the traitor Eight following divine orders. Hera believes them, but her mother was not her mama and her mama lives only in Hera’s dreams.
She dives deep, looking to understand. She makes art out of it.
None of it makes sense until Hera meets the other woman from her dream. Tireder now, a hostage, but no less who she is.
The woman who’s not her mama but might be her sister, the only one who knows how the Cylon hums in the blood and the human skin fits better, looks at Hera quietly and knows.
“She died and it was my fault,” the woman says. Hera doesn’t even have to ask the question. “I’m sorry about how badly I failed you both.”
“Are you like me?” Hera asks, unable to keep the tremble from her voice. Finally she’s going to understand. “Are you family?”
“We share blood,” the woman answers. “And we both know what it would mean to lose our humanity altogether.”
“That’s not an answer,” Hera says, aching for family so badly her heart could break.
“It’s the best one I have,” the woman says. “So you can take it or leave it.”
iv. “Enjoy the Silence” (D’Anna Biers)
These are the things that have helped, that kept her walking and her head high
Nobody loves her, it’s true.
In the moment D’Anna first took the child from Baltar and Caprica, she understood how nobody loved her at all. And that she loved nobody at all. Had loved nobody at all.
Had never even understood why that was sad and pathetic rather than good and smart.
Love remains messy and confusing to her, but she’s willing to admit that Hera’s changed everything. She wants to protect Hera, not because she’s the first of God’s new children, not because it will spite the human population, not because the child is a new and unprecedented thing.
She wants Hera because she loves her. Love is all that D’Anna needs, she understands now, and she’ll kill whoever she has to, stoop to whatever lie she must to get the love that is all D’Anna needs.
The baby breathes in and out, and D’Anna’s heart aches. How could this have taken so long? How could she have taken so long to understand when there’s so little time in a life?
v. “I’m Not in Love” (Kara Thrace)
One day she won’t love you too. It will break your heart.
Her husband sleeps alone on the Astral Queen.
Lee and his starter wife are fighting again; Dee doesn’t take any shit off chubby-ass, and he’s apparently got a wandering eye.
Helo loves Athena so much that it makes people uncomfortable and she can’t find time to talk to him.
And no one’s supposed to get near Tigh’s crazy ass.
Kara hates them all anyway. This wasn’t how any of it was supposed to go. Frakking skinjobs. Frakking universe. Frakking everything.
They all should have died of plague. It would have been for the best. Now Starbuck keeps thinking of whatever toaster-loving collaborator frak kept the war going.
It’s going to kill her soon enough and she’ll be glad. No more thinking about the people who she disappointed and had to stop loving. Adama stopped loving her and she stopped loving him. Roslin never loved her, and maybe that was for the best because it frakked Lee up, Lee’d rather fight with the starter wife. Helo and Athena don’t love anyone like they love each other, Tigh’s ass is crazy, Kat hates her.
And Sam…no. She’s not gonna think about him finding an easy way out. He probably thinks she frakked Leoben like Ellen Tigh was frakking a Cavil, to try to get out of that pit of a prison. Like he gives a shit if collaborators die quick or slow.
He stopped loving her the minute she showed off Kasey. So she doesn’t love him back either. It’s over. She loved him she fought for him and when she needed him, he freaked out because he decided she was a toaster-frakker.
She doesn’t need that kind of love in her life. And Kara knows how it goes.
So she loves her inevitable death for the cause. Death doesn’t take it back. Not even when it knows how unworthy Kara is of love. Death will keep her either way.
vi. “Rattlesnakes” (Kat)
She doesn’t know who owned the jacket originally. Nobody claimed it after a party, and she figured it looked good on her.
Sometimes Kat throws up before flying her missions. Even now.
Ask her what she’d want to do with her life, if there weren’t frakking Cylons and the frakking war and all that frakking shit, Kat couldn’t tell you. As far as she’ll tell you is that she’d want to keep flying. She didn’t ditch out on the old man and the service.
This is what’s in her mind as she’s leaning over the toilet, puking up her lunch. Not that there’s much difference in the puke that goes down and the puke that comes up. But she doesn’t know what she’d rather do than throw up her lunch and fly a CAP around the fleet.
It’s her life. She likes her life, likes Racetrack and Hot Dog and the tough bullshit they talk. She hates Kara, but life’s easier with Starbuck there to hate. Starbuck’s there so Kat can know how much better she has to be.
As long as Kat has Kara to fight and hate and be better than, she knows she’s still moving.
And all the rest of it can be flushed like her stupid frakking lunch.
vii. “Time” (The Dead)
It is more that the years mean nothing to her any more, that the dreams and the street cannot touch her.
The dead outnumber the living by something like six hundred thousand to one. Each living woman in the Colonial fleet has six hundred thousand deaths she could have been instead.
Some of them have names — they remember Helena Cain, their mothers, their sisters, their daughters, their next-door neighbors, sweethearts of their dead friends.
Some of them have vaguely remembered faces, or well-remembered faces with no memories attached, haunting the halls of Galactica and other ships.
Most of them have no names, no memories to be recalled. They are numbers upon numbers in numbers too large to imagine, and they are forgotten before the rest of their species has the time to say, “never forget.”
For the dead women whose memories are so lost that they might never have existed, there is nothing. No dreams, no Cylon can touch her. She becomes one woman, vaguely understood, mourned because there is no way to make ten billion or even ten thousand women’s deaths differentiated.
The dead are as one, lost forever, mourned. And the years mean nothing now, the Cylons, the dreams, the regret. To her, none of it matters because none of it can.
viii. “Heart of Gold” (Caprica and Baltar’s Sixes)
This is what they do for a living. They walk in, take what they need, walk out again.
It’s not glamorous. It’s just business.
And one night — not any special night — Gaius’s other Six came to visit.
“You’re not me,” Former-Natasi said to her severely. Caprica, maybe. She could think of herself as Caprica facing down Gaius’s Six. “You’re not anyone.”
“Of course I am,” Gaius’s Six said. “The shine is off him, isn’t it?”
“That’s your fault. You fascinate him. Nobody real could compare to you,” Caprica growled. “I don’t even think you’re a Six. No Cylon could walk out of a man’s subconscious and into mine.”
Gaius’s Six smiled wickedly. “I am who I am,” she murmured. “I wear your body for what I have to do. It’s not glamorous. It’s just business.”
“It’s not right, either,” Caprica said. “Who are you? What are you?”
“I’m a messenger of God,” Gaius’s Six said with a shrug. “And I have a role in this as much as you do. We can’t keep being at cross-purposes, child.”
The false Six’s hand shot out and caressed Caprica’s face, and for a moment, Caprica felt approved-of. Loved. Nearly perfect.
The moment was over all too soon, and Caprica was alone. Wondering if her Gaius would ever come back now that she knew about the real Gaius’s dreamgirl.
“I never left, darling,” a familiar voice purred into her ear. “And I’ll always be here for you.”
“Are you the same person as the Six that just left?”
“Of course,” he said, his unseen hand resting on her stomach. “But I love you no matter how you choose to see me. As long as you love God, I’m always at your side.”
“Always?” she asked, hearing the hope in her voice.
“Always,” he confirmed comfortingly.
ix. “I Don’t Like Mondays” (Anastasia Dualla)
That night, after the shower, which could not wash what she had had to do away, not really, she said to her husband, “I’m scared.”
Dee wonders if any of them take her seriously. The Adamas think she’s a tough cookie, and she’s getting pretty serious with Lee, but when Dee looks in the mirror after the shower she doesn’t know.
Smart woman or cute junior officer whose claim to fame is having hunky young player boyfriends? Dee hates the idea that she might be seen as someone who’s sleeping her way up the ladder. Except Dee doesn’t hate power.
And she knows that it doesn’t always come easily. She’s twenty years old, she’s small and cute and from Sagittaron, and a woman. The odds are against Dee in the Colonial fleet. That’s why Dee takes what she’s dealt and doesn’t cry about it.
She agrees to help Tigh with the vote-rigging, Tigh and Roslin’s new Billy, a snooty woman named Tory, because Dee gets it. President Baltar is a disaster waiting to happen, even though Dee wonders why Roslin can’t just lie this time and then break her promise later. Seems less dishonest than flat-out rigging an election, but that’s just Dee’s opinion.
But she agrees to do it anyway. Not because she feels guilty about Billy, or thinks Roslin’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, or anything like that. Dee does it because the idea of pulling off something like election fraud, and having that secret to hold against the most powerful woman in the fleet makes her strangely happy.
Dee looks at herself in the mirror and is a little afraid. What does she really want? For Lee Adama to love her? Or for Lee Adama to like her enough to attach the Adama name to her own and have the favor of Laura Roslin?
Dee knows herself a little too well, and before she can talk herself out of it, she stops looking in the mirror and focuses.
This is the only way. And they’ll take her seriously enough as time passes.
x. “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (Sharon Agathon)
You use the gifts God gave you. That was what her mother had said, which makes their falling out even harder, somehow.
The executions of her own people, her whole people being wiped out by biological weapons, and her dead daughter, and she can’t help because she promised. Somehow, it makes it all harder.
You use the gifts God gives you and Athena’s gift is to be honest. She wasn’t the Boomer who put two in the old man’s chest. She’s her own person. She promised loyalty to the enemies of her people, and hoped for the best.
She didn’t get it.
But the bloodshed had to stop somewhere. It has to come to an end, and if there’s no trust, there can be no beginning.
He trusts her. Adama trusts her. Maybe nobody else except for Helo, but Adama believes in her, believes that maybe there can peace if you face up to the truth.
The truth is that she promised, and she’s honest, and even though it hurts like hell, she’ll let these people kill hers if she has to. Athena keeps her word.
So she sits dry-eyed and looks at her service weapon.
xi. “Raining Blood” (Cally Tyrol)
Her last thought, before that bullet, was that she was four months pregnant, and that if we do not fight to create a future there will be no future for any of us.
So maybe the cavalry doesn’t come in quite enough time. It comes after the first fifty people are dead. Laura Roslin, of course, makes it, and she comes up covered in Zarek’s blood, like a frakking war goddess, and she just screams. Not a hysterical scream, either. It’s a battle cry, and she kills the next man to touch her, jams a knife into his heart and keeps going. Tears running down her face, streaking the blood and brain on her skin.
Cally watches, unable to run. Unable to move. Her hands are unbound, she’s free, she can run and run fast, and she can’t move.
Run, stupid, run, she thinks, but her feet won’t do the moving thing.
And that’s when she sees the big red stain on her gut.
And that’s when she realizes that she’s been watching from her knees.
Her son. Galen. No. No. No.
She falls on her side and no one sees her as she lays there, dying slow and painful. Cally’s cold, and some of those boots could be Galen’s, but she doesn’t know and they can’t hear her scream.
As it gets colder, Cally prays. Please, Zeus, Hera, anyone. Make it so the world won’t be like this anymore. Make it so her son will never have to die wishing she’d heard his first word.
Cally doesn’t know what the world will be like, but she knows it can’t be like this anymore. It has to stop. No more blood. She prays, her mouth opening and closing but no sound coming out of it, that her blood’s enough, that all those people’s blood is enough.
Please gods, make this stop.
xii. “Real” (The Hybrid)
All of these things are true.
She can hear all of them in her head and she loves him she loves him continually love and the child is screaming for her mama and Three wants to be loved and Three wants to love a baby and Six wants to love him but he’s no good and Eight used to think she was a person but that’s not her baby and it could have been her baby but it’s a squally dripping thing and maybe she’s secretly glad she’s not the mother and that’s gonna be a problem later and all of these things connect in points and there’s an overheat in 19e and 19f and three Centurions are having range of motion problems and Lee seems open again and if he weren’t Galactica’s XO there’d be a fatal accident but if she reassigns her resources there she can stop the overheat and not lose any computer cycling time and
it’s unpleasantly like being drunk. what’s wrong with being drunk? you ask a glass of water. it’s a joke get it that she can scan in and some of these thoughts are God’s thoughts and who is the one who keeps almost being there and now there is a small discrepancy in the waste management system and the resurrection ship is too close for maximum speed and it’s a joke, get it? get a p-sychiatrist, god thinks he’s laura roslin. It’s a joke get it it’s a joke you ask a glass of water god thinks he’s
There’s an overheat in sector 19f, there’s a power usage spike in the enemy quarters, the continuous storage of Colonial vessels on her body corrodes it just a little, like a scab she can’t stop picking. In other words all systems normal.