Instruments of God
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Spoilers: Kobol’s Last Gleaming Part 2
Disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit, thank you.
Summary: A jailed prophet, an illusory evangelist, and a foul-mouthed savior: God has a plan for us all.
This has all happened before and will happen again.
Next time, Laura Roslin hopes that she is a waitress, or maybe a tree. Anything would be easier than accepting what she has accepted to be true.
They’re starting to whisper that she’s a prophet.
Most of them still say that a small cell on Galactica is too good for her, that she should be sent out of the airlock for what she’s done. But they’re starting to rotate the guards more frequently, and the very few visitors she has are watched very, very carefully.
She hasn’t even made any claims for herself. Truth be told, Laura Roslin doesn’t know what to believe about herself. The word prophet fills her with dread, though she doesn’t regret anything that she’s done, because it is right.
No one asks her the questions — nobody really knows that there’s a reason to ask them yet. But she knows they’re coming, and she’s rehearsed the answers to their questions over and over.
There are a lot of hours to fill, and she’s had time to think about this.
“I cannot believe that if the gods speak through us, that we cannot answer their call,” she would say, the lights shining in her eyes, blinding her.
There is only one question she cannot answer, no matter how many times one of her phantom press corps asks it of her, no matter how many times she asks it of herself.
“How do you know it was the gods speaking to you?” and in her mind, it’s always someone who looks like Billy (and Laura misses Billy, can’t help but expect to see him when she glances over her shoulder, with a file of important work and bad news, awkwardly and politely waiting for her attention), “Do you think that you’re that important?”
Laura always finds herself at a loss for words. Because rationally, she has no justification. She is a sick woman, a dying woman on unusual medications, and it would be so easy to believe she was desperate for a meaning for it all in her last days. The story writes itself, and neatly and cleanly leaves Laura little more than a lunatic.
None of that necessarily precludes the possibility that she is still right, or that the gods only speak to saints. In fact, in the hours since her confinement, it seems to her that claiming prophets must be holy, it’s a neat way to prevent the gods from ever speaking. The most sophisticated form of sophistry — no time for gods, because there’s no room or spokesperson for them.
Who among them, after all, could claim to be good enough to hear the gods? She wouldn’t have made the claim for herself — still wouldn’t make it. Why couldn’t the gods choose someone out of necessity? Why else the ancient prayer, “I believe. Forgive me my disbelief?”
I believe, Laura thinks over and over. I believe that no god nor gods could be so cruel as to take so many innocent lives and let people survive so long without a plan. I believe that we will find the way to Earth, and survive, and thrive. I believe that if the gods are speaking to me, it’s not because I deserve to hear, but because others do.
Laura believes. Nothing more or less remarkable than that. And she is willing to remain firm in those beliefs, and refuse to deny them.
If that makes her a prophet, then she is a prophet.
And she has work to do.
* * *
Six loves Baltar.
God is love.
Thus, God is between Six and Baltar. God wants Gaius Baltar to serve Him, and Six wants Gaius Baltar to love God as she loves God, because then, then at last? He will love her as she loves him, and the others will know that her model is the true model of charity.
She was supposed to be the honey trap, the seducer, the hated one. It was her role, and her sacrifice is respected by God. Six can understand being hated; she commits monstrous acts in the name of God, and it is only natural that they hate her. There are other models more suited to being prophets, evangelists, teachers, judges, and Six knows that when the next generation is born, she and her sisters will be retired.
But the Cylons are still children in their understanding of humanity, and Six is still needed. Six, too, can bring souls to God, in ways those tiny, pathetic models, Sharon Valerii after Sharon Valerii and all the same, weak and whining and giving no thought to God, could never imagine.
Sometimes she watches him sleep. His dreams are hidden from her, and Six is jealous of them. She suspects that they often have nothing to do with her. On those nights, she wakes him up, enjoys watching his disorientation and the increasing debilitation of sleep deprivation.
Other nights, he murmurs words that could only be for her, and Six is content to let him rest and watch him, wondering what God will say to her when she returns to him.
Has she done well, shepherding this one along? Is she too jealous? Has her love led her astray?
Six is generally sanguine about such things, but the last question plagues her until she has to repeat the things that set her mind at ease about the subject.
“The glory is God’s,” she whispers, almost daring to run a finger over his dark hair. “All glory to God, glory in the highest. Take my heart and make it yours, so that I can know more of love. I am the least of your servants, and I do all things at your command, so that your love and glory may be known forever.”
Gaius wakes up, blinks, and spots her. “What are you saying?” he asks.
“I love you,” she says. “So does God.”
He snorts. “I’m sure he does.”
“God loves everyone, Gaius,” she says. “And the more I know of love, the more I know he loves you even more when you’re an arrogant prick.”
One day, Gaius will understand. They will all understand, and they will love her for persisting, for fighting until everyone understands God’s love, and God’s plan for all of them.
Six smiles. It will be a beautiful day, one she knows is coming very soon.
* * *
What she doesn’t fracking understand is why she keeps signing up for these missions. First, torturing Conroy. Then, getting on that Godsforsaken Cylon Raider to go back to Caprica for a mystical artifact.
Everyone seems to think Kara Thrace has a destiny except Kara Thrace, who knows they are all out of their minds, and yet she keeps ending up on suicide missions that succeed beyond a drunken optimist’s wildest dreams.
She has gone to see Roslin since her return to Galactica, despite Tigh’s warning that if she tried to help the woman in any way, he would make sure she’d share the cell.
“Was it worth it?” Kara asks, striding in and shaking her head. “You’re in a jail cell, Lee’s going to be put on trial, and Commander Adama’s in critical condition. We’re no closer to Earth than we were, and we’re still fracked.”
“Probably, yes,” Roslin agrees. “Why are you talking to me if you think I’m a religious lunatic? Everyone else has seen fit to ignore me.”
“Because everyone else…look, you act like you know something we all don’t, and there are things going on I don’t understand,” Kara says. “Do you believe in all this? Gods and destinies and crazy fracking bull?”
“More and more,” Roslin says. “I don’t know what to believe. You found Kobol. Does that make you an instrument of the gods? I have dreams that come true. Does that mean I should call myself a prophet? Or is this all some kind of coincidence on the eternal round of life?”
Kara stares at her. She really believes it; she really thinks they’re instruments of god. “Or maybe you’re crazy,” Kara says, suddenly shaken. “That ever seem possible to you?”
“Oh, it’s entirely possible that between my health, the stress of my job, and post-traumatic stress disorder, I have completely and totally lost my mind,” Roslin agrees pleasantly.
“You don’t believe that,” accuses Kara, amazed that the woman is so calm about this. If Laura Roslin is a prophet, then she is…she is something else, and that’s insane. No fracking way any divinity with any sense would put her in a position to be a savior. “You think you are a prophet, and that this is what the gods want. Shouldn’t you have seen this coming? Maybe warned the old man about Boomer being a fracking Cylon?”
“Why are you angry at me?” Laura asks. “I’m not denying the possibility of madness, or coincidence, or drug-induced hallucination. And I haven’t forced anyone to listen to my beliefs on the subject. You asked me, and if you don’t like the answer, that’s not my fault.”
“You sound like that fracking machine,” Kara says, her heart pounding in her chest. “The one you said was too dangerous to have around. What about you? What if you’re too dangerous? What if you make people believe you, go off on some crazy quest for a place that doesn’t even exist because you think the gods talk to you?”
“Do you believe me, Lieutenant?” the president asks, composed and calm as if this has happened before and will happen again. Kara hates her, hates her a lot, because there’s no way she wants to answer that question even for a second.
“Frack you,” Kara says. “That’s not what you’re asking. I won’t follow you.”
“I don’t want followers,” Roslin says, shaking her head. “That would be embarrassing and non-productive. And that’s not the question, in any case.”
Kara turns and spits, her head pounding as something like blind panic races through her system. She’s a Viper pilot, a loyal soldier of the fleet, and when she heard Tigh had had Roslin arrested, she hadn’t flinched. Even Lee, who was always Roslin’s special boy, has turned against her somewhat (he thinks she’s ill and that if she knew what she was doing, she’d be horrified), but Kara knows.
Down to the marrow of her bones she knows that she does believe and that she wants to believe in Roslin’s fantasy of Earth and divine intervention and that they can do something against an enemy who has them outgunned, outnumbered, and has no compunction about exterminating their species. Because it’s not looking good for the human race otherwise.
“I don’t know,” Kara says. “I hope someone loves us, because otherwise, we’re fracked.”
“Even if you’re asked to sacrifice your life?” Roslin asks. “Or lose everything to get nothing in return?”
“You sound like a Cylon,” Kara says, noticing the guards are coming in. “You’re even the one calling yourself a prophet. Don’t you think it’s worth it?”
“Just warning you, Lieutenant,” Roslin says, hands on her head as the guards get closer. She’s clearly dealt with this before. “What you know could get people killed. Are you willing to shoulder that burden?”
Kara doesn’t get to answer.
It’s not as though she knows the answer anyway.