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The Melian Dialogue

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  • The Melian Dialogue

    A Battlestar Galactica fic. A focus on Admiral Cain, in reverse chronology.

    The Melian Dialogue

    Prologue ?

    She's looking at me, gazing at me like some Angel of Death, her finger ready to sweep that trigger like a scythe to end my life. When she entered, I couldn't help but recoil a fraction, show my fear, but I am upright. I am standing. My face is clear, I hope my face is clear. I am strong. My name is Admiral Helena Cain, and there is nothing on my face. I am strong. She can see my strength, she knows that I have defeated her day after day since I found out what she truly was. She won't do it. She's not strong. She ?

    "Tell me, Admiral. Can you roll over? Beg?"
    "Frak you."

    What do I get if I die? The hero's send-off? That is no victory. I am alive to win this war, to survive, and I will not let the likes of William Adama, and Laura Roslin, and Karl Agathon defeat me. To let the Cylons win? for this thing in front of me to win. That foul, treacherous ?

    "You're not my type." A machine that talks, remembers. And her face? she is speaking with rage and her face is troubled, tormented, twisted but filled with conviction, vengeance. Is she feeling? What could she feel? She is a machine, this is programming, this is a trick, it was always a trap. And yet? on her face is feeling. What do I show?


    Part I ?

    Admiral Cain enters the room and looks to the large man tied to the chair. He looks aggrieved but rebellious ? still, probably a little frightened, she notes with a brief smile. He thinks he is justified in his crime.

    "Lieutenant Karl C. Agathon, call sign Helo, I had been reading up on you before this incident," Cain says.

    "Is that right?"

    "Lieutenant Agathon, I am your commanding officer. You will show me the due respect and call me ma'am!" her voice cracks like a whip.

    Agathon only smiles as he looks up at her.

    "All due respect, Admiral Cain, but Adama is my commanding officer."

    Cain stares at him for a long beat, transforming the anger into a vindictive smile.

    "I see. So ? what ? you learned such insubordination for the chain of command by the side of your Cylon agent?"

    "She is no Cylon agent, and neither am I."

    "It is a Cylon, Lieutenant. That makes it a Cylon agent. And as to the question of whether you are a Cylon agent ? that is only raised after I have determined your guilt for murdering a fellow officer of the fleet."

    "That was a tragic accident, but I assure you ? my actions were justified."

    "Justified? Murdering a superior officer while he was conducting a vital interrogation is justified to you, Lieutenant? Has Adama raised a band of thugs?"

    "Attempting to stop a man from raping a defenceless woman is justified."

    Cain laughs, crouching slightly to gaze at Agathon with cold eyes.

    "You see, Lieutenant, there are three words there that just don't stick for me. ?Defenceless' ? "

    " ? she was in chains, she ? "

    " ? ?Woman' ? "

    " ? she is a woman, not a machine ? "

    " ? and ?raping'."

    Agathon is struck dumb for a second.

    "Rape? You don't call forced sex, while she is tied up and screaming, rape?"

    "Let me use one of the fleet's more tired metaphors. I'll put it to you this way, Agathon. If I were to put a piece of bread in a toaster and switch it on, would you kill me for that?"

    "Are you joking, how can you compare ? "

    "Joking? Am I joking?" Cain seems almost taken aback, but she puts it on with an amused malice. "I think you had better stop joking, Lieutenant, because your life is on the line. You murdered one of my most trusted men for using a toaster? and we so desperately needed the toast. Or? I'm sorry? had you solved all the fleet's tactical problems by a few soft words?"

    Agathon looks away, all too aware of the answer. "She should not be asked to do anything like that, things are compli-"

    "I agree! She should be forced. She is a thing, Lieutenant, and I am not willing to sympathise with a thing when all that I need to get what I want is to crush it. I have the power, Agathon. The Gods brought her to this fleet so that she could give us what we want. Why else is she alive?"

    "Because I love her. I love her. She is not a thing. I know her. She ? she loves, she's pregnant, and she is human enough for me. You know what, she is more human than ? "

    "Don't say it, Lieutenant," Cain hisses. "Don't try it. I am the guardian of humanity, and I will hear no more. You will be executed, and the Cylon bitch will give the human race whatever it needs."

    Part II ?

    Cain walks into the Pegasus' morgue, and pauses before she opens up one of the doors and pulls out the body of a man, lying cold on a slab. She looks down at him.

    "Jurgen. Still dead, I see. We've been tracking a Cylon fleet and think we may have encountered a colonial signal. It could be a trap, but ? it looks a lot more convincing than the other traps we nearly got caught in. And before you say it, Colonel, no, that was not a trap. I was right, Jurgen. We went in and we took losses, by the Gods we lost a lot of men, but we won. I made the right decision and even if I hadn't, there was no excuse for mutiny. How dare you? You were a trusted Colonel and a trusted friend, but there was no excuse.

    Because let me tell you something: the Pegasus is a nation, an embodiment of the last of the colonial fleet ? unless of course this signal turns out to be true ? and it is a nation at war. The Pegasus is at war with the Cylons, and we had to strike. You couldn't refuse to that. And you know why you couldn't refuse? Because on the Pegasus, within our world, we ourselves are nations. We are the sovereign of our own bodies, our own personal states. And mine is the most powerful. For whatever reason, the state of Admiral Helena Cain had the most power, and that's why I had all the other little states, from the next biggest ? yourself, Colonel ? to the very weakest as my allies. As my subjects. And when an ally turns its back on a state there will be repercussions. When we find ourselves in any way able to defeat the Cylons, with any chance of defeating a group of them, we have to take it. Otherwise ? you're breaking this unbreakable alliance. A traitor to the state of the Admiral.

    So I shot you. That was my power. That was your prize, Jurgen, for making the wrong call and doing it as a public rebellion. I took a gun and I shot you. You forgot two things, two vital things ? that the nation of the Pegasus needs power, but on the Pegasus, I have the power.

    I'm? no. Am I sorry? Sorry that my friend is dead, but not because I killed him. He made a mistake, and died. I'm sorry for that. But for this gun to have been in my hand when the fatal bullet was fired? No, Jurgen. I'm not sorry."

    Part III ?

    Admiral Cain smiles tiredly as she listens to the man's pleas. She has a phone to her ear, connecting her to the captain of the civilian ship ?Dionysian'. She stands in her CIC, immovable, as her XO, Colonel Jurgen Belzen watches her speaking to the civilian captain.

    "Cain, listen to me, you can't just do this. Without those parts our ship is not going to be able to move," the captain stammers over the communication.

    "Unfortunately, captain, that is not going to be my problem for very much longer. The military needs these parts for our stores. Everyone has had to make sacrifices."

    "We do not want to sacrifice our independence! My passengers would not appreciate sleeping in Pegasus bunks."

    "Sleeping in Pegasus bunks? The Pegasus does not have room for non-military personnel."

    There is a stunned silence, before Cain starts slightly at the noise from the other end of the line.


    "We have no room for you, captain."

    "Of course there's room! You lost a third of your crew with that accident ? "

    "The only accident, captain, was that someone who shouldn't have been aboard my ship was," Cain grates. "We have no room for things that are useless to us."

    "The human race is useless to you?"

    "I have humans with me, right here."

    The captain snorts. "I'm not sure I'm speaking to one."

    "Then you would be in trouble, wouldn't you?" Cain says dangerously. "No, captain, your time is up. If you attempt to start up your FTL drive, the Pegasus will shoot you immediately. Nobody wants that. We will leave the basic propulsion drives where they are. Perhaps, if you have enough food, you will be able to make it to a habitable planet. I wish you the best of luck."

    "You know that's impossible. The Cylons will find us almost immediately."

    "I am a woman of hope, captain. Now ? Pegasus Marines will be arriving in ? how long? ? my Colonel says a matter of minutes. They will take what the Pegasus requires, and then we will leave."

    "We'll fight them. You can't do this, Cain."

    "You will be killed."

    "What's the alternative? We'll be killed anyway."

    "Maybe not, captain, if you just play along. The Marines have no qualms with shooting to kill, if you fight them."

    "Our blood is on your hands, Cain. We'll fight."

    "Good luck."

    "Why?" he pleads, "how could you do this to your own people?"

    "Because perhaps one day the Pegasus will need those parts, and perhaps one day the Pegasus will be crippled while trying to take care of a civilian ship. But mostly? just because of the Pegasus itself. Because I have it, and you are nothing compared to it. Because the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must. Be grateful that you may at least survive a while."

    Cain puts the phone down on the surface next to her.

    "Leave the line on," she commands, before turning to face Colonel Jurgen Belzen. She stares at him for a long time, challenging him to speak, but neither of them do. From the abandoned phone, the sound of gunfire can be faintly heard.