Categories > TV > Battlestar Galactica > Battlestar Galactica, Dawn, Part 3: Starbuck's Journey To Redemption

Chapter 1

by Treadstone17 0 reviews


Category: Battlestar Galactica - Rating: G - Genres: Sci-fi - Published: 2020-12-02 - 4248 words


Nine Months Later

Kara Thrace thought English was an ungodsly, fracked-up language compared to Caprican. She had been studying and studying the godsdamned language for nine months now and was preparing to hold a formal interview with the American President Justin Bond for the position of Fleet Military Attaché to the White House. Starbuck knew it pretty well now. She had better because the President had insisted that it just be the two of them.

Kara still wondered why the hell Admiral Adama had thought she would be good for this position. She wasn't a desk jock: she was a fighter jock. But when The Boss orders you to get ready for something, you get ready for it. While she had obviously not been offered the assignment, Admiral Adama had assured her that the American President did indeed want to consider her to be his Aide.

Adama hadn't told her that the President had her entire military career with him.

Starbuck was driving a Raptor down to Joint Base Andrews where she had first landed to take the medical tests for The Fleet after arriving on Earth. From there she would take the President's helicopter, dubbed Marine One to The White House. She wasn't really nervous. Starbuck had met the President twice now, but she hadn't been able to speak the language then.

President Justin Bond had just finished reading Captain Thrace's Official Service Record that Admiral Bill Adama had sent down to him months ago. He had read it more than a dozen times. He had a good first impression of Kara Thrace, yet reading her file had filled him with a lot of questions about the person that he thought he wanted.

To put it bluntly, Kara Thrace, so far, had had a long and tumultuous career. That was putting it mildly. He had discussed that career with Adama. He had gone over everything: the commendations for bravery and her reputation as perhaps the best fighter jock on Galactica, maybe in the history of The Colonial Fleet; her history of insubordination; her penchant for sleeping around and her gift for quite generally pissing people off.

He wanted to give the Captain a chance to speak for herself on these matters, but he was going to be as blunt with her as her record was. The fact that Kara wasn't aware of what he knew about her would make her reactions even more instructive to him. Like everything involved with the Presidency, he took this with a dead seriousness. He wanted a certain type of person for the job and had to see if Captain Thrace would pass the litmus test.

"Please, take a seat, Captain Thrace", the President smiled broadly at the twenty-eight-year-old (as counted on Earth) pilot. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"Yes, thank you, sir. May I have some ice water?"

"One ice water, coming up." He said again, with a polite bow. After getting her the drink, he handed it to her and made himself comfortable.

"Kara, I'm glad that we can finally converse personally", he noted, "since at our other meeting we pretty much stared at each other." That made her laugh a little. That's what the President had wanted.

"True, sir. I was ordered to study you when we met here the first time and had no idea you were studying me back. I was pretty astonished."

"That's quite alright, Captain. I've had a lot of experience in studying people without them knowing", he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

"I'm not used to not noticing things, sir." She commented back to the President.

"So, Captain, I want you to relax, and tell me a little bit about yourself in your own words. Don't worry about time. We have all of that that we need. I had my schedule cleared for this." He sat back to see what information she would volunteer.

Kara went on for about twenty minutes, going over her career in the Colonial Fleet. As any job applicant would she highlighted the positives: Twenty-nine commendations for going above and beyond the call during combat; the best kill ratio of any pilot in The Fleet; her experience training other pilots in both Raptors and Vipers; recounting her maneuver in saving Lee Adama when his Viper flamed out as the Cylons were bearing down on them. It was an impressive list. He saw a lot of the same qualities in himself at that age when it came to being a fighter jock.

The President asked more than a few questions about certain things she had brought up. After that, he took over the interview.

He got up for a moment, went over to his desk, opened the desk drawer and pulled out a manila file, bringing it back to his seat across from Captain Thrace.

"Do you know what this is, Captain?" His voice was quiet and calm, but razor sharp as well.

"No sir, I don't", she responded with a little hesitation.

"This is your entire Military Record, from the time you began training until the last report put in a week ago", he continued in a casual conversational tone. "I've had it in my possession for eight months now and I've studied it front to back".

His face turned much darker, slowly flipping through the pages. "Passing a pilot through training who wasn't qualified; the pilot was killed on his first mission; striking a superior Officer; six reprimands for being unable to fly due to impairment from alcohol; five for disobeying a superior Officer and Insubordination; flying privileges suspended on seven different occasions for various breaches of regulations and discipline; sat on a death-panel after departing New Caprica; torturing a Cylon prisoner; and what is referred to on more than one occasion as 'a history of questionable moral behavior while off-duty.'"

He stopped and continued to look down at the file. Kara had turned white as a sheet. She hadn't expected this from a job interview. It had mentally thrown her. In fact, part of the litmus test for the President was to see how she responded from something very unpleasant being tossed her way.

After a minute or so, the President looked up at her. "So, Captain, is all of this true?"

"Mr. President, with all due respect, I can explain some of..."

"Captain", he cut her off in a deadly quiet tone, "I asked you a direct question. I expect a direct answer." His eyes were looking right through her at the moment.

"Sir. Yes, sir, it is true", she said, feeling a fear that she had never felt in her life up to that moment.

"Captain, I will tell you what this indicates: a record like this indicates an Officer with little self-control, with little regard for her superiors, and with a chip on her shoulders that, quite frankly, makes me wonder why she hasn't been permanently grounded, stripped of her rank, and isn't sitting in the brig."

He paused again as Kara tried to recover from this broadside that seemed as terrifying as any the Cylons had ever launched. This one felt like a punch in the gut.

"M...Mr. President, if you think that poorly of me, then why am I even still..."

He cut her off again.

"What I also see Captain Thrace is an officer who has as much skill as any pilot that has ever flown for The Colonial Fleet; who has on more than one occasion been decorated for valor in combat. I see an officer who has put her own ass on the line for her people more than just about anyone since Galactica left The Colonies. What I see is a paradox that is hard to fathom. I see an Officer with great potential but I also see an undisciplined, often insubordinate brat."

"I know, sir. But in all fairness, I've grown a lot in the last few years. I'm not the same person I was through much of that." She was aware of the desperation she suddenly felt.

"That is mentioned in your file as well", he noted, his voice softening slightly. "But I have to balance your recent improvement in your attitude with your long-term record. I'm not sure I've been sold on that yet."

"Sir, if I may, why am I still here if you don't think very highly of me?" Those words came out as more of a challenge than she had wanted. Old habits would die hard.

Again he paused, as was his style, to let her think upon her words. "You're still here Captain because I see a lot of potential in you as an officer and a person. Everything you do, you do with passion. If a person doesn't have passion in what they do I don't want them working with or for me. Adama has done a marvelous job in trying to make you an Officer worthy of the uniform you wear, but that's tough when dealing with a pain in the ass, isn't it?"

She didn't quite know what to say at that rebuke, which really couldn't be challenged. The President continued, his voice softening in its cadence.

"Captain Thrace, I have high standards. Not only for the people who work for me but for myself. I want people to conduct themselves in a certain manner. I demand people who conduct themselves with honor, courage, respect for the chain of command, and who carry themselves with dignity for themselves and respect for others at all times. I want people who can think for themselves, but within a structure where the organization is clear. I do not tolerate people who personally or professionally compromise or disgrace themselves or the Office Of The President in any way, shape or form. Do I make myself clear?"

"Perfectly clear, sir", she said, the consternation still coursing through her.

"Now, let me ask you one more thing: do you think you can live up to those standards I have laid out? I want you to be brutally honest with not just me but with yourself. I demand these things. I need to know that the person in this position will conduct themselves personally and professionally with the highest standards. If you don't think you can consistently live up to these high standards I will continue to search for my Attache."

The hurricane that had descended on her from the other chair was suddenly throwing her a life jacket.

No one, not even The Old Man, had challenged her in such a way before. She had taken some of what the President said almost as a personal affront, except for the fact that...he was right. I have no frackin' argument against anything he just said, she thought to herself in a stark moment of blinding honesty.

"Mr. President, I believe I can." She said, beginning to rise to the challenge that had been thrown down on her. "I haven't always lived up to such a standard but I know I can."

"I hope you're right, Captain. I also believe people should be given second and even third chances to become more than who they have been, and to grow as an Officer, but more importantly as a human being."

He took a sip of water, then continued. "If you think you are up to the challenge, not only to perform the duties of this job, which is to not only serve The Fleet but also serve the Office of The President of the United States, then I still would like to make you my Fleet Liaison."

Kara was stunned. Even on her worst behavior, she had never been given a dressing-down like this. She knew the sheer conviction behind what the President had said could not be argued with. For him to say he still wanted her for the job was almost beyond her comprehension.

The President continued.

"Captain, I see in you someone who can achieve so much as a human being and as an officer. I see someone who despite her past transgressions, which are many, has never shirked from putting her life on the line for her people. If your passion can be channeled consistently to your strengths, and if you will take the time to truly discipline yourself, I still want you here. The question is do want to be here, and do you accept this challenge?"

The President stood up, and she followed suit. She looked him straight in the eye. Kara realized that she was standing in the presence of a rare individual and wanted to emulate him.

"Mr. President, I do accept the challenge. And I promise you this: I won't let you down." Starbuck felt like she would physically collapse but continued to stand at attention.

"That's good, Captain because this job is yours." He said, finally letting a warm smile come across his face as he extended his hand to hers. "Congratulations, Captain Thrace."

"Thank you, sir." She saluted him as well as she had ever saluted anyone.


One Month Later, The White House

Captain Kara Thrace sat at her desk and sighed, a mixture of relief and released tension following her first day at work as President Justin Bond's Fleet Attaché. It had been a hectic day, to say the least. She clocked in at 0800 with most of the day being the “get to know the White House” tour. The President himself escorted her to the West Wing, the Oval Office, the Situation Room, where she formally met the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President's top military official. Everyone, quite literally without exception was very kind and welcoming.

The first real meeting of her job was late in the afternoon when the President, his National Security Adviser Adellyn Harris, his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs sat down in the Oval Office to further go over parameters of Kara's position. The groundwork had been laid, but reality often didn't match what was on paper.

“Captain Thrace's primary responsibilities are keeping our National Security team in the loop with regard to everything concerning The Fleet, primarily with any new orders and directives from Admiral Adama and President Roslin.” President Roslin and the Admiral had spent many hours at the U.N going over the Chain of Command on Galactica and throughout The Fleet, as well as over the workings of the Colonial civilian government."

“Mr. President”, the Sec Def inquired, “will Captain Thrace be in on policy advice concerning The Fleet?”

The President nodded his head. “When needed, yes, absolutely”, he said without missing a beat. “She is the expert on The Fleet. You've all read her file. You know that she has been not just a pilot, but has helped plan quite a few operations as The Fleet made their way here. She is the eyes and ears between me, Bill and Laura, and visa versa.”

The Chair of the JCS wasn't quite on board completely. “But she knows little about how our government works, Mr. President”, he said with no rancor present. “We still have to keep the legislative process in our hands.”

“I agree, Jim”, the President said with a smile. “Look, we're all here to learn right now-hopefully we'll never stop learning about each other. Kara is our ambassador to learn about The Fleet, Galactica and the traditions and ways of her people. At the same time, she will be learning primarily about the United States, our people, our traditions and how our government functions.” He smiled over at Kara at that moment, “Captain Thrace is going to teach us a lot, and we'll teach her a lot. In the end, it will help us coordinate future planetary defense policy should those metal bastards ever show up in our neighborhood.”

Kara spoke up at that moment. “One thing I'd like to do is to begin a program as soon as possible where The Colonial Fleet Code of Conduct is distributed to anyone the President sees fit to include. I would also like to request taking some American Government courses at Georgetown or American University. I think also an in-depth course on your Constitution will help me as well. The sooner I learn about how the government works the better I can serve all of you and The Fleet.”

The General smiled. “That's ambitious, Captain Thrace”, he said approvingly. “I think that could be arranged, don't you Mr. President?”

Justin Bond chuckled. “I told you, Jim, Kara does everything passionately. I know she will follow through. We'll talk it over with State in the next few days.”

The three other invitees came away by the end of the meeting very impressed with one Captain Kara Thrace, Call Sign Starbuck. Kara had promised the President to go all-in on this assignment and wanted to earn his trust and his respect.

As the meeting broke up, the President spoke up. “Captain Thrace? Would you stay behind for a few moments?”

“Yes, Mr. President”, she said crisply.

When the others had left, they both sat back down. “Interesting first day, wouldn't you say, Starbuck?”

Kara let out a huge breath as if she had been holding it all day. “Every muscle in my body aches, Mr. President. I can't remember an entire day where I was so wound up.”

Justin Bond laughed. “I get it, Captain. My first day as CAG at MacDill Air Force Base, I thought I would shake apart when the day ended, I was so nervous.”

Kara looked at him with surprise. “Really sir? You? I didn't think anything made you nervous, from what the Old Man told me.”

“Maybe not now Captain, but back then I was about your age and, yeah, I was nervous. Once I got my feet wet and everyone realized I wasn't faking it”, that line made her laugh, “I settled in.”

“How about after you were shot down in combat?”

He eyed her, knowing she had been through similar situations. “That's when all the hard work and training becomes everything to you, Captain.” She nodded her head, understanding perfectly. “It's one thing to be nervous the first day of a job; it's quite another to lose your nerve when you're behind enemy lines, or in your case, stranded on an uninhabited rock. You don't know where the hell you are at the time, but you have to let your training guide you.”

Kara thought back to when her Viper had collided with the Cylon Raider and she had ended up with a broken leg and cold as hell. “Yeah, everything is in your own hands”, she said quietly. “You either figure it out or you're dead.”

They were both quiet for a moment. “Captain, you've seen crap that I can't even imagine. And at such a young age”, he said with genuine admiration. “You grow up fast in the middle of a war. I'm glad you're on our side.”

Kara smiled broadly. “Thank you, sir”, she said graciously, “that means a lot to me.”

The Boss didn't want to talk shop anymore. “So Captain, how would you like to come over to the residence and have dinner with the Bond family? You haven't met my wife or kids. You're probably gonna run into them a lot around here. What do you say?”

“I don't...”, she stuttered, “I don't want to intrude on you and your family time, sir.”

He chuckled. “When you're invited, young lady, you're not intruding. It's time you met a real Earth family-well as real as you can get under the microscope of the Presidency.”

“Then I accept your invitation, Mr. President.”


As the President escorted Captain Thrace into the private residence quarters Kara started to hear noises that sounded like pots and pans and cabinets being closed.

Along with voices.

“Jeez Nicholas, we're gonna have dinner soon and you're pigging out on ice cream?” The young female voice sounded exasperated to no end.

“Oh just chill, Abby”, a male voice replied. “Not everyone eats like a bird-like you do. Tweet tweet!” Kara heard a smack to someone's body. She looked over at the President with amusement.

He rolled his eyes. “Gotta love teenagers.” Kara tried to stifle a laugh.

“OK you two, enough of that, out of my kitchen”, a clearly adult female voice said as the President and Kara came into the kitchen. “Your dad's gonna be home shortly and.....oh, hello babe!”, the woman said. “I didn't hear you come in.”

“You couldn't hear a nuclear blast with all this noise”, he glared with mock sternness at his children, “so I'll forgive you this time.”

The young woman had turned around and looked awestruck. “Oh my God, it's Starbuck”, she shrieked. “Oh my God, this is so cool!”

The President winced, making Kara desperately hold in another laugh. “Stop gushing, Abigail”, Justin Bond said with a chuckle. “Everyone, I'd like you to meet Captain Kara Thrace, Call Sign Starbuck. Kara, I'd like to introduce you to my wife Judith, my son Nicholas and the President of your Earth Fan Club, Abigail.”

“Hi everyone”, Kara said with a warm smile, already sensing this was a close-knit family. “It's so nice to meet you.”

First Lady Judith Bond walked over to the younger woman. “Kara, welcome to our home.” She extended her hand and Kara accepted it, “How did your first day go, Captain?”

Kara almost immediately relaxed at the First Lady's voice. Judith Bond was maybe two inches taller than she was, with sandy brown hair. She was extremely pretty, Kara thought. They make a good couple, she thought silently. “It was hectic ma'am, between settling in and the welcome tour. I was a bit nervous today.”

“Welcome to the Official White House Family, Kara”, Judith smiled warmly.

“Thank you Mrs. Bond”, she said, blushing slightly.

“Hi Starbuck, I'm Nicholas.” Nick Bond was about two inches taller than Kara and looked almost completely like his father. “I'm gonna fly Falcons like you someday, you watch.”

Kara shook hands with him. “I'd be happy to train you when you become a Nugget, Nick. Don't think I'll be easy on you.” She winked at him and he blushed back at her.

Finally, Abby came up with the deer in the headlights look. “Oh my God, Captain, I'm so excited to meet you. Most of the girls I know in school want to be a fighter jock just like you. You have quite a following down here.”

Kara laughed. “Maybe there are better role models than me Abby, but I think I'm gonna have to meet your friends someday. We'll be looking for jocks believe me. You want to become one?”

Abby wrinkled her nose. “No, dad having been a jock and Nick wanting to be one is enough for me.” Both Kara and Abby laughed.

“Then be what you want to be, Abby. It's good you want to chart your own path.”

Kara almost fell in love with Nick and especially Abby right away. They were incredibly intelligent, funny and respectful, which didn't surprise her in the least seeing the way their father was.

“Do you have any idea what you want to be Abby?”, Kara inquired. “I know you're only fourteen, but you seem to have a good head on your shoulders.”

“I've thought about maybe becoming a nurse or a doctor. But I'm not sure yet. I do know I don't want to be in the military”, she sniffed. “Uh, sorry Starbuck, I didn't mean to make that sound bad.”

“You've got nothing to apologize for, Abby”, she smiled. “We can't all be egocentric jocks.” She looked at the President who raised his eyebrows, making everyone laugh.

By the end of dinner and dessert, Kara was right in the middle of the discussions on The Fleet, Galactica, the future for both Colonists and Earthlings. It was like she had known these people all her life.

Judith Bond, like her children, had not met Captain Thrace up till now, and was genuinely delighted by her husband's Aide. Nick saw a new role model in his desire to become a pilot, and Abby simply looked star-struck every time Kara looked at her.

“Captain”, Judy said as Nick and Abby cleaned the table, “I hope you had a nice time this evening. I'm so happy we could have you over for dinner tonight.”

“Thank you so much, Mrs. Bond, Mr. President”, she said profusely, “I had a blast. You have a wonderful family. I have a feeling I'll be spending some of my downtime with Nick and Abby.”

Justin Bond rolled his eyes. “You do so at your own peril, Captain.” Judith Bond smacked him lightly on the arm and Kara laughed.

“Captain, if you ever need anything from me, in any way, shape or form, all you have to do is ask”, Judith Bond said, walking up and clasping the younger woman's hands. “I know it will be a time of adjustment living down here on Earth and my door is always open for you.”

“Thank you so much, ma'am”, Kara said with genuine gratitude. “I may have to take you up on that. I know a lot about war and The Fleet, but I'm gonna be lost down here for a while.” Judy Bond laughed.

“I hope we can have dinner again, Captain Thrace?”

Kara chuckled, “And miss a meal like this? I guarantee you I'll be back.”
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