The Oath

Mar. 14th, 2013 08:45 pm
mr_gaeta: (lieutenant)
0632 HRS

The first domino in this long, carefully planned chain is breaking Zarek out of his cell and getting him to Colonial One.

Granted, breaking out makes it sound much more complicated than the reality. All Gaeta needs -- and has -- are a set of Marines who can escort him in, unlock the door, and usher both him and the vice president out of the brig. Zarek's already sitting alert and ready when Gaeta arrives. The instant the door's open, he sweeps his jacket onto his shoulders and adjusts his tie as if merely going to a Quorum meeting.

By this point, Gaeta's nearing hour eight of his stump burning and seizing up with the worst phantom pains he's had in a while. As usual, the morpha did nothing; as usual, he took the strongest possible dose anyway, hoping it'd quiet things down enough to clear his head a little. The first time he has to stop, wincing, and rub at his leg, both Zarek and the Marines give him looks ranging from concerned to deeply skeptical.

He doesn't stop again after that.

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mr_gaeta: (holding firm)
As the days progress, Racetrack comes back to him with more numbers. They look good; she's spoken to a solid crop of people, every one of them just as angry as the crowd Gaeta entertained in the mess. He adds them to his tally, then quietly seeks out each person to fill them in on some of what he discussed with his own group.

But that still leaves thirty-seven thousand civilian voices unheard. Trying to extrapolate so much from so little remains far too dangerous.

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mr_gaeta: (I am so smug with my smug face.)
The talk with Boyd hadn't been an easy one. Once he makes it back to Galactica, Gaeta needs a few minutes to sit in his rack, turning the words over in his head as he ponders his options.

Plan it better. That's the big one. Hard as it'd been to hear the bluntness to Boyd's advice, he knows he needed to hear it. And he can make a lot of assumptions right now, but if there's one thing Gaeta can do -- even now -- it's collect data and extrapolate concrete numbers.

Like how many people could be on board, conceivably, if he started the mutiny today.



He picks a time when he knows the mess will be reasonably crowded: the larger the sample size, the better. Food's one of the great common denominators, so everybody -- from ensigns to captains, Marines to deck hands -- will have at least one representative in the tables.

And...oh. Look at that. Seated among today's representatives is Captain Thrace, a hand shielding her face as she picks at her food.

Perfect.

The click-tick of his crutches and prosthesis sounds loud and clear as he makes his way over to her table.
mr_gaeta: (holding firm)
The meeting with Adama goes as well as he should've expected. At first, it looks like the admiral will just brush him off: come back in two hours, Mr. Gaeta, says Adama, turning away to fetch another drink before Gaeta can respond. Left with little else to do, he hobbles back to sickbay for his post-shift checkup.

That, too, goes as well as he should have expected: an hour and forty-five minutes of waiting, a fifteen-minute exam that does amount to a brush-off, Ishay rushed and apologizing as she hands him another jar of ointment for his stump. The ointment doesn't do anything; the problem's with the endcap of his prosthesis, he's told them that dozens of times. But hey, with Caprica expecting a baby and Tigh by her side for the ultrasound -- gotta keep the toasters happy and well cared for in a timely manner, right? That's what matters most nowadays.

Once everyone's seated back in the Admiral's quarters, the meeting's objective becomes clear. Tyrol's ideas involving the application of Cylon tech to their ships won't be debated, or discussed; all that'll be talked over is how to coat this poison pill so the Fleet will swallow it without a qualm. Gaeta tries to interject, asking for more information -- because of course there has to be a catch to all of this -- but the only time they take notice of him is when Tigh snaps at Gaeta to address Admiral Adama as "sir." He leaves no less frustrated than when he entered.

His resolve, on the other hand, is rapidly sharpening to a point.




The next day, in direct defiance of Ishay's earlier order to get some rest, Gaeta's in the rec room, nursing the biggest cup of coffee he can find and not making eye contact with the scattering of other crew members. He checked to make sure Louis wasn't there before he even stepped across the threshold; keep your head down, he told him, and he means for Louis to listen.
mr_gaeta: (between ignorance and hope)
Gaeta doesn't speak the whole time he's in sickbay.

He has an excuse, for some of it: hypoxia means a mask with pure oxygen for a good six hours. They clean the blood from his face and hands with a gentleness he despises, speaking quietly as they explain what tests they'll need to run to confirm he hasn't suffered brain damage. Gaeta stares straight ahead, only nodding when prompted.

When the tests come back clean -- no permanent damage, he overhears Cottle say -- Gaeta thinks he might burst out laughing.

At some point, he becomes aware that somebody's asking him for details. He sees rank pins and duty blues, but can't make the face conform to anybody he knows. So, in silence, he shakes his head.

Whoever it is doesn't press.

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mr_gaeta: (sickly)
The night after they finish cleaning Dee's blood from the floor, Gaeta squeezes into Louis' rack for the first time in weeks, curling up small and silent in his arms. There's nothing to say. There's nothing he can say. Everyone knows he was the last one to see her alive; all he wants is a wide berth from the memory and close contact with the last person he loves.

He doesn't sleep. That turns out to help his case when he goes to Cottle to beg for more morpha.

The injections -- because if nothing else, Cottle finally listened when he said the pills didn't work -- are only supposed to be taken twice a day maximum, but after some careful calculations, Gaeta figures out how to push it to three times a day. He doesn't have as much of a fear of overdosing as before. Sleeping, and not thinking, are much more important, and the constant flow of morpha through his bloodstream does a good job of helping both.

Still, it's bad enough that even Colonel Tigh notices somewhere around the fifth day after Dee's suicide.

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mr_gaeta: (the steadfast tin soldier)
At some point in the dull haze of the next morning, Doc Cottle calls him into sickbay. "I know this might be a cold comfort now, son," he says, sounding as weary as everyone else in the Fleet, "but we found you a prosthesis."

Gaeta blinks, not comprehending for a second. "You did?"

The false leg is ungraceful and clunky, looking nothing like a real leg at all: just a metal pole with a hook-like foot at the bottom, easy to fit into the right boot Gaeta hasn't yet had the heart to throw away. If only it fit onto his stump that well. Whoever previously owned the leg was either much taller, or had lost much more of their limb; the endcap is so large it covers his knee entirely. He can't bend it, can barely get the prosthesis to stay on without padding his stump with three layers of socks -- but it does mean he can stand on two legs for the first time in months, albeit with substantial help from his crutches.

Cottle's right, though. It is a pretty frakking cold comfort.

"Walk it down to your rack and back a couple times," says Cottle. "The more you practice with it, the easier it'll get."

Wonder if that applies to anything else around here, thinks Gaeta, too tired to even muster up real rancor.




warning for depictions of suicide )
mr_gaeta: (getting older)
Even something as simple as walking to Milliways' sickbay ought to count as his day's physical therapy. Gaeta knows it won't, and can't, but...gods. He is just so sick of hurting all the time, and in no mood to forcibly make himself hurt worse.

When he reaches the infirmary, he pauses just outside the door to catch his breath.
mr_gaeta: (looking up)
Gaeta quieted down considerably after a certain stranger paid him a visit; once Simon finished his analysis and added oral THC to his regimen, he stopped singing more or less for good. The pain still breaks through every so often -- twinges here and there, a gradual build when one drug or the other starts to wear off, but it's never bad enough to take up the tune. Not anymore.

He'll be able to get through this, he thinks. He still has his other leg; he has a means to manage the pain; he has plenty to keep him distracted until he's better.

Right now, the current distraction involves the IV bag hanging above his bed: he's watching the liquid inside with rapt fascination.
mr_gaeta: (the first that she be spared the pain)

-- ta? Lieutenant Gaeta, stay with us



Movement. Pressure on his face. Something cold brushing his nose and mouth.

Pain, constant as heartbeats, ground as deep into his bones as this is not a drill and the Fleet's jumped away.

get a cut job tray in here

don't let Cottle take my leg


Read more... )
mr_gaeta: (lieutenant)
All the civilians have cleared off the Demetrius long before Gaeta steps aboard, wide awake and already aching from the memories of the night before. Come back to me, baby, whispered Louis; Gaeta sweeps his gaze over the ship's interior and tries not to wrinkle his nose at the reek of sewage.

So this is the chariot that might bear them to Earth. Not exactly what Pythia had in mind, he suspects wryly. Though it's been a frakking long time since what anybody suspected, and what actually came to pass, aligned with any sort of neatness.

Swiftly, he claims one of the racks and moves on to the CIC, acquainting himself with the ship's navsat and auxiliary systems. By the time Captain Thrace takes the deck, he's settled by the largest DRADIS screen to await her first command.

The Demetrius jumps away from the fleet with a shimmer. Just before it does, Gaeta closes his eyes and sends up a silent echo: I promise.

(He doesn't know that by then, something has shifted, jarring that particular path out of the ship's reach.)



It's the first of five jumps they make in a single week alone. It's the only one that doesn't cross back over itself.
mr_gaeta: (small smile)
[From here.]


Gaeta grins, still a little embarrassed, and goes back to poring over the basket.

"Did she say why?"
mr_gaeta: (thinking too much)
[After this.]

Nearly everyone who's off duty is in the courtroom; everyone on duty has probably been glued to the wireless all afternoon. Galactica's halls are close to empty.

Gaeta feels half weightless, feet moving too fast and boots barely meeting the ground. He looks straight ahead as he strides down the hall, ignoring a few curious looks from the smattering of people he passes. It doesn't matter. It's done.

It's all over.

Oh, gods, it's over.
mr_gaeta: (holding firm)
This is the first time he's seen Gaius since the botched interrogation.

He's looking better, Gaeta has to admit; his hair remains overlong and his beard hasn't changed, but they're cleaner, better kept. Maybe it's just because he's wearing a suit again instead of threadbare prison clothes.

Maybe it's because the predominant expression on Baltar's face, as Gaeta places his hand on the Scrolls, is flat-out boredom. It's difficult to feel sympathy or concern for someone when he looks like he's staring right through the ship's hull to count the stars beyond, cheek bunched up against his fisted hand.

Not that Gaeta has much concern or sympathy to spare Baltar anymore.

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mr_gaeta: (lieutenant)
"Lieutenant Felix Gaeta?" says the unfamiliar woman escorted into the CIC. He turns around immediately, back lifted and shoulders squared; she keeps close to the Marine guard, a thin white envelope in hand.

"Ma'am," he acknowledges.

"If you'll come with me, please."

Thin furrows cross his forehead, but after flicking a quick glance to the Admiral -- he nods his permission, barely perceptible -- Gaeta lifts himself from his seat smoothly and without hesitation, walking down the short flight of stairs to fall in step beside her. The three of them exit and shut the door behind them with a thump.

Three minutes pass. The bridge resumes its work as if nothing transpired at all.

When Gaeta re-enters, he's alone, pale, and stony-faced as he crosses the floor to return to his post.
mr_gaeta: (and a star to steer her by)
In the CIC, Gaeta's just wrapping up the latest tactical sitrep with Colonel Tigh and Admiral Adama. Taking care not to be overt, he sneaks a glance at his watch as he points to another item on the board,calmly interpreting the latest figures and reports gathered from each pilot.

Louis is due to start his shift in seven minutes, and while it's not as if they'll be able to talk during that span...it's still nice to know he'll be around. Their shifts don't overlap very often.

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Felix Gaeta

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