Trick or treat. You decide.
Title: The Dioscuri
Synopsis: Don’t let him take C causeway no matter what.
Character(s): Lee Adama
Word Count: 3,952
Disclaimers: Not mine. RDM said we could play with them.
A/N: Okay, so I’ve just broken one of my own fanfic writing rules (holiday fic). *sigh*
by Karolyn Gray
“…And they all died.”
“Hot Dog, that was the lamest story ever!” Starbuck scoffed in disgust, waving her cards dismissively.
“Not to mention older than Galactica.” Apollo added with a put upon air.
“It is?” At his nod, Starbuck narrowed her eyes. “How do you know that?”
“Because my Dad used to tell me and Zak the same story when I was about six or seven and he heard it from his Dad when he was the same age.” Apollo informed her before giving a pointed look to the young pilot across the table from him. “And you told it wrong, Hot Dog.”
Hot Dog waved his arms in exasperated defeat. “Fine! You tell a ghost story, sir.”
“Yeah, Dad. Tell us a ghost story,” Kat chimed in with a laugh. The others at the triad table perked up at this suggested, nodding their heads in agreement.
Starbuck grinned at that before adding her own, “Yeah, tell us a story, Dad.”
The gathered pilots were surprised at the serious expression that briefly flitted across Apollo’s face before he shook his head. “No.”
“Ah, come on, Lee,” Starbuck cajoled him. “I know you have all the imagination of a rock but tell the kids a ghost story.”
“How old are you again?” Apollo asked as he rolled his eyes dramatically, earning a round of laughter from the table. He paused to take a puff from his cigar deliberately blowing his smoke towards Starbuck before continuing. “And no, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.”
Kat was the first to catch the full meaning behind his words. “Wait, wait, wait. Believe you? Believe what, that you had something spooky happen to you?”
Apollo shrugged, accepting the new round of cards Starbuck dealt out. “You mean aside from when I saw my lunch start moving on its own last week?”
The others laughed, but Kat didn’t as she watched the CAG pay entirely too much attention to arranging the cards in his hand. Noticing Kat’s gaze Starbuck stopped laughing and took notice of the look on Apollo’s face intrigued by what she saw there. “You’re serious aren’t you?”
“I’m the CAG.” Apollo replied, matching his tone to his words.
By now the rest of the pilots were listening intently, triad cards forgotten as Starbuck leaned forward, willing to play into whatever game Apollo was having with the nuggets. “So tell.”
“You won’t believe me,” Apollo reminded her. “It’s not scary or gory or anything like that. Besides, Zak was the only one who ever liked to hear the story and he was there for part of it.”
The other pilot’s shared a look at the wistfulness in their CAG’s voice at the mentioning of his dead brother, knowing the man rarely talked about anyone in his family except the Old Man and even that was rare. Starbuck set her cards down and leaned back in her chair.
“I’d like to hear it.” She said, earning agreeing nods from the other pilots.
Seeing their interest, Lee took a sip of ambrosia before grinning slyly.
“Well, it actually happened here on Galactica.”
“No way,” Hot Dog interjected earning him more than a few glares and shouts from the other pilots at the table and more than a few from the rest of the room that had started to pay closer attention to what the CAG was saying. “I’m just saying, if there was a new ghost story to be had on Galactica we would have heard about it, right?”
“He’s got a point,” Dragon, an older pilot noted. “We all know about the weird noises in the lower decks and the alleged haunting of weapons locker B-12. And of course the weird comm. signals that N1701C gives off. So how come we never heard this one, Cap?”
“That’s ‘cause no one ever believed me except Zak,” Lee replied. “Not my mom, not Tigh, not even my Dad.”
“So what happened?” Starbuck prompted, more intrigued than she really wanted to admit as she watched Apollo lean back in his chair with an oddly fond expression on his face.
“I was eleven and it was the day before Colonial Day celebrations on Caprica. Dad had just ended his final tour as Galactica’s CAG and somehow convinced the Commander to let him and some of the other officers give a private tour before she went in for maintenance and refit.”
He laughed for a moment and shook his head.
“Zak and I were so excited at getting to spend the day with Dad we even decided to wear our jumpsuits. I remember Zak was angry that he was still wearing the green Pioneers uniform while I got to wear Colonial blues because he didn’t meet the age requirements yet.”
“I knew it,” Starbuck interrupted with a laugh.
“Hey! The Young Colonials were awesome.” Hot Dog declared defensively, earning a quick smile from Apollo and a salute used by the now non-existent youth group.
“Says the Academy dropout and Captain Tightass,” Starbuck muttered.
“Hey you want me to tell this story or not?” Apollo asked, earning a pair of raised hands as Starbuck mock surrendered.
“Anyway, I got bored when we were touring the starboard flight pod and saw there were no Vipers. I decided to ditch Zak and go exploring on my own…”
Lee paused at the intersection of corridors considering each direction carefully with his memory of the Battlestar’s schematic he had spent so much time studying, scratching the side of his head in indecision. If he was correct then the corridor to the left would take him to the upper level of the port flight deck where he could watch the deck unseen by the crew but he also knew his absence from the tour group would be noticed soon if not already.
In his indecision he didn’t hear the young Ensign come up behind him. “Are you with the tour?”
Lee jumped at the harshness behind the question, giving the female Ensign a quick nod and his best innocent smile; the one his mother swore was going to be the death of her. “Yes, ma’am. I went to use the head but seemed to have gotten turned around.”
The Ensign smiled gently at him and her voice considerably brightened. “Where are you supposed to be?”
“Starboard flight pod,” Lee replied honestly.
“Well you’re halfway to the port flight pod. You want to go this way,” the Ensign informed him gesturing back down the corridor she had just come. “Tell you what, I’ll take you there myself.”
“No, that’s okay. I know the way,” Lee paused looking sheepish at her raised eyebrow. “I just got turned around that’s all.”
He watched the Ensign look at him appraisingly. “Okay, tell me how to get there.”
Lee quickly rattled off the directions earning an actual laugh from the woman before he’d finished. “All right, all right. Just get going and try not to get lost again. I’ll be sure to inform security so you don’t end up in hack.” The Ensign mock-reprimanded him.
Lee nodded eagerly and started down the corridor the Ensign had gestured, carefully watching to make sure she continued on her way. Once she was from sight he reversed direction and took off at a run down the corridor leading to the port flight deck. In short order he found the hatch leading to the gantry and noted the warning sign that had been attached to it. Noting the gages all read safe he decided to ignore the signs and spun the hatch mechanism, opening the heavy door enough to barely slip through before allowing it to clang shut behind him.
Grinning at the sight of the Vipers gleaming in the harsh overhead lighting, Lee leaned heavily against the railing as he angled for a better look. Lee didn’t even have a moment to scream before the railing gave way, taking him along with it. A sudden jerk and Lee felt himself smack painfully into the metal wall even as the pain shooting through his shoulder finally registered and he cried out. Another painful tug and he found himself back on the catwalk, slumped to the rough metal grating with tears of pain streaming from his face but too scared to actually make any further sounds as he held his now sore shoulder and arm close to his body.
“Hey, kid. You okay?” A stern male voice asked him.
Lee sniffled once and nodded, but refused to look past the boots of the crewman who had saved him. He knew once his Dad found out he’d be in trouble and by the look of the boots it was one of his Dad’s pilots.
“Give me your eyes.”
Lee looked up reluctantly to find a young looking man wearing an old style flight jacket from the Cylon War over his flight suit with his Viper wings and the call sign “Castor” prominently displayed. He was surprised that the pilot didn’t look particularly angry; in fact he looked like he had a small grin on his face and a glint of humor in his bright green eyes.
“A little young to be one of the new rooks, so what are you doing here?” Castor asked looking Lee over closely.
“I…I’m with the tour.” Lee stammered out.
“Tour’s in the starboard hanger deck, kid. Want to try again?” The Viper pilot asked, pulling Lee to his feet not unkindly and giving the youngster a quick once over.
“Uh, I was bored. There weren’t any fighters in the other bay,” Lee replied feeling stupid even as he told the pilot before him what he was doing.
“So you thought maybe there would be some here in the port hangar deck,” the pilot finished. “A Battlestar isn’t a place for kids to be running around unsupervised.”
“Yes, sir.” Lee murmured, looking down in shame.
“How’d you find your way over here anyway?”
Lee looked up at the bemused tone of the pilot and grinned. “I walked. I memorized the Galactica’s schematics.”
“Huh. Smart kid.” The pilot grinned at that, running a hand over his close-cropped black hair. “Took me months to navigate my way around the ol’ girl when I first got assigned here.” The pilot looked over the patch on Lee’s jumpsuit. “So what’s you’re name, Young Colonial?”
“Lee Adama, sir.”
“Frak me! You’re Husker’s kid?” Castor asked. “Ah, crap. I mean…hell…don’t suppose you forget you just heard me say that?”
Lee grinned feeling suddenly more at ease with the pilot’s own embarrassment. “Yes, sir.”
“I’m Lieutenant Casidan, but just call me Castor, ’kay?”
“So what should I call you?” Castor waved his hand as Lee opened his mouth to speak. “Lee isn’t a proper call sign. Let’s see…Apollo?”
Lee screwed up his face in distaste at the idea of being named for what he viewed as a sissy god but never got to say anything as the young pilot continued.
“Nah, you’re not big enough for that name yet,” Castor agreed earning a glare from Lee. “How about Grasshopper? Hoplite?”
“I bet you’re one of those quiet but feisty kids, aren’t you? Bet you get into fights a lot, too. Won’t take crap from anyone.” Castor noted, earning a small nod from the Lee in response. “Then how about…Pollux.”
“Pollux,” Lee tried the name out and grinned liking the sound of it.
“You know Pollux was pretty well known for his boxing ability. Pretty scrappy fighter. Had a brother…”
“Castor, sir. He was good with horses” Lee supplied helpfully.
“Definitely smart kid,” Castor noted. “At least you know what your call-sign means then. You plan on being a Viper pilot?”
“Yes, sir!” Lee agreed eagerly. “The best that ever lived.”
Castor laughed at that. “No doubt. All right then, Pollux, what am I to do with you?” Castor asked guiding the youngster down the gangway.
“Back to the tour,” Lee replied even though it was exactly what he did not want to go, knowing his dad was going to be furious with him for running off.
“What? You don’t want to see the Vipers now?” Castor asked in mock surprise.
Lee’s mouth gaped in shock. “Really? I mean…”
“Come on, Pollux. If you’re going to get put in hack, you may as well have some fun before hand, right?” Castor gestured to the stairwell leading to the flight deck.
Lee grinned like a loon as he raced down the steps, sore arm forgotten, and waited for Castor to join him before allowing the pilot to escort him over to the nearest Viper, an battered looking Mark II tagged with a pilot’s call sign “Creeper”, with cockpit already open and a ladder attached.
Castor grabbed Lee’s shoulder and kneeled down to eye level with the youngster, an intense look in his green eyes that made Lee step back in nervousness. “Before I let you crawl all over that Viper, you got promise me something, Pollux. An important promise.”
“Okay,” Lee replied uncertainly.
“When Husker takes you to the mess, don’t let him take C causeway, okay? It’s not safe.”
“Just promise me, Pollux. Okay? This is important, Lee. Don’t let him take C causeway no matter what. Got it?”
“Yes, sir.” Lee nodded solemnly. “ I promise.”
Castor grinned and patted Lee on the shoulder, “Good man. Now let’s check out this Viper here.”
Lee nodded eagerly and allowed Castor to help him climb into the cockpit.
“Is it always cold on a Battlestar?” Lee asked, earning a puzzled look from the Viper pilot. “I just noticed it’s really cold down here and your hands felt like they’re freezing.”
A sad expression briefly crossed the pilot’s face before he shook his head, “No. They’re just conserving energy is all. It’s usually a lot warmer. Takes a lot of power to run a Battlestar.”
Castor ruffled Lee’s hair playfully before pointing to the cockpit controls. “So, Pollux, can you tell me where the dradis is?”
Lee lost track of time as he climbed in and around the Viper asking questions to Castor who had taken to sitting in the cockpit after Lee had thoroughly investigated every nook and cranny therein. He was just crawling out from under the rear landing skids when his father’s voice boomed across the deck.
“Lee! There you are! Where the hell have you been?” William Adama briskly strode across the deck to his son. Lee heard a small discreet cough and looked up to see Zak and the rest of the tour group watching them.
“Young man, I asked you a question.”
“I…I was here, looking at the Vipers with Lieutenant…” Lee gestured to the cockpit but trailed off as he saw it was empty.
“Lieutenant Ramsey is on leave, Lee,” Bill Adama stated.
“It wasn’t Ramsey, it was Castor who was with me,” Lee stated.
“There is no Castor serving on Galactica.” Bill told his son.
“That’s what he said to call him.”
“Lee, this area is off limits for a reason. It’s dangerous.”
“I know. That’s why Castor said he’d stay and let me look over the Viper.”
“Then where is this Castor?”
“He was here a minute ago. Honest.”
“You’re in trouble, young man but we’ll discuss this later. Come on, it’s lunch time.”
As they approached the group Lee noticed Zak looking worriedly at him. Lee shrugged and flashed his little brother a quick smile and discretely waved his hand indicating he was okay.
“Well, I see you found him.” Captain Tigh said briefly looking over Lee’s slightly disheveled jumpsuit.
“Yeah, he was looking at the Vipers,” Bill replied wearily.
“You know how worried you had your old man, son?” Captain Tigh directed his attention on Lee, causing a small tremor of apprehension to pass through the child’s frame.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,” Lee said softly.
Tigh’s hard glare softened somewhat. “Just don’t do it again. You had us worried.”
“I won’t. I promise.” Lee nodded, grateful when Tigh threw him a quick conspiratorial wink.
“Hey a little unauthorized recon can be a good thing, right?” The Captain whispered to him, earning a chuckle from both of the brothers. “The trick is to not get caught.”
“Don’t encourage him, Saul,” Bill reproved his friend before turning to the rest of the crowd. “Well let’s get something to eat.”
Lee excitedly told Zak and several older youths everything he could remember about his investigation of the Viper much to their envy. Lee became so engrossed into his tale that he didn’t even notice where they were until he heard some one mention C causeway.
“Let’s just cut through C causeway, Bill. It’ll cut ten minutes off the walk,” Captain Tigh was saying his hand resting on the locking mechanism to the hatch. Seeing his father’s nod of consent, Lee felt a wave a dread come over him.
‘Don’t let him take C causeway no matter what.’
The high pitched shriek made Tigh stop a half turn before the hatch would be unlocked and turn in the direction of the sound only to be tackled by Bill Adama’s oldest son knocking them both to the deck. Lee felt himself yanked off the older man by his collar.
“What is wrong with you, Lee?” Bill Adama asked furiously.
“We can’t take C causeway. It’s not safe!” Lee struggled against his father’s grip managing to yank free.
“What are you talking about? If you think this will get you out of trouble…”
“It’s not safe!” Lee insisted. “Castor said so!”
Bill waved his and dismissively and nodded towards Tigh to open the hatch. “I’ve just about had enough of your antics young man…”
Lee spun and pushed Tigh as hard as he could even as he heard the unmistakable sound of the hatch lock releasing. The only Lee remembered after that was an intense wave of heat, light, and sound before something solid slammed into him, sending him into darkness.
After he woke in medbay to his father holding his hand and the teary eyes of Zak, they went to the pilot’s briefing room where his father asked him more questions about what had happened, what people he had encountered away from the tour, and especially a description of Castor. He knew something bad had happened despite his father’s assurances that everything was fine. When they were done with him, he wandered the room looking at the various pictures of the pilots and crews catching an occasional word like “Sagittaron” and “terrorism” as the adults discussed the day’s events.
Lee stopped cold as he came to a picture of his father and three other men hamming it up for the camera in front of his father’s old Mark II. Standing there with an arm slung over his father’s shoulder and brandishing a bottle of Virgon Ambrosia was Castor exactly as Lee had seen him on the hangar deck, same eyes, hair, clothes, even the same jacket.
“You ready to go home, Lee?” He heard his father ask from the table behind him.
“That’s him,” Lee announced.
“Him who?” Bill asked as he approached his son, wondering what in the picture had caught his son’s attention.
“Castor. The pilot I met in the hanger deck.” Lee said, pointing to the picture on the wall. “That’s him.”
Bill glanced at the picture and shook his head in exasperation, dragging Lee away from the photo. “That’s not possible, Lee.”
“All those other men died during the war.”
“But it was him! He said he was Lt. Casidan, Castor. I swear!” Lee insisted.
“Lee, I don’t want to hear it. Okay?” Bill told his son. “I’m no longer mad at you running off, all right? Now I’m sending you back home to your mom.”
“Lee, just stop son.” Bill said in a tired voice.
Lee glanced back once more at the picture as he father led he and Zak from the room but said nothing more knowing no one believed him.
Apollo looked around the room noticing the mixed looks on the various pilots face. No one said a thing, just stared at him. He winked at Starbuck’s grinning face.
“So, you ever see this Castor again?” She asked.
“Sure,” Apollo replied nonchalantly.
“When?” Racetrack asked.
“At every daily briefing. The picture is still there.” Apollo waved vaguely in the direction of the pilot’s briefing room. Finishing off his ambrosia in a quick gulp he slammed his glass back down on the table and tossed his cards into the center of the table.
“Well I’ve got to check in with
the Chief before hitting my rack, so I’ll catch you all at tomorrow’s briefing.
Good night.” With that Apollo was out of the recreation room.
Several moments of silence descended on the group before it was broken by Hot Dog.
“That was a pretty good story,” Hot Dog said with some admiration.
“Yeah,” Kat agreed, her sentiment mimicked by most in the room.
“You think any of it is true? I mean about Castor and all that.” Dragon threw in.
“Oh please. It’s just a story!” Starbuck scoffed, while secretly pleased at the impact of Apollo’s tale. “You people are so gullible.”
“Well you got to admit it was a good story.” Dragon said defensively.
“Coming from Apollo, that’s about as close to Classical Caprican Literature as you’re ever going to get out of him,” Starbuck agreed. “So yeah, it was a good story.”
“I’m going to check the flight roster again.” Kat announced suddenly.
“Me too.” Hot Dog chimed in.
Within minutes the room was emptied as a variety of excuses were given to end the night’s triad game save Starbuck who shook her head in amusement thinking she’d have to congratulate Apollo on his storytelling skills freaking out her nuggets. She knew a lot of pilots would be showing up early for briefing over the next few days after Apollo’s little ghost story worked its way through the crew just to see if the alleged picture actually exists.
Starbuck saluted the empty room with her ambrosia glass. “Frakking good story.”
”It’s not just a story.”
She jumped as Commander Adama took a seat next to her. She laughed to cover up the nervousness she didn’t even realize she had. “So what part of Lee’s tale was true?”
“All of it as far as I know.”
Kara rolled her eyes at that, earning a small smile from Adama. “I’m serious. There was an explosion while some of the families of Galactica’s crew were taking a private tour. The cause of the explosion was never explained but Lee saved a lot people from getting hurt that day.”
“So there really was a Castor?” Starbuck asked in surprise.
“Yes, there was. Lieutenant, j.g. Liathain Casidan. One of the best pilots I’ve ever known. I was his wingman when he died bringing in a wounded bird on the port flight deck. Wasn’t enough of him left to fill a shot glass. He wasn’t even twenty years old.” Adama nodded with a somewhat sad expression on his face.
“And you think Lee what…saw his ghost or something?”
“I don’t know. All I do know was that the investigation revealed three other people, good steady officers, who all said they saw and spoke to a Lieutenant Casidan, call sign Castor, a few hours before the explosion.” Adama admitted, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
“Did you ever punish Lee for his little misadventure?”
Adama chuckled at that. “No, but I just realized something. Saul and I have never let anyone take down that old photo in the briefing room.”
“Good luck charm?”
“Something like that.” Adama shrugged evasively.
Starbuck nodded at that and rose from the table. “Goodnight, sir.”
“Goodnight, Starbuck.” Bill Adama looked around the empty room before rising tiredly to his feet.