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A collection of stories exploring the BSG miniseries and first season. Previous stories can be found here.

Title: To The Edge
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Character: Felix Gaeta
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Let it all just slip away.
Notes: Spoilers for the miniseries



Gaeta reads the message. Reads it again, and a third time.

Attention, all colonial units. Cylon attack underway. This is no drill.

He asks Dee to check the transmission again. To authenticate the signal, verify the channel.

She does. Presses her eyes shut after a moment. Nods.

He chokes down panic, and picks up the phone.

"C.I.C. to commanding officer."

*


An hour ago there was nothing, but after news of the attack breaks, reports come flooding in, so many that Dee has to swivel, yank the paper as they print in order to prevent a jam.

He relays action status to the commander, the XO, treads the C.I.C. until he can sense his footsteps, ghostly imprints on the floor.

He empties himself, becomes a repository for information, because thinking about the numbers he's given, the words he's repeating...

He can't think about it. He can't think about it.

He delivers another report, sees the commander nod, takes it as dismissal, and heads back to the panels again.

One panel chatters, spins out paper like yarn, and Dee rips the paper out when he asks for an update.

"Did you know anybody at Picon?" she asks him, in a whisper.

"Yes," he replies. It's all he has to say.

She looks at his face, looks down at the paper in her hands. Shuffles through the messages, hands half the stack to him.

He finds the highest priority reports, sorts them together, just like he's done for the past three years.

That, at least, hasn't changed.

He meets Dee's eyes. "Thanks," he says, and nods.

She smiles, weakly. "Just doing my job."

"Yeah." He takes a breath, and treads the floor again.

*


He's trying to catch up, to flag the status of the thrusters, the flight and survival pods. One of the specialists hands him a schematic, and he stares at it before he recognizes a weapons manifest. Their coffers are empty now, but not for long. He starts to calculate, estimate how many crew will be needed to transport.

"Lieutenant Gaeta," the XO's voice snaps his attention back to the present, "break out the FTL tables and warm up the computers."

Something behind his ribcage stutters. The Galactica hasn't done a jump in twenty-two years. Not since he was a child.

But, even as the XO announces the jump, the commander cuts in. "Admiral Nagala is dead."

He sets the manifest onto the grid in front of him, presses his hands against its plane. The commander reels out the names of the lost ships, and Gaeta clenches his jaw. Meets Dee's eyes across the way.

His college roommate was assigned to the Solaria. Dee had a cousin aboard the Triton.

Commander Adama dictates his announcement to the fleet, and Gaeta tries to remember to breathe.

*


The Dradis console shudders into blue, and Gaeta winces. Stares down at the computer, already knowing what it will say.

A pall settles over the C.I.C., even as the Cylons turn away.

For a second, Gaeta wishes he could trade places with somebody, anybody. Anything, so long as he doesn't have to see the look on the commander's face.

And they prep for jump.

*


Engineering reports the FTL drives up and running. Condition two is set. The board is green.

Gaeta counts the ways things could go wrong, and shoves them to the back of his mind.

It's been twenty-two years, but this is the Galactica.

This is the Galactica.

He repeats it to himself, says it like a prayer.

Turns the switches, sets the clock, counts down from ten.

Feels his stomach turn inside out, and back again, and then the floor does a slight shimmy under his feet.

Runs back to his console, takes bearing. Feels triumph claw at his throat, and he can't keep the grin off his face as he makes the announcement.

"We appear to be in geosynchronous orbit directly above the Ragnar anchorage."

The C.I.C. breaks into applause, and they shake hands all around.

When he passes Dee's station, she slides a hand against his. "Good work," she whispers.

He nods, and the commander catches his eye. "Let's get her docked."

Gaeta remembers, with a surge of pride, why he came aboard the Galactica.

And he gets back to work.

*


When Gaius Baltar walks onto the C.I.C., Gaeta doesn't recognize him, not at first. When he looks up from his console, he sees Dee leading in two men, both clearly not military trained, both familiar, both looking a little shellshocked.

She leads them straight to his console, shuffles a little, looking sidelong at the taller man.

Gaeta raises an eyebrow. "Dee?"

"Yeah." She shakes her head a little, and he makes a note to find out what's going on later. "Lieutenant Gaeta."

He straightens at the formal address.

She nods to the shorter man, who's staring around at the C.I.C. with a combination of terror and analysis on his face. "This is Dr. Gaius Baltar."

"Gaius Baltar?" Gaeta blinks, looks at the man again. "Of course."

Baltar turns his head, focuses on him. "I'm sorry, do I know you?"

"No." Gaeta stands. "I sat in on a couple of your lectures, in college."

"Oh." Baltar smiles, vaguely. "Of course. I hope I didn't bore you."

"No, not at all." Gaeta ignores Dee's muffled snort of laughter. "It's an honor to meet you, doctor."

They shake hands, awkwardly, and Dee and the other man wander off.

"I'm glad you're here, actually," Gaeta continues, "because we could use your expertise."

"Yes, of course." Baltar nods, purses his lips. "In fact, that's why I'm here. There might be a problem with the navigation program."

*


"How's the new boyfriend, Gaeta?" Dee asks, when he passes by her station.

"Fine," he shoots back. "How's yours?"

She blushes.

He sits back at his console, and watches the data scroll past.

*


The Prolmar Sector. Beyond the red line.

It's a problem the faculty used to assign on a whim, a challenge given to restless students.

He and his friends used to crunch the numbers on weekends. Tossing equations back and forth, using the numbers their professors provided.

Jumping from Caprica, from Picon, to open space. Gravitational forces, at each end, and the mass of the ship. The mathematics of desperation.

Theoretically, it's possible, but no one's ever attempted to make that jump in real conditions.

No one's ever had to take that risk, until now.

"Can you plot that jump?" the commander asks.

"Yes, sir," he says, because there isn't any other choice.

"Do it. By yourself."

Gaeta nods, runs statistics in his head even as he walks to his console.

It's just him, his computer, and the fate of the colonies.

He's not going to fail.


###

A/N: Title and summary taken from Tom McRae's "Walking 2 Hawaii."

Originally linked here.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
spicedrum
Apr. 26th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
I love your Gaeta like a fat kid loves chocolate cake, even if he didn't do the Carlton dance in this. (and you're right, he does do that dance, on purpose. It started to piss Helo off, mostly, then he just kept doing it because it was one of the few times he let himself be silly.)
voleuse
Apr. 26th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
Damn. I was hoping you would berate me for not writing Lee/Kara, as then I could point and laugh and declare you don't own me or my brain, take that!

I am so amused that we seem to be creating a universe in which there's some sort of weird triad rivalry thing going on between Gaeta and Helo.
spicedrum
Apr. 26th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC)
Well, see, triad is the only place where Gaeta can really compete with Helo and come off looking good in the eyes of the ladies (yeah, he's straight, or at least partially straight, in my universe). Helo's a frakking pilot, for Ares' sake, and he's just so tall and rangy where Gaeta's a tactician and intellectual. Not exactly chick-magnet material. So, when he beats Helo at triad, it means so much more than getting a few extra credits or whatever the heck they call them.
spicedrum
Apr. 26th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
Oh, and we can't forget that Vin Diesel has never lost a card game against Helo and Gaeta.
voleuse
Apr. 26th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
And everyone cheers for the dance. When Gaeta wins a game, nobody actually loses. ::hearts::
musicforcylons
Apr. 26th, 2005 06:18 am (UTC)
I have to ask, was the creation of your Gaeta helped in any way by the doofy faces we saw on him in Colonial Day (airing or caps either way)? (This question was influenced by the mention of the Carlton Dance above.) ;)
voleuse
Apr. 26th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
The Carlton Dance discussion actually originated here, but the goofy faces in Colonial Day were certainly an influence. Hee. Besides, Gaeta just seems like he might dork out once in a while, and triad is the perfect time to do it.
leadensky
Apr. 26th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
Gaeta. At his job. Snarking at Duela. Crushing on Gias. manning his post

*swooms*

This is the Galactica.

*swooms again*

You know, it's odd, having seen the whole first season, but this still gets me.

This is good. Not as structurally complex as the last one (the l/k one) but this is solid.

- hg
voleuse
Apr. 26th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
He's such a wonderful character. I didn't realize how much he actually does until I rewatched his scenes in the miniseries. Yikes.

And thank you! The stories for this collection are a lot more disjointed than the ones I write independently, but I'm glad this one works anyway.
minerva_fan
Apr. 26th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Really wonderful story. Just very well written. *hugs story*
voleuse
Apr. 26th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
casapazzo
Apr. 27th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)
Oh, Gaeta. Damn.

I really loved this part:
He empties himself, becomes a repository for information, because thinking about the numbers he's given, the words he's repeating...
...the idea of subsuming self to duty, channeling it, I've always found very affecting. And so very Gaeta.

I'm loving this series - I can't wait to set my VCR for Thursday's re-showing of the mini-series, and finally catch all of it.
voleuse
Apr. 27th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
*pets Gaeta*

The first time around, it was easy to just get swept away, but I'm really fascinated by the minor characters as I rewatch. They've got some pretty meaty stuff to do, and I have yet to be less than impressed.

I'm glad you liked the story!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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