Battlestar Galactica

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The Girl On The Pale Horse

Jean falls down, down the step and across the wing, onto the floor of an alien bay. The Six watches Jean stand, bleeding profusely: it's not just a game anymore, for any of us. The ties that threaten to tear us apart overpower this tender alliance, in ugly words and ugly history, and Jean goes off into the black. "I'm okay," Jean says, choking on blood, and drops. The Six stares. She is dead. We swim through the wreckage of the war, every day; we are a lost generation. If everything that rises must converge, then the opposite is true: when any of us fall, we fall apart.

Death isn't a metaphor. It's not a line of poetry; we don't hit the enjambment and jump to the next line. Death is brutal and nasty. It snuffs out a light and leaves only darkness. Even for the Cylon, death is not a metaphor. They come back in pain, screaming and afraid. Their sisters gather around them, to calm their fears and help them breathe through their rebirth. It's not an empty ceremony, it's not a ritual, any more than giving birth is a ceremony or a metaphor. It's painful and it's gross and it is necessary.

Athena and Sam come running in; Sam sees his best friend, fallen on the floor in the belly of the dragon, and finds her dead. He grabs the Six -- he's strong, isn't he? -- and forces her to her knees. She is numb, half-there, terrified. Having failed the alliance. Take away the plan and Six falls apart, every time. She fucked this one up; she is ashamed. Sam holds a gun to her head, and speaks to that part of himself that they share: "You want to know what it feels like to die, huh? You're nothing! You're a frakkin' machine!" He is ashamed. He nearly touched the stream, nearly swam with the sharks, and now his oldest ally, his strongest and hardest friend, who lived through Caprica and New Caprica and the Rapture, lies dead.

Natalie and Kara show up, screaming for him to stand down. "What do you want me to do, Kara? You want me to forget about Barolay? You want me to forget about New Caprica? No frakkin' way! She just killed Barolay!" There is no forgetting, in the river of war. There is an infinitesimal chance at the glory of forgiveness, but nobody's asking you to forget: that's the difference between "fixed" and "unbroken" right there. You can't go back. But you can go forward.

"Sam! Put the gun down. Put it down." He can't. He begins to weep. Natalie stares, in the sights of Boomer's gun. "Sam. Sam, you have no idea what's at stake here. Look at me. Put it down." Even Sharon is frustrated: "They killed one of us, and you're just ready to let it slide?" And she's not wrong. You can't go back. "She's right. You can't let this go, Kara." Natalie cries, knowing he's right. They are all right. The Six fucked it up. It was so fragile, and she struck out, too mired in her own pain and rage to stop herself. Her sister struck out, and broke something fragile. You can't go back.

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Battlestar Galactica

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