But also, even leaving aside the whole stolen lives/substitution thing with Athena for a second: this is, genetically, her daughter. Half Eight genes, half Helo genes. And she has been pushed this far by Hera before, when she was newborn and they'd just stolen her off New Caprica: she nearly snapped her neck. Then Caprica snapped her neck, and it was a whole neck-snapping thing. She tried to be a mother to this kid once before, and it was an abomination; she brattily told Athena that her kid was alive and dying, just to hurt her. And when she woke up from that death, she was Cavil's. How awesome is that: Hera's crying drove her nuts, and so she became such a perfect machine that now, Hera's crying is driving her nuts the other way. The literal actual thing that made her suck is the literal actual thing that is going to make her awesome again. How about that? But first, more sucking:
So Boomer's at that place, that Olympics neck-snapping place, and decides that since her FTL is for shit and it's going to take at least a dozen more jumps to get to the Colony, she's going to stick Hera with another dose. She rips open the med kit, shouting at Hera, words she can't possibly understand. She flicks it, telling frightened Hera that they don't come in kiddy size, so it's going to be a long snooze. She yells at Hera to give up her arm, and then stops short of jerking it out of its socket and filling it full of adult narcotics, because duh. She sighs like "Fuck, obviously this isn't happening," and gets a headache. Hera watches her, worried. Last time Mommy made this face, she gunned down Natalie right in front of her. And Mommy's the one we like.
Saul runs from sickbay to his quarters and immediately starts looking all over for their booze, to deal with it. Ellen's up his ass about the Hera thing, and he's like, "But the recon mission!" She laughs at him, because that's not enough. "Our people's future is at stake and you got him to send out a recon mission." (See, if he had just offered toothpaste...) Saul mimics her always going on about our people, our people, and she's like, yes actually. He finds a bottle, but it's empty, so he smashes it against the wall and slides down onto the floor, apparently jealous that Bill's been using up all the hissyfit.
"You want to know who my people are, lady? The ones on this ship. The ones I fought with and bled with. The old man, this crew, they're my family. The only family I've known, and the only one I care to." This is such a funny, sad little Time-Traveler's Wife thing they're going through, isn't it? It's really elegant. He doesn't remember the 1001 responsibilities a dead man asked for, it's like Grimjack getting jailed for stuff he did in a past life. But even sadder is Ellen: remember her speech a while back to Laura and Bill about how if you think about how sad having 40,000 people left of the Twelve Colonies makes you, imagine if that number was five. But of those five, she's the only one alive, really. She's the only one that remembers. Everybody's trying to be nice about it, and ignore her when she goes nuts about it, but God. It's even sadder than when they bought D'Anna back and she had to be the only Three: Ellen is the only living person from the whole entire Earth. Imagine being surrounded by half-strangers, ghosts that are only sometimes the people you remember, of an entire world. I can't imagine how fucking frustrating that would be, to be alone in a family of amnesiacs and know they've shared so much without you.