"Negative, she...went in. She went in." Gaeta and Dualla can't believe it: this is just more Starbuck nonsense, the wind and the light of a thousand dawns and returns from the dead and worse. She's just going in for her next trip to the underworld, surely. She'll show up in the Blackbird, or a stolen Raider, or holding her daughter by the hand, like she always does, and Adama will stop making that face again, and everybody will laugh again, and the quadrangle of doom will start over again, and everything will be the same as it always was, because that's what she does: skip to the abyss, dance away again. "We're sending in the search and rescue birds right now," Adama stutters. "We'll find her." Lee's voice is ragged and painful to listen to: "No, Dad, it's no use. Her ship's in" -- his voice breaks horribly, breaks in half, breaks like a bone -- "pieces. Her ship's in pieces. No chute. We lost her."
The Admiral, standing in CIC, holding the con, looks up to the empty skies and begins to weep. Saul and Felix and Anastasia look at Bill, and look away again, and he continues to cry, becoming smaller than he's ever been. William Adama has eyes, and a throat, and they are full of tears.
Later, in his quarters, Bill sits at his desk, Aurora at his right hand. He breathes hard, striving, perfecting his model ship. He affixes the goddess to her prow: this family, every piece just right. No mothers without sons, no fathers losing daughters. Moving forward, toward the Lie of Earth that even he now believes, thanks in large part to his fallen child. He looks at the ship, moving forward with dawn upon her prow, a light breeze and the soft and rosy light, into the future. The dawn she put into his hands, when he feared she was going crazy, with the loveliest light in the back of her eyes, with her tiny hand in his, passing a goddess to him, smiling bashfully, full of love and light, even as the darkness was closing in. The moment in which they promised each other, with Laura standing witness, that everything was going to be okay: she put this dawn in his hand, and then took herself out of it. She handed him the future, a future which no longer includes Starbuck, no longer includes his favorite among all his children. A future he fights for, in large part, for her. Earth: a gift, to replace all the things New Caprica took from Kara and Saul.
The Admiral begins to weep now in earnest, now that he's got nothing to do with his hands, now that the worthless ship is complete, now that he's got nothing to think about but the hole in him. Such a small girl, to leave such a big hole: that's our Kara. What can he hear? Nothing but that. He crushes the thing, suddenly, with his hands, and throws it to the floor, and cries to the Gods he doesn't believe in, and refuses to beg for her safe return again, but begs for strength instead. From this angle things are pretty bad, and he's very angry at what we've seen unfolding. I mean to say he takes something that he loves, and destroys it, like a bottle thrown against the wall, in protest.