Kara's kicked up beside him now, with her drink and her feet on the bench, working through the first movement of his opus. Nobody seems to notice, in the bar, but whatever. He's stuck again, lost, but assures her it's just the next hurdle. He had a trajectory, now it's gone: "The key is to, you know, not panic. Just trust yourself, something's gonna come. It's just part of the process." Existing. "Is part of the process also stealing from other composers? That piece that you're riffing off of, it's Nomion's Third Sonata, Second Movement." He stops, and she shrugs apologetically, but he admits it. "No, you're dead on the money. It's pronounced No-mayan..." But when he's stuck, he looks to the past, for his touchstone. For inspiration. "For somebody who hates music so much, you know an awful lot about it." She nods. It was never music she hated. "My Dad used to play." Slick treads carefully: was it the old story, he was a prodigy and forced her to learn, he was a perfectionist, she learned to hate it? He dares himself to hope it's wrong, and it is: that's not Dreilide's story, that's Socrata's.
Kara Thrace has hands, which begin to ache. Every finger, between the first and second knuckle.
"No. No, I loved it actually," she remembers, as he looks at her. "He used to sit me next to him on the bench when he played... Smell of tobacco on his breath." She takes a drink, remembers little Kara at the keys of a small upright, playing the first bass chord of a song she used to know. "He taught me a few songs. I used to try so hard to get them right. Not because I was afraid he'd get angry, but because I knew he'd be so proud." And once he was gone, she only responded to rage, and violence. It became her language. Even Bill knows this. "There was this one song that he taught me. It made me feel happy and sad all at the same time." Slick knows -- "The best ones do" -- and she realizes she can trust him.
Oh, how I need
Someone to watch over me
Kara sleeps. There's a little girl, playing the upright, on an empty hangar deck, as slowly as she can. Kara, in her flightsuit, approaches, and touches the little girl's shoulder, but the little girl's gone. There's a dead pilot in her place. She wakes up, jerks away, shaking in sweat, and heads out to find Slick. He fidgets with the dogtags and watches her work it out. "How is it possible that I found my body, and I'm still here? I mean, what am I? A ghost, a demon?" Just a girl. Just a girl, existing. "You're asking the wrong guy. I'm just a piano player." She sits at his knee. "When I was leading the Fleet to Earth, everything seemed so clear. For the first time in my life. I knew what I was doing, why I was here. Now I'm just adrift again." Slick welcomes her to the human race. "Listen. You may feel like hell, but sometimes lost is where you need to be. Just because you don't know your direction doesn't mean you don't have one." We're all on a trajectory; she was lucky to know it, even for a second. She looks up, younger than before. Stronger, maybe. Maybe strong enough to live.