I’m lying here in a bed at the Langley compound, it’s not my bed, it never will be my bed I should make that clear. For the moment, however, it’s comfortable enough.
Why am I lying here? Because a week ago I took a bullet in the chest trying to stop Murdock’s pizza place getting robbed. Except, of course, they weren’t robbers they were assassins and they almost killed me.
So here I lie wondering if this was how my life was supposed to go. There’s nothing to wonder about really, I know it wasn’t supposed to go like this. I shouldn’t even know what a bullet is, you see I was born a long way from here.
A very long way away from here, on a planet called Caprica, yeah I know that sounds hokey — another word I shouldn’t know. Up until sixteen years ago (sometimes I still think in yarhens) I hadn’t even heard of America. Now it’s as if I’ve always lived here, except I know I haven’t. So how did I come to be here? Well it all started after I got stranded on a desolate planet. I’d made friends with one of my sworn enemies, the Cylons, and I’d met this pregnant woman called Angela — I never did find out what she was doing there. Anyway, we were attacked by more Cylons and Cy died trying to defend me and Angela, while he was busy dying I was busy packing Angela into a hybrid Viper/Raider (Viper was mine, Raider was Cy’s) and shooting her off into space, sometimes I wonder if she made it I really hope she did. Anyway Cy was dead, Angela was gone and I was alone again. Then I found another crashed Cylon ship, it wasn’t in a bad shape only I knew it was too late. You see I’d been travelling with the fleet of ships that left the Colonies, of which Caprica was one, after the Cylons had destroyed them. Because I’d been on the planet for about a month when I found that ship I knew it was too late to catch up, they’d be too far ahead. But I’ve never been that sensible, I had emergency rations and I figured that if I didn’t at least try to catch up to them I would die on the planet regretting that I hadn’t tried.
So off I set, now I don’t want to boast, ok maybe a little, but I’m the greatest pilot in the history of the colonies. I can fly anything, something I’ve had to keep quiet about here on Earth as my assumed identity never learnt to fly. Sometimes not being able to fly makes me wish I was dead on that planet, gotta stop that, despair not attractive. So off I flew, for weeks, then just as my rations were starting to get low I lost control of the ship. The next thing I knew I was crashing into thick jungle (I figure I probably hit a wormhole).
I landed, if you can call it that, in a swamp and only just made it out of the ship before it sank. I wasn’t in the best shape and all I had taken out of the ship was my laser and a homing device from my old Viper. Ah my old Viper, I had to cobble it together with Cy’s ship to try and escape. Well it got Angela out of harm’s way (I hope). Sorry got a bit distracted there. What? I loved flying that Viper.
Anyway, the jungle was fetid and in the distance I could hear explosions and what I now know to be gunfire. Then I fell over him, a young man about my age, but dead. As I picked myself up I realised that there was a whole battalion lying there in the mud. I retched, the smell from the swamp and jungle was bad and this horrific sight before me just made things worse. There was nothing in my stomach so mostly I just dry heaved for while. When I’d recovered my senses somewhat I took a closer look at the young man I’d tripped over. I looked at the blond hair, blue eyes and realised that, while we weren’t identical we were certainly very similar. This guy was already dead, but maybe I could take over his life, give him a second chance. But what about his family? I stared at the corpse for a couple of hours before I made a decision. I searched the body, quickly I found a diary. A quick glance (luckily it was written in Standard or as they call it here, English) told me what I needed to know, I looked at him for a long while again after that. Another orphan, bought up in institutions all his life, thing was no-one was really going to miss him. I decided to give him, and me, another shot.
Quickly I stripped him of his uniform and dressed him in mine, while taking care of this I realised that he’d died from a blow to the back of the head, so his uniform was relatively intact. No holes to worry about, though if I’m honest the holes in the uniforms of his squad were worrying me quite a lot. I couldn’t think for the life of me what had caused them and if I was honest I didn’t really want to find out. But I needed food, so I was going to have to risk it. Having dressed the young man, whose name was Templeton Peck, in my uniform (I had this irrational idea that he shouldn’t go to his rest in his underwear alone) I carried/dragged him to the area where the ship had gone down and placed him in the sucking, muddy pool. He sank quickly as I asked the Lords of Kobol to watch over him and forgive me.
I still had my laser (no power left) and the homing device, I decided to stash them somewhere before I was found and questions were asked. I started walking, little knowing that I would be walking for days.
When I eventually reached an American base I didn’t have to fake delirium. I don’t really remember much about the first couple of days. I know that they kept me in bed and rehydrated me, I know that no-one there remembered Templeton Peck. The third day I remember clearly, I laid there faking sleep while listening carefully to the way they spoke, slang words, general terms and so on. I’ve always been good at bluffing, you’ve got to be if you play Pyramid or any other game for that matter.
So I lay there for a full 12 hours and learnt the rules of this game, anything I didn’t pick up I figured I could blame on being institutionalised all my life.
Over the next week I established a persona partly based on me, Starbuck, and partly on the diary of Templeton Peck. From ladies to gambling, we really did have a lot in common.
Then on the eighth day of being awake a man appeared at the end of my bed. He was distinguished looking with a mischievous look in his eyes, a look that quite obviously spelled trouble for me, add the insignia of (what I learnt to be) Lt Colonel. He greeted me with a sharp “Lieutenant” and informed me that I had been seconded to his A Team. That was it, in one fell swoop he’d solved the problem of me going back to my old unit rather-well-changed and I replaced the family I’d had on Galactica, a stable family with a family so dysfunctional books could be written about us. But most of the time we’ve been happy with each other.
I still miss Apollo, Boomer, Jolly and the rest and I still haven’t given up hope that they’ll make it here one day. I believe this so much that when we back to ‘Nam last year with Fulbright I managed to get away for a couple of hours to pick up my laser and the homing device. The laser was wrecked, no way around it so I pitched it in the swamp, the homing device was designed to last for years in the most adverse conditions the Galactica techs could come up with and had potential.
So for the last few days, since I’ve had time on my hands, I’ve been fiddling with it whenever I’ve been on my own (which has not been much). Ten minutes ago I made the decision to activate it and it seems to be working, I’ll have to wait and see.
I want out of this compound, I want to be away from Stockwell, he’s never going to give us our pardons — we’re too valuable.
So maybe if Apollo or Boomer or even Adama are still alive or the fleet made it through, they’ll take us all out of here. Only thing is, I really don’t know how BA will take it, space flight is still flying.