“Enter!” he ordered, with as much vigor as he could muster.
The unbelievably young ensign detailed to handle personal tasks and assignments for him burst in, his energy reminding the Commander of what he’d had so much of in his own youth. That was so long ago now, he could barely recall it, let alone having that electric physicality himself, ever again.
‘Ah, well,’ he thought, ‘I’ve had so much more life, than so many.’ He let out a sad sigh. ‘So many I loved, that didn’t get to have it.’
“Yes, Ensign Trellar?” He asked, brightening up his tone, lest the young man think he didn’t care about what the boy said next. He already knew what it would be; and he almost really didn’t care. What was the point…
“The final co-ordinates to Earth have been laid in, Commander.” The Ensign was nearly bouncing with exuberance. “We will arrive at the outer planets of Earth’s solar system within ten centars!”
“Excellent, Ensign Trellar.” The Commander replied smoothly, more because it was expected of him to say it, than he felt. “Follow the procedures the Council of the Twelve have already outlined. And please do not allow anyone to disturb me for the next two centars.”
“Sir?” Trellar asked, noticing how old the Commander suddenly looked. Of course he was upwards of one hundred yahrens, but still…
“Thank you, Ensign. That will be all.” His tone dismissed Trellar even more surely than his words.
“Yes, sir.” Trellar made a quick exit, still not quite understanding the Commander’s lack of enthusiasm.
After the boy left, he locked the door with a special code known only to himself. Then he turned in his chair, and opened up a private niche in the wall behind him.
A small auto light illuminated the likenesses he’d been gazing at more and more often lately. As though they were calling to him…
He leaned forward for a better view, his platinum grey hair haloed by the tiny light.
There they were.
Apollo and Starbuck. Starbuck and Apollo. Together, always, from their Academy days, through young adulthood, to their sealing…and after.
Other likenesses; Athena, Boomer, Cassiopeia, Ila, Zac… Gone now, but never forgotten. Never, ever forgotten.
He put his head in his hands, noting the deep ropes of wrinkles and knotted veins that covered the backs now. And the dark liver spots…how long ago had that happened?
In a flashback he recalled their sealing night, not their first time together, younger hands finding their way around, then inside, his lover, his mate. The bright eyes and shining hair, the joyous laughter and passionate sharing.
‘Oh, Lords of Kobol, how I’ve missed him. How I’ve only been half alive, since he died…’
He’d mourned when Adama had died, and all the others too. But no other loss had been nearly what the losing of his mate had cost him. Even yahrens later, when the little adopted son, by then a man, had been taken away by the Cylons.
He was so tired.
He leaned back in his chair, feeling a strange warmth surrounding him, even as the pain seared through his chest. His breath was so heavy, like the shielding around solonium.
His now wispy platinum hair fell forward over his eyes, as he hunched over suddenly, clutching at his heart. The agony was unbearable.
But the wonderful warmth grew…and kept growing. The pain lessened, and a brilliant glowing light was all around him now.
The aged body fell away from him…or he from it.
And there they all were… Everyone he’d ever cared about, waiting for him.
And HE was right in front, the first to greet him. His love, his life source…his mate.
The dark shiny hair, the glowing green eyes. That special smile meant only for him, that said so much of forever, together.
Commander Starbuck, of the last Battlestar Galactica, was finally home.