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 The atmosphere in CIC was weirdly calm.  Everyone spoke quietly, concentrated on their duties, and did their best to ignore the blood stains where Private Jaffee had died the day before.  No one said anything beyond what their duties required, and none of them met the Admiral's gaze.

Then, two hours after his shift began, at his post manning the comms station, Lieutenant Hoshi began to cry.  Not quiet tears that might have gone unnoticed, nor even a gentle sobbing that the Old Man and the XO might have chosen to overlook, but the harsh, agonized wails of a soul in torment.

Admiral Adama strode over to stare directly up at him.  "Mr. Hoshi," he said after moment.  The crying continued unabated, indeed with no sign that the junior officer had even heard him.  "Mr. Hoshi!" he repeated, eyes narrowing.  "Resume your duties, or I'll have you relieved."  Hoshi lay his face in his hands, unable to stop.

Colonel Tigh climbed the stairs and went to the distraught younger man.  "Bill," he said softly, "I'll handle this."  Gesturing over a specialist, Tigh helped Hoshi to his feet, and led him to the observation area over the CIC, and closed the door.

Hoshi sat down.  Tigh gave him some water.  Shortly, Hoshi had regained enough composure to say: "Thank you."

"Don't mention it," Tigh replied.  

Silence stretched between them for perhaps a minute, and then Hoshi asked: "Sir, what should I do?"

Tigh shook his head.  "I don't know, son.  I know what I would do, but you need to do what you have to take care of yourself.  If  you need some time to grieve before you can do your job, then say so, and that will be that."

Hoshi nodded. "What would you do, then, sir?"

"Well, Lieutenant..." he began, and then stopped.

"Don't take offense, but I think I know how you feel."

Hoshi's eyebrows shot up.

"I'm not second guessing the Admiral's decision, or defending Gaeta's decision to mutiny.  But the fact remains that he was a fine officer and a good man, and you loved him, despite what he did."

Hoshi teared up again, but remained quiet and nodded.

"That's more or less how I felt when I found out that Ellen had passed on information about the Resistance to the Cylons.  She'd betrayed us all, but that didn't lessen my love for her one whit."

Tigh paused, gazing back across months and light years.

"Well, I was mess after that," he continued, "but the thing that's helped me the most to cope with that loss, and all the crap that's happened since then, has been my duty.  The fleet's a mess right now, and the human race has never been in worse trouble, and right now we need everyone at their posts, keeping this ship flying and protecting us all."

"Even though you're a Cylon, sir?" Hoshi asked.

Tigh looked at him sharply for  a moment, but seeing only respect on Hoshi's face, and hearing only curiosity in his voice, the XO answered.  "I've been a Cylon all my life, even when I thought I was human, so I don't know if I really understand how real humans think.  But from what I can see, the human mind and the Cylon mind are like car transmissions: you can have manual or you can have automatic, but in the end, they do the same job and they're part of otherwise identical cars.  It's how you drive it that really matters."

Hoshi nodded, and dried his eyes, deep in thought.  Tigh counted slowly to himself.  When he reached ten, he asked: "So, like I said, I think I know how you feel, but we need you to take your post.  There are so few of us left."

Hoshi stood up.  "Yes, sir.  I am ready.  It's what Felix would do."

"Yes," Tigh agreed.  "It is."

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(This little slip of a story inspired a superb, much longer story by [livejournal.com profile] millari about Louis Hoshi and his life after the mutiny, entitled Aftermath.  Go read it now.)

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April 2011

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