Lee was still flying. He had CAP every two days and had temporarily taken over the training of the latest recruits while Starbuck was unfit for duty.
He was in the ready room with them, delivering his pre-flight briefing.
He had twenty recruits in the squadron.
“We are going to run through some combat manoeuvres today. Remember stick with your wingman at all times.”
“Okay skids up in ten minutes. Dismissed.”
Ten minutes later, he was in his viper and being shot out of the launch tube into open space. He talked the squadron through most of the manoeuvres and he had to admit they were shaping up well. He was having fun with the nuggets, they were a good bunch.
“Okay guys we’re gonna fly broken formation now. Form up on me and when I tell you to, and only when I tell you, break formation.”
In CIC, Bill was listening over the wireless and smiled when he heard Lee.
“He sounds like he’s enjoying himself.” Tigh remarked.
Bill nodded. It was nice to hear after what he had been through.
“How’s Abby doing?” Tigh asked.
“She’s fine. According to Cottle she is developing the way he would expect now.” Bill replied.
“That’s good to hear, it’s about time we had some good news.” Tigh remarked.
In his Viper ,Lee picked up a blip on his Dradis console. It appeared for a few moments then disappeared.
“Galactica, Apollo. I’m reading something on Dradis, can’t make it out from here.”
Gaeta checked Galactica’s Dradis. “We’re not picking anything up sir, Dradis is empty.”
Bill didn’t hesitate. “Apollo this is actual. Abort training run and return to Galactica immediately.”
“Actual, come on. It’s probably nothing.” Lee couldn’t believe they were being ordered back.
“Don’t argue with me, get your butt back here immediately. It could a Cylon raider or the whole fleet.” Bill could barely keep the annoyance out of his voice.
“Yes sir.” Lee replied. Bill couldn’t be sure but he thought he heard Lee mutter, “Frak you.”
“Apollo to training squadron we’re aborting and returning to Galactica.”
Back on Galactica, Lee was ordered to report to CIC.
He walked in and the look on his fathers face told him he was pissed.
“Major, my office.” His tone indicated that he was not to be argued with.
No sooner had they stepped into the Admiral’s cabin than Bill exploded.
“What the hell were you doing? I gave you a specific order and I don’t expect any crap in return from a senior officer. Any more of that and I will revoke your flight status. Do you understand me?”
Lee couldn’t believe it. “Yes, sir” was all he trusted himself to reply. What he really wanted to say was go frak yourself. He got the impression that Bill was just looking for an excuse to get him back on the ship, permanently.
“So what did you pick up on Dradis?”
“I couldn’t make it out, it was only there for a few moments.”
“We picked up nothing here.”
Suddenly Gaeta‘s voice came over the comm. “Dradis contact, dead ahead.”
Lee turned and looked at Bill. Together they rushed back into CIC. Checking the Dradis console, Lee said, “That’s what I picked up earlier.”
“What the hell is it?” Bill asked.
“Looks like a planetary body. I’m checking it now.” Gaeta replied.
“Planetary body, could it be Earth?” Lee looked uncertainly at his father.
“Sir the references match!. It’s Earth!” Gaeta confirmed and around him CIC erupted, people were clapping and cheering and hugging.
“We’ve done it, we’ve found Earth.” Bill exclaimed. He walked over to Lee and hugged him.
“Contact Colonial One, Mr. Hoshi. Laura should see this.”
“Yes sir. Hoshi paused for a second then said … Sir, I have a message from Colonial One,” Hoshi’s voice faltered, “Tory says that the President has collapsed. She’s in a bad way.”
Bill was reeling. Why now, when they had reached Earth? He couldn’t think, could barely breathe. Lee saw the distress on his fathers face and swung into action.
“Mr Hoshi, tell Tory to get the President over here ASAP and have Cottle meet her in the Landing Bay. “
“Dad come on, We need to get to sickbay.”
“You have the deck, Colonel.”
Their earlier disagreement forgotten, Lee and Bill sped out of CIC and made their way to sickbay.
When they got there Cottle gave them both the news they had been dreading.
Laura was seriously ill and wouldn’t hold out much longer.
Bill was devastated and broke down sobbing. Lee held him in his arms, feeling completely shattered.