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bsg and fic thing

So, BSG. Thanks to this meta rec post over at no_takebacks, I've been having fun reading flaily/raegy meta on Kara/Lee and related issues thereof, and also the MASSIVE FAIL of the storytelling that, in four seasons, took a taut, claustrophobic grind about the cost of survival vs the cost of humanity and turned it into a flabby pseudo-mystic space opera of ROBOTS ARE PEOPLE TOO OKAY, so pee ess DON'T MAKE THEM.

Of course, I'm currently sitting in the last grad class I'm ever going to take, so maybe I should be paying attention, but actually this is a prof I've had for about a third of my classes and I've already heard pretty much everything he has to say since this is ... AND ANYWAY WHO CARES. I love this guy but I AM SO DONE.

It is completely fascinating to track the enormity of fail that occured on BSG. Instructive, too. Not that I'm going to get into it in much depth, since it is sooo much more fun to read everyone else's issues with it all.


But it did remind me that in fact I did do a comment-fic over there, ages ago, trying to come to terms with Dee's actions in Sometimes A Great Notion (because just because at that point pretty much nothing made sense any more, doesn't mean I didn't want it to). Nothing particularly groundbreaking, except that it's my first second-person fic. Well, and it explores something of my conviction that there was a fairly clear stratification in BSG of characters who were human and characters who, for all intents and purposes, created a pantheon of gods. I mean, the mythos alone would suggest this EVEN IF in the first few episodes you didn't have the [Hades-character] EXPLICITLY CALL Adama "Zeus" to Lee's "Apollo". And question whether a man can encompass the dual roles of that god, which Lee then goes on to do....

'NEWAYS.

The point being, that dynamic was in play when I was puzzling through what was going on in Dee's head, and this is all pure speculation really because if BSG is anything, it's: not big on consistent characterization. So who the hell knows what she was thinking? But maybe it was this. Well, it probably wasn't, certainly not in so many words, but whatevs. So: have some BSG fic.


Title: what it takes to believe
Ficverse: BSG
Series: one shots
Rating: M (darkiness)
Length: 1200 ish
Characters: Dee, Lee
Posted: here
Teaser: You sit across from him, this gleaming golden man, indestructible amidst the rubble of the world, carrying its weight on his unbowed shoulders, and everything finally makes sense.
Warning/Spoilers: Spoilers through "Sometimes A Great Notion", such as this warning: this is me attempting to track her thoughts pretty much right up to her canon suicide. So. Read or don't.
Disclaimer: Not mine, yada yada. Also, I wrote this to understand, NOT to condone.
Notes: When I first comment-posted this, I actually cut out the last two paragraphs as being too dark, but it made the ending pretty clunky and inelegant compared to how it felt like it should end. So I recrafted them and stuck them back on. Yay?


You sit across from him, this gleaming golden man, indestructible amidst the rubble of the world, carrying its weight on his unbowed shoulders, and everything finally makes sense. You know the secret, the secret that is so big and so obvious that everyone lives it and no one really notices it.

He laughs, in this momentary release from the revelations of the day, and the light in his eyes blasts clear to your bare soul, and you know that you didn’t understand before. Not really. You always wanted something to believe in, and knew that believing in something was to belong to it, become a part of it. But somehow, you assumed it would go both ways. Should go both ways. That you should own what you believed in, just as wholly as it owned you.

You watch his deft, expressive smirk, a thousand data points coiled into a single knowing glance, and realize that Sam had known better than you. Sam had known the secret. Now, so do you. There were times that you despised Sam for his weakness, lacking the will, the courage, to fight for all or nothing. But you were wrong.

You both take a simultaneous drink, flirty eyes across rims, while distantly you think it should hurt more. This laying down of your whole self on the altar of another, and not receiving a whole self back. But you’re drifting now, in the calm far beyond the breakers, that violence of hope dashing itself upon reality’s shores, and have discovered that in the total freedom of despair is the gift of freedom from disappointment, too. Maybe that’s why you can bear it enough to see it, now. Why you can accept the stark, terrible beauty of it.

Creases dance across his face, aurorae gracing his expressions, finding no purchase even where there should have been permanent etchings of grief and responsibility. It struck you in the ready room, how youthful, how bright and clear his face was still after these long, cruel years, and that was probably when you knew. When you saw all of it, laid out, perfect like a batch of communication signals in an orderly queue. Saw him in that instant in his difference, his otherness, where you always thought you were the same. Saw him standing in the crashing breakers and the wash of flotsam, feet planted, immovable, straight, glorious. Saw that this was his domain, this frenzied boundary you could no longer endure and had fled for safer, more human waters.

You bask in his attention, at last able to simply be in his presence. No longer buffeted and spending yourself simply to remain upright, pushing and pulling to grasp at what you can never have. You can see him, as you couldn’t when you sparred with him as his comrade, lay beside him as his wife, stood across from him as his XO. See his heart and his head in blazing unity in his blue eyes, the temple flame undimmed. He holds the hope and the healing of the entire human race within the powerful sweep of his chest, the elegant strength of his arms and legs, holds it so naturally even in the turbluence and the doubt that he doesn’t even notice that’s what he does. You wonder how you ever thought you could encompass all of that.

A soft, wistful smile plays the music of some old memory on his lips, a smile that was never yours, and you can smile back because this is your secret. For years, now, you spent yourself here, tended this altar, singing its hymns with more-than-faith because you know. And now you were called on once more, for the last time. You, the only one who knew the sacraments for this rite, who for your devotion had been granted entrance to the inner sanctum in which to make them real.

His eyes snap back to yours, and you are filled with gratitude, flying with it. You never want to come down. Your father would be incensed, probably, at this acknowledgment of inequality. If it had merely been a matter of man and woman, you’d agree. But now you see beyond that, see the truth of it, and know that the curse of inequality can also be the blessing of the greater taking in the smaller. You know you were claimed. You were sheltered under the wing of his strength. You were cherished, in your way. Sometimes you were even needed. And, you understand now, you were protected.

The soft caress of his fingers across the back of your hand speaks this secret so plainly you’re surprised no one else can hear it. Such a small, easy gesture from him, and this connection of skin-to-skin is the world to you, far beyond the reach of rusting starships and ruined planets. You were never religious as most of Sagittaron was religious, but you have heard enough of the lives and quick deaths of the humans who became consorts of the gods. You always imagined it would be worth it, to pay so much and yet receive more; so much it could not be contained and it eventually destroyed you. He drew you into his world but shielded you from all of him, and you resented him for that, resented the one who always had all of him and was so careless with it. But now you know that might be the only reason you lasted as long as you did.

He leads you home, swaying with you, teasing and humoring you, and you are at peace. Euphoric, utter peace, clinging to the secret wrapping you safely up in its inhuman truth. This is what it is to love a god. This is what it takes to believe in something, this no longer trying to stand in both worlds as they tear you apart, trying to possess something that swallows you whole. You made your choice a long time ago, and you didn’t realize that it would ask all you had until now, when you look back and see that you have given everything.

You kiss him, his lips passionate but somehow chaste. A precious tender of his respect and thanks, and you savor this reward of your faith, your sacrifice, a benediction at the end of your unending dedication. This is all you ever needed to believe in, and if you now know you’ll never have all that you want, in this moment you have all you can ever hope for. Not the military. Not the Old Man. Not the lies of the pantheon who led you to a ruined dream.

You float into your barracks and wonder if it hurts poor Gaeta that your feet aren’t even touching the ground. Maybe it does, no matter how amused he seems to be at your mood, because he leaves straight away. But that’s okay, because this moment is yours, yours alone and you don’t want to share it.

You open your locker and see your smile and relief washes over you and your fingers close over your cool, metal service pistol and you smile, because you know that this will last forever.

Comments

( 9 speakses — have a speak )
fannishliss
Jun. 15th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
I couldn't watch BSG, it got too triggery for me with all the stuff about pregnancy. "Females = wombs" is like the base root of misogyny for me --- who you are doesn't matter, you simply exist to propagate the human race.

I was curious about the mythography.... but not willing to sit through the actual show.
themonkeytwin
Jun. 15th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, as far as the show's treatment of its own mythology went, it was pretty all over the place. And by that I mean in some ways worse than SPN, because SPN at least has a coherent philosophy on such things, even if the treatment of it varies. BSG just kind of ... didn't know what the hell it was saying about its own mythology, nor how to say it, by the end. So you haven't missed much. My own read of the heirarchy/pantheon of characters is implied but rarely stated, unlike their whole One God vs the twelve Lords of Kobol and what-the-frak-ever.

Don't feel pushed to say anything you'd rather not (because OH HAI INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE SUBJECT), or on these comments if you'd rather not, but if you're willing to talk about why that's a tirgger for you, I'd like to hear why. BSG seems to be rather amazingly trigger-rific, and I've heard a number of things discussed with that, but not that particular element.
im_ridiculous
Sep. 25th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
Dude. DUDE.
There is some very nice writing going on here, in addition to some far, FAR better thoughts and allegory than RDM deserves! Thematically... I really like this. It's a beautiful way of trying to make sense of some totally screwed up characterisation and motivations on Dee's part.

From a purely writing perspective, there are some lovely, lovely lines here. I particularly like: That you should own what you believed in, just as wholly as it owned you.

That is a very fine sentence. Conceptually painful and quite a profound observation, actually.

ETA - AAAAND, this:
He drew you into his world but shielded you from all of him, and you resented him for that, resented the one who always had all of him and was so careless with it. But now you know that might be the only reason you lasted as long as you did.

This take on the Love Quadrilateral Of Doom is, quite frankly, pretty much the best explanation for Dee's behaviour that I've ever read. And in a funny way, a good explanation for Kara and Lee's... the capriciousness of gods feels like as good an explanation for it as anything, to be honest. If the explanation requires Lee and Kara to be actual deities to make the various motivations make sense, then, well... so be it. It is done.
(Also?... right in the feels, this one. God. Right in the feels.)

Thankyou for sending me in this direction!

Edited at 2012-09-25 06:31 am (UTC)
themonkeytwin
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:22 am (UTC)
There is some very nice writing going on here

Thank you! *basks*


Conceptually painful and quite a profound observation, actually.

Ha! Again, thank you. It's nice when fic gives you the space for philosophic pondering, rather than relegating it all to meta. It often feels more elegant, provided it's actually at the service of the characters and the story, rather than your own agenda.... (See how I worked that gripe in? Yeah. Subtle FTW!) So, anyway, yeah. Much pondering on the nature of life and faith and story occasionally find a place in fic, hooray!


This take on the Love Quadrilateral Of Doom is, quite frankly, pretty much the best explanation for Dee's behaviour that I've ever read.

\o/ To begin with, I just didn't get Dee very much. And then they just started bouncing characterisation all over the place until I couldn't even try to care. When I finally got around to watching the last season, I guess I felt sorry enough for what they did to her to try to find some way of making things make sense, restore some sense of personhood to her. Which ironically had to begin with acknowledging how her agency was subsumed to others' (mostly Lee, and somewhat Adama too).


the capriciousness of gods feels like as good an explanation for it as anything, to be honest.

Either that or they were all going progressively insane from the stress of the situation they were all in. Which might have been a very interesting story, but it wasn't the way it was presented, so we are driven to look for sense elsewhere if we want to salvage the narrative.

Plus it really does make for some fun readings of the narrative, the question of causation – ie, did they ultimately prove equal to the demands of the situation because they were "gods", or did the situation itself catalyse god-like qualities in them and essentially deify them? – and the interaction of authority and responsibility, and how more "human" considerations are weighted in that, from the needs of the fleet to the interpersonal needs of the characters. Whence the question of capriciousness (and poor judgement).

It's funny, I've always been a little bothered that Kara uniquely is ascribed a dual goddess identity – both Artemis and Aphrodite, because despite Artemis being twin to Apollo, occupying a lesser rank among the pantheon (where Aphrodite was higher), making Kara TWO goddesses seemed to overbalance the parity she otherwise had with Lee. And why should she be two, when every other god-character is clearly one? But my eye just caught the paragraph up the top, and reminded me that Zarek pointed out that Apollo embodied dual roles! And those roles conflict – much like pairing one of only two virgin goddesses with Aphrodite! Ha, parity is restored. I like this concept more and more. It also corresponds with the idea that they both threw up barriers to their childhood pain in opposite ways – Kara turned the pain and chaos outward, Lee inward. So it makes sense that her duality would be expressed explicitly, while Lee's is implicit.

Okay, well – clearly, I have been filling up on a lot of K/L meta, and it's spilling over again. One thing I will hand to RDM, he brought us some extremely interesting concepts to play with, and two endlessly complex characters (whether he knew what he was doing or not). Too bad he thought good concepts outweighed the need for good execution, but at this stage, I'll take what I can get. LE SIGH.
im_ridiculous
Sep. 28th, 2012 06:41 am (UTC)
provided it's actually at the service of the characters and the story, rather than your own agenda.... (See how I worked that gripe in? Yeah. Subtle FTW!)
Pft! Why be subtle when you're making such a good point, I say!!! *shakes fist at You Know Whos*

Either that or they were all going progressively insane from the stress of the situation they were all in.
Yeah... except like you say, that's not how they played it out. It would have made sense, but that's clearly not what they meant. So we are forced to resort to deification and mythology. Douches.

I like your Kara paragraph... For me, Kara's always been more Artemis than Aphrodite... but then, I don't know. Maybe I just haven't been as erudite about it. I'm going to bookmark that meta to come back to... I'm being distracted (ie, plot bunnies are taking over my brain) by stupid CrackFicOfDoom aat the moment, and I think there's only so much meta I can have rattling around in my head before it actually explodes, so. :) But I am seriously bookmarking right now!
themonkeytwin
Sep. 28th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, I totally always saw her as more Artemis than Aphrodite – but (even though I tried) I couldn't seem to efface the Aphrodite aspect of her. Artemis is too ... Starbuck? and not enough Kara? Where Kara is so lusty, not just sexually, but for life generally. But sensuality and lust is too much a part of her, and not covered by Artemis. Although they combine nicely, I think. I'm not one of those who turns her into a strong binary of Starbuck/Kara, but there are definitely facets that align a little more one way or another.


It would have made sense, but that's clearly not what they meant.

Right? Although I have always had a great deal more sympathy with Lee's "fire it all into the sun" than most fans do. Firstly, it was obviously a callback (forward?) to various invasion/settling armadas who psychologically primed the people for an all-or-nothing mentality so that they would throw everything they had into survival, without any other option. But secondly, if I'd spent YEARS in rustbucket spaceships on the run, in some kind of subsistence quality of life, I don't care how "useful" they would be. SCREW THAT. It's a statement on a bunch of levels, none of which (astonishingly) I have a problem with. Considering everything else of the season up to that point, it was either statistically inevitable that there be something I didn't have a problem with, or a miracle. I'm not sure which.
im_ridiculous
Oct. 2nd, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
OK, you're convincing me about the Aphrodite thing :)

it was either statistically inevitable that there be something I didn't have a problem with, or a miracle.
Little from column a, little from column b...? hee.
Yeah.... I... struggle with it. I mean, when it was happening, when I was watching it for the first time, as I think I might have said to you before, I was like 'Sure it's 150,000 years ago!! Sure! Fire it all into the sun! NO WORRIES!!' but when I came down off my weirdly euphoric-and-simultaneously-devastated-sparkle-rage high and started thinking more rationally about what had happened and.... hmm. I did not approve.

I can see where you're (and I guess Lee, is) coming from, and I get the SCREW THAT appeal. Fo shiz. But it just seems so pointlessly wasteful, so lacking in forward thinking, which just doesn't tally with the Lee in my head. I know it's naff, but I really like The Atlantis Alternative. It makes sense and it'd be a nice history/mythology tie-in. And if they're the lost civilisation of Atlantis, they get to keep their technology because they'll lose it all anyway thus keeping things historically accurate, but they don't make a (for me, completely incomprehensible) decision to condemn themselves and their descendants for god knows how many generations to come, to a life without, if nothing else, modern medicine.

IF, however, Lee had made the decision to fire it all into the sun AFTER Kara went *poof*.... THAT I would have bought out of a belief that he probably had some kind of epic breakdown after he lost his father and the love of his life on a strange planet a million miles from home at the end of a brutal and horrific war and brutal and horrifc exodus.

THAT I could buy no problem.
themonkeytwin
Oct. 8th, 2012 10:22 am (UTC)
it just seems so pointlessly wasteful, so lacking in forward thinking, which just doesn't tally with the Lee in my head

Here's something I don't remember from my ONCE of watching Daybreaks – did they explicitly not strip the ships of everything useful? Because I've kind of been assuming that they took whatever they could, but everyone's indignance at it is beginning to make me think I missed something.

Yeah, I don't know about the Lees that live in our head – because the show was so inconsistent, and left so much out, and FIANCÉES, PROSTITUTES, WHAT THE HELL, and so on, that one of my problems is I feel I can't be sure I did know these characters. Of the major characters, I feel most sure of Bill and Laura (and Saul, actually ... oh, and Helo), because they seemed the most consistent in their actions and development. Other than that ... I don't know. Too much zigzagging. Lee is absolutely inspired sometimes, other times, a complete reckless dumbass. So ... IDK.


I know it's naff, but I really like The Atlantis Alternative. It makes sense and it'd be a nice history/mythology tie-in.

Oh, that's ... interesting. I hadn't heard that one before, I think I like it too! But then it's also heartbreaking, if seen from the perspective of they finally found a place to live that didn't suck the suckiness of NC, and then the place they settle SINKS INTO THE WATER. At that point, you have to start assuming they are seriously bad luck, or the gods/god just enjoys dicking them around bigtime. :/

Although, that's kind of what gods tend to do. Hmmm....
im_ridiculous
Oct. 9th, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
Holy moly. It's been a bit of an rl explosion all round... Yikes. Anyway...

RE: stripping the ships etc... I'm only assuming too, because I'd have to go back and check, but my thinking has always been pretty much this: they probably did strip quite a lot, but they can't have taken anything toooo substantive (generators etc etc) because...
1) we saw them all hiking off in various directions, apparently not carrying much, and,
2) there is no historical record of anything like that ever having been found. And i'm fine with handwaving/willing suspension of disbelief, except that Hera's remains were found, so. Frankly, I think RDM just liked the image and didn't think it through.....along with everything else.
Also, given they're on a totes new and unknown planet, I would have thought that as a shelter, if nothing else, might not have been a stupid idea. But anyway...

because the show was so inconsistent, and left so much out, and FIANCÉES, PROSTITUTES, WHAT THE HELL, and so on, that one of my problems is I feel I can't be sure I did know these characters.
It's a very fair point. I tend to completely ignore the whole fiancees and prostitutes bit, because, well... what the?! Inspired v reckless dumbass neatly sums up the Lee dichotomy though! :)

I hadn't heard that one before, I think I like it too!
I feel honoured to have brought a fresh theory to your attention! ... I actually really love it. When they first flashed that '150,000 years ago' thing, I was all '...oh em gee, all those Greek gods.... they're totally going to be Atlantis!! Holy crap this is awesome!! I love this!' ...but then...alas. I thought then maybe I was just really clever, but as the internets revealed, there's no such thing as a new idea and a bunch of other people had had the same thought. I just wish RDM had too.

I love it - it ties in everything so beautifully. And it WOULD be heartbreaking, but Atlantis was supposed to have disappeared (if indeed it ever existed, obvs) about 9,000-10,000BC. All civilisations peak and then decline, and this would most likely have happened with our Colonial Refugees too. And some of them would have left and intermarried and maybe settled elsewhere. But also, I just can't believe (despite any, we must spread out = best chance of survival, thing) that when there's THAT little left of the human race (and cylons, whatevs, apparently they're people too...) that you'd all be happy just be to blown to all corners of the world like leaves on the wind. Maybe I'm wrong. Like you said, maybe they were all jack of each other and the spaceships! :)

Anyway... apparently I have thoughts about this... :)
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