letterstonorah: (kara frakked laura on new caprica)
[personal profile] letterstonorah
Title: Civil War, Part I of III
Author: [livejournal.com profile] letterstonorah
Characters/Pairings: Laura, Laura/Kara, Ellen, Tory, Lee (weeee!!! ensemble!)
Summary: Months after the death of her family, Laura finds a cause (and a someone) to get excited about. AU, but the 12 Colonies is still the 12 Colonies.
Word Count: 3700 words
Rating: PG13 (this chapter, later chapters are NC17)
Warnings: none for this chapter
Disclaimer: Not mine, obvi.

Shall post the next chapter Monday, and the next chapter after that Wednesday. Wanted to get some out there before I have to drive back home, though :o) It's finished, thank the gods, as I feel like I've been working on this for quite a while. Your feedback is much appreciated.

Author's Note: This fic was written for [livejournal.com profile] pocochina! She left me a prompt (along with[livejournal.com profile] embolalia, for whom I wrote "Born from Night, Exhaling Fire", the Kara/Kendra fic) way back when, and I've finally finished it. Poco requested a fic about what "the excuses and pretenses and rationalizations are for homophobia in Colonial society, and how it affects the people who have to deal with it. The overwhelming heteronormativity of BSG suggests that an awful lot of characters are closeted to some extent, and the toll that takes. Queer women in particular, given the complex gendered dynamics already at play, so it'd be an interesting look through a Kara or Kendra or Kat or Tory lens. 

(I don't know if you've seen Caprica, which was set 60 years before the show-verse, and really did work to create a world with minimal heteronormativity. Two married men can and do talk about their relationship the same as a straight couple would without social reprisal; poly marriages are not treated as the social norm, but they're not that far out of the mainstream, either. I'd love to see a fic exploring how that world could have become Barbie Ken and Skipper's Dream House! Galactica.)"

Thanks  to [livejournal.com profile] wicked_sassy, who helped me do some brainstorming with this fic early on. Unbetaed and therefore likely has errors.

Civil War

Laura’s life over the last seven months tallies up as follows: 103 sputtering sobs, twenty-seven lost pounds, too many frakking bowls of soup, 81 calls to/from family and friends, an embarrasingly small number of showers, a hair trim, nineteen disappointing orgasms, seven middling ones, one much regretted hook-up, four books that she barely remembers, an ill-conceived jogging program that meets an abrupt end, 3007 pushups, seven vocalized frak you’s to colleages, 91 un-vocalized frak you's to colleagues, an addiction to a reality show called ‘Child Swap’, a newly acquired passion for solitude, so many glasses of wine, and three adopted dogs—a pit bull, an Aerilon shepherd mix, and some small, yappy thing Laura refuses to acknowledge as a canine.

“Is this it?” she thinks, not so much suicidal as indifferent.


Kara hands her laptop to Lee. “Go to town,” she says.

She’s just finished the first draft of her letter and needs him to look over it before she prints it out and sends it off. She bites her fingernails and crosses her legs up on to the couch where she sits.

“Maybe you should go fix yourself some tea or something,” he says, shooing her away. “Give me some space.”

“Ouch, Lee,” says Kara. “Are you—are you breaking up with me?”

He smiles, but his eyes mean business. “Out, Kara. You want me to do this right, or not”

“Just don’t go snooping into my porn,” Kara says. “I don’t want you to get traumatized, you vanilla bastard.”

“Bye, Kara,” says Lee, ignoring the jibe.

Kara Alcyone Thrace
Soldiering On
A-096 Thelon Pkwy.
Caprica City, Elonis
12th Distict, Caprica
email: kara.thrace-5400-01-ccs-caprica
8 September, 13012

Laura Roslin, Esq.
PL-0125 Blacket Sq.
Caprica City, Elonis
12th District, Caprica

Dear Laura,  (so what, you guys are on a first name basis or something? maybe you should address her “L-Dawg” or “’Lil L”.)

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sick and tired of ultra-conservative, misogynist nutjobs using fear of another cylon war to attack women, queer people, and religious minorities. What century is this? You’d think we were still on Kobol. (I admire the energy and passion here, Kara, but I think you’ll catch more flies with honey. Start professionally. Introduce yourself and your cause. No reason to launch into a tirade.) It's up to the Foundation for Civil Justice to fight this complete and utter bullshit and take these motherfrakkers to court (See above note. This isn't a letter bitching to one of your friends. If you want her to take your case, rein back on the language a little bit and state your purpose eloquently, like I know you can). Traditionalists package anything they don’t like as somehow a cylon threat. Oh, women getting abortions—that’ll bring the cylons back! Oh, insurance coverage for gender confirming surgery—that’ll bring the cylons back! It doesn’t make any sense, and yet colonials are buying it. They prey on fear of cylons to create a new fear of anything that is other. Look, I get it. Nobody wants the cylons to come back. But I’m sorry, me frakking a girl has nothing to do with robots—just because cylons have long been associated with “deviant” sexuality. (Well-argued point, but again—be more professional. I know tact isn’t really your thing, but come on, it’s probably not a good idea to say “frakking”.) Groups that were previously powerless, marginal, and fringe have gained significant political momentum by disguising their conservative agenda as necessary for Colonial safety. I call bullshit. (Kara. Come on.)

I’m writing to you because a bunch of crazy people elected me (they had to be crazy if they chose me to be their representative) to speak up on their behalf. (They elected you because you’re smart, thoughtful, driven, and compassionate—not because you’re crazy.)

The latest and greatest civil rights violation is coming from the military—surprise, surprise! Obviously, as citizens of the Colonies we are covered under Colonial Employee Health, but our exact care package is up to Fleet discretion (don’t ask me who the hell made up that stupid ass clause). The military has just reformed our insurance package so that are deemed unnecessary (by them!) are no longer covered, which disproportionately affects trans people who have up til (until) now have taken advantage of the chance to make their bodies match their genders. (See, now we’re getting into the meat of it. You should push this paragraph up to the beginning.) Because Fleet insurance is funded by the Twelve Colonies government, this is a violation of the Articles of Colonization, which clearly states that all persons, regardless of gender (even transgender people!), sex, sexuality, color, religion, and age born in the Colonies are full citizens and shouldn’t be discriminated against on the basis of any of those things. (I think this might be a good time to get into your personal story dealing with this. Let her know how this new policy has affected you. I know you don't like to share, but what you went through is very relevant). 

Look, I must admit I tracked down your home address through somewhat nefarious means, but I do hope you will forgive the invasion. (Why would you call attention to the fact that you’re creepy?) I know that my concerns will appeal to you, and I couldn’t risk this letter getting lost in the pile of mail I know the FCJ must receive daily.

I’ve paperclipped a petition that’s been signed by 300 individuals.

I hope that you will consider taking this case.

Kara Thrace

P.S. I read about your tragic loss in the paper. I know there’s nothing I can really say. It’s frakked up. End of discussion. I just want you to know how sorry I am that you had to go through losing your family like that. I didn’t have the greatest parents growing up and didn’t have any siblings, but I know how much the family I chose means to me. If you ever need me for anything—anything—my email and phone number and address are in the header. Way too personal, Kara, even though I know more than anyone how much you mean this.

Kara reads Lee's feedback and smiles, knowing that she could count on him to burn away all the personality from the letter.


By the ninth month, Laura's regained some of the lost weight, has reconnected with a few friends. She is whatever the equivalent of a functioning alcoholic is in regards to the after effects of crushing loss.

Month ten, Ellen decides to drag Laura to Temple.

“Really, Ellen? Temple?”

She needs to make an appearance at the office today, preferably before noon. 

Ellen crinkles her brow, reapplies eye liner in Laura’s washroom mirror. “It’ll be good for you,” says Ellen, using a tissue to clean up where she’s smudged liner onto her cheek. “Wash the soul, connect with your place in the cycle.”

Laura hoists herself up onto the counter, sitting in the space between the two sinks. “Wasn’t it you who said people interested in washing their souls have never actually had to do laundry?”

Ellen sets down the black pencil, poofs up her hair, then turns to Laura. “Probably, but what did I tell you about bringing up things I’ve said in the past that conflict with what I’m saying in the present?”

“Not to do it,” Laura says, smiling, glad that Ellen has remained her best friend throughout the aftermath of her family’s deaths, always there, whether Laura wants her to be or not.

“Come on, Laura,” Ellen says, “It’ll be fun.”

“Make up your mind. Will it be fun or soul cleansing?”

“Both,” says Ellen. “Now get your ass dressed.”

Laura sighs but throws on some fairly decent-looking clothes, slacks and a blouse. She doesn’t bother with makeup because—meh. They go to a congregation not far from Laura’s house, arriving just as the priestess is beginning the invocation of the Lords. They tiptoe to a pew and sit near the back, like school girls late to class.

Ellen removes a flask from her hand bag and whispers, “A soul cleansing without alcoholic refreshment is not a soul cleansing I want to be a part of.” She takes a swig and hands it over to Laura, who also takes a small sip, relishing in the blasphemy of it.

The hymns following the opening prayer are beautiful, and Laura’s glad that at the very least she’s getting a free concert out of this. Then she wonders if she should be going to more concerts—if that will help. She writes down a note in the margin of the service program—You like music.

She bites her lip before setting her pen back into her bag. In the last couple of months, she’s begun to redefine herself using scraps of paper—little notes scrawled on post-its, spontaneous aphorisms inked beneath interesting articles in the Colonial Malcontent, her favorite political rag. These messages are a guide book and a how-to. Be this. Be that. Remember—breathe. Remember—blink. Remember—five tears a day and five tears a day only.

Behind her, the doors to the chapel room creak open loudly, and Laura turns to see who’s arrived late—a young woman dressed in military fatigue jeans, a dark gray t-shirt, and boots. She has sharp, wide eyes, angular cheeks, shoulder length blonde hair tied back into a ponytail, and pouty, almost swollen lips. Laura would put her at twenty-seven, maybe a little older. 

The woman’s eyes catch Laura’s, and while she knows she should look away, Laura continues to stare, scrutinizing the woman’s face, which is, incidentally, a little bit breathtaking. The woman raises her eyebrows as if surprised, which means she's familiar with who Laura is, probably from television. The Beckett case had gotten a lot of media attention last year, which means her face is pretty familiar to citizens throughout the Colonies. 

Laura watches as the woman slides into the pew past Ellen, then past Laura, and sits down right next to her.

Ellen coughs, grabbing Laura’s attention. “Hot,” Ellen mouths, silent.

Laura rolls her eyes, as if this day could possibly be any more juvenile. “Too young,” Laura mouths back.

“No such thing,” says Ellen in a whisper, but it’s rather loud, and a number of people in the congregation turn to look at her.

Laura tries to keep her face straight, to focus on the words of the priestess giving the sermon, but it’s not really happening. This woman next to her is close enough that their hips touch, and Laura can’t help but sneak glances at her.

Several times, the girl catches her, then smiles. The grin’s cute, almost a little coy, but not quite. Laura keeps her legs crossed, her face neutral. She hasn't got time for this. 

When the priestess reads the benediction, she breathes a relieved sigh and stands up with the rest of the congregation funneling out of the pews. Ellen locks her arm with Laura, leans into her ear and whispers. "Are we really planning to ignore the fact that the woman behind us looks like she wants to frak you right here on one of these pews?" 

"We are," says Laura, making her way to the aisle, then to the lobby outside the chapel. 

"Ms. Roslin, Sir," she hears from behind her.

Sir? That's--different. 

She turns to see it's the young woman, still close behind. 

"It's me, Kara. Kara Thrace," she says, holding out her hand, and Laura wonders if she's supposed to know who the woman is. "You look much different in person," says Kara, smiling, the brightness and warmth of it breathtaking. 

"Do I know you, Kara?" Laura asks.

"She means that in the Biblical sense," says Ellen.

"Ellen," Laura says. "Not today." 

Kara doesn't seem at all bothered by Ellen's forwardness, and continues on. "You don't know me, but that could change," she says, "In the Biblical sense--or not. Whatever floats your boat. But anyway I did send you a letter a few weeks ago, and I was hoping to hear back from you. I didn't know you went to Temple here--and I don't know if you believe in the gods, but I'm assuming you do because you're here, and our meeting here seems a little bit like fate." 

"You sent a letter to my house?" asks Laura.

"Yes, Sir," says Kara.

"Please, call me Laura," she says. 

Kara nods before speaking. "Sorry, Sir, habit." She smirks, rolling her eyes at herself. "I mean, sorry Laura. It's a beautiful name. I should get used to saying it. It means 'everyman' in the Old Tongue, yes? Which is fitting, I think, since you've made a life of protecting the rights of the common person. That's what my letter is about." 

Laura doesn't remember the last time she checked her mailbox. Everything of import she receives online, her hard copy mail usually junk. 

"I gotta go," says Kara. "Work. But look for my letter, okay? From Kara Thrace."

"I'll see what I can do," says Laura, curious now.

"Before I go," says Kara. "Can I get your number?"

"My number?"

"So I can call you. Take you out, regardless of what you decide to do with the letter."

Kara removes a pen from her pocket, hands it to Laura, and holds out her wrist. Laura's sure she's blushing, sure she looks ridiculous, and sure she hasn't felt this foolish in years. She's made an art out of being professional, cool, collected. Her career depends on it. 

Ellen nudges Laura in the hip, but she's still is frozen in place. With that, Ellen grabs the pen from Laura's hand and writes on Kara's outstretched wrist: "For booty calls, call Laura: 0081.43.161."

Kara laughs, takes the pen from from Ellen, and returns it to her pocket. "See you soon I hope," she says, before turning to leave.

"Very smooth, Laura," says Ellen, rolling her eyes. 

Laura tries to remember the last time a woman made her speechless. She hurries home, digs through her mailbox for the letter.

Tory arrives to the offices of the FCJ an hour before anyone else. Early bird—worm—she knows the deal. Anxious to prove herself to Laura, Tory is the overachiever the other employees relentlessly tease. She comes to work early, leaves late, researches Colonial law during her lunch break.

Juggling her coffee and brief case, she unlocks the door, almost dropping the paper bag containing her morning bagel.

“Need some help?” someone asks, passing along on the sidewalk.

She turns her head, musters up a polite smile, then shakes her head curtly. “Do I look like I need help?” she says, shifting so her back is to the passerby.

Inside it’s a mess. Stacks of papers a foot high sit on heavy, wooden desks. File folders lie strewn on the floor. Boxes of mail, yet to be checked, stare at Tory mockingly. She dreads her first order of business—going through the envelopes and finding the ones marked, “ATTN: Laura Roslin.” Were that all she had to do, it wouldn’t be so bad, but she must also read through each one, sometimes upwards of fifty, and decide which ones are worth Laura’s time.

Due to budget issues, the Foundation for Civil Justice can take only a few cases a year. The attorneys divide up the work evenly, some lawyers prefering to take on cases related to specific issues. Tory knows to pass anything on to Lauara regarding education, religious discrimination, and reproductive rights.

After dropping her stuff off at her desk, Tory lifts one of the boxes and settles into her chair. Soon, the office will be bustling with life: phones ringing, news channels blaring, interns talking inanely about—Tory doesn’t even know, certainly doesn’t care. This is her chance to get work done in relative peace.

Tory settles in at her desk, opening the left top drawer and removing an application, her eyes going to the required recommendation form. Laura is the most renowned civil rights lawyer in the Colonies, and her recommendation could help Tory secure admission to Caprica’s most prestigious law schools.

Tory looks up from the mess of papers when she hears someone at the door. She checks the time on her wrist watch—still thirty minutes before anyone else usually shows up.

“Laura?” Tory says, recognizing the woman as she enters. Since the accident, Laura rarely arrives before 10, and Tory wonders if she’s missed word of a meeting. She flips through the calendar on her desk, seeing nothing.

“Good morning, Tory,” Laura says, her voice clipped. She’s wearing her gray pantsuit, sans blazer, with a dark vest. Tory knows it’s the woman’s get-things-done outfit—one she usually saves for trial days, one she hasn't worn since before. Long bangs droop down over Laura’s forehead, obscuring her face above her eyes, but Tory’s willing to bet her eyebrows are pinched together, angry.

“Something tells me it’s not actually a good morning,” says Tory.

“Is it ever?” says Laura, smiling as she sets down her bag and cup of tea. Despite looking tired, the skin under her eyes puffy and creased, her face is warm and soft, her cheeks flushed slightly red, her lips a dark peach color.

She sits down and shoves off her sneakers, replacing them with a pair of black heels.

“Important meeting?” Tory asks, gesturing to the shoes.

Laura nods, rolls her eyes as she pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “With Arlen Graves.”

“Oh, gods.”

“Don’t get me started. He told me once that ‘pro bono’ was a four letter word, but he’s partnered with us before. Maybe if I don’t visibly gag when he calls me little lady he’ll do it again.”

“Do you want me to put red pepper flakes in his tea?” asks Tory.

Laura laughs, pulls a strand of hair behind her ear. “Don’t waste it on him. We need it for the pizza we’ll be having for lunch today. Again.”

Billy Keikeya, one of the newer interns at the FCJ, won a bet last week. He gets to choose what the office orders for lunch every day this month, and his creativity does not expand beyond Tautus Pizzeria.

“Well, may the gods protect you from Arlen’s toupee,” Tory says.

“Not even the Lords of Kobol could protect me from that thing, but I’ll be fine. He’s the best health law lawyer in Caprica, period. I need him on this one. I also need you.”

“I’m here to serve,” says Tory. “Whatever you need.”

“You’re here to be my partner, Tory,” Laura says, correcting. She pulls out an envelope from her bag, hands it to Tory.

“What’s this?”

“A letter I received at my house. Please read it. I did a little bit of research, but I know I can’t navigate the databases as well as you. I need you to pull up every insurance case you can in the Colonies about discretionary coverage. Read the letter; you’ll understand. I’ve cleared your schedule for today along with Billy’s. This isn't going to be an easy one.”

Tory opens the creased paper and skims over the text. 

Dear Laura Roslin,

My name is Kara Thrace, and I’m writing to you as a representative of the organization Soldiering On, a group made up of current and former Fleet members fighting for social justice in the military. A lot of our energy is devoted to undermining the way ultra-conservative misogynists use fear of another cylon war to attack women, queer people, and religious minorities.

These traditionalists package anything they don’t like as somehow a cylon threat, preying on fear of cylons to create new fears of anything ‘other’. Look, I get it. Nobody wants the cylons to come back. But I’m sorry, me having sex with a girl has nothing to do with robots—just because cylons have long been associated with “deviant” sexuality. Groups that were previously powerless, marginal, and fringe have gained significant political momentum by disguising their conservative agenda as necessary for Colonial safety.

Right now we’re particularly concerned about the continuing effects of the military’s reformed insurance policy instated nearly two years ago. As working citizens of the Colonies we are covered under Colonial Employee Health, but much of our specific care plan is up to Fleet discretion. This is because of 2a-1, which states the military is allowed to tailor coverage of Fleet members for matters of homeland security. They’ve changed coverage so that all surgeries deemed unnecessary (by them) are no longer paid for, a policy which disproportionately affects queer people—most obviously transgender people who have up until now taken advantage of the chance to make their bodies match their genders. Their argument states that 'unnecessary' surgeries are a danger to soldier's bodies, and thus propose a risk to the 12 Colonies in times of war, yet it doesn't seem that cisgendered, straight males are being targeted in quite the same way. 

Because Fleet insurance is funded by the Twelve Colonies government, this is a violation of the Articles of Colonization, which clearly states that all persons, regardless of gender, sex, sexuality, color, religion, and age born in the Colonies are full citizens and shouldn’t be discriminated against on the basis of any of those things.

There are other concerns, too. Eighteen months ago I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, a disease usually treated with a hysterectomy. My operation, however, was not covered because the surgery was considered “unnecessary” since some doctors have had success treating cervical cancer in a way that does not require uterus removal. These treatments are not widespread and are in no way status quo, yet I had to undergo this procedure in order to keep my uterus intact (presumably so I can fulfill my only purpose as a woman, which is to bear children). The policy basically allows conservatives to police queer and female bodies.

I’ve included a petition signed by 300 people.


Kara Thrace

Tory can think of at least three relevant cases off the top of her head, but what's more important is that she knows Kara Thrace and understands that she rarely brings with her good things. 

*Your feedback is cherished.

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