Bailey goes through the looking glass after being captured by Cylons.
Related Scenes: None
Plot: Operation: Watchtower
Scene Number: 1460
Muttering guy. Cate. Astraea. Emrys. Lyn. One by one they were dragged away by the Cylons. Bailey is the last remaining of the captured CF crew, and finally, it's her turn to go. Maybe she fights back! Too bad the Cylons have plenty of practice by this time.
The Cylon drags her down a maze of poorly lit tunnels until she notices a glow somewhere ahead, which eventually opens up into some sort of makeshift... Well, it's hard to say exactly what it is. Laboratory? Medical facility? Some bizarre combination of the two? There are cables running around and a half dismantled Cylon in the corner of the room with cables running out of its head. There are no human guts or blood, or really any signs of butchery, but that might be cold comfort as Bailey is manhandled (Cylon-handled?) into a chair and strapped in.
Bailey is likely too smart to fight back physically, since she's still getting over a couple of effective wallops in the head. Perhaps that was why she was left for last. But unfortunately for Bailey's head, she isn't all that likely to keep her testy mouth shut when irritated. "Not his best day either," she drawls under her breath as she catches a glance of the Cylon-in-pieces nearby. Her heart's hammering in her chest, as every moment conscious is one lined with the fear that everyone -- even creepy muttering guy -- is dead, tortured to death, and now it's her turn to get some of those cables hooked up to her. "I have nothing of use to say," she manages firmly, but her eye contact is with ... her feet. Big tough girl indeed.
The Cyclon goes about its business wordlessly, attaching electrodes to her forehead and temples. When it's finished whatever bizarre preparations it has to do, it goes over to the cables and starts fiddling around. There is a sharp electric shock, then everything goes dark.
he world is white. No, it's a bright light. No, it's a /spotlight/. She's standing in the spotlight. On stage. In costume. Other dancers twirl around her. She remembers the war, the Cylons, the people she's met since leaving her dance career behind, but she also remembers /this/ day. This dance. Behind the spotlight, she can just barely make out the vague impression of an audience. And it all feels so /real/. The smell of sweat and makeup, the heat from the lights, the music. Everything.
Unexpectedly, it's nice: nothing in Bailey's worldview would have ever let her think she could get hooked up to creepy Cylon wires and zaps and enjoy it, but there's such an automatic response to the distinct sensory experience of dance -- it would be impossible not to simply fall into step. Who knows where or when she is? Better judgment may be half of her brain, the better judgment that is inclined to think 'there is something attached to you and this is not real,' but whether or not her body actually moves in reality, Bailey thinks she is. She couldn't mess up the steps. She won't fumble a jete for a silly reason like that it's a hallucination.
She dances and it is magnificent. The world falls away and all there really is is the dance. Not only that, but all the petty little annoyances that detract from any performance... The tiny missteps that no one else notices, other dancers' mistakes, distractions from the audience. There are none of those this time around. It's the best performance of her life. It's transcendent, and when the music inevitably comes to an end, she stands at center stage, the centerpiece of a final pose, while the audience roars to a standing ovation. Someone throws a rose on stage. But finally, the other dancers move to take their bows and exit the stage in a perfectly choreographed fashion. Bailey is last, and the audience goes wild for her, but soon even she must leave the stage as the performance ends.
Bailey's bows are often, if not always, as well-choreographed as her steps, though there's something that seems off about this one. It's not quite right, as if there's a far-away niggling sense that everything has been too perfect. But she's ignoring that for now: she's caught up on making her departure, head ducked, half-smile affixed, as she reaches elegantly down to claim that rose before taking pointe-steps offstage. Niggling senses of discomfort happen. They can be terrible at the end of runs, too, and wasn't this the second-to-last show? (Wasn't this five years ago, Bailey?)
Everyone backstage is in a celebratory mood, and no one receives more congratulations on a successful penultimate show than Bailey. Even that bitch who is usually catty to her had to (perhaps grudgingly) admit she shone tonight. It's a whirlwind back to the green room with the other dancers to get out of costume, hang everything up properly, clean off make up (No point messing with the hair, that hairspray isn't coming out until she washes it), and finally she can emerge. Before she has a chance to even catch her breath, her family spots her. The whole gaggle of them: Father, mother, and brothers. No one is more enthusiastic to see her than her father, who swoops her up in a bear hug before putting her back on her feet. "You were magnificent!" Her mother smiles. "He's right, my dear." Siblings chime in: "Enchanting!" "How do you even /do/ that?" "Break your toes yet?" "Shut up, that's not funny!" "Nah, seriously, it was good..."
The bowing from Bailey is playful at this point, as she quick-changes from leo to leggings and a loose T-shirt; shoes are an afterthought not regarded, because barefoot is fine so long as no one cares too much about the bleeding and cracking of the skin on her feet. She sure doesn't. The rest of the cast and crew doesn't. And Dad doesn't. "Not more than usual!" she chirps, as regards those toes: one foot is pointed elegantly outward into her youngest brother's face. It's definitely bleeding, but not broken. "I will take 'it was good.' That is enough. You brought cupcakes?"
Youngest Brother makes a dramatic show of rolling his eyes back and starting to keel back as though he's fainting at the sight (or perhaps the smell?) of her bleeding feet. She's not the only drama queen in the family. He stops just short of /actually/ falling over, and recovers with a little grin and a wink.
Father gives her a faux innocent look. "Cupcakes? What is 'cupcakes'? I have never heard of this..." But of /course/ there are cupcakes. One of the brothers has been cleverly hiding a box behind his back, and produces it with a flourish to hand it over. It's her very favorite flavor, baked fresh by her mother. "You better be planning to share!" teases a middle brother. Youngest Brother grins again, almost wickedly, and then observes, "You know... I'm not sure dancers are supposed to eat sugar. Maybe we should protect her from those... Yeah, /protect/ her!"
"Mm, you go ahead," Bailey says sweetly, though as soon as anyone moves to keep cupcakes away from her for her own safety, whatever cupcake they plan on eating is getting licked by Bailey first. "Now try and eat that. I think perhaps not?" She swipes it and takes a quick chomp. "Definitely cupcake, even as you profess not to know what one is." The nose-wrinkle is a smiling, appreciative one. Everyone in this family is a drama queen.
Even the cupcakes seem too perfect, somehow. So delicious! How is this possible! While she's still eating her cupcake and the youngest brother is groaning at her licking it before he can have a taste, the father chuckles and puts an arm around her shoulder to turn her slightly. "I think you've got company," he says, and points toward another corner of the wings.
It's a young man. She didn't know him for long... He was the son of a businessman she was supposed to be schmoozing at one of her parties. Her agent probably got mad at her for spending most of the party talking to this kid instead of the rich society folk she was supposed to be mingling with. He's carrying a bouquet of roses and smiling shyly while he waits for her to notice him. The flash of future memory (or was that all a dream?) reminds her that she never really had the chance to know him. The Cylons attacked and sent them in separate directions. She eventually heard through the grapevine that he'd been killed in a Cylon attack. But right now, here he is, as real as can be, awaiting her attention.
The wealthier patrons were always so grabby, and Bailey didn't tolerate it as much as her agent might have liked; on the other hand, she probably tolerated it more than she should. She squints suddenly, pressing her eyes shut and pinching the bridge of her nose to try to clear confusion: someone who died, someone whose death hadn't been deserved, someone else whose life and loss of it inspired the change in hers -- but none of that happened; she isn't a marine with the Colonial Forces, she's a dancer in a successful interstellar company -- trying to brush it all off, Bailey stands up straighter and steals a cupcake, literally hopping in his direction. "Hi," she says brightly, offering cake to trade for flowers. "If those are for me, this is for you."
He actually blushes a bit when she offers the cupcake. "Oh, thanks..." He accepts the cupcake, kind of awkwardly making the trade of the flowers. "I hope they're the kind you like," he says, tentatively. "They reminded me of you. Though..." Man, can a guy's cheeks get any redder? "They're not half as graceful. Or as beautiful."
"I would be concerned if flowers had much grace," Bailey admits delicately, though she seems the kind of awkward-amused that is what she's like around anything that anyone might be able to potentially consider flirting by a longshot (there are reasons that she's got nothing in terms of relationship history!) and not carrying the superior air one would usually expect from a dancer of her caliber. "But I think they are very beautiful. There are few I do not like; they will go very nicely with my mirror, I think. I believe one of my family made the cupcake. I did not lick that one."
Aldrich looks down at the cupcake with a little smile, and has a bite of it. He somehow manages to avoid getting any trace of icing on his face, in the process, and nods a little as he chews, then swallows. "It's very good!" He pauses, uncertainly, and then asks, "Are you happy?" An odd question, and he seems quite interested in her answer, watching her closely.
It is an odd question, one that comes with Bailey leaning her head to one side as she thinks: a typical quirk of hers, but not one that usually has her ear going all the way down to meet her shoulder. Sideways Bailey determines, "Right now, yes -- an excellent performance, a wonderful audience, cupcakes, pleasant company with lovely flowers that likes cupcakes ... how would I not be?" Except like half of these people are dead, her inner voice nags. She ignores it.
He smiles broadly, clearly pleased with her answer. He offers her his elbow and glances back toward her family, before looking back to her, directly. "Walk with me?" he requests, hopefully. Oddly, the cracking of her feet has already faded and healed while she wasn't paying attention.
How strange, indeed. Were it not for the 'magic' of Cylon mind control, Bailey might even be concerned! "Of course," she says with a light smile, shuffling flowers into one arm and allowing him to take her other. She has now eaten or pawned the cupcakes all off on others, so she does have that hand free.
The young man smiles goopily as she takes his arm, and leads the way out of the theater, into a perfect spring night (wasn't it autumn and cold that morning?) Time does some wonky things. Somehow, at one and the same time, they have their long walk and romantic conversation, but the moments blend together, and somehow the conversation seems fuzzy. When she thinks back afterwards, she finds she can't quite remember what they talked about... But it was super romantic. Then they're out on an adorably awkward dinner date. Time shifts (or maybe her memory is fading?) and they're sitting on a couch at home, having their first kiss, when her brother walks in on them, and boy is he /never/ going to let them forget /that/... And then they are walking hand-in-hand in a park, and the young man turns to her with a smile, and announces, "I don't want anyone but you. Forever." And time continues on in the beautiful dream... Somewhere a voice whispers "Partial success. More study required." But that must be her imagination.