San Diego Naval Base
Earth space, Systems Confederation

The smell was usually the first one of five senses an unconscious individual would regain when waking up. The atmosphere reeked of fresh air, fresher than the Galactica she’d been accustomed to for the few past years except for that year and half of dreadful experiences on New Caprica. It was enough to bring her out of unconsciousness.

Then it hit Kara that she’d been unconscious again, and impulsively she stroked and gripped at the smooth fiber what appeared to be a bed coverlet, judging from her body position she was laying down on the bed, not seated and strapped down in her bird. She was in an entirely different place.

Kara rose up with her eyes wide open, looking around the room, and saw a half dozen humans silently staring at her as if she was an alien.

“Where am I?” Kara asked, starting to slump backward on the bed, cautiously and slowly. She touched her forehead and felt two semi-adhesive pads.

One of the men, a thirty-something male in white medical uniform, approached her with both of his hands raised in the air. “You are in a medical facility, the San Diego Naval Base of Systems Confederation Navy, to be precise. Please don’t try to remove those pads on your head as we need them to keep tabs on your health status”

Dumbfounded Kara looked at him silently for a moment. “How long I have been out?” She demanded.

“You had been out for nine hours since we bought you aboard here.” The doctor replied and smiled, “I am Lieutenant Commander Bjorn Ringstrom, the chief medical officer. I am in charge of the medic bay here. You are?”

The response from her was somewhat less optimistic, Kara feared that she’d been brought here as a prisoner. Her previous experience of being a prisoner of the Cylons had left her cautious and more distrustful especially in the company of strangers. “My name is Kara Thrace, my rank is Captain, Colonial Fleet, my serial number is 462753.”

Bjorn shook his head, “You are not a prisoner here. Not on my watch.”

“Really?” Kara said hesitantly.

“If you like, I could get my superior to come down here and have him assure you that you are not a prisoner of the Systems Confederation.”

Kara could tell that doctor was dead serious about the current state of her well-being, though realizing that she had no choice but to take his word for it. After all, these strangers had rescued her when she'd fallen into state of unconsciousness inside her bird and she could do one thing: show them her gratitude.

She sighed, her body stance relaxed, and looked around the room once more. “All right, I believe you.”

“Good, now could you tell me how you are feeling… from your own perspective?” Bjorn asked her.

“I feel fine except for falling unconscious for no reason.”

“No reason?” The doctor sounded surprised, raising an eyebrow. “We had to examine you with non-invasive scanner twice to be certain, we were unable to find anything that rendered you unconscious. How it happened to you was as big a mystery to us. Look, if it had happened to you before in the past, you shouldn’t be allowed by your superiors to fly with a medical condition like that because you could have died out there. These spacecraft, regardless of types or sizes, are not a very forgiving environment with an unconscious pilot strapped on it.”

“What?”

Kara stared at Bjorn with a horrified expression on her face. The thought of abruptly falling into the state of unconsciousness without an explanation, as if it occurred through supernatural means, terrified her down to the bones.

“What I am saying is that we didn’t find anything wrong in you that caused it. We could have you examined again if you wish, but I must caution you that we will not find anything unusual if we do.”

“Wait, I remember getting knocked out before the last one.”

“When wasthe last time it occurred… I meant before last one?” asked Bjorn.

“Honestly, I really don’t know.”

“What you were doing at that time? It would help me understand how this occurred to you.”

“You wouldn’t belive me if I told you, and it’s a long story.” She chuckled awkwardly.

“Try me, I’ve seen and heard of plenty of strange things out there in the many years of my career.”

“Okay, but I warned you.”

The doctor laughed quietly, “Fair enough, but before you start, let me grab a chair.”

Bjorn moved toward one of the room’s corner, picked up a foldable chair, and carried it to the end of Kara’s bed and seated himself down.

“I am all ears now.” The doctor said.

Kara inhaled the exhaled deeply as she mentally prepared herself for a long tale-telling session.

“It started with a cloudy gas giant with the fleet consisting of a few dozens of refugee vessels and a battlestar which had to make a stop there to refuel. My wingman, Apollo, and I were on CAP to keep eyes out for any potential hostiles hiding within the upper atmosphere of that world…”

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