Exaggeration and Blank Verse
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Yeah, everybody knows I was in basic with Lee Adama. I was his frakking roommate in basic, actually. A little fact that has bought me a lot of drinks over the years.

Stories? I've got lots of stories. I've got stories that'll blow your hair back. I mean, everybody has stories from basic. That's really all basic's for- collecting stories to tell in bars. Really. That's it. You don't learn anything useful in basic.

Okay, so you want stories about Lee. I get that. Finding out how the great Captain Apollo came to be. It took some work, let me tell you. When he got there, man, nobody thought he'd make captain. We didn't even think he'd survive. He showed up at my bunk, and I thought he'd gotten lost from one of the school tours. He was two years younger than me, which meant he was a year younger than the minimum age. And I'm not saying that his dad pulled strings or anything, because if you knew Lee for five minutes you knew not to suggest that. It's not like he'd do a lot of damage when he attacked people- like I said, he was kind of a freakish midget at the time- but you felt sort of bad kicking his ass.

So yeah, we all kind of ripped on him at first, but he actually fit in pretty fast. He worked harder than anybody, I'll tell you that much. Probably afraid that if he wasn't the best at everything, somebody might tell his dad. That might not be it, though, I don't know for sure. You didn't mention Old Man Adama in front of Lee unless you were looking for a temper tantrum. Actually, those were kind of funny...he'd scream and turn all red and throw shit, but he couldn't actually hurt anybody, because...you know, freakish midget.

But after the first week or so nobody brought it up much anyway, because by then we liked him. He was cool. Well, not really. He was way too damn uptight to be cool. But he was a good guy- well, he still is, but he was then, too. Pretty much everybody liked him. And I looked out for him- not anything crazy, not "you mess with my roommate, you're messing with me" or anything, but when Crashdown was giving him a lot of shit, I'd tell him to cool it. Crash doesn't always know when to quit, and it sucks living with somebody who's all beat up to hell all the time. Not that Lee whined or anything, but I kind of felt bad for him, you know? He was just this kid with a real pain-in-the-ass last name.

What? Oh, where'd you hear that one? Ha! Well, it's close, but not quite right. Lee wasn't a slut, exactly, he just lost a lot of bets. A lot of bets. I mean, we were all a bunch of dumb kids in the military, you know? We didn't have any money and it's boring if you don't bet anything. So usually we'd end up betting something, uh, physical. Like I said- dumb kids. And Lee lost a lot. He wasn't very good at cards.

Okay, and sometimes the rest of us would cheat, and it took him a really long time to figure out that we were doing it. He's kind of dumb about stuff like that sometimes. Well, not dumb exactly- naive, maybe? Anyway. Not really a slut. Just not good at cards. What did you say you heard- half the platoon? That sounds about right. Maybe a little high. He was good about it, laughed it off, didn't complain. If he did, nobody would've made him do anything. That's not how it goes in the Fleet. We're all supposed to be family, you know, look out for each other- well, not really family. Bad choice of words. Forget I said that.

He was cool about it, though. Looking back, he probably just really wanted to fit in, wanted us to like him. We did like him, but maybe he thought it was just because of his dad? One more time- we were dumb kids. Half the time we forgot who his dad was anyway. Lee never forgot, though. I think he worried about that a lot.

Kid worried about everything a lot. I remember one night I came back to the room and I could tell just looking at him that he was right on the edge of a total frakking meltdown, just grabbing a gun and taking out everybody else in the platoon. Probably not me, I don't think, but the rest of them, starting with Crash. Crash was being kind of a dick that day.

And you know, it's not cool to just watch while a fellow soldier freaks out and starts gunning people down. I don't know if that's an actual regulation or anything, but it's kind of a personal thing of mine. Common sense, you know? So I just told him to put his coat on and I steered him off the base- I think Kara had gate duty that night, actually, which was cool, because she wouldn't rat us out. Not Kara. That's a girl who doesn't lose any sleep at night over breaking regs.

So I took him downtown- there's not much of a downtown outside the base, but enough of one to keep the officers happy. And people like us who had a night off-duty or the balls to sneak off-base. We went to this shithole dive of a bar where I was pretty sure we wouldn't get caught by any officers and I bought us both some beers. Well, I put 'em on my tab. They knew me there. There was this one waitress...oh, sorry. Anyway, so we had a couple drinks, and that was another thing about Lee back then: he couldn't drink at all. Just could not hold himself together. That was another reason he lost so many bets. If we had anything stronger than water going around the circle, Lee was pretty much screwed. Literally. Heh.

So we're drinking and he starts pouring out his heart to me, telling me all about his whole life. His parents splitting up, and how he thought his dad liked his brother better than him, and when he cheated on a math test when he was nine and felt so bad about it he threw up every day for a week- the kid was just sharing everything. And it's not like I especially cared about any of it, but he needed to blow off some steam and it was kind of cool hearing about the shit that happens to famous people. Even just Fleet-famous people like the Adamas.

He didn't cry, thank the Gods, but he came close. After a couple of hours I took his drink away from him and got him moving back toward the base. Slow going. He fell down once or twice and just kind of sat there giggling. And it was funny, yeah, but if we didn't get our butts back on-base pretty quick Kara might go off-duty and then we'd be frakked. I tried to tell him that, but he didn't really care by that point, so I ended up pretty much carrying his drunk ass back. Which was no big deal, since it's not like he weighed much. Our very own platoon midget, Lee Adama.

So I dumped him in his bunk and he kind of rolled over and grinned at me and thanked me for being such a great roommate. And I told him "Whatever, man, it's not a big deal, just trying to help you out." He was all drunk-serious, you know what I mean? When they're trying to let you know that they really mean whatever it is they're saying, and their whole face crunches up. He was like that. "Nooo, Karl, I mean it, you've really been so nice to me." And then he sat up like he'd had a really good idea. "You wanna piece of me?" he asked, and it took me a minute to figure out that he was offering to let me frak him, not that he wanted to fight.

Kind of tempting, because hey, you know, small platoon and people told stories, but I just couldn't do it. I mean, even the Gods frak around when they've got nothing else to do, but this was just a poor drunk kid, and besides, he'd just told me all those stories about throwing up after math tests and when his first puppy died. I mean, you just can't do that with somebody right after you hear those kind of stories. At least, not when they're all drunk and pathetic.

So I was a good person and told him to shut up and go to sleep and figured that would be the end of it. But I forgot that Kara had a big mouth- I guess she still does- and even though she wasn't even in our platoon, she still told pretty much everybody on base about how shitfaced Lee was when I brought him back. Crashdown caught up with me on the run, grinning like a frakking idiot like he does, and wanted details. Made fun of me for a whole mile after I said that I didn't take advantage of my drunk roommate, until I had to punch him in the mouth and the lieutenant caught us and we both got kitchen duty for a week.

Now that I think about it, Lee still owes me for that. Next time I see him, I should collect.

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