The first night, he couldn't come down.
Probably just the stims clearing his system. Nothing to worry about. He told rational lies in the dark like a good soldier.
Five days without sleep; it just wasn't possible that his body could stay awake without conscious effort. All he had to do
was relax, and he would fall.
Problem: it had moved beyond the point of conscious effort. He'd drilled it into his brain over those five awful days that
if he slept, they'd all die. (Arrogance, that- the arrogance of a commander who was also a Commander's son.) So he could
crawl into his bunk, he could close his eyes, he could take a deep breath and let it out slowly and will himself into the
dark...but his subconscious jerked him up short every time, and he would open his eyes and count heartbeats in the silence.
When he was a kid, he shared a room with his brother. Zack always fell asleep first, every night he could remember, and if
he was having a hard time finding his own rest, he could listen to the sound of his brother breathing, and match his own breath
to the rhythm, and soon enough that would carry him away.
It was almost enough to make him wish he'd never made rank, that he was down in the barracks with the enlisted men, where
the air would be full of steady breathing. He looked around his narrow room, and his muscles tensed until he lay rigid in
his narrow bed, because gods, he was going to spend every night of the rest of his life looking at this room and trying to
fall asleep alone.
He was the CAG, so everyone with a rank was forbidden (he remembered the instructors at officer's training, the way they spit
"fraternization" like it burned their mouths), and it wasn't like he was going to be able to meet a nice girl on shore leave,
or retire to a village on the beach somewhere when he got done with flying. This was it, for all the years he had left (the
fact that it might be weeks or days isn't a comfort): the sound of his heart racing in a dark officer's bunk on the Battlestar
Galactica, hoping that when he did fall asleep, he wouldn't dream about his hands on the gun controls and the Olympic Carrier
fading into fireworks before his eyes.