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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
9th Day Onboard

Lt. Valerii sweated profusely as she slammed her fists again and again into the punching dummy. It was the last exercise on her last circuit of the gymnasium and she wanted to finish strongly. She tried to resist the urge to imagine the dummy was Cally, and instead visualized the tall blond Cylon named Margarete. Screams from the hospital ward broke Sharon 's concentration, and she rushed to the door to find out what was going on.

Amy was backed into the corner of the room, holding two of the doctors at bay with a large, green, translucent knife. Blood streamed from Amy's mutilated face and down her neck. "Calm down, stop this," the doctors pleaded, "Amy put down the knife so we can help you." As Lt. Valerii sprinted across the ward Amy suddenly collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut. She reached Amy's limp body at the same time as the two doctors, and helped them lift it onto the closest empty bed. The doctors grabbed handholds on the side of the bed, the bed rose slightly on a cushion of air, and without a word they had whisked Amy out of the ward.

Sharon scooped up the bloody knife from the floor and turned to look at the four patients and the remaining doctor clustered in the opposite corner of the room. "What the frack was going on in here?" she demanded.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
10th Day Onboard

"I didn't want them to look like me," Amy said as she touched the bandages covering her self-inflicted face wounds, "They aren't like me; they shouldn't look like me."

Lt. Valerii sat at Amy's bedside and held her copy's hand. "You sure fixed that," she responded.

"Let me guess," Amy continued, "you love me and you want to help me."

"No," Lt. Valerii said, "I think you're something of a jerk."

"Really?" Amy asked.

"Yeah, but don't take it personally. I don't like anyone here," Sharon answered.

"I don't like them either," Amy agreed. After lying quietly for several minutes, she then asked, "What did you do when you were a person?"

"I... um... I'm a Raptor pilot for the Colonial military," Sharon answered.

"I was an engineer with Olympic Interstellar's mining fleet," Amy said as she stared at the ceiling, "We were scouting star systems for exploitable resources when the attack came. Since we had a convoy of ships set up for a long-duration mission we figured we'd stay away from port until the raid was over. But it wasn't a raid. We were searching for a habitable world to set up an outpost on before our supplies ran out. We thought we had left the Cylons behind. But we brought one with us. I didn't know. If I had known, I'd have killed myself first."

"I did figure it out," Sharon said, "and I tried to kill myself. Even that doesn't work."

The two lapsed into silence again. Amy stared at the ceiling. Sharon looked blankly past the hospital wall into the unseeable distance. Finally, Lt. Valerii turned her head back to Amy and said, "If you were resurrected here, then it must mean that this is the closest Cylon facility to your convoy."

"And your ship too," Amy responded.

"Yeah, but I don't have..." Sharon 's voice trailed off without finishing her sentence. "You said they would need water."

"Yes, most of our reserves got vented into space." Amy did not mention the details of how it had happened. "Is that important?"

"No, probably not," Lt. Valerii said. She wanted to tell Amy what she was thinking, but with the Cylon spies inside them aware of their every action she didn't dare say anything out loud.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
13th Day Onboard

As Lt. Valerii was toweling herself off from her morning workout, one of the doctors suddenly turned to her and announced, "Sharon, you have a visitor who would like to take you to lunch."

"Thank you, um... tell him I'll be ready in couple of minutes," Sharon responded.

"He'll be waiting by the main exit," the doctor stated.

The ability of the other Cylons to communicate wirelessly was obviously useful, but it gave Sharon the creeps. She found it hard to believe that she had the same capability lying dormant inside her. She had tried to see if she could get in touch with that ability and use it to eavesdrop on their communications. She thought she had sensed something during a few of her experiments, but for all she knew it might have been her imagination playing tricks on her. Helo was right; she was a pilot, not an ECO. Sharon’s chest tightened momentarily at the memory of her old flying companion who she had left to die on Caprica. He was one more friend lost to the Cylon Empire; one more good man the toasters had killed in their conquest.

Lt. Valerii finished toweling herself off, put on a set of clothing from the dispenser by the door, and was escorted out of the hospital ward to meet her lunch date. "Hello, Cyrus," she said.

"Good afternoon, Lieutenant." he responded.

"I'm sorry I could not invite you in, but the entire ward is only for... well, Cylons that look like me," Sharon apologized, "Apparently clothes create some kind of irritation or infection risk on the new skin, so we run around naked all day."

"I understand completely," Cyrus assured her, "and this outing will give me a chance to show you the best dining hall on the ship. Strangely it is also the closest one to the higher officer's quarters."

Despite Cyrus's monotone voice, Lt. Valerii sensed that he didn't actually find the proximity of officers and better food to be unusual. She did wonder, though, if he really understood the difference between public and private nudity. Perhaps she could conceive of human models having a sense of shame, but it seemed peculiar coming from a metal robot built off an assembly line.

"I'm glad you offered to spend some time with me after worship service this week," Lt. Valerii said, "Other than Amy I don't get to socialize much with the other Cylons in the hospital ward. I think they don't trust me because I'm... well, because of who I am."

"Perhaps they are afraid of you, Lieutenant," Cyrus offered, "I recall that during this week's self-criticism you admitted to losing your temper and beating one of your fellow patients insensible. That is hardly the behavior that will earn their trust."

"Yes, I feel very bad about that," Sharon lied. She had told the doctors and the other worshipers that she had gotten angry when "the toaster bitch took my seat" in the cafeteria and would not give it up. In fact, she hadn't given her victim time to give up and she didn't care about the seat anyway.

Sharon had observed the day before that although the Cylon spy inside Amy did eventually stop her self-destructive fit, Amy was at least able to retain control of her body long enough to cut up her own face and hold off two of the doctors trying to stop her. She guessed that Amy had succeeded in fighting off her inner spy for at least twenty seconds. Sharon remembered that she herself had also been able to struggle against her own spy's control for short periods of time, even before she knew what it was. If Lieutenant Valerii was going to succeed in either escaping or sabotaging the Cylon war effort she knew that she would need to hold off her other half long enough to do it. It was essential that she knew how long she could keep control of her body, because that would determine the window in time she must plan her action for. She estimated that she had been able to beat on her victim, and one of the doctors who came to stop her, for at least forty-five seconds before she blacked out.

The fight had also been a test of her new body's abilities. She had been pushing herself hard to regain her balance, quickness, and strength. She had deliberately picked an opponent who was only a few days from completing the recovery process. Lt. Valerii was happy to discover that despite her opponent's longer training time and the intervention of one of the doctors, she had no problems overpowering it.

Lt. Valerii also felt no guilt about starting the fight. They were both soldiers after all, and if she was being deceptive with the other Cylons about her intentions then that was within reason. The Cylons had certainly shown no compunction about using devious ruses themselves, as she had experienced first hand.

Lt. Valerii's conscience did bother her about the way the fight had ended, however. She had bloodied her victim beyond any need, and had broken its elbow simply to hear the snap and see the look of pain on her duplicate's face. The extra zeal she had put into the last few seconds of beating an opponent that was already pinned to the ground and begging for mercy was unnecessary for the tactical goal she needed to achieve and would have no impact on Cylon military readiness either way. She was just having fun. In that moment she had crossed a fine line from being a chivalric fighter pilot who could take pride in doing well at a difficult job defeating an evil foe to having enjoyed cruelty for the sense of power it had given her. She doubted that any outside observer would be able to know the difference, and there probably was no one within light years that would understand it if she tried to explain... but she knew what she had felt in those last few seconds of the fight was wrong.

For the sake of keeping up appearances she would tap into that guilt, and pretend that she had regretted the whole thing. She played the part of the repentant Cylon, and they all assured her that they loved and forgave her as God Himself did.

"That kind of brutality may be common between the humans you lived with," Cyrus was saying, "but in Cylon society we are more civilized and forgiving of each other. We don't fight each other over a misunderstanding about chairs."

"No," thought Sharon, the Cylons prefer spreading rumors about each other during religious services to a clean sparring match in the ring, and tricking people into ripping their godchild's head off to a stand up gunfight. She said simply, "More civilization isn't always better, Cyrus."

Cyrus's prediction about the quality of the food was correct. Lt. Valerii found it even tastier than the meals from the hospital cafeteria. When Sharon commented on how good it all ways Cyrus responded, "Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wanted you to be in a good mood."

"Why?" Sharon responded, suddenly suspicious.

"I confess I have an ulterior motive for being nice to you, Lt. Valerii," Cyrus admitted, "I was hoping that you would know how to play Pyramid."

"You want me to teach you a ball game?" Sharon asked incredulously.

"Oh, no, I meant the card game" Cyrus answered, "I learned to play it back during the first Human War, but the only other Cylon I could get interested in the game is now on the opposite work-shift as me so I have no one to play against."

"Well, most people call the card game ‘Full Colors’ now. I guess I could play it with you but I have to warn you... I'm very good," Lt. Valerii offered.

"Do you cheat?" Cyrus asked.

"No!" Sharon insisted, shocked at the accusation. "There is a saying in the service that if you're not cheating then you're not trying hard enough but that only applies to combat, something the Cylon Empire certainly seems to understand. Colonial Warriors don't cheat at cards."

"If you say so," Cyrus replied. Even through his voice betrayed no sign of emotion, Sharon sensed that he did not believe her.

"Well, I admit that I had an ulterior motive for accepting your invitation to lunch, too" Sharon announced. "The hospital staff won't let me out of the ward without an escort and I'm dying to get out and see some new sights. I'll play cards with you, if you'll agree to be my escort around the ship so I can leave the hospital occasionally."

"That sounds like a fair deal," Cyrus stated, "is there someplace special you wanted to go?"

"Well, on my old ship we had a small observation lounge where you could look outside and see the stars," Sharon said, "Is there anywhere like that on this ship?"

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Author's Note for Day 13: There is so much going on in this seemingly actionless chapter, but I'm only going to dwell on a few bits. Firstly, Mamaboolj had asked about instances where official canon confirms one of my assumptions. This chapter contains a rare example of me being pleased when one of my assumptions was partially 'confirmed' by later canon. Boomer thinks "the Cylons prefer spreading rumors about each other during religious services to a clean sparring match in the ring." I originally wrote the first draft of this scene long before the episode Unfinished Business aired. I just felt, perhaps because of the Colonial's pagan beliefs, that Colonial society was slightly more primal than our current Western culture and that settling a dispute with a fight (even if it was under controlled conditions) instead of court intrigue or politics was accepted or even admired. I was pleasantly suprised when that was partially vindicated by Unfinished Business, even though the episode suggested that the sparring was limited to the military rather than Colonial culture in general.

I mentioned that this story was heavily influenced by C.S. Lewis. When I was writing the paragraph that has gotten so many good comments in this chapter, I was thinking alot about things that C.S. Lewis says in the chapter "The Neccessity of Chivalry" in Present Concerns (an excerpt of which is here http://yourdailycslewis.blogspot.com/20 ... valry.html although since you can get a used paperback copy of the excellent book for about $1 on Amazon there's no reason for it not to be in everyone's library). It's about the nature of man (and Sharon) and bravery and brutality and goodness and war and civility... added to that, of course, are specific things going on in Boomer's mind about her feelings toward herself and other Cylons and... in short let me just say that I'm really glad the paragraph was well recieved because I feared I had overthought it into mediocraty. Smile As an aside, I think of all the BSG characters right now Helo comes closest to the chivalric ideal of a person who is brave and able on the field of combat and yet kind and humble in society.

Pierre wrote:
I notice you still call her Lt. Valerii.


I'm not the only one. Wink

Lastly, let me say something about the nakedness. Smile Yes, Pierre, I knew that would catch your imagination, but there's much more to it. Keep in mind that when this was written the only time I'd seen Cylons away from people and in their own environment was when Boomer's 'sisters' showed up on the basestar, and they were all naked. Since I was writing a story that took place within Cylon society, it would have been a natural (cough, cough) thing to have followed that example and made everyone be naked. If I were to write a story where, counter to that only example, the Cylons were clothed then I felt I would need to give some reason as to why Cylons could generally wear clothes in their society and yet the few we'd seen had been nude. Boomer's explaination to Cyrus about clothes being an irritant to the skin of the newly resurrected bodies is my attempt to reconcile the naked Eights on the basestar with the clothed Cylons of my story.

Believe it or not the decision as to whether the Cylons in Obstinate Tin Soldier would be clothed or naked was possibly the single most important decision I made in forming this story! I was also shocked about the implications of the Basestar Eight's nakedness when I thought about it later (obviously at the time I was, like most healthy young men, too stunned by the physicality of their nakedness to spare much thought for the implications), and I had to wonder if this was a stunt done to help ratings at the end of the season (or let the show's crew see more of the very lovely Grace Park) or if it was a deliberate, thought out, piece of the larger story. It turned out not to be the later, but when I first concieved of Obstinate Tin Soldier I couldn't have known that. Why would a society of naked Cylons have been a problem? Because it would have meant that they were innocent. Before anyone points out the murder of billions in the invasion of the Colonies, let me explain that I don't mean 'innocent' in the common, every-day use of meaning 'not guilty.' Rather, I mean it in the much older sense of the word that is rarely heard outside of a church or temple. Naturally naked Cylons suggest* they were innocent in the way that the flowers or birds or beasts of the field are innocent... that they have no knowledge of sin. That they would be literally shameless would be to imply that they could not even understand what sin was. And without that, the Cylons would also not know (or be able to understand when Boomer exhibited them) such things as guilt and forgiveness and redemption which are such an important part of the story I wanted to weave. Obstinate Tin Soldier is on the surface a space opera science fiction story, in fact I think the spiritual journey in the story is more important than the futuristic science. Starting that journey in a state of pure innocence would create a very different story than starting it in a fallen state where the characters must conciously choose between good and evil. I admit that one could write a very intriguing story (and indeed, a more C.S. Lewis-like story!) where Boomer is resurrected into a pre-Fallen society full of unclothed Cylons amoung whom she is the only one of her kind capable of feeling guilt or understanding the difference between good and evil. But that was not the story I wanted to tell, so the Cylons had to know sin, and feel shame, and therefore they had to wear clothes! So I had the little bit where Boomer explains away the naked Eights on the Basestar (darn that RDM) without requiring all the Cylons in my story to run around normally naked. When Boomer follows this by wondering if Cyrus, who is a mechanical being with no genitalia, understands her need to cover herself outside the privacy of the Eight-only recover ward it is more than just a neat sci-fi exploration of the nature of biological vs. A.I. life, it is also a deeper spiritual question where Boomer is wrestling with the idea of whether or not the other Cylons are 'like her' in a very fundmantal way and whether they could understand her in the same way that her human compatriots do. Later in the chapter Boomer indirectly reveals her feelings on this question, though I have probably said too much already...


*particularly in a show like BSG where spirituality and religion are so prominent.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:14 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
14th Day Onboard

"From here you can view Creation," Cyrus announced as he opened the door.

"It looks beautiful," Lt. Valerii said as she walked into the observation cupola. It was both larger and had a much bigger field of view than the small observation room on Galactica. The entire ceiling and part of three walls seemed perfectly transparent. There was no furniture, so Sharon lay down in the middle of the floor; Cyrus sat down beside her. They relaxed quietly together for several minutes, just observing.

"From the color, I think that one is Pavonis," Sharon said pointing at one of the medium sized stars. "And that would mean this one is Hegemon," she said indicating another.

"Are you sure?" asked Cyrus.

"No," replied Sharon, "You have to kind of imagine it on its side." "I think the galactic axis is that way," she said pointing to the left with her right thumb. "And rotation is this way," she concluded wrapping her fingers down to make a fist."

"So where do you think we are?" she asked.

"I don't know, Lieutenant," Cyrus answered, "Ship location is considered an operational secret. Don't the Humans take the same precaution?"

"I'm a pilot," Sharon answered, "I'm used to knowing where I am in space."

Lt. Valerii suspected she knew approximately where she was. She was well outside previously explored space, but not too far from Galactica's position a few weeks ago. The Galactica was probably nowhere near anymore, and she didn't have any way of finding it. Even if she found it, she couldn't use that information without risking the Cylons getting it too. Sharon sighed and thought quietly for another couple of minutes. Cyrus sat unmoving except for his one red eye.

"The universe looks so barren," Lt. Valerii commented, trying to sound casual, "I wonder if there are any habitable planets nearby."

"I don't know that either," admitted Cyrus, "probably not, they are pretty rare."

"When I finish my recovery period in the hospital, what do you think the odds are I could get posted to a base on a nice habitable world?" Sharon asked. "Someplace with water so I could go swimming."

"Ordinarily chances would be very slim," Cyrus said, "Typically we get assignments nearby to minimize logistic burdens. I imagine they'll first give you an assignment here on this ship. But a war hero like yourself, Lt. Valerii, could probably put in for a transfer anywhere and get it as soon as there was an opening."

Sharon fell silent again as she thought about what Cyrus had just called her: a war hero. Surely the Cylons wouldn't give her preferential treatment based on her record with the Colonial Fleet. That meant Cyrus must think she was a Cylon war hero. Was he aware, she wondered, that she had destroyed an entire Cylon basestar? Was the Cylon high command aware? And if they were, what terrible things had her other half done that could outweigh the destruction of a major capital ship? The possible answers made Lt. Valerii very uncomfortable.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:14 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8

Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
15th Day Onboard

Sharon lay in bed staring upward into the darkness. All the other patients were asleep, and one doctor sat in the far corner of the room awake but quiet and distracted by something that Sharon could not sense. Sharon's eyes were wet and as she breathed her chest was so tight it felt like a giant weight was pushing down on her. She struggled not to lose her composure and burst into tears.

Sharon could identify the exact moment the black depression had descended upon her. She was in the cafeteria that morning describing Chief Tyrol to Amy, and she suddenly realized that she could not picture his face. He was the man who only weeks ago she was certain was her soul-mate, that only months ago she was planned on spending the rest of her life with. Now she could not tell Amy what color his eyes were. All day, the harder she thought the less she seemed able to recall and the more depressed she became. She could still remember the way he made her feel. She could remember him almost as an ideal, but the real man was escaping her. Sharon corrected herself, she had already lost her Chief and now she was losing even the recollection of him. She closed her eyes, ran her hand lightly across her own lips and down her neck to her heart, and tried to recall what it felt like when he had touched her that way. She thought for a moment she could see him again in her mind's eye, but as soon as she tried to hold that thought it vanished. It was like someone had amputated a part of her body, and even though she could not sense the missing part anymore she could sense its absence.

Sharon pushed herself up into a sitting position in her bed and rubbed her damp eyes. She absent-mindedly reached over to the table beside her bed, picked up one of the exquisite brown Cylon food pellets that she kept there, and began chewing it. She could see the doctor on duty look over in her direction, but then it turned its head away to stare off at the wall again.

Lt. Valerii caught herself as she was about to eat the third of the sweet treats, and realized what she was doing. She was consoling herself about the loss of Chief Tyrol with the frackin' Cylon candies. The toasters had killed so many of her friends, they had manipulated her into betraying her shipmates… and she had a card game with one of them tomorrow afternoon. She had told herself that she had a good reason, but was it really just an excuse? She had no idea how to purge her body of the damnable Cylon spy that inhabited her, and until she had it would be criminal of her to try and rejoin any human society. Was the hope that she might somehow escape anything but self-delusion? Was she just comforting the last vestiges of her self-respect while she was seduced into giving herself over to Cylon society? How long would it be before she looked forward to nightly card games and snacks with her fellow toasters as they tried to wind down from another rough mission of hunting for people to kill? She buried her face in her hands, afraid of the answers, as tears streamed down her face. She wasn't just forgetting her Chief, she feared… she was forgetting herself.

"O' Lord God," Lt. Valerii prayed aloud not caring if the spy inside her or anyone else heard, "Remember me… Please grant me strength, if only once."

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:15 pm 
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Author’s Note for Day 15. As a writer I have to make a choice about how to refer to the characters. With Lt. Sharon “Boomer” Valerii I have more choices than usual because in addition to her first and last names she also has a title (Lieutenant) and a callsign/nickname (Boomer). The way I chose to refer to her in a given sentence depends on who she is at that moment in the story. This chapter has a good example. At the beginning she is almost in tears and wallowing in self-pity. She is a scared Colonial girl who is in a strange place surrounded by enemies and afraid she will never see her lover or her old friends again. I refer to her there by her first name, Sharon. It is familiar and obviously feminine.

Later in the chapter she takes control of her fears for a moment, begins to think more clearly and examine her situation and actions from a more objective strategic perspective. She is behaving less like a lost girl and more like a resourceful woman. It is then that I change to calling her Lt. Valerii. It is martial, respectful, powerful. It is a reminder that, after all, she is a Naval officer and a combat veteran who has been put in a tough situation. It is also a reminder not only of rank but of something that comes with it: duty. Duty to the Colonial gov’t. Duty to avoid collaboration. Duty to continue prosecuting the war by whatever means are available to her. A similar situation occurred on Day 5 when the character herself had to choose what name to introduce herself with to the other Cylons in the temple meeting.

I haven’t gotten much of a chance to refer to her by her callsign: Boomer. (except for the chapter headings where it is a deliberate echo of the subtitles for her flying partner in Season 1 when HE was M.I.A.). Boomer is what Sharon would be if she were in her element again. Boomer is what she’s called by her shipmates and when she’s at the helm of a spacecraft. It may be a while before Sharon gets to be called Boomer again.

Besides names I could also refer to Sharon by descriptions: woman, machine, Colonial, Cylon, etc. depending on what aspect of her self I want the reader to have in mind. Pierre made good use of this in one fic where he refers to Sharon as “the Eight” in a sentence where that reminder of her origin has more impact than just saying “Sharon.”

As in many stories (and BSG itself I think) names are important in Obstinate Tin Soldier. Names people have and those that they are given, names of things, and (of course) of the main character.

In other fics here at Kindreds I’ve caught myself calling her “Boomer” instead of Sharon more often than purely literary merits would indicate. That’s because I think, perhaps wrongly, that when Kindreds (or at least those whose name is not Pierre) read the name “Sharon” the first character in their mind will be Sharon “Athena” Agathon instead of Sharon “Boomer” Valerii and calling her Boomer may avoid confusion. Chapter 1 and 2 of The Shape of Things Long Passed are examples of places where I call her “Boomer” even though I don’t think she’s really Boomer yet (for reasons that are obvious to people who’ve read the story). There were already so many Sharons in that story that I sacrificed a little of my literary impulses to keep the story from being even more confusing. With Obstinate Tin Soldier, however, the name selection is purely for artistic purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8

Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
16th Day Onboard

"I have a surprise for you, Lieutenant," Cyrus said to Sharon as she left the hospital ward, "I was able to arrange for you to tour one of the hangar facilities before our Pyramid game."

"Oh, thank you Cyrus," Sharon replied smiling, "How did you manage it?"

"Well, I happen to know one of the hangar bay supervisors and since they're not busy right now he said I could bring you by," he answered as he took Lt. Valerii down an unfamiliar hallway to a heavy looking door. They stood in front of the door for a moment and then the door opened. Sharon watched Cyrus carefully, and guessed that he used some wireless connection to activate it.

The door opened onto a hangar bay twice as large as one on Galactica, but much emptier. Only one Cylon Raider was in the hangar, and it was sitting in the far corner on a support frame with one of the wings partially disassembled. Sharon walked out into the openness of the hangar, twirling slowly in the middle to take in the entirety of the terrain. There was a set of reinforced clamshell doors to the left of the entrance that looked like they opened the facility to space. An array of four smaller doors, but still large enough to pass a heavy fighter, were on the right side. Judging from the wear on the floor, spacecraft or heavy equipment was regularly moved in or out those doors. The ceiling looked to be at least 50 feet high; overhead were cranes and an array of retractable hoses for delivering fuel, fluids, and perhaps even ammunition. Storage chests, test equipment, and ordinance racks were scattered around the edges of the space; none had wheels but they appeared to have handholds similar to the aircushion beds in the hospital. The opposite wall had a second personnel entrance and a two-story office or observation room jutting slightly out into the hangar.

"My friend is waiting by the fighter," Cyrus said.

As they approached the broken fighter, a shiny metallic Cylon slid out from under the vehicle and waved to them. It stood at least 7 feet tall, and had four arms. In addition to a pair of normal sized, though extra jointed, arms it had a second large pincer with hydraulic lifts on each shoulder. It looked at her with its red oscillating eye and said in a synthetic voice, "Hello Sharon, I'm Mark."

"Well, Mark I appreciate you letting me visit," Sharon responded, "As a pilot, I've been anxious to get back in a cockpit again."

"We don't really have cockpits on these," Mark replied, "None of the small craft we have here require pilots. They all fly themselves."

"None of them?" Sharon asked incredulously.

"No, it would be a waste of resources to use a sentient Cylon for something that could be handled by a lower creature," explained Mark.

"A lower creature?" Sharon thought to herself, "What ignorant fools. They have other species fly for them, as if it were some kind of chore… as if dancing in the sky was a burden to be avoided..." She wondered what other essentials of life the toasters had abdicated to others. Aloud she said only, "That's too bad." There was no point in her trying to explain to such pitiful creatures what they where missing.

Sharon stepped past the two biped machines and put her hand on the fighter's leading edge. She could feel the pulse of his living systems through the metal of his hull. Here, at last, was one of her own kind: a fellow pilot. She walked silently down the inside of the wing, sliding her hand along his sleek form. The fighter knew. Like Sharon, it knew the sound of burning through an atmosphere fast enough to leave a wake of fire, and the force of a slingshot turn through a gravity well. Like Sharon, it knew the joy of hunting its prey through the infinite blackness, and the relief of a daring escape from a worthy adversary.

On the Galactica she had felt a strange camaraderie with the captured Cylon Raider, and suspected, feared, it was because alone in a world of men she had found another Cylon. This time when she pressed her hand against his viewport and felt the same camaraderie she knew why. Alone among creatures made only of flesh and metal and silica she had found another creature of air and space and velocity. As she laid her head on his carbon streaked hull and listened to the vibrations she asked, "What’s wrong with him?"

"It is having engine problems," Mark reported, "I haven't figured out why yet. Maybe it's just worn out."

"Will he fly again?" Sharon inquired with her back to the walking toasters and her eyes on the unpleasant sight of his disassembled wing.

"Probably not, if I can't figure it out this afternoon I'll designate it as scrap and use it for spare parts," stated Mark unemotionally.
Even though he was an enemy fighter, Sharon found herself strangely disturbed that he might never fly again. Sitting in a hangar being slowly stripped for parts was not a death fit for an aviator.

Sharon didn't know how long she stood there silently looking at the sad sight of the grounded Cylon flying machine. She was grateful that Cyrus and Mark just stood there quietly and let her think.

Lt. Valerii finally turned to face them and get back to work. "Is it usually this empty?" asked Lt. Valerii.

"No," Mark replied, "We just delivered a squadron of electronic warfare drones and the fabrication facility is retooling for Raiders. In a couple of hours we'll be busy doing rework and final checks on them. Until then, it's just this one repair job, so I told Cyrus it would be a good time to bring you by and show you the hangar. He had said you wanted the tour."

"Yes, I do." Sharon said in a friendly voice, "This looks much nicer than the hangar from my last ship. Why don't you show me around the place?" She wondered if they really picked a time when there was no activity to give her a tour because it was convenient or because it was less of a security risk.

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Author's Note for Day 16:

"Sharon didn't know how long she stood there silently looking at the sad sight of the grounded Cylon flying machine. "

Of course, there are really two grounded Cylon flying machines in that hangar...

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
17th Day Onboard

Sharon ran. She had run for half an hour on the treadmill in the hospital gymnasium. While her body monotonously pounded out the miles there in one spot, her imagination transported her to a better place. She fantasized that her soul had been transferred into a Cylon Raider. Leaving the spy behind in her old form and able to leap star systems in the blink of an eye she had returned to Galactica, to the fleet, to her friends and to Chief Tyrol.

She had wanted to be his wife, but had turned out to be a Cylon machine. She could not be a real woman, so she had come back to him as a better, faster machine. She could protect him and their friends, and he could take care of her. She wondered about what she would tell Boxey. Surely a flying machine and a man could not adopt an orphan child. No, even in her fantasy she admitted that she could never give him the family that he wanted. Plus, of course, mankind would need to repopulate and that meant he would have a duty to take a human wife and make more little Galens. "Homewrecker," she thought momentarily she glanced down at the display and watched another mile slide by, "Why does she get to be a human and I didn't?" "No, I shouldn't be that way," Sharon corrected herself as she stared into space and returned to the escapism of her imagination. Her Chief would need a real woman to complete his life and have a family, and she shouldn't wish to deny him that. There is no reason that she should force Chief Tyrol to choose between his soul mate and his wife.

It was pure fantasy, Sharon knew, with no chance of coming true. The night before she had asked the doctor named Helen if she could be moved from the Cylon human infiltrator model to a Cylon pilot or spacecraft. The frackin' toaster had laughed at her like she was a naive child and explained that it was an impossible idea. The Cylon infiltrator wasn't a separate thing from her. She was the infiltrator; one person with separate memories. She could no more be changed into something besides the Cylon spy than a chicken could be changed into an apple. Next she had asked if they could make her a second body, and give one body her memories of life as a human and let the other one have the memories of being a spy. Again Helen told her that her wishes could not be done. She and It were one being with an indivisible soul. The doctor assured Sharon that they would help her reconcile the conflict between her selves; the assurances just made her more afraid that she would be forced to forget her human life.

Her tour of the hangar had put an end to her idea for stealing an FTL spacecraft that she and Amy could use to escape. Her conversation with Helen had dashed any hopes for making herself fit to return to human society. Now all she had to escape into was fantasy and so her mind's eye returned her to the Galactica's hangar. She was the Raider again. The Chief and his crew were scrambling over her to prepare her for a combat patrol. He was on top of her with a thick tylium refueling hose poised over the fuel intake at the crest of her hull. "Be gentle," she broadcasts to him teasing loud enough for his crew to overhear, "it's been a long time." His face flushes red with embarrassment and his brow wrinkles with that cute look she...

Sharon suddenly pushed the stop button on the treadmill and leapt off. She ignored the questions of the doctor observing her, afraid that if she let her mind think about anything else then the vision in her head might vanish. Reaching the table by her bed she grabbed the gray scripture book and pencil, flipped to a blank page near the back cover and started drawing.

As she worked carefully on her sketch, Amy walked over, sat down on the bed beside her and quietly watched. When Sharon finished finally, she held the drawing out for her fellow Cylon's inspection. "Is that supposed to be a nose or an ear?" Amy inquired.

"I never said I was an artist," Lt. Valerii replied. It was not a very good likeness of her Chief, Sharon admitted to herself but she had not drawn it to show other people what he looked like. When she looked at it she could see the face she had been trying to draw and that was enough for her.

"Is that what you boyfriend looked like?" Amy asked innocently.

"Well, I hope that is what he still looks like," Sharon responded. As soon as she said it, Sharon felt the familiar tightening of her chest, dryness in her throat, and the panic in the back of her mind that she had suffered bouts of for days. She knew what Amy had meant when she had asked the question; Amy naturally assumed that Sharon's relationship with the Chief was over. Sharon had given her answer as a way of denying that they had no more future together. The moment she said it, however, she realized that she didn't know what had happened to her Chief since she left the Galactica. She was so concerned for herself, she had just assumed that he was okay. He could be dead for all she knew. The thin sheet of paper she held in her hands could be the last memento of her dead love. The Galactica could have been destroyed; her friends could all have been killed. She could be the last Colonial officer in the universe, and she had been too self-absorbed to find out.

"Frack," Lt. Valerii announced to no one in particular.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
17th Day Onboard

Sharon had started off poorly at Full Colors today, but with a string of good hands at the end she managed to come out ahead of Cyrus. Unfortunately all she won was a stack of colored squares that she immediately gave back, as she had no salary to wager. She didn't leave the card table without gaining something of value, however. Cyrus had confirmed what she had been told by the doctors earlier that morning: the Galactica and its fleet had still not been cornered by the Cylon military. Whatever information she had revealed involuntarily, it appeared that she had not given them enough to defeat her compatriots.

Now her card game was over and Lt. Valerii walked down the hall towards her hospital ward alone. She had assured Cyrus that she knew the way back and did not need an escort. She was initially surprised when he let her go without argument, but had now begun to suspect that his lack of concern was because she was being watched by other means. Everywhere she went she carried her own personal informer inside her plus there was no doubt some internal security systems in the Cylon ship that could track her movements. She also began to wonder if Mark’s claim about having only automated spacecraft onboard was just another Cylon lie.

As she reached the hall that would take her to the hangar bay, she turned and headed there as nonchalantly as she could manage. No alarms sounded and she felt no dark constriction in her mind to indicate the Cylon spy inside her was trying to seize control. One of the large four armed metal maintenance Cylons was ahead of her. As it reached to heavy hangar door at the end of the hall, the door slid open to give Lt. Valerii a glimpse of rows of Cylon Raider fighters being finished and inspected. The door closed before she could reach it. Standing there she thought at it "open," "enter," "hangar," "let me the frack in," and anything else that she could imagine that might activate the door mechanism. She also inspected the exterior of the door and the corridor walls for a manual way to access the hangar, but found nothing. Deciding that she had pushed her luck far enough, Sharon headed back to the hospital ward.

The distance from the hospital ward to the hangar was long enough that even at a sprint Sharon would need most of her forty-five second planning window to just reach that locked door. Any escape attempt should be started in the hangar, Sharon thought, to maximize the amount of time she had to steal a small craft and get away. Assuming that there was some kind of small craft she could steal. She would need some excuse to get back into that hangar without alerting her other half. Then after the jump she would need to disable the drive to prevent it from just taking them back. Then what?

Lt. Valerii entered the hospital ward, stripped off her clothing and dumped them into the waste chute. She padded across the hospital floor straight to the gymnasium. "Yeah, fine," she mumbled to the doctor who welcomed her back, as she picked up a towel and headed to the strength training equipment. One of the other patients was using the exercise station already; but it quickly vacated her seat when it saw Sharon approach.

Lt. Valeri dialed the machine difficulty to maximum and began her workout. There would be time for one jump before her other self took over, Sharon knew. She'd have to pick her destination carefully. If she could find a group of humans, could they help her? Would they? In her mind's eye she suddenly saw again the images that had plagued her nightmares on Galactica. She saw her Raptor shooting into her unsuspecting squadron mates as they lined up for landing. She saw herself snap Chief Tyrol's neck as he gently embraced her. She saw herself shoot Commander Adama...

"No," Lt. Valerii thought, for all she knew the Cylon's wanted her to escape. For all she knew that was why Cyrus gave her a tour of the hangar and why her other half didn't try to stop her today when she went back there. They had used her loyalty to her shipmates and her love for Chief Tyrol to cover up for their fracking spy. She'd die before she let them use her like that again.

Of course, she realized, she had made that decision before and it didn't work. Then she didn't know exactly what she was, what she was up against. She wouldn't fail them again.

"This is getting too easy," Lt. Valerii said to the doctor on duty in the gym as she got up from the exercise station. "Is there a way to make this harder than 'maximum'?"

"We don't usually need to..." it answered, "but you can change the resistance pin to something larger." The doctor twisted a cylinder on the exercise station and pulled out the pin. "The main desk should have a bigger one," it said handing the pin to Sharon.

As Lt. Valerii walked back to the gym with the larger pin she turned it over in her hand. It had a round plastic handle that fit her hand well, and an 8-inch long, half-inch diameter metal shaft that tapered to a sharp chisel point. She had been unable to fight off the Cylon spy inside her when she tried to eat a 9mm round back on Galactica. Now she was strong enough to hold it at bay long enough to jam the heavy pin into her heart... and wind up back in the same hospital bed when they resurrect her again. She slammed the pin into the exercise machine, got back in the seat, and restarted her workout.

Her backup plan to getting rid of her other half and escaping would have to be killing her other half and dying with it, preferably while doing as much damage to the Cylon war effort as possible.

From what Lt. Valerii could learn of the Cylon resurrection process, it seemed to involve some form of transmission from her dying mind to the nearest Cylon facility. If she could stop or prevent the transmission, she speculated, then the Cylons might not be able to resurrect her or the spy she carried. An electronically shielded room might do it, or jumping a ship into a star or other astronomical body. Maybe, she thought, if she could just destroy her body quickly and completely enough before the transmission could be sent then that would be enough... a large tylium explosion might do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:19 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
18th Day Onboard

Sharon Valerii sleeps soundly. Familiar images fill her dreams. She is seated in her dress grays. Her campaign ribbons are carefully straightened. Her shoes and buttons shine. She looks across the room at her Chief. He looks back at her like he used to. His expression projects his affection and strength wordlessly to her across the quiet room. She smiles back to reassure him. As Lee Adama walks past behind her she feels him place his hand on her shoulder and squeeze lightly. She reaches up and for a brief instant touches his hand with hers. The side door to the room opens and she stands in sync with her friends and shipmates. "O' Yea, O' Yea," she hears the officer by the door announce, "This general court martial of Lieutenant Sharon Valerii is now in session."

Lt. Valerii awoke before her dream could go any further. It was so vivid that the harsh lights, the hard angular architecture of Galactica, and the smell of humans in close quarters was still fresh in her mind. She rolled over, closed her eyes, relaxed, and tried to sink back into slumber. Perhaps, she hoped, if she could drift back to sleep immediately then her dream would return to her.

Sharon Valerii sleeps lightly. She is back onboard Galactica. Her dress grays are gone; she wears a Colonial combat uniform. A loaded sidearm weighs on her hip. "I'm not interested in your excuses, Lieutenant!" Col. Tigh yells at her. "Anything but results will get people killed, and no excuse will be good enough to bring them back!"

She awoke again with a start. Despite some protests from the muscles she had overworked the afternoon before, Lt. Valerii slid out of bed for what would be her last day alone behind enemy lines.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
Callsign: Boomer
18th Day Onboard

Sharon ran her hand through her hair, walked into the hospital cafeteria, and ordered a glass of juice. Amy was already there eating breakfast. "Good Morning," Sharon said, "How did your medical checkup go yesterday?"

"Oh, it went wonderful!" Amy said smiling uncharacteristically. "It was more than just a check up. I'm myself again. They reintegrated my memories. I can use wireless again. I can access the ship knowledgebase. I can put my mission against the humans in perspective now; I don't have to feel guilty about it anymore. I'm so much happier."

"I see…" Sharon said, suddenly unsure if she was talking with the Amy she knew or a Cylon saboteur.

Amy leaned closer to Sharon, lowered her voice and said, "I shouldn't tell you this but since you've been such a good friend to me and I know you are heartbroken over your human lover… Well, you won't have to be sad over him much longer. You get to have your memories reintegrated this afternoon."

Sharon held the juice glass on the table tight in both hands and looked silently at the thing across the table from her while she tried to understand the ramifications of what it had just said. Amy gently put both her hands around Sharon's and continued, "I can see you're worried about this, but don't be. In a few hours you'll feel much better. I love you, Sharon. Trust me."

Lt. Valerii's chest tightened; breathing was suddenly difficult. Her heart raced with panic. "I'm a little nervous about this," she said to the thing across the table, "I'm sorry… I can see you're happy about it but I need a minute to let it sink in. Maybe after my morning workout I'll be more settled."

"Certainly," Amy responded, "I shouldn't have told you. I should have let it be a surprise, but I'm just so happy for you. Your morning routine will help with your nerves."

Sharon downed the rest of her juice quickly, dropped the glass in the waste dispenser, and walked numbly back to her bed. She sat down on the bed and picked up her gray scripture book from the table. She flipped to the back page where she had drawn her Chief Tyrol. She held the book with unsteady hands, stared at his picture, and spoke to a man who was not there. "I love you, Chief," Sharon said, "I'm sorry. I… I wanted to come back to you somehow, but I can't. I'm so sorry. Have a good life, Chief… for both of us." She closed the book. She held it close to her chest and stared through teary eyes at the thing walking out of the cafeteria that used to be Amy. "Oh God," she said quietly, "Remember me…" Lt. Valerii didn't dare risk saying anything more. She knew the Cylon saboteur inside her would be watching her carefully right now.

Lt. Valerii sat the book down, took several deep breaths, wiped her eyes, composed herself, and headed into the gymnasium. She started her stretching routine slowly. She was a little sore from the previous day, and knew that she needed to get herself prepared. "This is it," she thought to herself. Lt. Valerii knew this was what she and Chief Tyrol had talked about that night shift in the Raptor two years ago. This was why she stayed in the Colonial Fleet, why she worked so hard to be a good Raptor pilot, why she trained and drilled and conditioned herself. It usually happened much faster, she reflected. At the speed of aerospace combat and gunfights, it usually happens as a split second decision. It was a blessing, she decided, that she had time to see it coming and savor this moment beforehand. She felt more alive and aware of the universe than she ever had before. Every breath she took in her warm-up routine seemed like a precious gift. She recalled with pride the poetic expression her Chief had used to describe this chance she was given: "An opportunity to excel."

It was time. Two of the patients were headed to the clothing dispenser by the exit door. Sharon cut her last set of stretches short and walked over to the strength-training machine. She removed the resistance pin from the equipment, smiled at the doctor watching her and said, "It's just too easy with the smaller pin." While she walked to the main desk she watched the two Cylons by the door dressing themselves to leave the hospital ward. "I need the larger pin," she said casually to the doctor on duty. As she took the larger, knifelike component she wrapped her fingers hard around the handle and felt the weight it in her hand. The third doctor approached the exit door chatting amicably with the two toasters waiting to leave. Sharon turned from the main desk and her leg muscles tensed.

The exit door to the hospital ward slid open and the three Cylons standing there began to file through it oblivious of what was about to happen. Lt. Valerii bolted across the room, covered the 7-meter distance to the door in a second and ploughed into the other Cylons, knocking them to the floor. Sharon stumbled to regain her footing and then sprinted as hard as she could down the corridor and away from the hospital ward.

As Lt. Valerii ran she could feel the darkness from the edges of her mind trying to squeeze out her conscious thoughts. It was no longer an unfamiliar sensation and her mind strained to hold the darkness out, if only for a little while. A Cylon shaped like a tall, thin, black man stepped into the hallway from a side corridor. He stood there momentarily in shock as he saw Sharon racing towards him. "Hey, Stop!" he yelled to her, but by then she had already passed him. She could here its voice receding into the distance as it tried to pursue her. The real danger to her was the Cylon saboteur in her head that was slowly, relentlessly, squeezing the life out of Sharon Valerii's mind. She knew it was inevitable that she would lose the struggle, but every second that she could hold it off was another second she had to act as Lt. Sharon Valerii and not some damn robot spy.

She made the last turn into the corridor to the hangar, and was disappointed to find it empty. She had hoped, perhaps, that she could catch another Cylon there opening the door. If she did not get that door open soon then she wasn't going to do the Fleet any good. She reached the end of the hall and frantically looked around for some way to activate the door. The black Cylon had now turned the corner and was running down the hall toward her fast. Lt. Valerii turned and sprinted again back up the hallway. When the Cylon saw her coming he tried to stop, suddenly unsure if he wanted to catch her or not. She tackled him quickly, grabbed him in a headlock, shoved the blade in her hands under its neck, and said, "You're going to open this hangar door right now."

"I can't," it said, as Lt. Valerii dragged him over to the doorway. She pushed it into the wall beside the door, twisted its arm hard behind its back, and yelled, "You're going to open this frackin' door right now or I'm going to put your frackin' eyes out."

"I don't have that access," the Cylon responded. Sharon could hear metal footsteps approaching and realized that the toasters' security force would be upon her in just seconds.

Suddenly the hangar door beside her slid open and she heard a monotone voice say "Oh, Excuse me I...." Lt. Valerii turned and almost stumbled right into one of the maintenance Cylons. Its huge 7-foot tall, four-armed, shining metal body blocked the open doorway into the hangar. It said, "Sharon? You're…" She pushed her unhelpful prisoner into the metal machine blocking the door and roughly forced her way past it into the hangar. She turned left to sprint down the length of the hangar bay, her bare feet pounding hard on the deck plating.

Rows of Cylon Raiders filled the vast space of the hangar. Toward the end, by the clamshell doors, Lt. Valerii could see the last row was hooked up to flexible tylium fueling hoses that stretched down from the ceiling. She could feel the blackness in her mind strangling her. She felt like she was trying to run a long distance race while holding her breath. Every action she took required supreme concentration. She reached the last row of Raiders and looked across the length of them. She had held out a sliver of hope that some of the craft might be pilotable, but they were all unmanned Raiders. Starbuck had gotten into one and made it fly, but that would take minutes Lt. Valerii knew she didn't have. She could hear the metal feet pounding behind her as the four-armed monstrosity she had forced her way past at the door ran across the hangar trying to stop her. "Opportunity to excel," Sharon said to herself as she clambered quickly onto the Raider.

She straddled the crest of the hull where the nozzle of the fueling hose latched onto the fighter. Sharon held her makeshift knife in both hands and drove the tip of it hard into the tylium fueling line near the base of the nozzle. The point of the blade stuck into the hose and a fan of tylium fuel sprayed out under pressure. She made a second swing at the hose and the spray expanded into a strong jet of slick, inflammable fuel that drenched her, coated the fighter, and filled the air with explosive vapor. One spark would be enough to destroy the entire hangar and incinerate Sharon completely. Perhaps, she hoped, her death would be quick and complete enough that the Cylon saboteur living in her body could not be resurrected. Cylons around the hangar yelled and scrambled to shut off the fuel source, to stop Sharon, to safe any potential sources of ignition, or to take cover from the almost inevitable explosion.

Sharon raised the blade above her head, hoping that a hard blow from the metal tool to the fighter's hull would generate the spark she needed. Before she could swing the blade down, the four-armed Cylon monster arrived at the fighter, grabbed the edge of the wing with its pair of heavy pincers and tilted the vehicle back on its rear landing gear.

Sharon fell as the fighter heaved up, sliding backwards down the hull and off the end of the wing. She landed hard on the hangar deck with her right shoulder. The sudden pain from the impact broke her concentration momentarily and gave the Cylon saboteur struggling inside her a chance to regain control of her body. She felt the saboteur in her head as a darkness enclosing on her from the edges of her mind and threatening to suffocate her conscious thoughts. "Opportunity to excel," Sharon repeated to herself as she tried to force her body to obey her will again. "Opportunity to excel." She managed to roll over and struggle to her knees, driving back the darkness for a few more seconds.

The makeshift knife was nowhere to be seen, but just a few yards in front of her was a large tool-chest that almost certainly contained something suitably dangerous. As she tried to sprint forward though, a metal claw caught her left leg and she sprawled to the ground again. Sharon's bare skin squeaked against the hard surface of the hangar deck as her unseen attacker pulled her back across the floor by her leg. She pivoted herself onto her back to see the bulky form of the four-armed Cylon kneeling over her. It had her left leg pinned firmly in its right heavy pincer and was trying to grab her arms with its smaller, more dexterous limbs. She flailed around wildly, trying to avoid the metal claws. She could feel the tylium fuel pooling around them both as it cascaded off the fighter and spread across the floor. The metal beast caught her left arm firmly and forced it to the floor behind her head. Her right hand brushed against something hard and heavy on the floor; it was the handle of her makeshift knife that had rolled under the wing of the fighter. She stretched to the side to reach it. Her right hand closed on the knife, but the metal beast was faster and pinned her right wrist to the ground.

"Opportunity to excel." Sharon pulled her right leg in to her chest and kicked hard at the Cylon's shoulder where its two left arms met. Metal edges cut deep into her heel, but she slammed it again and again into her attacker's shoulder leaving bloody footprints and streaks across its bright sliver exterior plating.

The Cylon tried frantically to capture Sharon's leg with its large left pincer, but she was more nimble and covered with a slick mixture of tylium and blood. After a couple of seconds the Cylon leaned closer to her and rotated its left shoulder mechanism around so it could hold her right arm in place with its left pincer. When it did she shifted her aim and kicked the Cylon hard in the face, snapping its neck back and leaving a dark red blotch across its eyeslit. The Cylon succeeded, however, in freeing its more dexterous arm to catch and pin her last free limb. After one more failed try the metal Cylon managed to grab her ankle with its smaller right arm and lowered itself upon her, pinning her leg awkwardly with her bent knee against her chest.

While Sharon strained to free herself from the embrace of her monstrous attacker, an old Model 0005 approached. It knelt at her side, and touched her left shoulder lightly. She could not hear what it was saying over her own screaming, but she saw the pistol it had holstered on its hip and attempted to tear her hand free to grab it. Sharon was still struggling against the weight of the machinery pressing down upon her when the darkness finally enveloped her mind.

End of Part 1



"Did you ever think, when you were a child, what fun it would be if your toys could come to life? Well suppose you could really have brought them to life. Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it. He is not interested in flesh; all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt. He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you. He will not be made into a man if he can help it."

-C.S. Lewis

Continued in Part 2: Cylon!

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Obstinate Tin Soldier
Part 2: Cylon

Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
19th Day Onboard

When Sharon awoke, she was confused for a moment. She was back in the hospital on her new ship. Her left forearm was in a cast. Her right foot was bandaged, as was her right wrist and left ankle. Red tape was wrapped tightly around her ribcage and her right shoulder. Helen and Amy were both standing by her bedside.

"Welcome back," Amy said lightly touching Sharon's left arm above the cast.

"You have a broken ulna, cracked ribs, severe lacerations on your right foot, and minor lacerations on your wrists and ankles." Helen stated, "Tests show that your memory reintegration was successful. How do you feel?"

Sharon stared off into nothingness for a couple of seconds, and then replied, "My memories are intact, and I can log into the local knowledgebase. When can I get out of here?"

"I'd like to run you through some additional testing now that you are awake; if they don't show any problems then I expect you can be released in two days," Helen answered.

"Good," Sharon stated authoritatively, and then added, "I need a few minutes alone to synchronize with the knowldegebase."

"Yes, certainly," Helen responded.

"I told you that you'd feel better, Sharon" Amy said smiling as she walked away.

Sharon lay back in the hospital bed, relaxed, and wirelessly connected herself to the ship's computer system. She first checked the ship worship schedule and registered herself for the local Absolutist temple meetings. There was a message waiting for her from Theron, the ship's commander, asking her to report for a duty assignment as soon as she was reintegrated. Sharon sent her reply. She reviewed the latest intel on Galactica and the human refugee fleet. Lastly, she dowloaded to herself the available data on Amy's convoy of human ships and on all nearby potential water sources for detailed examination.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:22 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
20th Day Onboard

Sharon stood in front of the hanger access door, and wirelessly sent her activation code to open it. She grinned as it slid open, hobbled into the hanger on a pair of crutches, and looked around at the rows of unpiloted drones being worked on there. A large four-armed metal Cylon waved to her from the door of his office across the hanger bay.

"Hello, Mark," Sharon said to him as she arrived at the office.

"Hello, Sharon," Mark replied, "I'm glad to see you're functioning after the damage you endured."

"Yeah, well you should see the other guy," Sharon joked.

"I was the other guy," Mark responded, "You broke two of the swivel connections in my neck. It was fortunate the damage did not disable me completely, but I am fully repaired now."

"Yes, that was almost a catastrophe," Sharon stated, "that's why I came to visit you." "I'm sorry," she said looking into Mark's eyeslit, "and I wanted to see you in person and apologize for the trouble I caused."

"Do not concern yourself with it," Mark assured her, "We all know that you were not in your right mind when it happened. Everyone forgives you."

"I know," Sharon replied, "But I needed to do it anyway."

"That's good of you," Mark said, "And I see you have the right number of appendages now." He pointed at one of Sharon's crutches with his smaller right arm.

"I guess so," Sharon responded smiling, "but mine aren't as useful as yours." She looked out the office at the hanger full of scout drones. "Whatever happened to that damaged Raider you showed me last time I visited?" she asked, "You didn't have to strip him for parts did you?"

"No, I found that its wiring harness had wear that was shorting it out where the biologics connected to the engine controls," Mark replied, "I switched out the parts and it's back in flock."

"That's a relief," Sharon said, "It was sad to see him grounded like that."

Mark looked at Sharon quietly for a second as she stared out at the closed clamshell doors at the end of the hanger that led to the vacuum of space. "You really miss flying, don't you?" He asked her.

"Yes," she replied, "Part of me is...." She sighed and turned back to face Mark and said, "When I'm flying, I'm free. There's no other way to describe it. High command is not there micromanaging you. There's no imperious leader second-guessing your intentions. It's just you and the immutable, uncompromising laws of Creation. It can be scary sometimes, but you are the one who makes the decisions and you are the one that reaps the results. It's exhilarating..."

Sharon paused, and looked at the still metal form of Mark as he examined her with his oscillating red eye. "Plug into the terminal here," she stated as she picked up the fiber optic armband and strapped it on her right forearm. When Mark was connected as well, she uploaded to him her memory of piloting an unpowered glider on a long-range cross-country flight on Caprica.

She is hunting for updrafts along a mountain range hundreds of miles from the nearest safe landing field, trying to gain enough altitude to cross the mountain ridge before a fast approaching cloudbank rolls in. She makes her best guess on one of the nearby valleys and turns into it ahead of the weather. If there is no way over the ridge here, then she'll be forced to try and set the glider down in rough terrain under bad conditions. Sharon pushes all other thoughts from her mind and concentrates her entire being on finding the updraft she needs. The future and the past vanish; there is only now. Her entire universe is the aircraft, the air, the mountains, and the weather front chasing her down the valley. She feels her way along the air currents with her glider's wings... with her wings... only meters from the rock face that rises above her. Her wings rock as she feels the edge of an updraft. She turns into it and spirals around several times before pointing her nose to a low saddle between two of the rock peaks. Riding the wind she just slides over the mountain ridge and into the wave lift on the lee side. She buffets violently in the turbulence and then the mountain falls away behind and below her as she is ascends rapidly in the strong updraft. Higher and higher she rides the currents, not leveling off until her altitude becomes so great that the lack of oxygen threatens her with asphyxia. She rolls the glider upside down and looks upon the face of the planet through the crystal clear canopy as though it were a giant ceiling spread out above her. Beneath her inverted glider is nothing but wisps of air and empty space while gravity strains to pull her up to the ground. Floodplains, fault lines, road networks, and towns are laid out above her and the world shows itself to her in a context unseen from the close-up, ground-level view of everyday life.

"That's quite a memory," Mark responded as he disconnects from the terminal he and Sharon were sharing, "It must really be something to experience firsthand."

"It is," Sharon replied, "despite the integration, most of my thoughts and feelings from my cover life still seem like they're on the other side of a filter but I can remember the feeling of flight just as clearly as the sights and sounds. When the campaign against the humans is done and we have the treasure waiting for us on Earth, I'd like to retire to a nice planet and set up a flight school to teach other Cylons recreational flying. Maybe let others experience the same freedom."

"Once we have the humans' resources and this emergency mobilization is over, I expect we can have all kinds of new freedom," Mark replied.

Sharon considered for a moment uploading additional recollections to Mark, but decided against it. Instead she nodded her head and said "Well, we've tamed twelve of the planets now; there's only one more colony between us and our dreams." Then she added, "Be sure to let me know if you get anything in here I can fly."

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