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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
21st day Onboard

"Enter." said a tall, blond Cylon wearing a red dress. The door to her office slid open and a shiny silver-colored Model 0005 Cylon walked in. "Cyrus," she asked, "Have preparations been made for this week?"

"Everything is secure, as usual," Cyrus responded, "and I have news about Lieutenant Valerii. She visited the upper port hanger bay again. She apologized to Mark, and took a look around the hanger."

"I've been monitoring her wireless transmissions," the attractive feminine Cylon said, "She's been looking into human ship locations, nearby stellar resources, and Raider combat tactics. I think we should keep her under observation for now, we don't have enough to go on yet."



Sharon looked through the closet of her private stateroom at the new clothes hanging there. She selected a gray suit, feminine but with a militaristic style. She would have to make some changes to her wardrobe, Sharon decided. It shouldn't be too difficult for her to requisition the production of some new outfits, she thought, since she was onboard a giant spaceborne manufacturing facility and her rank does have its privileges.

She struggled to get the cast on her left arm through her blouse sleeve, then gave up and cut the sleeve off. She slipped her coat on, pulled her hair back into a ponytail, put a folded piece of paper in her pocket, and hopped over to her crutches.

It was a short walk from her room in the higher officer's section to the auditorium for her award ceremony. There were several minutes before she was scheduled to appear, but Sharon liked to get to appointments early. Commander Theron had not arrived yet but the manager of Ship Security, a tall blond model six named Selene, was already there. Sharon didn't especially trust Selene's model; they tended to spend too much time talking and planning instead of getting things done. "Faith without acts," Sharon thought to herself. She sometimes struggled against her own tendency to act on snap judgments, but assured herself that a good plan executed quickly is better than a perfect plan executed slowly.

"I'm glad to see you arrived early," Selene said to Sharon, "My chief of Internal Communications should arrive soon to go over the details of filming the ceremony. We'll be showing the commander declare you Hero of the Cylon Race at both work-shifts' motivational sessions today."

"I noticed that you're having motivational sessions daily," Sharon responded, "Is it like that everywhere now?"

"Most places," Selene answered, "Traitorous cults have shown up in all sorts of locations. I have evidence that there is a heretical sect operating on this very ship. We've been trying to make better use of lower creatures like Raiders and Centurions that can simply be programmed to be loyal, but there are a lot of sensitive jobs that require thinking Cylons. Your award ceremony will be a useful inspiration. That someone with such... intimate... knowledge of the humans can keep their faith should shame the timid souls who go astray at much lesser temptations."

"Thank you," Sharon said.

"I said your award is useful," Selene explained, "but I don't agree with high command that you deserve it. You had the most important mission of any agent. All you had to do to accomplish it was maintain your cover in Starbuck's unit so you could be with her when she finds Earth's location and then report it back to us. But you blew it by shooting Adama. In my opinion they are giving you an award so they don't have to admit what a screw up your mission turned into."

"Let me tell you something blondie," Sharon replied angrily, "while you've been doing your cushy job here reading Cylons' mail on a rear area support ship, I spent years alone infiltrating the animals' society, having to sit quietly and tolerate the unholy acts they did with my cover identity... acts I did with them in my ignorance. I don't have any patience for somebody like you second guessing my decisions when you have no idea the kind of risks I take and sacrifices I make. The human fleet was fragmenting, and neither I nor any of our other agents was going to be in a position to get Earth's location. I had to do something to delay Galactica and let cooler heads get their fleet reunited. I knew I was blowing my chance at being the big hero, but it was the only option I could come up with that would give our other agents a shot at being in the right place."

"Shooting their commander was a dangerous gamble, and you risked the entire operation," Selene retorted.

"Well... sometimes you have to roll the hard six," Sharon said, "and if you don't understand that then maybe its best that you're just a rear area paper pusher.

"What in Creation is a 'hard six'?" Selene asked.

Before the two Cylons could finish their argument, Commander Theron walked merrily into the room and announced to them both, "This is the best part of my job! When can we start the ceremony?"

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:23 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
22nd Day Onboard

Sharon sat in the command staff meeting room in the heart of the Cylon ship fidgeting with her armband and waiting to give the weekly performance figures for a department she didn't understand. As the highest ranking intelligence officer onboard, she had been assigned responsibility for the Military Intelligence department. Being a depot ship, about the only military intelligence activities being conducted was a signals and electronic intelligence gathering operation, and 'sigint' was the intelligence field she knew the least about.

Her old flying companion Helo used to admonish her that pilots never made good ECOs, and now she was in charge of an entire department of them. "Helo would have been a much better choice to lead this department instead of me," Sharon thought to herself, "but, of course, he's dead by now and he'd never have worked with a Cylon anyway."

The chief of the sigint operation was a model six Cylon named Thea who seemed to be running a good operation with a competent staff. Sharon had assured Thea that as long as she kept up the good work that she could run her office as she saw fit. Sigint was an appropriate task for that model type, and Sharon had enough other work she needed to do.

In addition to herself, the meeting was attended by the five other department heads and Commander Theron. The Ship Services, Logistics, and Naval Operations managers had all given uneventful reports of adequate department operations. Hector, the Facility manager, had begun construction of a tylium tanker which could be positioned to serve as a temporary refueling station for courier ships headed coreward. Communication with forces in Colonial space, which had been cut off since the Pegasus destroyed the previous refueling station there, could be restored once that tanker was in place. Selene had just finished making excuses for her Security department's inability to ferret out the local heretics, and now Sharon had to give her department's report.

"As you can see from the figures I'm uploading to you, our sigint operation is functioning at or above standard performance levels," Sharon started, uploading Thea's weekly report verbatim. "There were no human signals detected from our operational sector in the past seven days and it is still too early for wartime signals to reach us from outside our sector," she continued, "There are some other military intelligence issues I'd like to bring up. First, I noticed that Selene failed to mention any changes in shipboard security in response to my sabotage attempt earlier this week."

"The sabotage attempt failed," Selene interjected, "I think that demonstrates the soundness of our current security procedures."

"It wasn't one of your security personnel that stopped me. It was the hangar deck chief," Sharon replied, "If he had been a fraction of a second slower then I'd be dead now and this ship would have a gaping hole where the upper port hangar used to be. It's clear to me that you don't appreciate how capable we military intelligence officers can be, even if operating with only our cover life memories. I request that I be informed immediately if any military intelligence personnel are being resurrected and given access to them and their files so I can help reduce the security risk they pose during their recovery process."

"Internal security is not the responsibility of your department," Selene stated coldly.

"Perhaps not, but management of military intelligence officers is... even if they haven't been reintegrated yet," Sharon replied.

"Sharon has a good point," Theron stated, "Penelope, you give Sharon access to any military intelligence personnel that get resurrected and their records," He ordered, indicating the Ship Services manager.

"By your command," Penelope responded.

"Sharon, if you have any suggestions for additional security measures forward them to me and Selene," He concluded.

"By your command," Sharon said, "and I have one additional issue I wanted to bring up. Amy's previous assignment was to infiltrate and sabotage a convoy of human resource exploration ships that are probably somewhere in our operational sector. This convoy has been designated Convoy 18 on our intelligence reports, but I can find no Naval Operations efforts to track it down."

"As you should be aware of from the ship knowledgebase, we discussed that topic two weeks ago," said the manager of Naval Operations, a Cylon named Jason that resembled a light-skinned, dark-haired athletic man. "Amy succeeded in eliminating Convoy 18's water reserves. Astrogation determined that there are no water sources within their range. Since humans die of dehydration after only a few days without water, they must already be dead. There is a very large volume of space Convoy 18 could be in and we don't have enough naval assets to waste them locating a bunch of empty human ships."

"I'm not convinced they're dead," Sharon responded while uploading her analysis to the rest of the meeting participants, "Humans don't lie down and give up when things get difficult any more than we would. Amy told me that Convoy 18 was a mining company expedition, so I looked over the details on their ship capabilities. They don't have to find water; they can manufacture it. They have ships full of chemical analysis and processing equipment and staffs full of mining and chemical engineers. All they need is Hydrogen and Oxygen. Hydrogen is the most common element in Creation. I have identified these star systems which have rocky asteroids or gas planets that might be sources of recoverable oxygen. I would like Naval Operations to assign a flight of Raiders and scout drones to survey these systems for signs of human activity."

"It could take weeks to resurvey this much space," Jason argued, "It's awfully easy of you to ask for these resources, since they aren't going to come from your department. We're a depot ship not a basestar"

"Are you saying you'd rather let a human fleet sail right through our sector than have to reorganize your flight schedules?" Sharon asked pointedly.

"There's no need for infighting," Theron interjected, "We're all on the same side here. Jason, put together a proposal for searching these systems. The three of us will review it tomorrow and if it looks worthwhile we'll decide where to find the resources for it then."

"By your command," Jason replied unenthusiastically.

Commander Theron concluded the meeting with an uninspiring directive to stay safe and keep up the good work.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Author's Note: I tried to give this meeting more of the feel of a Dept. of Agriculture staff meeting instead of a military unit. This goes along with Boomer's observation in the first part that the Cylons preferred spreading rumors behind someone's back to a clean sparring match. Hopefully these glimpses of Cylon office politics will add up to give the reader the feeling of a larger believably dystopian culture where ambitious cylons fear falling out of favor far more than physical danger and unambitious ones just try to keep their heads down and not be too different. I wrote this before I went to spend 4 months working on a project in Communist China, but my experiences there and my first-hand view of what totalitarianism (in the meaning where everything is politicized) can do to a culture has been helpful in the re-write. How will a Type-A top-notch intelligence officer who has just spent years in a culture where results matter far more than office politics fare in her new role? Stay tuned.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:25 pm 
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After the meeting, the other department managers made their "'By Your Commands' and left promptly. Sharon, however, walked around the room to where Commander Theron was disconnecting himself from the terminal.

"I'd like to speak to you for a few minutes in private, Theron," she said.

"Certainly, Sharon." he replied, sending his personal code to close and lock the door after the last of the other Cylons had left.

"I'd wanted to inform you that I will be putting in for a transfer to a new post." Sharon stated.

"Yes, I figured that an officer of your caliber would want to get back to the fight as soon as possible. I assume you'll be pressing for a position in the fleet tracking Galactica and the refugee ships."

"No, actually I want to request posting to the Colonial occupation forces once we have re-established communication with them," Sharon replied.

"I don't understand. Major combat operations in Colonial space are finished," Theron said, "You're not the sort of Cylon I would expect to ask for an easy rear-area assignment."

"I'm not looking for an easy assignment, I'm looking for an important one that can advance my career," Sharon said, "Operations against the Galactica convoy will be over soon. My chances of getting another infiltration assignment into the human refugee fleet are slim. After we get the location of Earth, it will probably take us years to prepare for its invasion. The post-combat analysis of this last war will have a huge impact on how we prepare for the next one. If I can make a significant contribution to that intel analysis, then that will put me in a position to get one of the choice assignments in our Earth invasion fleet. I feel that the ongoing intelligence operations on the Colonial worlds are my best chance to make that contribution."

"Well Sharon, as a Hero of the Cylon Race I would expect that you'd get your pick of assignments in the Earth invasion anyway. You don't have to prove yourself again" Theron replied.

"I'm not trying to prove anything. I just want to be a good Cylon and please God," Sharon stated matter-of-factly.

"I admire your dedication and piety. I wish I had an entire staff like you," Theron claimed.

Sharon suspected that it was no coincidence that Theron had not built a more competent staff. He reminded Sharon of another Cylon of the same model type she had met on the Galactica. They both knew how to say things that sounded good, but Sharon doubted they had the real substance to rise above mediocrity.

Everyone couldn't be above average, she knew, and well-intentioned ineptness wasn't a sin. Perhaps Theron was adequate to the task of commanding a rear area supply ship. She hesitated for a moment but decided to take the risk.

"There is one more item I wanted to discuss. As an intelligence officer, Theron, I think I have an appreciation for how important it is that a commander really know what is going on, both with the enemy and in his own command. I want you to know that I do not intend to be a yes-Cylon," Sharon stated, placing emphasis on the last 'I.'

"Are you suggesting, Sharon, that some of my staff is..."

"I'm not suggesting anything," Sharon interrupted, "I just wanted to point out that you know my record and my career goals. I think you understand that I do not covet your position and that while I would like you to have a favorable impression of my talents, I do not need to gain your approval in order to get the transfer I want. I am in a position where there is no pressure on me to be dishonest with you. During the few weeks that I will be stationed here you can count on me as your intelligence officer to supply you with accurate information, however impolitic. If you wish, I could upload my reports and information to you privately in order to avoid any... organizational conflicts."

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:26 pm 
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Warning: This chapter contains mature themes and written descriptions of a violent... oh why sugar-coat it... something really, really vile happens in this chapter. For the Cylon God's sake don't let your kids read this! And, if there are any particular episodes of the series that you couldn't bear to watch then you might not want to read this either.



Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
23rd Day Onboard

Sharon limped with the assistance of a cane along the hallway beside Commander Theron.

"I think you could really do a lot of good with this research project if you take it into your department," Theron told her.

"Well, I'm glad to take a look at it," Sharon replied, "From what you said it sounds like you just need someone to crack the whip over the staff and hold them to higher standards."

Sharon and Theron stepped through a doorway and into a medium sized observation room. The walls opposite and to the sides of where they entered were dominated by large flat panes of glass looking down into a larger room. Computer terminals under each window showed a few colored status lights and broadcast low power-level wireless data continuously. Selene was already waiting there, talking with a tall black Cylon named Cecil.

"I hope you don't mind us being early," Sharon said to them.

"Not at all," Cecil replied, "If you want I can go ahead and start the tour now."

"Do so," Theron instructed.

"By your command," Cecil began, "This research project is one of a series of trials being conducted on using human subjects as breeders for sexual reproduction of Cylon offspring. We are testing three conditions right now using standard impregnation robots on females. The conditions tested include the use of general anesthesia, local anesthesia, and no anesthesia during the impregnation process. We have three test subjects in each condition, for a total of nine human females in the research project right now. This room is the observation room where we monitor their conditions. Below this room is the main research area where we keep the subjects. They are visible through the two way mirrors along the walls."

Cecil stepped closer to the observation windows and the rest of the group followed. In the medical facility visible from the vantage point of the observation room were three main work areas divided by dark purple organic-looking partitions. Each of the work areas had three human women wearing white smocks in hospital beds.

In one work area the women were laying unconscious and had slightly swollen bellies. In the second work area two of the women were sleeping, while the third stared out into the distance with a look of helpless apathy. In the third work area, directly below where Sharon was standing, the women were fully conscious, and strapped tightly into the beds. The foot ends of the beds in this area were split open into stirrup like clamps that held the women's legs spread apart. Hoses and wires snaked from the impregnation machine in the center of the room to the beds, between the women's legs, and into their bodies. Two of the women's tensed muscles and coating of sweat indicated a continuous state of discomfort and there was a look of hopeless terror in their eyes. The third woman was undergoing an inspection by one of the researchers. The researcher had pulled the bottom of her smock up to show where the mass of tubes and cords entered her vagina. The woman's genitalia were red and distorted with swelling and pressure from the equipment forced into her. As the researcher prodded the woman's swollen tissue with a gloved finger, she thrashed helplessly against her restraints. Tears flowed from her eyes down the side of her face, which was almost purple with rage and pain. Her mouth moved as though she was screaming but nothing was audible through the soundproof windows of the observation room.

"We are conducting one of the impregnation procedures right now," Cecil continued. "Would you like to go into the lab and observe the subjects first hand, Sharon?... Sharon?"

Sharon stood silently. She was leaning heavily on the terminal in front of her for support with her right hand. Her face was almost expressionless as she looked out into the lab, but she held her left hand against her mouth balled tightly into a white-knuckle fist.

"Are you alright Sharon?" asked Commander Theron, "You look ill."

After a moment Sharon swallowed hard, slowly straightened herself up with the help of her cane, and turned to face Theron. "It's just my injuries," Sharon said, "I think you were right that it was too soon to switch from crutches to the cane. I've seen enough anyway. I'll take responsibility for this project… provided I get the authority to make whatever changes I see fit."

"Certainly. As long as they're within the experimental protocols that were assigned to us, of course." Theron replied.

"Wait, what's going on?" Selene asked. "I thought this was just an inspection tour."

"This is really a Military Intelligence project," Theron answered. "The only reason this was assigned to your department was because I didn't have an experienced Intelligence department manager. Now that Sharon is here, and since you don't seem to have the time to adequately supervise the research, she will be taking over responsibility for the project."

Cecil turned to Sharon and said, "I assume that I'll still have..."

"Don't assume anything," Sharon quickly cut him off, "I will upload your research records and review them this afternoon. Tomorrow I will meet with you to discuss the initial changes I will require. Now if you will excuse me, I am going back to my quarters to change the dressings on my foot."

"By your command," Cecil said to Sharon's back as she limped out of the room. Theron followed her closely and helped her through the doorway, leaving Selene and Cecil alone in the observation room.

"I don't understand why they would do this," Cecil whined to Selene, "We're finally getting some useable results."

Selene frowned and replied, "Maybe our little animal slut there has been showing some of the tricks she learned from the humans to our commander. That would explain why he has been so quick to shower her with favoritism."

As they walked down the hallway together, Commander Theron turned to Sharon and asked, "Are you going to feel well enough to meet up again tonight, or should we cancel?"

"I'll be fine," Sharon responded, "Perhaps if you could change Mark's work shift in the upper port hanger bay we could invite him down and make it a foursome."

"Do you think that would be more fun?"

"Certainly," Sharon said, "I think card games are best with at least four players."

"Maybe we should think of something to wager besides just those worthless squares of colored plastic," Theron added.

"Now you're getting the spirit of Full Colors," Sharon replied.

She parted with Theron in the hallway, entered her stateroom alone and locked the door. She walked quickly across her living area to the bathroom, wincing each time her right foot hit the ground. After vomiting her breakfast into the head Sharon sat on the floor and, ashamed of her weakness, buried her face in her hands.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:27 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
24th Day Onboard

Cecil stood in Sharon's new office with his left arm in a fiber-optic link armband. Sharon had moved her extra chairs into an adjoining storage area to ensure that guests did not get too comfortable or that meetings ran too long. She stood on the other side of the terminal with her weight on her left leg and her own arm in a similar armband. Cecil shifted subtly from side to side and looked at the ground as Sharon went over detail after detail of his lab's performance that she considered sloppy or inadequate.

"I noticed on this latest requisition that you want to dispose of three of your test subjects and acquire replacements from the Fifth Fleet," Sharon stated, "Justify this decision to me."

"As you should be aware from the ship's knowledgebase, I have completed all the trials on those three human females and they show no ability to incubate Cylon offspring. The testing on them is complete and I will restart testing with the new subjects to generate a larger dataset," Cecil responded.

"I am aware of nothing in the ship's knowledgebase that indicates you have completed trials on those subjects," Sharon said casually.

"Right here are all the datasets and this is the final report on them," Cecil replied with exasperation as he indicated to her two of the files residing in the terminal.

"I read those files." Sharon said, "You have the correct number of data points, but how do I know that the tests were conducted at the right conditions? Where is the calibration data for your equipment?"

Cecil scanned through the information in the knowlegebase and then paused for a moment before answering, "It should be in this same memory storage area, but I can't find the file."

"I agree that the equipment calibration should be here," Sharon said, her voice suddenly no longer calm, "but it isn't. You ran weeks worth of experiments and we have absolutely no way to be sure that they were done to the test conditions specified in the experimental protocols we were given. This is all useless! There is no way I'm going to approve of you getting new lab subjects when you haven't even done your experiments properly on the ones you have yet."

"Calibration is a standard part of our operational procedures, I'm sure it was done…"

"I am not interested in your excuses!" Sharon barked angrily.

"My data could still be useful. I could recalibrate the equipment right now, and then use that calibration to calculate a possible margin of error," Cecil offered, "We could put a notation…"

"No. You're keeping the subjects you have and restarting the experiments from the beginning. This time you will be very careful that everything is done right or I will be sending out a requisition myself: to dispose of my research director and acquire a replacement from the Fifth Fleet. Am I understood?"

"Yes, but restarting the experiments would set us back weeks," Cecil pleaded.

Sharon frowned and suddenly stepped closer to Cecil, "What did you just say?"

"By your command!" Cecil quickly answered, "By your command."

"I see where the casual discipline in your department comes from, Cecil," Sharon said plainly. "That attitude has to stop now. The entire culture of your department has to change and you have to be the first example. That is why I can't just allow you make notations on your data and destroy those human females. Your department must learn that there is only one way to do things, and they won't learn that if I let them pass this sloppy work off as acceptable. Your department must learn to carefully husband our valuable materiel, and they won't learn that if I let them squander these irreplaceable women without getting the best data we can. Now you have to make up your mind right now to be the best example of methodical and frugal management for your team, and you have to be just as hard on them as I am on you. Suspend experiments and have the team spend the rest of their work-hours today cleaning their research facility. Spend as much time as it takes to get it completely organized. That will help impress the right attitude on them before we begin again. And it wouldn't hurt to pray to God that He gives you the wisdom to do your part in His plan correctly."

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:27 pm 
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On her way back to her stateroom from the gymnasium, Sharon stopped by the higher officer's cafeteria to pick up snacks for the card game later that evening. While waiting for her food she examined the fruit drinks on the menu, temporarily downloading a snippit of software code that would simulate the taste of the available drink options. She mentally toyed with the drink ingredient settings to discover what strange fruit flavor combinations she could invent. Her food had still not arrived when another Cylon walked into the cafeteria and stood next to her at the menu panel. He was a handsome, athletic, biological model. His IFF transponder indicated to Sharon that his name was Gregor, that he worked in Astrogation, and that he had level 3 security clearance.

He pointed to the menu selections she was studying and said, "The drinks seem to taste better in this cafeteria."

"They're all good," Sharon responded with a smile and a slight tilt of her head, "But some days I wish they had a little more kick to them."

Gregor leaned closer to Sharon and said quietly, "So say we all."

Sharon blinked and hesitated for a moment before asking, "Did you just say… what I think you said?"

"We aren't all unreceptive to the ways of the humans, Sharon," Gregor whispered, "After living with them for years you must be open-minded about their beliefs."

Sharon whispered back, "Now is not a good time, I'll respond to you later." She then picked up her food selections from a nearby shelf. "It was nice talking to you, Gregor," she said as she left.

Instead of going to her stateroom, Sharon headed straight to the Security department and wirelessed a priority message for Selene requesting a meeting. When she entered the Security department she discovered Cyrus standing along the wall plugged into a terminal.

"Lieutenant Valerii, you must be very hungry," he said with his flat metallic voice.

"What?... Oh, no… These are for the card game tonight," Sharon responded while holding up the large container of food in her left hand. "You seem to be working late, are you going to be able to make it?"

"It sometimes seems that my work is never done," Cyrus answered, "Don't worry though, I'll be there. I just have to spend a few more minutes synchronizing some information with the ship knowledgebase. What brings you to Security today? Are you working late, too?"

"No, I'm here to report some information I have on a heretical group to your boss."

"Really?" Cyrus said, "They might be dangerous, Lieutenant. As captain of the ship's garrison, I'd appreciate it if you informed me as well."

"I don't think there is a real danger," Sharon replied. "The culprit used a phrase that suggested he was a pagan, and then told me that others onboard were receptive to the human's beliefs." When she uttered the word "pagan" she grimaced and said it slowly as though the word itself tasted bad. "I'm fairly certain that he isn't a real polytheist. I think it was a ham-fisted and borderline blasphemous attempt by Selene at testing my loyalty. I intend to upload my memories of the event with proper documentation of the security incident, and then give her a different 'piece of my mind.'"

As Sharon was speaking to Cyrus, she received a reply from Selene to her priority message indicating that Selene was in her private office and available for an immediate meeting.

"I just got a confirmation from her that she's in her office," Sharon stated, "I hope to see you later tonight, Cyrus."

Cyrus watched Sharon storm through Selene's office door at the end of the room surprisingly fast for someone with a cane. He then unplugged himself from the terminal and promptly left the Security department.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:29 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
25th Day Onboard

Amy and Cecil stood in the center of Sharon's office, while Sharon sat behind her desk and studied them coldly. "I don't care how green you are at your job, there's no excuse for that kind of carelessness," Sharon exclaimed to Amy.

"I'm sorry, Sharon," Amy replied, "I thought you would understand about how we have to treat the animals."

"Those human females aren't just animals. They are valuable, irreplaceable research subjects, and you were wrong to abuse them. I'll tell you what I think," Sharon said leaning forward and staring intently at the junior intelligence officer. "I think that you hoped I would over-rule Cecil's discipline of you because I am your friend. I am your friend Amy. I love you. I don't think a real friend says pleasant things to your face just to avoid conflict even when they know you're doing something wrong. I think a real friend is someone who tries to help you find the right path no matter how unpleasant the news is..." Sharon's voice trailed off and she took a drink from a metal cup on her desk. "So... Get your frackin' head in the game!"

Amy and Cecil both stiffened at the unexpectedly harsh tone of Sharon's last outburst.

"Your department is conducting research vital to our race's development, and you need to act like it," Sharon continued in a quieter but still stern voice. "Cecil says you need to be demoted, and as the team supervisor he's earned the right to make that call. Plus, I think he's right. Listen to your supervisor's instructions carefully, don't let your feelings toward the humans get in the way of doing your job, and don't think that because of our friendship I'm going to let you get away with being anything but the best you can be. Amy, you are dismissed."

"By your command," Amy said quietly and turned to leave.

After Amy left Cecil said, "Thank you for backing me up on that, Sharon."

"You made the right call, Cecil, and it looks like you are setting a good example for your team," Sharon replied, "I'm happy to support you on it. Now if there are no more issues you want to bring up with me, I have to finish my work and connect for my daily motivational session."

Cecil smiled, said "By your command," unnecessarily, and walked out of Sharon's office with his head held high.

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:29 pm 
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When her motivational session was finished, Sharon pulled her right arm out of the fiber optic armband connected to her desk terminal and rubbed her unblemished forearm as if it were sore. She leaned back in her chair, closed her eyes, and tried to clear her thoughts. Out of habit she slipped her hand into her coat pocket and closed it around the folded piece of paper she kept there. "God, give me strength," she said quietly. After a minute of meditation Sharon opened her eyes again, grabbed her cane, and stood. Mark had wirelessed her a message earlier in the afternoon that he had a surprise waiting for her in the hanger bay and she was anxious to see him.

On the way to the hanger Sharon tried to use her cane as little as possible. The injuries to her foot had healed enough that she could almost walk normally again without pain. When she arrived in the upper port hanger bay, she stood in the doorway and looked around. There weren't rows of spacecraft being inspected, finished, and fueled so she concluded that the depot ship must be between production runs. Instead, there were about a dozen Raiders and drones scattered around the hanger undergoing various repairs. Mark was nowhere to be seen.

"Where are you, Mark?" Sharon broadcast across the hanger on wireless.

"I'm underneath the burned-out Raider in the middle of the bay," he transmitted to her.

"I'll be right over," she sent back.

"Did you have a good day at work?" Mark asked Sharon over their wireless connection.

"It was productive, but not pleasant," she said aloud as she arrived at the spacecraft Mark was working on and knelt down to look at him. He was laying on his back holding a large, slightly warped access plate up to the bottom of the Raider with his two larger arms. He was trying to use one of his smaller, more dexterous arms to position the plate while his other small arm held several large metal fasteners.

"It looks like you could use a fifth hand," Sharon said as she propped her cane up against the hull of the Raider.

“I could," Mark answered, "See if you can hold that corner in place while I get the rest of the panel lined up."

Sharon smiled as she lay down on her back and positioned her body comfortably beneath the Cylon machinery. She put both of her hands flat on the warped plate and pushed it hard up against the Raider to align the cut-out on the panel with the hull. "I'm ready here," She said to Mark.

"Good," he replied to her, "stay just like that."

Sharon held her position to keep her hole where it needed to be. Mark reached his arm up between hers, brushing her flesh lightly with his smooth metal skin. He gently slid the long metal shaft into the hole. When it was fully inside he pushed firmly as Sharon tensed her muscles. They felt as much as heard the sharp click as the two mating pieces joined themselves together.

"Perfect," Sharon exclaimed, as she rolled over on her side and watched Mark fasten the other three corners of the access plate in place.

"Thank you," Mark's flat metallic voice replied.

"So what's your surprise for me?" Sharon asked him as they slid out from underneath the Cylon fighter. "I hope it wasn't just helping you put an access plate in place."

"That wasn't the surprise," Mark said, "This is..."

Mark transmitted a wireless command and one of the four large access doors that lead deeper inside the depot ship dilated open. A Heavy Raider spacecraft slid out of the door and into the nearly empty hanger. "It is a fully pilotable, fully aerobatic, atmosphere and FTL capable heavy fighter."

"He's gorgeous," Sharon sighed as she walked up to the spacecraft.

"This is the first time we have made them," Mark stated.

"Look at the firepower," She said as she ducked underneath the array of autocannons on the front of the hull.

"This one is the prototype to make sure we have the tooling set correctly before we begin the manufacturing run," he continued.

"And the engines…" Sharon cooed as she walked down the length of the Heavy Raider with her hand sliding along the sleek hull, "he must have a good thrust to weight ratio when he's empty".

"Yes, as good as a Raider," Mark answered, "And since this is a tooling prototype, we need to run it through some test flights to make certain that it is spaceworthy."

Sharon turned away from the spacecraft and looked at Mark with an expectant grin.

"I was just going to assign one of the mechanics to download the pilot instructionset for it," he said, "but since we have an experienced pilot onboard I was wondering if you'd..."

"Yes, yes I'll fly him," Sharon exclaimed before Mark could finish. She wrapped her arms around Mark's broad torso and hugged him. Mark wrapped his large upper arms around her shoulders, slipped his smaller arms low around her waist and hugged her back. "Thank you," she said squeezing him.

"You're welcome," Mark said squeezing her back lightly with his more dexterous arms. As they pulled away from each other he added, "I suspected you would want to. I've already added you to the flight authorization list for it."

Sharon dashed down the length of the Heavy Raider barely using her cane. She turned sharp at the boarding ramp and, oblivious to the pain, ran up into the vehicle with a huge grin on her face. By the time Mark boarded the spacecraft Sharon had already installed herself in the pilot's position and slid her right arm into the controls. She frowned as she struggled to get her injured left arm properly in place, twisting her shoulder and holding her upper body at different angles. Finally she pulled herself free of the control console entirely. "I can't get my left arm in the controls with this cast on my forearm," she said. "How long will it be until you have him ready for the first test flight?"

"If we stay late and work on it into the next shift we could probably have it ready in a couple of hours."

"That's fine," she announced, "That will give me time to get this cast cut off me and change my clothes."

"I'm not certain the hospital will want to take the cast off your arm so soon," Mark warned, "It has only been a week since I broke it."

"If they won't do it, I'll cut the thing off myself," Sharon stated firmly as she stood up and walked toward the back of the spacecraft again. She paused for a moment in the Heavy Raider's cargo area and surveyed the passenger capacity of the pilotable, FTL-capable spacecraft she had just been granted access to. She turned her back on Mark, her carefree smile disappeared, and her brow wrinkled with the change in her expression. "Don't leave without me," she said while heading down the access ramp and into the hanger. As she walked to the hanger exit Sharon struggled with all her will to erase the terrible and unholy thoughts forming in her mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Author's Note:

Quote:
one of the four large access doors that led deeper inside the depot ship dilated open


The phrase "the door dialated" is a quote from Robert Heinlein's book Beyond this Horizon that is often used as an example in discussions of how to write (and read) science fiction:

http://web.archive.org/web/200801201524 ... Words.html

http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/protocol.htm


I try to sprinkle such implication-rich passages throughout my writing, but here I almost put the most famous example in verbatim! Some of my readers may be disappointed that I ripped this off so blatantly. My only defense is... where the #@!! else is a door more likely to dialate than on a Cylon spaceship? Especially an organic-looking one like that Boomer visited (and nuked), which at the time I wrote this was the only example I had of Cylon interior design. Dialating doors fit perfectly, and if I had to look like I was ripping of Heinlein (and perhaps I was) to get the effect I wanted... then so be it.

Another example that no one can blame me for ripping off are the two sentences about Sharon wating for food in the Cylon mess hall:

Quote:
While waiting for her food she examined the fruit drinks on the menu, temporarily downloading a snippit of software code that would simulate the taste of the available drink options. She mentally toyed with the drink ingredient settings to discover what strange fruit flavor combinations she could invent.


On the one hand, this sentence shows just how not-human Sharon is that she can download software to allow her to know what food selections will taste like before she orders them, and the fact that she thinks nothing extraordinary about doing it also suggests alot about Cylon society and the casual completeness of their melding the electromechanical and biological spheres.

Yet... at the same time that it highlights the alienness of Sharon's seemingly familiar physical form I hope it also simultaneously conveys a familiarness in her basic nature and spirit. If* we humans had that same ability, isn't that exactly what you'd do with it? How long before you'd be testing out what Mango-Rhubarb or Blueberry-Orange-Lychee Fruit tasted like? I wanted in one instant to force the reader to realize that Sharon is NOT human and yet in the next instant think "She's just like me..."

I wrote in my first Author's Note that

Quote:
Inventing Cylon society immediately brought up the eternal question: What's for dinner? The cafeteria in this chapter may at first seem like a simple rip-off of Star Trek. Push a button and food comes out of a hole in the wall.
.

I said that it "seems like a simple rip-off of Star Trek" at that time because I knew that there was much more to it than pushing a button to get food, but at that point in the story I couldn't reveal that. Now you see that the question of "What's for dinner" in Cylon society can actually take a lot of thought. Even I didn't go as far as the "Cylon Bible" the show's writers came up with, however, and claim that Sharon could get nourishment directly from the ship itself. Perhaps feeding could be done in her sleeping cocoon. Think of the time savings... nah... the Cylon dinner table still has an important role to play in the future of this story.

*perhaps I should say "when":
http://www.bsgkindreds.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=307

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:31 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
26th Day Onboard

After worship service was over Sharon waited in the temple until the other Cylons had left, then approached her minister. Sharon was an Absolutist, and the ship's small Absolutist congregation was presided over by a theologian named Karen who was of the same model type as Sharon.

"Karen, I was wondering if you could spare a few minutes to speak with me in private," Sharon said to her.

"Yes, I could," Karen replied, "Do you want to do it now, or would you like to schedule it for some other time?"

"Now would be good," Sharon responded, and followed Karen through a door at the rear of the temple, down a hall, and into her office. Unlike Sharon's office, Karen had two comfortable seats together near a water dispenser to make guests feel welcome.

After they settled into their chairs Karen said, "I'm glad you finally came to see me, Sharon. I wondered why you turned down my invitation for a private session after your memory reintegration."

"I thought my faith was strong enough that I didn't need special treatment," Sharon admitted, "But now... I have some questions I hoped you could help me with."

"It is natural for you to be worried about your relationship with God after the long infiltration mission you conducted. I studied your mission files after you arrived here. You fought alongside the humans to destroy considerable amounts of Cylon resources. You laid with one of the beasts and let him take you as if you were his mate. You even participated in some of their idolatrous mockeries of religion. These actions would cause any Cylon to worry about their soul. You have to remember that it is your intention that defines the sin. Even the most laudable act may be a sin if it is done with the wrong intentions, and even the most holy of motives can sometimes lead to apparently terrible events. You did not sign up for that infiltration mission because you wanted to hurt your fellow Cylons, or because you lusted to desecrate your body with an animal, or as a way of paying honor to a false god, did you?"

"No." said Sharon quietly, "I did it because I wanted to help bring us all closer to what God wants. God commanded us to go to Earth to find the treasure waiting there, and I wanted to have a key part of that task... I guess maybe I have some pride in my heart that I want to do the critical job… that I want my work to be of special importance."

"Well, then that is all your sin is," Karen stated as she leaned forward and put her hand on Sharon's, "Not wrath, or lust, or idolatry. Your actions on that mission were necessitated by your assignment, and I think most of your motive for taking that assignment was good and pious. A little pride... that's no worse than what I see everyday here on this ship. You need to do nothing more to be right with God than you would have if you had taken any other assignment. If you regret indulging your prideful nature and repent of it then He will forgive and forget it absolutely. The actions that flowed from it are then irrelevant."

"I know," Sharon said, "I went over all this with the Intel Service's ministers before I took the assignment: the nature of sin, the importance of the mission, my motives. I can live with my memories of doing unholy things like blowing up... some ships and saying 'so say we alls' in their rituals because I know. What troubles me is not what I have done in the past. I am troubled about what I might do in the future."

"We all must face temptation," Karen replied, "and repent when we fail."

"No, that's not..." Sharon tried to explain, "I know what temptation and sin feel like. Pride, envy, gluttony... But ever since I came back there has been something else that haunts me. I can feel my conscience, but sometimes it seems broken. Things that should have been sins feel... different. Things that I know in my mind to be right plague me with guilt."

"Sometimes pride will cause us to make up virtue in our actions or to see sin in the actions of others when it isn't there, as a way of putting ourselves above our neighbors."

"I don't think that is it," Sharon replied, "I feel no pride about this."

After Sharon looked silently at the floor for a few seconds Karen prompted her, "That's not much for me to go on. If you gave me more specific information perhaps I could help you better."

Sharon looked around at Karen's office and asked, "I have your word that this conversation is private, don't I?"

"Of course, you know that."

Sharon wasn't sure she did. She leaned closer to Karen and quietly explained, "I look at what we are doing to the human women in the farm research and I feel guilty about their treatment. I want to... do something about it."

"Not wanting to see lesser creatures suffer unnecessarily is no sin. Just the opposite. While causing pain to animals is not the same as causing pain to your fellow Cylon, delighting in cruelty to them is a sign that someone has spiritual or mental problems. That you don't take joy in it is a good sign."

Sharon looked into Karen's eyes, shook her head slowly, and whispered, "It isn't just unnecessary pain, but even pain necessary for their domestication. I'm not against domesticating lesser creatures generally. I love a good steak. As noble and beautiful as the Raiders are I have no problems training or using them as beasts of war... but I look at the humans and it seems different. They seem..." Sharon could not finish her sentence.

"They look like us," Karen said, "We look like them."

Sharon did not answer, but nodded her head.

"They may look like us now, but they are not like us. We have a soul. We have free will and a conscience. They are base animals, driven by instinct and history. Trust me; you are not the first Cylon to be bothered by this, especially since we began building models with their form. Making us look like them does not make our soul go away, and it certainly doesn't give them one. The next time you look at them, try not to focus on the physical similarity you see with your eyes. Try to see them with the spiritual perspective, as God looks at us all. We are His children and the humans are just His creations. God told us that His children should have dominion over all the lesser creatures, so what we are doing can't be wrong then can it?"

"No, I suppose not," Sharon admitted.

"Wanting the creatures not to be treated cruelly isn't wrong either." Karen stated.

"No, it isn't," Sharon said, "But letting my empathy for the animals hurt our efforts to be closer to God's plan for us is a sin, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is,' Karen said."Have you done this?"

"No." Sharon said looking at the floor and shaking her head. She then looked up again at Karen and added, "I never want to let God and my fellow Cylons down like that. I wanted to have this conversation with you to make sure it never happens. I do feel better about myself now that we've talked about it."

"We are all tempted by different things and we're all going to give in to temptation sometimes," Karen stated smiling, "but I don't think you will fail us in your work to bend the humans to our needs. I think you have a great destiny, Sharon, and you proved yourself well in your last mission. For a woman who struggles against the sin of pride, your humility in this matter is a good sign. If after being named a Hero of the Cylon Race you had begun to think yourself above temptation... then I would be really worried for your soul."

"Thank you." Sharon said smiling, as she squeezed Karen's hand.

"Here are some passages of scripture I'd like you to read," Karen stated while wirelessing Sharon some references, "and in addition to praying for forgiveness, I would recommend that you ask God to help you with your problem. Ask Him to help you to see ourselves and the humans as we really are and not just as your eyes show you."

"I will, every day." Sharon promised.

"Would you like me to put you on the prayer list?"

"No," Sharon stated quickly. She thought for a moment of how to explain her concern for privacy and her career diplomatically. "I would not want news of my... concerns... to provide temptation to my peers who may be struggling with jealousy or greed or rumormongering."

"I understand exactly," Karen said with a grin and a nod. "But in private I will also pray for you to receive wisdom and strength. A Cylon of your rank and position can never have enough of either."

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:32 pm 
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
27th Day Onboard

Sharon smiled as she raced the Heavy Raider carrying herself, Mark, and Amy just above the glittering ring of ice crystals and debris that orbited a large gas planet. "DRADIS isn't detecting anything," she said, "maybe the rings are blocking the signal." Sharon angled her craft toward a wide gap between the rings and pulled up slightly. As she approached the gap she rolled the fighter a bit and dove hard down, sliding between the adjacent rings. Amy gripped the armrests on her seat tightly as Sharon pulled the Heavy Raider up to level out with the ring speeding by just above them like a giant shimmering frozen ocean suspended in space.

"There it is," Sharon said, "right where the scout indicated." She yawed the Heavy Raider to her right and increased its thrust even more as the spacecraft slid further toward the outer edge of the rings. As they passed under another gap in the rings, this one only a few times wider than the Heavy Raider itself, Sharon yawed the fighter hard back to point inward towards the planet and pulled it up into the curving open lane in the field of dust and tiny crystals. A pair of sharp impacts sounded on the hull as small particles drifting in the gap slammed into it at terrific speed. Sharon jockeyed to keep the fighter angled inward at just the right angle so the thrust would push the fighter around tight enough of an arc to keep it within the gap even though its speed was much too great for it to have orbited there. "Plug into the forward camera," Sharon suggested to her passengers, "It's spectacular."

"Moon!" Amy yelled, as Sharon flipped the Heavy Raider on its nose and the noise in the spacecraft suddenly increased as its engines went to maximum thrust. The fighter dropped back out of the ring plane as the small planetoid that had carved out the gap flashed by.

"I saw it," Sharon assured Amy as the engines throttled back and the fighter pitched up again and rolled ninety degrees. Sharon eased the craft back into the gap on its side as they continued to accelerate around the planet with the inner half of the ring now forming a tall column above them and the outer half extending below.

"Sharon, is it necessary to fly so fast and in such proximity to this debris?" Mark asked as she fired the Heavy Raider's thrusters in rapid shots to keep the spacecraft in the narrow clear lane between the millions of tons of ice and rock in the rings.

"Oh Yes," Sharon replied while keeping her senses focused on the DRADIS and the external views, "It is very necessary."

Sharon slid the fighter suddenly out of the plane of the rings again and flipped it end-over-end. Further spoken conversation became impossible as the loud roar of the engines operating at full thrust to brake the spacecraft reverberated through its interior. After a few seconds, the spacecraft twirled on all its axis simultaneously with the rings, the planet, and the stars flashing through the forward view at skewed angles. Amy's body began convulsing as her hands flailed at the locks on her spacesuit helmet. The engines pulsed at full thrust for a second, and then the universe spun madly about them again as Sharon fired the spacecraft's thrusters in quick bursts. Amy's helmet flew across the Heavy Raider's cargo/passenger compartment and bounced off the opposite wall as she leaned forward against her safety harness to vomit on the floor and down the leg of her spacesuit.

"We're here," Sharon announced.

"Why?" Mark asked as he held Amy's ponytail behind her and out of the stream of partially digested food and stomach acid streaming from her mouth.

"Why are we here?" Sharon asked puzzled.

"No, why was it necessary for us to take such a fast, risky flight through the rings instead of just going straight here?

"Oh... God..." Amy whispered between spasms as her body continued heaving despite her empty stomach.

"Well, I invited you along to show you what flying feels like. I wanted you to have the complete experience," Sharon answered. "I guess it's hard to appreciate the exhilaration without adrenal glands."

"I have adrenal glands," Amy pointed out as her nausea finally began to subside, "and I didn't appreciate it either... Dear God, I didn't know I could be that sick."

Sharon looked into the face of her fellow modeltype and friend. Amy's skin was pale and sweaty, her eyes were teary, and portions of her lunch and bodily fluids clung to her lips, chin, and neck. Sharon grinned back at Amy and said, "You know we have a rule that if you lose it in a fighter you have to clean it out yourself."

"I'm unaware of any such rule," Mark stated.

"I've never heard of it either," Amy agreed.

Sharon pursed her lips and looked away from her fellow Cylons for a moment, as though she were trying to focus on something behind them and far away. "Well, we have the rule now," Sharon said bringing her attention back to her passengers suddenly, "I just made it."

"I suppose you've never been sick in a spacecraft before," Amy said accusingly as she wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her spacesuit.

"Not from motion sickness," Sharon admitted, "but there was the time during shore leave on Scorpia when Starbuck, Racetrack and I went..." Sharon stopped talking abruptly as she watched Amy work her mouth open and closed with a sour expression on her face while Mark patted her lightly on the shoulder.

Sharon reached into her flight bag and tossed a box of drinking water to Amy. "This will help get the taste out," she said. Sharon then scooped up Amy's helmet from the cargo bay floor and tossed it to Amy as well. "Then get your helmet back on. We're on the clock here, people," Sharon stated in a curt, commanding tone as she walked to the rear of the Cylon Heavy Raider. Sharon stood quietly with her back to her fellow machines while studying the view out the rear hatch.

After Amy recomposed herself and sealed her helmet back on, Sharon vented the spacecraft to vacuum and opened the rear loading ramp. Sharon activated the miniature thrusters on her space suit using the fiber optic link they had with her through the spacesuit's integral armband. She only had to think about her desired vector and the controls of the spacesuit fired the thrusters in obedience to her mind, flying her gently out into space. Amy and Mark followed her lead and they crossed several meters of black emptiness to arrive at a spinning piece of metal debris that orbited the planet about a hundred meters below the plane of the rings.

The piece of metal was a hollow pyramid, half a meter on each side, like the corner of a large metal box that had been cut away. It was spinning rapidly and covered with a fine layer of dust. Mark reached out with a large pincer and grabbed the rotating object. A small spark leapt between it and his hand as he touched it, and he had to fire thrusters on his EVA harness to keep himself steadied. Mark held the metal object out for Amy to inspect. She wiped away some of the dust to reveal a scratched dull orange surface and a jagged edge along the open bottom of the pyramid.
"Yes, this is from the Human convoy," Amy wirelessed to her companions.

"How can you be sure?" Sharon transmitted back.

"For one thing, it is painted Olympic Orange like all of the convoy's field equipment," Amy replied. "Secondly, look at how fresh the cut edges look. There should be plenty of atomic oxygen here from decomposition of water ice in the rings. If this were more than a few months' old we'd see some corrosion. Unless Olympic Interstellar has two mining convoys out here then this must be from Convoy 18."

"What about all the dust?" Mark asked.

"That's probably from static electricity," Amy answered, "If we left you out here in a few days you'd have started collecting dust particles too. In fact we might have Manufacturing create us a duplicate of this piece to stick in the same orbit. From the rate of dust buildup we could get a better estimate of how long this one has been here."

"What do you think it is?" Sharon asked.

"It's part of a bucket scoop from a rotary soil collector," Amy answered, "I'd guess that they disconnected the bucket chain from the collector and mounted the collector body on the outside of a shuttle. They cut up some spare buckets like this one to fashion a scoop for it, then flew it to the ring and just scooped out as much ice and rock as they needed. This piece may have broken off of the scoop, or been cut off during some kind of field repair. I'll have a better idea when we get it back to the Depot Ship and I can inspect it more closely."

Sharon fired her thrusters to rotate upward and look at the giant expanse of the ring above them. "It was luck we found this," Sharon transmitted. "Astrogation didn't list any water here, I just had the system on the search list because of the gas giant. If they hadn't lost such a reflective piece of debris then we'd never have known they were here."

"Good luck tends to follow hard work," Mark observed.

"Yes, but we haven't been working hard enough," Sharon wirelessed back. "Amy, when we get back to the Depot Ship, I'd like to give you another chance to impress me. If I transferred you from the farm research to run a small group trying to outthink your old shipmates before they escape our sector, do you think you could handle it?"

"Yes, Sharon, I'd like that opportunity."

"Good, because I'm giving it to you. I'm confident you'll do much better at this task," Sharon transmitted, "I will want a preliminary search plan and list of key identifiers for the drones to look for within twenty-four hours. You can refine it later as you have more time and information. Assume we'll have sixteen scout drones to work with."

"Do you think Naval Operations will give us that many?" Amy asked.

"No." Sharon replied, "But that's my problem."

After they returned to the Heavy Raider with the metal debris and repressurized the interior, Sharon flew it gently away from the planet in consideration for her delicate passengers and FTLed back to their ship.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:33 pm 
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As for the use of acceleration fields to offset the g-forces on the crew of space fighters... as an "artistic choice" I don't have that in Obstinate Tin Soldier. The reason is because the BSG TV series depicts space fighters as "space-ified" fighter planes. The way they manuever & fight, the way their weapons work, the timescale of the battles, even the culture of the pilots and deck crew are obviously intended to be reminicent of the way modern (or perhaps 1980's era) fighter plane operations are conducted on aircraft carriers. I could probably write a very interesting story that dealt with space fighters in a hard-science fiction way, but it wouldn't feel like Battlestar Galactica anymore. Since Obstinate Tin Soldier is a BSG fanfic (even an AU one) I made the artistic choice to have the g-forces on fighter pilots be within the range typically experinced by real modern fighter pilots. Obstinate Tin Soldier is not pure space opera, since it does explore some hard science fiction issues of integrating machine and "human" society, the intersection of the spiritual and physical realms, and even possible future advances in manufacturing, lifestyle, and economics. But, to keep that BSG "carrier operations" feel I wrote the space fighter parts of the story in a style that I felt was consistent with the TV show. That includes pilots having to endure g-forces and airframe vibrations. Raiders (and mechanical Cylon pilots) have an advantage over Colonial pilots in their ability to tolerate higher g-loadings, but for whatever reasons the advantage is obviously small enough that it is not decisive. Otherwise the show would have been over in episode 33.

This whole issue of g-forces on space fighter pilots was actually referenced way back on the 3rd day of Boomer's captivity with the flashback to Tigh chewing her out over her lack of dedication:
Quote:
You may fool yourself, but you don't fool me. I see which pilots are spending their free time in the gymnasium doing g-tolerance exercises and which ones are hanging out in the rec room playing cards. It's no great secret what it takes to be a Raptor pilot, and you've had years to get ready..." Tigh trailed off without finishing his sentence and took a drink from his cup. "Frack, if it were up to me you'd be gone already. Captain Spencer thinks you deserve a second chance and as CAG he's earned the right to make that call.


(emphasis added)

And it will come up again later. Even though I don't recall g-forces being mentioned explicitly on the TV show they do seem to be implied. For example, the six-axis chair at the shooting range to test pilot's ability to shoot despite disorientation would be unnecessary if Viper pilots didn't endure some acceleration forces from their manuevers.

On a different note, the above scene with Tigh and Boomer is later echoed when Sharon the cylon intel department head has to dress down one of her subordinates:

Quote:
"I am your friend Amy. I love you. I don't think a real friend says pleasant things to your face just to avoid conflict even when they know you're doing something wrong. I think a real friend is someone who tries to help you find the right path no matter how unpleasant the news is..." Sharon's voice trailed off and she took a drink from a metal cup on her desk. "So... Get your frackin' head in the game!"
...
"Cecil says you need to be demoted, and as the team supervisor he's earned the right to make that call."


I'll put in my $0.02 about the space propulsion part, and completely bore any remaining readers I might have. Here is the start of a paper by a very good researcher at ESA on gravity control and propulsion:

http://pdf.aiaa.org/jaPreview/JPP/2005/PVJA15240.pdf

and this work seems to be very promising in creating "gravity like" acceleration fields in a laboratory environment:

http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0610015v3

More accurate work might be done along these lines using very advanced military-grade laser ring gyros but since those sensors are classified it probably wouldn't be published so we can only hope that these experiments are being productive.

As for quantum mechanics and relativity being incompatible, I suspect that Goff, Lehmann, and Siegel's work may point the way to reconciling them, but I confess that I don't understand it enough to be certain and it seems to be under the radar of most of the current string-infatuated theoretical physics community who could:

http://www.novatialabs.com/Man59022.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:33 pm 
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Hera's Fiance
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Cylon Mobile Depot Ship #8
Sharon Valerii
28th Day Onboard

Sharon sat at the card table, leaning slightly forward and fidgeting her bare feet on the spongy brown floor. She wore a light gray and black workout shirt combination, even though she never wore clothing during her exercise sessions in the model-specific Cylon gymnasiums, and black flightsuit pants. She had let her hair down from the ponytail she wore on duty and it hung loosely, its dark brown strands framing her delicate, feminine face. She chewed the end of a long, thin, Cylon candy stick and studied the hand Cyrus had dealt her.

"I'll take two cards," she said to Cyrus. "You know what we need?" she added, speaking to no one in particular.

"More chips," replied Mark.

"Three cards," said Theron.

"No, we need cigars," she said while holding the candy stick in her fingers as if it were a stogie.

"One card," Mark stated.

"Cigars?" Cyrus asked while pulling cards from the deck.

"Yes, forget this 'aft damage control' business," Sharon stated. "We need to be sending our boarding parties to their humidors first. Cigars lose too much flavor if you get them after they have been exposed to hard vacuum."

"You know this from experience, Sharon?" Theron queried.

"Yeah, I had to punch out into space once after a collision during battlestar recovery training... which was completely not my fault by the way. I had two twenty-cubit cigars in my flight suit pocket. Raise."

"Are you sure tobacco isn't bad for you, Lieutenant Valerii?" Cyrus asked.

"I'll match that," stated Theron.

"My last doctor smoked like a chimney," Sharon replied, "Would a doctor do that if it was unhealthy?"

"Too rich for my blood," Mark said folding his cards, "Maybe you should start a cigar factory after the war instead of a flight school."

"But not for mine," said Cyrus, throwing in several more squares of colored plastic.

"Me either," countered Sharon as she threw more chips into the pot. "No, I've got a better idea. I'll use my cigar factory profits to fund building the flight school."

"I'm out," Theron admitted while tossing his cards down on the table. "That's assuming high command allows unofficial transactions after the mobilization ends."

Mark and Cyrus grunted and nodded in agreement with Theron's skepticism.

"Let's make this more interesting," Cyrus said as he tossed even more chips in the growing pile at the center of the table.

"Yes, let's." responded Sharon tossing in more of her own plastic colored squares. "The first Cylon cigar factory, I'll call it 'Sharon Valerii's Fine Smokable Phallic Symbols,'" she said smiling and holding her candy stick in the air. "I'll be a trillionaire. Maybe buy myself a nice house by the lake on Gemenon..."

"This will have to be my last hand, so I'd might as well play big," Cyrus stated wagering another stack of plastic.

"You should polish your chest better before these games." Sharon said as she moved her head around to glimpse a reflection of Cyrus's cards in his shiny metal plating.

Cyrus angled his cards down and pulled them closer to him. "What happened to 'Colonial Warriors don't cheat at cards'?" Cyrus asked.

"Well, perhaps not, but we know how to use the local terrain to our advantage." Sharon replied as she grinned and pushed more plastic chips into the pile. "That's okay; I know you're bluffing by the way you've been holding your cards low in your hand."

"I think you're the one who is bluffing, Lieutenant." Cyrus stated.

"It'll cost you to find out." Sharon replied casually.

"Why not? They're just chips." Cyrus said calling Sharon's bluff.

"Okay, I was bluffing," Sharon admitted as she laid her cards face up on the table and compared them with Cyrus's. "You win. But you'd have never taken that risk if that was a week's salary on the table instead. That's why we have to find something scarce and valuable to bet with."

"You let us know as soon as you find something," Theron said as everyone pushed their piles of chips into the center of the table.

"We can wager cigars after Sharon gets her factory started," Mark said.

"Well good night everyone," Cyrus said standing up, "It was fun as usual."

"I should be leaving, too." Mark admitted as he stood. "Good game everyone."

"Can you stay for a few minutes, Theron," Sharon asked, "I'd like to talk with you about something."

"Sure thing, Sharon," he answered.

After Mark and Cyrus left her room, Sharon transmitted a wireless command to lock the door behind them.

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 Post subject: Re: Obstinate Tin Soldier
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 5:34 pm 
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Author's Note:

Two Weeks.

Quote:
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.

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