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 Post subject: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Look Homeward Angel
By Chris Taylor
Rating: PG
Characters: Boomer
Disclaimer: Neither BSG nor the characters are mine and I make no money from this.
Warning: Feel free to eat or drink anything you like when reading this story.

It was almost dawn and the first rays of the sunrise were illuminating the eastern sky of the Cylon Homeworld as Sharon Valerii stealthily made her way alone up a sparsely wooded hillside. She had traversed a dozen similar hills while wearing 20 kilos worth of reproduction Colonial-issue combat gear that morning in the 3 hours since she had abandon her Raptor and set out on foot.

It had all started simply enough. Doral asked her if she'd ever been to Picon. He never had, but wanted to find someone who had memories of it that would share with him. Sharon told him she'd never been and suggested if he couldn't find anyone with real memories that he should just have some memories fabricated.

"You can't fake memories," Doral told Boomer dismissively, and walked off to find Simon.

"You can't fake memories." Doral didn't seem to even consider the impact his simple statement would have on Sharon Valerii. She knew first hand that someone could produce fake memories, because she had them. And she knew that the fake ones felt just as real as her authentic memories did. Or at least that's what Sharon thought she knew. Her memories of childhood and her family had to be fake because machines didn't have either of those things, and Sharon Valerii was a machine, a model 8 Cylon. Except... “You can't fake memories.” If her memories were not fabricated, then where had they come from?

The search for the answer to that question had taken months of digging through data, often that wasn't on the official knowledebase, followed by weeks of pouring over maps and satellite imagery by hand, she didn't trust anyone else enough to delegate the task, and finally several days of introspection to build up the courage to come here: a place that should not exist but did, an island in the broad Southern Ocean of the Cylon Homeworld but not on any official map.

She had brought her spacecraft in at night, coasting toward the Homeworld through the quiet blackness of space with the Raptor’s systems powered down in an attempt to look like an inert bit of space debris. It was a trick she had performed once before on a different world, but she tried not to let herself think about that and busied herself instead with checking and rechecking her combat gear. She performed a power off deadstick descent through the Homeworld atmosphere high over the middle of the Southern Ocean, appearing like any of a dozen meteors that would streak across the sky that evening. Sharon waited until she was below 1000 meters altitude before she ignited the Raptor’s engines and then quickly brought her craft down as low as she dared, making the final approach to the mysterious island at just over wave-top height. After setting her Raptor down in a secluded valley and covering it with radar absorbent camouflage netting she had to spend a few more minutes steeling her nerves before she finally left her spacecraft behind and headed alone into the dark woods for the final stage of her journey, to a destination that was now just on the other side of the next hill.

As Sharon approached the crest of the hill she knelt down and began slowly crawling through the wild grass that covered the majority of the hillside. She ignored the swarm of tiny black insects that buzzed around her face, the itchy irritation on her skin where the coarse blades of grass stuck to her sweaty arms, and the dull pain in her shoulders where her backpack straps dug into them. The easy life on Cylon basestars had made her soft, Sharon reflected. As an upperclassman in the Colonial Fleet Academy she would have considered this trek to be an easy morning field exercise. A few meters from her destination she stopped to catch her breath and quench her thirst with a long drink from her canteen. She looked back at the hillside behind her for a moment, trying to imagine what it would look like blanketed in snow, seen through the eyes of a half-terrified, half-thrilled seven year old girl sliding down it on a new sled.

Sharon was only a few meters from the top now. She flattened herself against the ground with her service carbine cradled in her arms and slid, even more slowly now, forward. As she reached the crest of the hill a broad valley on the opposite side revealed itself to her, bisected by a river that was barely large enough to be worthy of the title. Nestled in the heart of the valley beside the river was a small town. It was not just any town, however; it was the Colonial town of New Seres and it was Sharon Valerii’s hometown.


Author's Note: I know some of you are thinking "What are you doing starting a new fic when OTS isn't done!?" Well, it's not a new fic, this beginning chapter was already posted on Kindreds. I'm going to write the conclusion as a way to stretch out my writing muscles before writing the 3rd story in the OTS trilogy. I'm deliberately trying to write in more complicated sentences just as an exersize.

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:08 am 
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No lights or movement were visible in the windows of the buildings. The dark streetlights stared uselessly down on empty streets where ragged lines of half-meter high grass marked fissures in the aging pavement. Sharon focused her attention on the building nearest to her: a large house whose back yard reached to the base of the steep incline just below her vantage point. It had been Boomer's childhood home, but all that was left was the burned out shell of the building. The swimming pool was empty except for a shallow puddle of green slime and it looked like someone had dropped a cluster of small cratering munitions onto the tiled patio around it. The destruction appeared to be cruelly deliberate because her mother's prize rose garden, that had been nestled between the gazebo and the guest house, the only two structures on the estate that seemed to be still intact, had not just been killed but actually plowed under so that only a barren rectangle of dirt remained.

Sharon stared at the ruins beneath her. She knew from painful experience what she should feel upon learning that her parents were dead, but it didn't feel the same as it did the first time. She felt empty, detached, almost like an observer in her own head. She had already suffered and grieved and finally come to terms with the loss of her parents. If anything, she felt a strange sense of relief. For a brief while the Cylons had managed to not only take away her future but also to destroy her past, by convincing her that her childhood and her parents had never really existed. Now, even if she didn't have her parents in the present, at least their past had been restored. Eventually she hoped to discover the secret of how a town of humans came to live on the Cylon homeworld and why her parents raised an espionage machine as if it were their own little girl. Maybe they had been Cylon sympathizers during the first war who had been unable to bear children of their own and were happy to adopt her. Maybe they were prisoners of war who were forced to pretend to be her parents at the beginning but grew over time to love her. Regardless of how her family had come to be, Sharon had eventually convinced herself that her parents truly did love her. Almost.

Her greatest fear in taking this journey had not been any of the physical dangers or hardships it would involve, but rather that her parents would be afraid of her or disown her. She had been terrified that she would meet her parents and discover that she had been nothing but an unpleasant assignment and their affections for her had been nothing but an act they were forced to perform. Sharon knew it was a baseless fear, she knew that no people could have lied that perfectly for that long, but she still hadn't been able to escape the fear and doubt. The possibility that her childhood could be destroyed in her mind again after she had only just gotten it back had weighed on her like a giant millstone pressing down on her shoulders and slowly grinding her into the dirt, but now... now she was free of it. She was free to believe her mother and father's love had been real because there was no one left who could prove to her it wasn't. She was free to believe that even after she left home to go to the Academy her daddy would not drink his morning coffee in anything except that embarrassingly misshapen orange mug she had made for him in the second grade. She was free to believe that her mom had kept Sharon's room just like she'd left it, dusting the swimming medals and the model battlestar that sat on the shelf next to Mr. Cuddles, and hoping that somehow, some day her daughter would return home to sleep there again.

As the sun slowly crept up into the sky and the cool morning breeze blew through her hair, Sharon Valerii lay in the grass atop the hill behind her house and stared at the blackened shell of the building while she wondered many times she had been on this hilltop before. She closed her eyes and in her memory she could still hear her worried mother's shouts to be careful lest she tumble down the slope and break her leg as plainly as if the intervening years, and tragedy, and death, and more tragedy, had never happened. The machine that was once the little girl in the house by the hill exhaled slowly, opened her eyes, retrieved a pair of binoculars from a hard-sided pouch on her hip, and began to scan the valley's terrain with the cold, practiced eyes of a naval officer and combat veteran. Daylight was burning and she still had much ground to cover before she reached her destination.

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:03 am 
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At last, the second part of this interesting alternative/uchronic-BSG fic ! :)
I always knew Sharon was a very special Model, maybe like Rachael in the first version of Blade Runner (but not in Scott's cut).
So, if her memories weren't that fake, she must have been a child too?

Nice flowing, "peaceful" style, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:32 am 
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Nice! I'm really enjoying this alternate backstory of Sharon.


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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:56 am 
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cool, I missed thos stuff!!

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:47 am 
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Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. I'll have to get the last chapter betaed before I post it, so there may be a slight delay.

Pierre wrote:
Nice flowing, "peaceful" style, btw.


With this fanfic I'm deliberately trying to alter my writing style by using longer and more complicated sentences in order to stretch my writing skills. Intersting you like it because I got some of the inspiration to try that from reading your works (among others).

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Chris Taylor wrote:
I got some of the inspiration to try that from reading your works (among others).


:platy: thanX ! :platy:

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:00 am 
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On the far side of the river was the town's supposed reason for existence, a gated compound dominated by a large, low, heavily reinforced concrete structure: The Hole. Sharon had never been inside and had grown up believing it was the entrance to an underground facility where her father, and most of the town's adult inhabitants, developed and tested the latest automated mining technologies for the Olympic Interstellar Mining Consortium. Lt. Valerii had no idea what was really in that facility, but it seemed unlikely that it was mining equipment and she was now determined to find out. Even the Cylon Empire didn't have the resources to construct an elaborately detailed and fully-staffed fake Colonial town just for the purpose of developing a single deep cover agent; that suggested there were more Cylons like her, with memories of a real childhood and human parents.

Sharon had wondered for a short while if all the children in New Seres were Cylons being unwittingly groomed for careers in espionage and murder, but there were many of her classmates whose race, gender, and appearance didn't match any Cylon model. Several of them did, however. Timothy, the shy kid who excelled in science, was probably a young Four and Joseph, the Pyramid letterman a couple of years older than Sharon, might have been a One. She identified several others who could have been Twos, Threes, or Fives, but she wasn't sure. One Cylon she was certain of was Julia, her best friend during high-school. She was a Six; Sharon was sure of it. There was no information on the other sleeper agents in the official Cylon knowledgebase, but perhaps there were still records of them stored in The Hole that would help Lt. Valerii track down her old classmates.

Perhaps also she could discover the history of the town's human occupants, and her own family tree. She feared she would find that the capture of the humans and their cruel manipulation behind the facade of New Seres was just another terrible atrocity that blighted her race's short history. But in moments when she allowed herself to hope, and despite all the painful disappointment hoping had brought her in the past she sometimes dared to let such thoughts linger, she wondered if maybe New Seres held the secret of a new future she could build for both Cylons and Humans... if maybe in her parent's youth they had been among the idealistic students who had fought for the abolition of Cylon slavery and escaped before the “race treason” trials and the mass executions... if maybe, just maybe, New Seres had been a real utopia instead of a sham prison. After all, Julia wasn't the only obvious Six in her family; her mother was, too, even though her father was just as clearly human. And there were other townsfolk who appeared to have been engaging in inter-species romance as well: Dr. Peters's wife must have been human and everyone at school knew what Coach Tamar and Miss. Helen really did in the librarian's office during lunch. Every day that went by since she learned New Seres wasn't just a figment of her programming Sharon had allowed herself more and more to consider the dangerous, insane, but intoxicating possibility that some of the Humans and Cylons of New Seres had been real couples... real partners... real lovers.

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 Post subject: Re: Look Homeward Angel, by C.Taylor, PG
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:49 am 
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Sometimes I really miss Sharon and Helo!!! :sad:

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