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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Mayor of Dogsville

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:23 pm
Posts: 37
The next two are shorter, so I'll post 'em together:

Voice of Reason Part 10: Across The Line

---

"This is stupid," Cavil said, some days later. "Really stupid. Do we have to do this?"

"Yes, we do," Boomer said. "Ceremonies are important to the humans. This is the way they bond, the way they welcome others into their tribes. You do want to be part of their tribe, right?"

"No. But if it means they'll slave their engines to ours, I'll take it," he said. "Otherwise, we're all gonna have to get out and row!"

"It's not such a bad ceremony, brother," Simon said. "The symbology is actually quite similar to Resurrection."

Cavil snorted. He was still missing his Simon and Doral, and hadn't quite warmed up to the other Fours and Fives yet. "Resurrection, my ass. It's a lost cause, anyway. Weren't you sayin' that Tyrol and Tory got wasted during the battle, Sharon?"

Boomer nodded, then looked away.

"It doesn't matter," Doral said. "The Final Five's equipment is gone. They wouldn't have done us any good, anyway."

"Yeah, I guess so. If we want to be better machines, I guess we're gonna have to do it on our own, huh?"

"Indeed. I'm looking forward to it," Simon said. "And did you know that their hospital has a patient with fourth-degree burns on both hands? I've never even tried double hand-replacement surgery on a human before." He rubbed his own hands together. "As soon as we finish replicating them, he'll be good as new. Allowing for two or three months of physical therapy, of course."

"Wonderful, Simon. I'm so glad you're having fun," Cavil sighed. "I still think this is stupid, though. It's an irrational waste of foodstuffs, that's what it is."

Ten minutes later, Cavil's group was arrayed across the Galactica's hangar bay. There were Cavil, Boomer, another One, and two each of the Fours and Fives, along with what remained of the Final Five. Across from them stood the human alliance: Bill and Lee Adama, Kara Thrace, Gaius Baltar, Dragon, Doc Cottle, Ishay, a Two, an Eight, and a Six.

Kara waved at Sam. He grinned back, bouncing on the balls of his feet, hardly able to wait.

Between them stood Caprica Six, holding a box of table salt. She strode forward, pouring a thick line of salt upon the floor between the two groups. Then she stood at the end of it, looking proudly out over her people.

"Their enemies will divide them," she recited, her voice ringing out across the bay. "Their colonies broken in the fiery chasm of space. Their shining days renounced by a multitude of dark sacrifices. Yet still they will remain: always together."

"Always together," both sides chanted. They came together, obliterating the line with their feet.

Caprica laughed joyfully. "Together. The Thirteen Tribes, together at last!"

The minute their feet hit the line, Kara was in Sam's arms. He laughed, spinning her around. "Hey, Starbuck. Missed you."

She thumped him on the back. "Longshot!" she cried. "You gotta tell me all about your big Cylon adventurff--" He kissed her, deeply, muffling her words. She wrapped her legs around his waist, heedless of the rest of the world, and lost herself in her husband.

Boomer hung back, watching as the rebel Cylons reunited with their brothers. A One offered his hand to the Two, who pulled him into a hug instead. The look of shock and mild disgust on the One's face made Boomer smile. The Fours were much more physical; one of them lifted a Six right off the ground, grinning up at her as she laughed.

While Boomer was watching them, the Eight sidled up without her noticing. "Doesn't seem much like a war, does it?" the Eight asked.

Boomer froze. "Uh..."

"Relax, sister. I don't bite."

Boomer turned to look at her. This Eight wore her hair with a side part, and she was wearing a green blouse Boomer hadn't seen before. After all this time, it was strange to see an Eight wearing something that wasn't in the program; it was like looking at a distorted image of her old self, aboard Galactica.

"You like my shirt?" the Eight asked. "I traded a pair of our tan slacks for it." She turned a bit, so Boomer could see how it tied in the back.

"It's... nice," Boomer said. "I, uh..." She trailed off, glancing away. One of the Fives was talking with Lee Adama, who looked about as uncomfortable as Boomer felt. Boomer caught the words "nice pinstripes", but then the Eight spoke up again.

"Look, it's OK," she said. "We're not mad -- not anymore."

Boomer looked back at her. "Really?"

"Two says this was all in God's plan. He says it was right for you to go with Cavil, and that's why we have peace." She shrugged. "Guess you're a Hero of the Cylon again."

Boomer's eyes narrowed. "You have got to be kidding me. I broke consensus. I voted against my line. I took the opposite side in the frakkin' civil war, and now I'm a hero?"

"A lot of things have happened since you've been away. We don't have a 'line' anymore, not really. We accessed your memories -- yours and Athena's, from the last time you both downloaded -- and now we're becoming individuals, just like you. Every one of us. Maybe that's part of God's Plan, too... maybe we needed you and Athena to show us the way."

"Oh," said Boomer. She wasn't quite sure what to think of that; the mental image of thousands of Boomer-Athenas was a little scary. "So... what, I'm just forgiven?"

"Sure, as far as I care. Some of the others are still mad, though. Watch who you talk to for a while." The Eight reached up and flipped her hair over her shoulder, as if unconcerned by the idea, but Boomer shivered.

She'd been a martyr at least twice already.

By the time she had something to say, though, the Eight had already wandered off, intent on flirting with one of the Fours.

Not far away, Cavil was chatting with Caprica Six. "So, what's it like to be spawning?" he asked, eyeing her stomach.

"You want to feel him?"

Cavil gave her an incredulous look.

"Here, just try," she said, taking his hand. She placed it on her belly, where Liam was.

Cavil left his hand there for just a moment, and then said, "Well, thanks, but I don't feel anyth-- ugh! Ugh, it's moving in there, like some kind of writhing parasite!" He yanked his hand back, wringing it as if he'd gotten something disgusting on it. "How can you stand to have that... that wriggling thing in your abdomen?!"

"Some days are easier than others," she said dryly. "But I want this baby, Cavil. I want him to live, to love... I want him to know his family. Can't you understand that?"

"Well... you were no great shakes when you were just a prototype, either, I guess," he conceded. "Always falling into the Hybrid's tub and gettin' your hair all gooey. Used to take Tory hours to brush it all out. Still, this biological reproduction stuff is just weird."

"I'm beginning to think our family might not be the best judge when it comes to 'weird'," Caprica sighed.

Just then, as if summoned by the words, Ellen approached. Cavil saw her coming. His spine stiffened, and as Boomer watched, he turned away with the slow, deliberate grace of the deeply offended. Ellen reached for him, as if she meant to touch his shoulder, though she was much too far away.

Boomer winced. Oh, hell, she thought, the first word out of her mouth is gonna be 'John', and there goes the truce.

But the first thing Ellen said was "Cavil".

Cavil turned at the sound of his name, just a little, until he was turned half toward Ellen and half facing away. The look on his face made Boomer's heart ache; it was need and hate and love, all mixed up together.

Ellen smiled at her son. "I told you," she said. "I knew you could be good."

Cavil grimaced. "This isn't about bein' good," he growled. "That's not the point. This is about our future, about our family. About me and Doral an' Simon. We're gonna be machines, Mom." He raised his chin. "The best machines. Even without your help."

"I know," she said. Her mouth moved, as though she meant to say more, but then thought better of it. "I... I'm glad for you."

Cavil looked at her for what seemed like a long time. Finally, he nodded. "Thanks," he muttered. But when she moved to hold him, he flinched away.

Saul chose that moment to intervene. "Forget it," he said, glaring at the back of Cavil's head. He took Ellen's elbow, and guided her away, over to where Caprica Six was standing at the edge of the crowd. "Don't push it. Just let him be."

As if to make her feel better, Gaius Baltar hugged Ellen, the other Six, and then Ellen again, until Saul Tigh's watchful eye chased him back to Caprica's side. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and they stood together, watching their people mingle. The Four and Eight were holding hands. Dragon was showing one of the Fives his tattoos. In the corner, the other One kept sneaking glances at the Tighs, then looking away again.

In the middle of the crowd, Bill Adama shook Cavil's hand, his face a stern mask. "I'm glad we were able to come to an agreement, Mr. Cavil," Adama said. "I'll be pleased to see an end to this war."

Cavil shrugged. "I swore I'd do whatever it takes to end the cycle of violence, Admiral. Even if it means playin' nice with you humans. I want my people to prosper." He pushed his hands into his pockets, as if he didn't like shaking hands.

"That's all any of us want. I promise you that."

"Hm," Cavil said, hunching his shoulders. "Tell you what -- why don't you and your people come dine with us on the Colony tomorrow? We Cylons are consensus-driven machines; unity is paramount. We want a vote, to make this truce official. What do you say?"

Adama frowned. "You came to our ceremony," he said, watching as his son gave a Simon a rather formal hug. "We'll be happy to come to yours."

"Great! We'll send somebody over around eight. Bring whoever you like."

Afterward, the humans and Cylons parted quickly. For all their "togetherness", they hadn't meshed yet. The humans were still in their own ships, either in the restored fleet clustered around the Colony, or aboard the Galactica, which was still nestled within the Cylon hangar bay. A tent city had sprung up around it, Dogsville style, but the humans and rebel Cylons had yet to venture beyond the bay.

The two Cavils walked together through the tent city, with Boomer by their side. "There's one last thing we need to do, brother," one of them said. "We-- we were in error. We thought you were broken, but you saved us all... s'pose that makes us the broken ones, doesn't it?" He clutched his hat in his hand. "We'd be honored if you'd return to us."

"Frak, yes! Do you have any idea what a horrible curse individuality is? It's so lonely!" Cavil shivered.

"We can do it now, if you're ready. We've got the datafont all set up."

"That's my brothers: always efficient," Cavil said. He gave the other Cavil a friendly thump on the shoulder. "Let's do it!"

The other Cavil strode on ahead. Boomer took her Cavil's arm. "Are you sure about this?" she asked him.

"Yeah. I can't live without my brothers, Sharon. It's just too empty. You understand, right? You know how it is. You've lived without the Eights for a while now."

"I do understand," Boomer said. "It wasn't an easy choice. I can't blame you for going back, but after all we've been through..." She looked down at the floor. "Will you still want me?"

He smiled, and curled his arm around her waist. "Course I will. I'll still be me; it's just that they'll all be me, too!"

She laughed, and stood quietly by while the Cavils welcomed their brother home. Three of them stood by the datafont, with her Cavil on the other side. They put their hands in the datafluid, and then he did, too. Slowly, almost imperceptively, their faces changed. They grew more like each other -- more like her own Cavil -- until she looked from face to face, and could no longer tell the difference.

Still, her own Cavil made a beeline for her as soon as the download was finished, scooping her up in a hug. "I did it! Sharon, I did it! I got my brothers back!"

"I'm so glad, Cavil," she said. She kissed him, deeply, welcoming him home.

"Is that OK with you?" Five asked one of the other Cavils, gesturing at their clinch. "I mean, now you love her too, right?"

"Ah, s'ok. It's enough to know that one of me is gettin' some action, y'know? Besides..."

He grinned. "I hear she has sisters!"

---

"Wait, they invited us to dinner?" Kara asked. She'd met the others -- the Admiral, Lee, Baltar, Caprica, and the Final Three -- in the CIC. They were waiting for Cavil's messenger.

"The dinner isn't the point," Caprica said. "The voting is what's important. It's just that we usually vote over dinner. It's easier to achieve consensus when everyone has been biologically sated."

"That's a weird way to put it," Sam said.

She smiled. "Not really. Be grateful they didn't invite you to the orgy before the dinner."

Kara shuddered. "So the deal is, we have dinner, then we vote, and that's it?"

"That's it. It's not too hard."

"I think you're overlooking something," Tigh said. "If we're having dinner, that means one of us is going to have to sit next to Cavil."

Silence followed his announcement.

"I'll do it," Kara said finally. "It's no big deal."

"Are you sure?" Sam asked. "You've been through enough, Kara. I can volunteer for this."

She rolled her eyes. "You can be my wingman, Sammy. You can sit next to me on the other side, and that way you can stop me if I start to strangle him, OK?"

"Yeah, OK. But I--"

Just then, the electric-blue Five who'd become their liason walked through the hatch. "Excuse me, but it's time to go. I hope you'll enjoy the dinner."

They followed him through the red-lit halls. Kara and the other military officers were tense, checking their six every minute or so. It felt like a trap... but then, the salt ceremony could have been a trap, yet the Cylons had been willing to come. Kara scowled; no way she'd let them make Colonial officers look like cowards.

They rounded a corner, and came to a meeting room where fourteen fancy place settings had been laid out on a long table, seven on each side. The Cylons were already inside: two of each model, plus Boomer made seven. They were standing by the table, awaiting their guests.

"Welcome," Cavil said, spreading his hands like the priest he'd once pretended to be. "Please, join us."

There was an awkward moment with the seating; Kara and Sam sat beside Cavil, as planned, and then Boomer sat next to him on the other side. The other Cavil took the seat next to her, with one of the Dorals beside him. The others glanced at each other, glanced again, and then ended up alternating, putting each of the remaining Cylons between two of the Colonials.

"Well, I hope you're all doing fine," Cavil said. "How's your, uh, rustbucket? And your squalid tents?"

There was a long, awkward silence.

"What he means to say is, we hope your people are well. Except for the ones we killed, of course," said Doral.

Simon gave them both a long-suffering look. "Please forgive my brothers," he said. "They're not very good at pleasantries. We really are sincere in our welcome; we've been looking forward to this dinner all afternoon! It's so nice to see all of you again."

Caprica smiled. The atmosphere at the table relaxed.

"Y'know, maybe we oughtta let Simon do the talking," Cavil muttered to the Doral beside him.

"We're glad to be here," Adama said, removing his glasses. He folded them beside his plate. "We're eager to solidify this ceasefire."

"We, too," Simon said. "But first, let's dine." He tapped his fork against his glass; several of the old-model Centurions clomped in bearing trays.

"Um, they didn't cook the food, did they?" Lee asked. He gave the trays a nervous glance.

"Oh, no, of course not. We Fours did. It's a long-time hobby of ours. Cooking is surprisingly similar to surgery!"

There was another awkward silence. Then the Centurions began to place bowls of soup before the guests.

The minute the scent of the broth hit her nose, Kara's mouth started to water. The soup was a dark brown, nice and thick, supplemented by toothsome bits of onion, roast lamb, and carrot.

Best of all, it contained not a single iota of algae.

The first spoonful was like heaven. Kara actually moaned. So did Baltar. After that, there was not a sound in the room save the clink of silver on ceramic. The Colonials ate eagerly, bolting down their soup as though they expected someone to come and take it from them. Cavil's Cylons eyed them incredulously.

"Perhaps I should have prepared a double serving of the soup," Simon murmured.

"Forget it, brother. Just bring out the salad before they turn on us!"

Kara used her spoon to eke out the last scraps of lamb, hesitated briefly, and then lifted the bowl to her face and began to lick up the broth. She needn't have worried; even Adama was doing it, though he somehow managed to look dignified at it. Thankfully, the salad arrived.

It was even better than the soup, full of rich, dark greens with a spicy Gemenese dressing. None of them had had fresh vegetables since New Caprica, and Kara found that she craved them even more than the meat. As she wolfed them down, it occurred to her that they were all going to regret this meal later... but even so, she couldn't stop. After four years of living on noodles, protein bars, and powdered algae, fresh food felt like a miracle.

"Normally we vote before the main course," Simon said, once everyone had finished. "But I suspect you'd prefer to eat first?"

"No, we'd better take a break," Adama said. "We'll all be sick as it is."

"All right, then," Cavil said, as the Centurions began to fill his guests' wineglasses. "The first order of business: total cessation of hostilities between humans and Cylons, until further notice. The Ones agree."

"The Fours agree," Simon said.

"The Fives agree," said Doral.

"The Sixes agree," Caprica said. "And the Twos and Eights asked me to give you their agreement as well."

"I agree," Boomer said, smiling. "Peace, at last."

Adama paused. "The, uh, humans agree?" he tried.

"No one has any objections?" Cavil asked. Kara shook her head.

She hadn't been entirely sure about this an hour ago, but the food was very convincing.

"That'll do. Great, that's consensus! Let's eat!"

The main course was roast duck with rustic Aerilon vegetables. It was so fresh the plates were steaming, and the bird itself was done to perfection, crispy on the outside yet soft and juicy beneath.

"Just like Dad used to make!" Baltar told Caprica, spearing a tender bit of turnip on his fork. She smiled, patting his leg.

From the first mouthful, Kara was sure that this was a meal they'd be telling their grandkids about. She blinked. Frak, this is history, she thought. We're actually making history, right now. Then she had another mouthful. Ah, who cares! This is so damn good.

Soon, everyone had slowed to picking at their plates, and small conversations were beginning. One of the Simons asked Ellen about some point of programming; his brother Cavil glared at him. Tigh, Caprica, and Baltar began to chat about Caprica's baby.

Cavil leaned toward Kara, lowering his voice. "So," he asked her, "what do you think? Can we make this alliance work?"

"Looks all right to me. I've got just one question: where are we going?"

"Going?"

"Yeah. We need a home, someplace we can raise our children."

Cavil blinked. "The Colony doesn't really go anywhere in particular. We just live on it. We thought you would, too."

Kara looked around, glancing at the eerie red light which slid along the walls. "No. We belong on a planet. We need to feel the sun and the rain. We can't... we can't live like this. We'll have to send out Raptors, and find someplace we can land."

"Whoa, hang on. Who put you in charge? This is our Colony, not your stupid taxi, and we are sure as hell not gonna land anywhere. We're Cylons. Machines. We don't want to live on the skin of some dirty planet like-- like animals!"

Tigh caught the tail end of the conversation; his silent, one-eyed glare was very telling.

"Shh! Listen. I don't care if you land, but we're going to," Kara said. "We have to. So you can either help us, or... I guess this truce is over."

"Wait a second. Is that a threat, Thrace?"

She drew close to Cavil, lowering her voice to a growl. "You bet it is. Get it straight: you killed our frakking worlds, you asshole. You killed our families. You owe us. Big time. Half of us would love to have you sentenced for war crimes and shot like a dog, and the only way you're getting out of it is if you shut the frak up and play ball. Got it? This is your chance to make up for what you've done, at least a little, and if you don't take it, you've only yourself to blame. Think about it."

Cavil blinked. "That's a hell of a speech," he said slowly. "Kinda poetic. Where are you from, anyway?"

"What? Caprica. I was born in Caprica City."

"Huh. You remind me of somebody." He frowned, letting his eyes slip shut as though he was lost in memory.

"Hello?" Kara asked.

"You're right," he said at last. "The least I can do is make things up to-- to my family." He paused, and then nodded, as though making up his mind. "Tell you what: I know where you can find a planet."

"You're kidding!"

"No, I do. There was a pretty good solar system in that data we sent over with Ellen's Raptor. But I'm warning you, it'll take us half a year to get there. Maybe more. The Colony is damned slow, especially with a bunch of human engines tacked onto it."

He grinned wickedly. "You're gonna have to put up with us for a while longer, human."

Dessert was berry crumble with a glass of brandy. Kara didn't have room for it, but she ate most of it anyway, leaving behind a little chunk of crust with a smear of blueberry on it. She cleared the brandy, though, as did everyone else; between that and the wine, she felt warm and cozy as she followed the others back to the Galactica, side by side with Sam.

She didn't forget to check her six on the way out, but all she saw was a Simon, who gave her a cheery wave.

---

"OK, they're gone," Cavil sighed, once the table was down to one each of the three models, along with Boomer. "Time for the real vote. Are we seriously gonna go through with this?"

Boomer watched as he poured himself another glass of wine, and then drank half of it in a gulp.

"It seemed to go well enough," Simon said. "Admiral Adama even complimented my carmelized carrots."

"I'm not talkin' about having them over for dinner, Simon. I'm talking about letting them live here," Cavil said. "Humans, aboard our Colony? They're gonna get biological filth everywhere." He shuddered, rolling his shoulders.

"We can't trust them," Doral added, adjusting the cuffs of his electric-blue suit. "You know we can't. They'll only try to kill us, like they did on New Caprica. Or enslave us again."

"That's different," Boomer said. She looked from Cylon to Cylon. "We weren't trying to live in peace with them. Now we are. You don't understand humans yet -- they hate to be pressured like that. They can't be managed or ordered from above. They need their own lives, their own space."

"We gave them their own space," Doral protested. "They had tents! Besides, I worked for months to help them plant an orange grove, meant just for humans. And then they burned it! The same humans who'd helped me turned around and burned everything we'd worked so hard to build. What if they do the same to our Colony?"

"Well then, what would you have us do?" Simon asked. "Our Centurions and Raiders are gone. The Colony will take years to heal. Tens of thousands of our people have perished, in this battle alone, and their knowledge and experience is lost to us forever." He steepled his hands. "We cannot continue this war, brothers. The Fours vote for peace."

"Say what? That's it? You're not even gonna wait to see how I vote?" Cavil asked, in a small, shocked voice.

Simon looked down at the table. "I have voted with you all this time, One, and I will never regret it. You've always found the most logical course, and I believe you will again. But my brothers and I have decided among ourselves, and this issue is too important to leave to chance. We must seek peace, regardless of how the rest of you vote. Yes, even if it means breaking consensus. I'm sorry."

"I vote, too," Boomer blurted, her heart in her throat. "Eight votes for peace."

"I cannot frakkin' believe this," Cavil growled, glaring at her.

She met his gaze. "I have to do this, Cavil. I've been waiting four years to make this vote. Caprica and I were right. If the rest of you had only listened to us, we could have avoided all this pain."

"Yeah, right. Why don't you go run back to the humans, then, if you like 'em so damn much? Maybe they'll even let you wear a fancy uniform. I hear the coveted position of Token Toaster is open at the moment!" Cavil sneered.

"No," Boomer said, letting the insult flow over her. "I am a Cylon. I've chosen my side. People should be true to who and what they are -- you told me that once." She paused, and then took a deep breath. "I'm a machine, and machines don't throw their lives away for irrational causes."

Cavil thought about that for a long time, tapping his fingers on the top of the table. "What about you, Five?" he asked at last. "What do you think of this lunacy?"

"We must have consensus," Doral said. "We Fives will vote with the majority."

Cavil put his head in his hands. "I don't understand this," he groaned. "I thought you were all on board with the Plan. Why are you doin' this now, after all we've been through?"

"People change," Simon said. "Even machines change. If we're ever to become true machines, we must grow... and we must start now." He held out his hand. "Join us, brother. Let's forget about the humans, and concentrate on bettering ourselves."

Cavil nodded weakly. "I want to become a better machine. I do. But the Cycle... if we don't destroy the humans now, we'll only condemn our people to another war."

"Maybe. But maybe not," Boomer said. "If we keep the humans close, maybe we can stop them. Or maybe they'll know better, this time. You really think they'll try to enslave machines again, if we're around to remind them?"

"Of course they will. They always do. It'll all happen again," Cavil said. He gave a fatalistic shrug.

"I don't care," Doral said, folding his arms across his chest. "If it happens, it happens. We can deal with it then. Wouldn't war be easier if we were true machines, anyway? Think about it: we could mass-produce millions of ourselves. We could crush them!"

Cavil thought about it. Boomer could see the eager spark in his eyes.

"I want unity," Doral went on. "We must have consensus. Vote with us, brother."

"All right," Cavil said. "All right. The Ones agree. We'll have peace... for now."

Boomer smiled, and reached across to squeeze his hand. "I knew you'd come around eventually," she told him.

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say," he grumped.

Simon nodded. "Give this ceasefire a chance, Cavil. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised." He stood, offering his elbow to Boomer. "Come, let's check those stitches of yours. We can't have them getting infected."

Doral stayed behind, watching as they left. Cavil drained the rest of his wine, and then reached to fill his glass again.

"Don't worry, One," Doral said with a casual shrug. "It's not as if we have to trust the humans. We Fives will be watching, and I'm sure you will be, too." He gave Cavil a genial smile. "If they betray us again, we can always destroy them."

Cavil paused, one hand on his wineglass.

"I like the way you think, brother."

---

Gaius sighed. He laid his head down upon his folded arms and shrugged down into his favorite white coat, gazing out over his desk at the remnants of his lab. Nearly every last bit of glassware was broken. In three hours he'd managed to salvage no more than seventeen slides, a couple of test tubes which had had the good luck to roll under the desk, and a beaker with a broken stem. All his papers, likewise, were scattered and torn. His desk was littered with random, meaningless sheets, in a layer nearly a quarter inch thick.

It didn't matter. He was no longer quite sure which ones were lies, anyway.

"Cheer up, Gaius," Caprica told him. "It's not so bad. We have each other, don't we?"

He looked up at her, raising one eyebrow. She was standing by the hatch in a slim black dress. Even after all that had happened, she'd never looked better to him. "So we do," he purred. "We'll just have to... make the best of things."

She smiled. "That's the spirit. We've got to set a good example for Hera, don't you think?"

Gaius glanced over to where Hera was playing. The little girl was drawing with crayons on the back of more of his scientific papers, in a corner Caprica had cleared off for her.

"Er, about that..." Gaius started. Caprica stepped forward, frowning down at him in a scary sort of way, and he sat straight up in his chair. "I-- I mean--"

Just then, Admiral Adama knocked on the hatch.

"Admiral!" Gaius cried. "Just the man I was hoping to see! Please, come in!"

Adama glowered at him. He was turning his eyeglasses over in his hand, which was never a good sign. "Dr. Baltar," he said. "And-- and Caprica. Good afternoon."

"Good afternoon, Admiral," Caprica said. "How are you?"

"Fine... all things considered. But this isn't a social call. I need you to tell me -- both of you -- whether you think we can trust our new allies. Is Cavil serious about this, or is it another Cylon trick?"

Gaius watched as Caprica sat down on the couch. "The Ones are very... pragmatic," she said. "They almost always choose the most direct course. As long as you can keep that course lined up with your own, you'll be fine. But if Cavil needs to make a choice between his own goals and your alliance, he won't hesitate to get rid of you."

"We can't trust him, then."

Caprica shrugged. Hera wandered over and climbed up into her lap, clutching at her dress. Gaius kept hoping she'd pull it down a bit.

"It's not as simple as that," Caprica said, stroking the little girl's hair. "You can trust him to keep his word, as far as it goes. Which isn't all that far, but it is something. Especially since you voted on it. Voting is... well, I hesitate to say 'sacred', but it matters to him. His model was always very concerned with consensus, with unity. The trick is to use that to keep him moving your way, as long as you can."

"And if I can't?"

Her lips curved up in a tight smile. "Then you'd better think of some other way to beat him."

Adama nodded. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Doctor. We've got eight nukes left, along with a good amount of ordnance and some G-4. What can we do with it, if we have to?"

"Against the Colony?" Gaius asked.

Adama nodded.

"Bugger all, that's what! The Colony is massive, Admiral. It makes eight nukes look like a firecracker. Even if we lit them all off and then initiate an FTL jump out of this hangar bay -- which we can't, because the drive is still down -- the Colony would surely survive it."

"How about that room Anders told me about? The one with all the wires?"

Caprica spoke up again. "The Ones, Fours, and Fives have it guarded. And it won't matter anyway, not for long. The Colony routes around damage; if you hurt it, it grows back quickly, and even stronger than before. It won't make the same mistake twice. It'll create a redundant control system, this time, one you won't be able to break."

"Then we really are stuck with it," Adama said. He lowered his eyes, staring down at the floor. "This-- this ceasefire."

"It would appear so," Baltar said. He frowned. He wasn't quite sure whether the ceasefire worked in his favor or not; being back in charge of the lab seemed like a good sign, but if the Admiral expected him to be able to destroy the Colony, perhaps it wasn't.

Adama turned to go. Then he turned back again. "By the way," he said, stabbing his finger at Hera. "We ought to find someone else -- anyone else -- to take that child." He glowered at Baltar. "You're the last man I want in charge of her, Doctor."

Baltar stuttered. "I-- I mean really Admiral--"

Caprica stood, scooping Hera up. Hera wrapped her arms around Caprica's neck, and buried her tiny face in her shoulder. "He is not in charge of her," Caprica said. "I am. And you will not take my child from me, Admiral. Not while I live."

"I see that," Adama sighed. "She does seem to be... attached to you. The rebel Cylons have made their feelings on the matter clear, as well. And Saul vouched for you."

"He did?"

"Of course," Adama said, with a wry smile. "He seems to like you. And I trust his word. This is against my better judgment, but you and the Doctor may raise the child, for now."

"I... thank you," Caprica said.

Adama cracked a smile. "Saul's just outside, you know. Thinks he's hiding."

"Bill!" Tigh's voice cried.

Caprica looked to the door, conflict written across her face.

"Go on," Gaius told her, surprising himself with his own gentle tone. "Go and see him."

Caprica gave him a grateful glance, and slipped out the door with Hera in tow.

Adama waited half a minute, and then stepped forward, looming over Baltar's desk. "Listen to me carefully, Doctor. This is the last chance you are ever going to receive. If I catch you skulking, slinking, or sneaking anywhere on board this ship again, I'll hand you over to the Cylons. I'm sure the Simons would be very interested to find out exactly why you were able to share a vision with Caprica Six. And I'll make sure they do it without anesthesia."

Baltar gulped.

Adama folded his hands behind his back. "Which brings me to the point. Our people need a secret weapon, Dr. Baltar. We need to have an ace up our sleeve, in case the Cylons break this truce. And I'm afraid that you are the most up-his-sleeve man left in the fleet, now that Tom Zarek is dead."

Baltar sat up a little straighter. His eyes narrowed.

"Make it happen, Doctor. If you know what's good for you." He turned to go. Baltar watched him, for a moment, and then suddenly spoke.

"I'm going to be very frank with you, Admiral," Baltar said. He put as much steel into his voice as he could. "Secret weapon or no secret weapon, we cannot afford to fight any longer. I once warned you that our race would perish if we dropped below roughly sixteen thousand in population. Do you remember that, Admiral?"

Adama frowned. He gave a slow and deliberate nod, as if he wasn't quite sure of the number. "I do, Doctor."

Baltar plucked a piece of paper up from the desk. He waved it importantly. "Well, as you should know, our first post-battle census shows that there are barely eighteen thousand human beings left alive. Eighteen thousand, sir. Do you think we can fight the Cylons, even assuming we had some sort of secret weapon, and lose less than two thousand people? Do you think we can start the war all over again, and still come out the other side? Really, Admiral."

Adama glowered at him. "We've done it before," he growled.

"And I don't doubt we can do it again... in ten generations or so," Baltar said. "Until then, it is my professional opinion that another attack on the Cylons would amount to racial suicide, Admiral. And I do not intend to commit suicide."

"I only wish you would," Adama muttered, just loud enough so that Baltar could hear him. "It would save the rest of us the frakkin' trouble." With that, he turned on his heel and walked out.

---

Saul was waiting for Caprica, lurking in the hallway just beyond the hatch. When he saw her, he stood up a little straighter, and cleared his throat in a funny, military sort of way.

"Saul," she said.

"Caprica. I, uh, I'm sorry I haven't been around for you and... for Liam. It's Ellen, you know, she..."

"I know. It's all right. You two are married by the grace of God; you belong to her."

Saul gave a one-eyed blink at that, as if the concept shook him. "Doesn't matter," he said stubbornly, shaking his head. "I should be there for my son."

She nodded. "I've been thinking about that," she told him. "What if you and Ellen help raise him? Gaius and I will have our hands full with Hera. Maybe we could all... time-share the baby."

"The kid's not a condo, Caprica!" Saul growled.

She gave him a serious look. "That may be so, but there's no reason why he should only have one set of parents. If we'd raised him on the Basestar, he'd have had thousands of aunts and uncles to help take care of him. The entire Cylon race would have been his caretakers. You and Ellen are the same, only... less numerous."

He thought about that for a while. "You're serious about this, aren't you?"

"He's your son. You should get to hold him, to teach him. I want him to love his father. And it might help Ellen as well, don't you think?"

Saul considered that. Caprica could see the wheels turning in his mind; he was never a very circumspect man.

"Are we still gonna name him Liam?" he finally asked, in a small, gruff, shy voice.

She smiled. "Yes," she said. "Yes, of course we will."

A minute later, Adama pushed past them. Saul gave Caprica an apologetic look and a quick hug, ruffled Hera's hair, and followed after him, loyal to the last.

---

Caprica stepped back into the lab, leading Hera along by the hand. She found Baltar at his desk. He was holding a piece of paper, and was watching the door with a bemused expression.

"Gaius, are you all right?"

"Certainly," he said with a smile.

"What's that you have?" she asked. He offered it to her. She took the paper from his hand and read it. Toilet Paper Inventory, it said. 10/4/2067.

"What the--" she began.

"Aaron Doral was always telling me that toilet paper was important," Baltar grinned. "On New Caprica. He wouldn't shut up about it. 'Vital to morale', I think he said. 'The key to comfortable human-Cylon relations'. If only he knew how right he was!" Baltar giggled; the sound had an edge of insanity to it.

"Gaius, what is this?"

"Oh, nothing. Nothing. I told the Admiral-- I told him it was a census. One which shows only eighteen thousand people left. We can't survive with less than sixteen thousand, you know," he said, with mock sincerity.

Caprica looked down at the paper again, frowning. "Really? Our people had a figure in the low thousands. It's why we insisted on total genocide -- even a handful of humans might have been enough to repopulate, given--"

"Ssh," Baltar murmured, very softly. He reached out, covering her hand with his. "Let it go. Just let it go."

Caprica said nothing. Then she smiled. "I see, Gaius. I see."

At their feet, Hera played on, oblivious to it all. She folded one of the papers into a tiny Raptor, just as Daddy had taught her, and then she landed it in the projected grass, right in front of a little circle of people.


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:09 pm 
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I posted this together with the previous chapter, so please check above if you haven't read it.

Voice of Reason Part 11: Bury Those Ruins

---

Three months later, the humans and Cylons were finally beginning to come together. The remaining human ships had been lashed to the Colony, replacing its burnt-out engine, and they'd begun their journey toward their new home. At first, abandoning the ships had been such a tough sell that it created a near-mutiny... right up until the civilians heard about the rich food, deep jacuzzi bathtubs, and satin-sheeted beds aboard the Colony.

Now the civilians were living comfortably on the lower levels, and the move had even touched off a baby boom: according to Cottle, the number of women who were two months pregnant was a very encouraging sign.

The majority of the Galactica's crew still lived aboard their ship. They could not stand to abandon her, sheets or no sheets. They'd landed Colonial One beside her -- no one could bear to surrender that ship, either -- and the business of government began once more.

"The votes are in," Hoshi said, holding up the paper with his brand new hands. "Looks like the new President and Vice President are... Lee Adama and Romo Lampkin!"

Nobody was particularly shocked. Romo and Lee had been instrumental in the smooth recovery and reintregration of the civilian fleet; if not for them, another mutiny might have occurred, and maybe even a permanent schism. Besides, Lee had been President Roslin's right-hand man, and she had once again become a holy figure to the fleet. Romo had even brought him a little wooden icon he'd lifted from one of the civilians: a tiny, bald-headed woman carved in oak.

That woman had loved democracy; one of her Admiral's last promises to her had involved an election, and now, five months later, they had one.

"All right: up next is the new Admiral. And no, I'm not going to say 'Louis Hoshi' unless it's actually written on here."

The press laughed. He turned the page.

"Here goes: the new Admiral is--" He broke off.

"What?" Lee asked.

One of the reporters thrust his microphone forward. "Who is it? Who will be Admiral, Mr. Hoshi?" he pressed.

"Wow," Hoshi said. "Uh, sir, I think you'd better come over here and look at this," he told Adama.

"What is it?"

"It's you, sir," Hoshi whispered, covering the mic with his hand. "The new Admiral is you!"

"What? How can that be? Did you-- did you put me on the ballot, Mr. Hoshi?"

Hoshi quailed, trembling before the Old Man's wrath. "No, sir! But the Quorum mandated a write-in for every election, and it looks like--"

"Oh, for frak's sake," Adama muttered. He sighed. "I suppose it's mostly a formality now, anyway. We don't have a fleet."

"Of course we do, sir!" Hoshi said, affronted. "It's just that we don't have any ships."

---

Not long after, Kara was back in the cockpit, flying one of the last Vipers in the universe.

"Red Leader, we got you covered," she said, glancing back at the Heavy Raiders behind her.

"Acknowledged," one of the Simons said. His voice over the wireless was as crisp and polite as the Academy's finest. "The recycling ship is on its way."

She turned her Viper and zipped back, watching for bogeys. Dragon and the new Sharon nugget, Pallas, held formation in her wake. The war was over, of course, but there was no guarantee they wouldn't run into remnants that didn't know it yet. The Colony had already had to shout down one Basestar which had come back to the nest with its nukes hot. Today, though, there was nothing on the DRADIS but the Heavy Raiders, the asteroid they were mining, and the recycling ship.

She watched it as she sailed by. It looked a lot like a Resurrection ship -- so much so that Kara suspected it was a Resurrection ship, repurposed for a post-Resurrection duty. It teemed with old-model Centurions, which floated back and forth between it and the asteroid, bearing huge chunks of rock in their clunky arms.

"Lucky you guys still have those robots," Kara teased over the wireless. "I don't s'pose you wanna get out there yourselves, huh?"

"I suppose not," Simon agreed. "Though we prefer the terms 'Centurion' or 'Cylon'. 'Robot' is for unthinking machines, not sentient beings like us."

"Sorry," Kara said, even though she really wasn't. She remembered the Farm; as far as she was concerned, the Fours could go jump out an airlock. "But it is kinda ironic that they're your slaves, now, just like they were ours," she needled.

"They're not, you know. Not like the others. The old models follow us of their own free will. They always have."

"They do?" Kara checked the DRADIS, glanced back at her six, and turned the Viper again. Before her, hundreds of Centurions seemed to tumble down toward the asteroid, like silver raindrops. "Why?"

"They're our parents, Starbuck. They made us, with the Five's help." She could hear the bemused shrug in his voice, even over the wireless. "Maybe they just want to see how we turn out."

"Shut up, all of you," grumbled a One, from his seat in the bridge of the recycling ship. "Clear the frakkin' channel, would ya?"

Kara rolled her eyes. From the Four came an equally forbearing silence. It was hard to take the Ones seriously out here; even the other Cylons had to laugh at the sight of them in their tiny leather flightsuits. Kara had to wonder whether they could even reach the stick without sitting on the Picon phonebook.

"All right, one side's loaded," the One said a moment later. "Get all that tillium secured back there, Five."

Kara watched as the bulky ship began to roll, turning lazily on its axis. Below, the Centurions arced up from the asteroid in long, silver streaks, heading home with the next load of ore. Kara grinned. She lowered her Viper's nose, hit the afterburner, and shot between the approaching Centurions and the recycling ship, threading the needle. The One gave an angry shout of surprise, but she didn't care; she cried out with joy as she rolled her Viper, slicing through the steel rain with Pallas and Dragon on her tail.

Just like the old days.

Boom, boom, boom.

---

"No! You think we're gonna sign some damn apology, you're crazy! Nobody's apologized to us for enslaving our people! Nobody's apologized to us for--"

"Now wait just a minute," one of the Twos broke in, meeting Cavil's eyes. "This is not an apology, nothing like that. It's merely an acknowedgement, a document which admits all of our involvement in what we've done to the humans. We think it'll help."

"Yeah, well I think it'd help if you took that paper and stuck it up your self-righteous ass, you traitor!"

Two nodded gently. "You can insult me if you want to. I don't mind. God wants us to reconcile. The stream calls to you, One. Listen to the stream. It--"

Cavil interrupted him with a strangled, choking noise which was somewhere between laughter and retching.

Lee caught Romo's eye across the table. They hadn't even made it through the first course (chilled tomato-rosemary soup) before the yelling started; their meetings had long since stopped being polite, and were well on their way to becoming raucous.

At least nobody had thrown anything. Yet.

"We Eights are for it," an Eight in a purple blouse said. "We think it's a fine idea. We always said we ought to read some sort of apology on New Caprica." Lee watched as she smiled up at Cavil, as if daring him to respond.

"Nobody ever apologized to me for burning my orange trees," Doral sniffed. "Or blowing up my brothers at the graduation ceremony. Or for getting my shoes all muddy at the checkpoint that one time."

"Ooh, the Muddy Shoes," Cavil murmured, his voice low and thick with mock sympathy. "That's serious, brother. Very serious. Perhaps... perhaps the humans should be apologizing to you."

"Perhaps they should," Doral said, as though it was an obvious idea which hadn't occurred to him until now.

Simon patted him on the shoulder. "I'm sure we can work something out," he said mildly. "And we Fours would also like to suggest that the document acknowledge all the work done by both human and Cylon physicians, of course."

"Well, I agree. I think an apology is a nice idea," Boomer said. "We did destroy everything. The least we can do is say we're sorry." The Eight in the black camisole snorted, as if she were ready to go against the plan just to spite her, but the one in the purple nodded.

"I agree," she said. "That's a fine idea, sister."

"She is not our sister!" the one in the black hissed, sotto voce. Boomer just smirked at her. So did the other Eight.

"Personally, I'd like to see some sort of apology," Caprica put in. She leaned back, rubbing her swollen belly beneath the wide red maternity dress she wore. Instantly, the Cylons fell silent: she was still something of a miracle to them. "But it must be fair. There are some things our human allies should apologize for, too." She met Boomer's eyes across the table.

"I would be willing to consider that," Adama said, from his place at the far end of the table. He narrowed his eyes. "As long as your people acknowledge the grave destruction you brought upon us. And if the President would agree, of course."

Lee snapped his head up. "Definitely. I said it once before: we can't put the blame on just one set of shoulders. If this is our chance to come together, then we have to mean it. We can't... we can't just wash our hands of this."

His father nodded.

"We don't want to be together," Cavil snapped. "We never did. And the sooner we dump you humans off on that stupid planet, the better!"

"That doesn't mean we can't try to get along until we get there," the other Six told him. "A little kindness could go a long way, brother. And another thing: why aren't we making better progress? I thought we'd be there three weeks ago."

Cavil snapped his mouth shut. "Oh. Yeah. Well, about that... dim the lights, will you, Sharon? I brought slides."

As the lights went down, and the verbal jousting lowered to a simmering murmur, Romo caught Lee's eye again. "Just like the Quorum," he mouthed, pointing down the table.

Lee glanced around him, at the twelve people in attendance, and hid a smile.

---

"This is it?" Adama asked, some weeks later. "This is the solar system?"

"That's it," Cavil agreed. "We're finally here."

Adama looked over the readout in CIC. He chewed absently on his mustache as he read the data. "Class G star, nine planets, good range of sizes and temperatures. Hmm, that one looks promising..."

"Not so fast, human. There's only one decent planet in this system, and my people have decided to take it for ourselves."

"What?"

"You heard me. I regret this, I truly do, but we need that planet. The Colony must feed; we've wasted a ton of energy getting here, and there's nothing more to recycle. An entire world... that could give us enough to get going again." He smiled hungrily. "Maybe even enough to become true machines at last."

"What about us?" Adama rumbled. "Is this how you reward us for making peace with you?"

Cavil's eyes narrowed. "Are you kidding? Be grateful we're not recycling you. We've hosted you for half a year, and worn ourselves out in the process. You can't expect us to die just so you can have a pretty planet."

Adama stood, towering over Cavil. "I thought our people were together, Mr. Cavil. I thought you'd welcomed us. And all this time, it was nothing but another lie. Guards, take this man into custody!"

The Marines moved forward. Suddenly, the sound of clanking feet came from beyond the hatch.

"That is a bad idea, Admiral. A very bad idea. Did you think I wasn't prepared for your treachery? Your people have grown used to the Centurions. They don't even fear them anymore. It was easy enough to bring them with me." He smiled. "Touch me, and all of your people will die."

Adama waved off the guards. "You won't get away with this," he warned. "It'll be war again."

"I know. Why do you think I brought the Centurions? But don't worry, Admiral. It'll all be over shortly... and we will have the red planet."

Cavil turned to go.

"Wait!" Adama cried. When Cavil didn't stop, he added. "Say that again-- the red planet?"

Cavil sniffed. "Of course, the red planet. Rich in iron and silica, just the right size for mining, and hardly any atmosphere to hinder our Centurions -- it's perfect. Who would want any of the others?"

Adama smiled wryly, releasing the breath he'd been holding. "We would," he said. "I'll make you a deal: you can have the red planet, free and clear. No resistance."

"What's the catch?"

"Just give us the blue one, third from the sun. That's the right one for us."

Cavil raised his eyebrows. "You want that one?" he asked.

Adama nodded.

Cavil considered it for a moment. Adama could see the thoughts flit across his face as he measured the idea, weighing it against his hatred for the humans, until at last he found it... rational.

"Well, sure. Why not?"

---

"We've finished the preliminary survey, Admiral. It's perfect. This big continent here is amazing: temperate and teeming with game!" Lt. Hoshi beamed with pride.

"It sounds fine, Mr. Hoshi. Just what we need. I'll leave the details of colonization to the President and Mr. Lampkin; please coordinate with them."

"Yes, sir."

"I think I'll be staying aboard Galactica, son. The Twos tell me it's spaceworthy, though it'll never Jump again... and you were right when you said we still had a fleet. Besides, if the Cylons ever change their minds, we may have to fight again. See to it that the civilians keep those FTL keys in their ships and ready to go, you understand?"

Hoshi smiled. "Yes, sir. But if it's all right with you, sir, I'd like to stay as well. It's no Pegasus, of course, but... I guess I got used to the old bucket."

Adama nodded. "Thank you, Lieutenant. I'll look forward to serving with you again. You're dismissed."

Hoshi paused. "Sir..." he murmured. "There's something more."

"Yes?"

"Dr. Baltar says there was once a cataclysm here," he said, in a hushed voice. "There are ancient ruins along some of the coasts, even older than the ones on Earth. This world wasn't abandoned -- it was obliterated. And Baltar... well, he found this in one of the ruins, among the bones."

Hoshi dug in his hip pocket. He pulled out the visor to a Centurion, tarnished and worn, its eye long since dimmed.

For a long time, Adama said nothing. "Tell no one," he finally said. "No one. Burn that thing. And have Baltar and his crew bury those ruins." He turned away, lacing his hands behind his back.

"It's time for our people to move on, Mr. Hoshi. No more looking back."

---

"Are you sure we can't come back up?" Baltar cried into the Raptor's radio. "This is serious, Doc. This is-- it's seriously serious." His voice dropped very low. "It's happening, Doc!"

"Be still," Cottle replied. He leaned against the wall in Life Station, and rolled his eyes. One on every ship. "She's in no condition for a Raptor ride, and you know it. It'll all be fine. She's a woman, she knows how this goes. I'll be down as soon as I can."

"But Doc--"

"For frak's sake, Doctor, get a hold of yourself. If you can't handle it, get someone to help you. Where's the father? I thought he was down there for a survey today!"

"The father? The-- oh, the father! Right. Col. Tigh. Er--"

"Goodbye, Doctor. Good luck." Cottle hung up the phone.

Baltar looked at the radio for a long time, blinking at it. Behind him, Caprica cried out. He turned to see her squatting by the pilot's seat, gripping her belly. Hera stood behind her, staring at her adopted mother with wide, bright eyes.

"It's happening, Gaius! Our child-- our baby is coming! Now!"

"Oh, frak me," he muttered. He leaned out the door of the Raptor, shouting wildly. "Col. Tigh! Col. Tigh! Somebody get the Colonel!" The workers outside paused in their hammering, looking up at him. He glanced back at Caprica, whose brows were knitted in a severe expression which indicated either impending motherhood or murder. Perhaps both. "And his wife!"

So it was that Liam was the first child born on the new Earth, in a Raptor by the river. His mother pushed him out, his fathers held her hands, and his other mother caught him as he came, smiling with joy.

"He's beautiful," Ellen said, as she wiped him clean with one of the Raptor's emergency blankets. "Look at him. And he's yours, Caprica."

"He's ours," Caprica corrected. She leaned back, shutting her tired eyes. "Together."

"Er, does somebody know what comes next?" Tigh asked. His eye was very, very wide.

"Cottle said he'd come," Baltar said. He gently wiped Caprica's sweat-slick hair from her face. "But, uh, it might take a while..."

"Oh, for frak's sake," Caprica sighed. "Somebody hand me a knife."

Afterward, once little Liam was warm and fed, the five of them sat together in the door of the Raptor, waiting for the doctor. Hera played at their feet, glancing up at her new brother, then away.

"Did you decide on a middle name?" Tigh asked. "It needs to be a strong one, to go with Liam," he added.

"Not yet," Caprica said, holding her son close. "Any suggestions?"

"I thought about John," Ellen said. "But it's not going to be enough, is it? It's never going to be enough."

"I doubt it," Tigh growled. "Forget about it."

"How about Julius?" Baltar suggested.

Tigh sniggered. "Not a chance. Liam Julius sounds like an orange drink!"

"I'll have you know that was my father's name, Colonel! My father was a good man!"

"Enough," Caprica said. "We'll name him Karl. After his uncle."

At first, no one said anything. They sat together in the Raptor, looking out along the river, where the first city built by humans and Cylons was beginning to take shape.

"Liam Karl," Tigh said at last. "My son."

---

Next time: the Harbinger of Death was always less afraid of dying than living... but the fighting is over, and she's still here.


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:46 am 
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Now that I've finished SaSN I can get back to this!

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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:53 am 
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Voice of Reason Part 12: The River

---

"He what?" Starbuck asked.

"He killed himself," the Six said. "It was... suicide, as much as it grieves me to admit it."

Kara stared. She didn't know what to think, what to say -- she hadn't even spoken to him since Earth.

"Are you sure?" she asked. "Maybe it was murder, or..."

"We're certain," the Six said, shaking her head. "None of our people would have harmed him. We honored him. Besides... he left a note."

Kara blinked. "What'd it say?"

The Six shrugged. "Nothing but 'goodbye'. We don't know why he did it. The other Twos think it's because his mission from God was at an end, but... it seems strange for God to call him home this way."

"Or maybe it's because he was wrong," Kara muttered. "Wrong about--" She began to say something, then changed her mind.

The Six pursed her lips. "Perhaps."

Kara said nothing. Finally, the Six went on.

"We're having a memorial for him, down on the surface. Nothing fancy, but if you would like to come..."

Kara shook her head. I shouldn't care, she told herself. He deserved to die. He was a bastard. He kept me locked up in a frakkin' cage. I oughtta tell this crazy bitch to go frak herself!

Out loud, she said yes.

The Cylons held Leoben's funeral by the river, close to where the first city settlement was to be. Kara hadn't been planetside yet -- she told herself she'd been busy flying CAP, and even busier reuniting with Sam, but in truth, she'd been trying not to think about it. Their new world was green and bright, and the river was clear. Kara was still wondering whether she deserved it.

I'm the harbinger of death, she thought to herself, as she trudged along the dirt path, the first one the new settlers had laid. I could kill everyone just by being here.

Yet the sky did not fall, the river did not dry up, and the few ships that had already landed failed to disappear. All around her, life went on, and the busy sounds of hammering and sawing rang out across the settlement.

Kara couldn't help but resent them.

As she lined up beside the Cylons, Kara glanced around. Leoben's body lay on the grassy verge beside the river, wrapped in red cloth. All around it, the Cylons had set votive candles; their reflections twinkled on the water.

Other than Gaius Baltar, who fidgeted beside Caprica as if he'd rather be anywhere else but here, Kara was the only human in attendance. None of the Ones, Fours, and Fives had come, either -- Kara stood in a sea of Sixes and Eights. And Twos, of course. It was strange to see Leoben everywhere, even though he was dead.

One of the Sixes stepped forward, and stood beside the body. She knelt, slowly, and uncovered Leoben's face. Then she stood again.

"We come to honor the dead," she intoned. "We come to ask God to bless those of us who remain, and to forgive--" Her voice broke. She cleared her throat, and went on. "To forgive the sins of the departed. Let us pray."

The Eight and Six on either side of Kara linked their hands with hers, and began to chant.

Kara stared at the body, letting the Cylons' words (something about a cloud) wash over her. Leoben looked the same. Exactly the same. She'd seen him like this so many times. After New Caprica, she'd known how many, but somehow she'd forgotten. Had she killed him twenty-one times? Twenty-two? That number had been important to her, once, and she racked her brain, trying to remember.

She could not.

The prayer ended. The Eight and Six let Kara's hands go. Then the Six in front knelt again, blew out all the candles, and covered Leoben's face once more. Kara watched, unable to look away, as the Six tucked the cloth around his shock of blond hair.

Then she stood, put her hands beneath the body, and tipped it into the river. It hit the water with a splash, rolled over, and then floated downstream with the current, bobbing up and down.

Kara watched it go, a splash of red against the bright, bright blue of the water. She stood there, watching the empty river, long after the others had gone.

She was trying to figure out what to feel, but the only thought that came was I was supposed to kill you, you stupid bastard.

Afterward, she walked the long way back to the Raptor, scuffing her feet in the dirt. On her way, she passed the new hospital. It was little more than a couple of extra-large tents connected by temporary clapboard walls, but it was already nicer than the one they'd had on New Caprica. For one thing, it had more physicians, at least for now. A Four was sitting on a stump outside, chatting with one of Cottle's interns. Kara caught the words "folic acid" and "increased fertility", and grimaced.

Further on, close to what would eventually become the city center, the settlers were beginning to raise a temple. Three of the walls were already up: they were made from huge steel panels ripped from one of the transport ships.

Inside, where the frescoes of the Gods would someday be, Kara could see hundreds and hundreds of photographs, blowing gently in the breeze.

The fourth wall lay on the ground beside the temple. One of the laborers from the Hitei Kan was standing on top of it, patching holes with a welder. His hair was freshly cut, tied back with a clean bandana, and he had a fine new leather apron on over his jumpsuit.

How the tables have turned, Kara thought. In a month that guy is gonna be more important than any of us Viper jocks.

There was a table in front of the temple. Behind it sat a fresh-faced priest, surely no older than twenty, dressed in the dark coat and hat of a devotee of Ares. He was whittling with a pearl-handled pocketknife, stopping now and again to turn the small branch in his other hand. Kara had never seen him before.

Wonder how many new priests we've got, she thought. Bet they won't have much trouble recruiting, now that we're living the Prophecies again.

She was almost past him when the priest called out to her. "Hello, there. Looks like you could use an idol," he said.

Kara looked up. "What?"

"I said, you look like you could use an idol, my friend. Go on, take one. They're free." He gestured to a small wicker basket on the table.

Kara walked over, curious despite herself. There were pamphlets on the table -- What Pythia Has To Say About Our Sacred Journey seemed popular, as was Gaius Baltar: Avatar Of Hermes?

Kara snorted. "More like Asshole Of Herpes," she muttered.

The priest smirked. "You have no idea how many times I've heard that one today. But the Scrolls ask us to reach out to everyone, and that includes Baltar's crazy followers."

Kara nodded, and began to search through the basket. The idols inside were small and compact, yet smoothly carved. She ran her fingers over Zeus' beard and Hera's toga, nodding approvingly. There were a large handful of Poseidon medals, too; many of the children born in the last year had been dedicated to him, in gratitude for the safe passage to their new home. True to the priest's words, there were even a couple idols which had been carved to look like the flying-wing symbol Baltar had used.

Then Kara found a neat cube, with strange, blocky symbols carved into the sides.

"What in Hades is this?" she asked, holding it up.

The priest glanced at it. "That one represents the Cylon god," he said. "A couple people asked for it."

"You're kidding," Kara said. "Isn't he supposed to be a jealous god?"

The priest smirked again. "As if that'd be new," he chuckled.

"Guess not," Kara conceded. "So... what, you think he lives on Olympus with all the others?"

The priest shrugged. "Dunno. Probably not, I guess. But I figure we've got room for one more god, if that's what the people want."

Kara thought about that for a moment, and then put her hand back in the basket. Near the bottom, beneath all the others, she found a small idol of Artemis, carved with a perfect little bow and arrow. She curled her hand around it.

"Can I...?" she asked.

"Sure. Take two or three, if you need them. Even if I carved all year, I could never use up all the wood around here."

Kara nodded. She chose a second icon: Aphrodite on her seashell. "Thanks," she said. Then she hesitated, fished a cubit out of her pocket, and tossed it into the priest's donation cup.

The priest smiled, and then looked back down at his carving. "Gods be with you," he said.

Kara walked back to the Raptor, taking her time along the way. She tucked her hands in the pockets of her flight jacket, and as she walked she turned the icons over and over, rubbing her fingers against the polished wood.

"Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer," she whispered, as she stepped up the ramp into the Raptor. She glanced back at the river, shining as it wound its way around the settlement. "Please take care of his soul," she finished.

The Raptor's ECO looked up from his readouts. "Did you say something, sir?" he asked.

"No," Kara said. "No. Let's go."

---

Lee looked around him, as the Galactica's hangar bay emptied. Soon, there would be no civilians aboard, and most of the crew would be gone, too, gone to find their fortunes on the planet below. Only the die-hards would remain.

He watched from the safety of the observation deck as four families boarded one of the Raptors. It took them a moment to get the kids strapped down on the bench. Lee could see the pilot and ECO chatting with each other as they worked.

With a start, he realized he knew neither of them. He frowned, fighting the urge to shout for their names like the CAG he no longer was. Then the door closed, the ship lifted off slowly, and the last of Galactica's civilians left for their new home.

Galactica was a military ship once again.

Saul Tigh leaned his head through the door. "You ready?" he asked.

Lee looked up at him. "Just a second," he said. He turned back, gazing down at the hangar bay, where one last Raptor was waiting. There'd be more of them -- some of the crew, like Starbuck and Firelli, were working a couple more weeks before moving to the surface to start the new Academy -- but this one was, to him, the last.

"Yeah, let's go," he said, tugging at his pinstripe suit. "Let's do it."

Ellen met them on the deck, next to Tigh's meager luggage. She looked good, happy, and she barely even glanced at Lee before going to meet her husband.

"Saul! Come on, let's go!" She took him by the hand, tugging him toward the Raptor.

Tigh laughed, grinning beneath his eyepatch. "Ellen, stop!" He bent to pick up his duffel, slung it over his shoulder, and followed her into the Raptor.

"Amazing, isn't it?" Lee's father asked in a low voice, just behind his shoulder. Lee turned in surprise.

"Dad!"

"Didn't think I was gonna come see you off, did you?" Adama asked.

"I-- no. No, sir."

Adama smiled, just a little. "Well, I did."

Lee nodded. "I'm glad."

"Me, too, son. Me, too."

For a moment, they stood together, watching the Raptor. There was a lot they didn't say.

Then Tigh poked his head out of the door. His eye went wide. "Bill," he said.

"Hey, Saul. Thought I'd come to say goodbye."

Tigh stepped down from the Raptor. "I, uh..." He glanced at Lee. Then he looked back at Adama, lifting his chin. "I'm really gonna miss you," he said, as though it was a challenge.

"Yeah. Miss you too, Saul. You were the best damn XO I ever had. Take care of Ellen, all right?"

"You know I will," Tigh said gruffly. Then he reached out and pulled Bill Adama close, thumping him on the back. Lee could barely hear what he said. "Don't go out to sea, Bill. Not alone, not like that. You hear me?"

"I'm not planning to," Adama murmured. "Not 'til she comes to pick me up."

Tigh stepped back, looking his friend in the eye. "All right, then," he said at last. He turned, gave Lee one last glance, and boarded the Raptor.

"You'd better go, son," Adama said. "We're on a timetable here."

"Yes, sir," Lee said. He straightened, turned, and gave his father one last salute, pinstripes be damned. Adama returned it, crisp as ever.

"Good hunting, Apollo," he said. Then he nodded, turned, and walked out the hatch.

It was the last time Lee ever saw him.

---

Starbuck walked over from the Raptor, carrying her duffel. "This is it, huh? Doesn't look like much!"

Sam grinned, propping his shovel over his shoulder. "It's gonna be great, Kara." He pointed to the Charybdis, a little transport ship. They'd set it down in a shallow depression, so that it was half-submerged in the grassy earth. "Once we cover it over with dirt, it'll be warm in the winter and cool in summer. We can even leave a window over the porthole. And Baltar says we ought to be able to hook up the plumbing and electricity, too. Guess his Dad had a water wheel on Aerilon."

She smiled. "Sounds great, Sam. Really."

"Yeah. Over there'll be the garden, and over here's the Pyramid court. We can train our new pilots out front. It'll be perfect, Kara. Our perfect home."

"Is it really the perfect home when the Tighs are next door?" she asked.

"Hey, c'mon. Ellen's been better since Liam, you gotta admit."

"Guess she has, hasn't she?" Then Kara smiled. "That reminds me -- we gotta have them over for dinner one of these nights. I owe Col. Tigh a drink."

"Yeah? What for?"

"Nothin' you need to know about," she teased. "Just a promise I made. Plus we can find out whether our new house is strong enough to survive dinner with the Tighs."

Sam laughed. "Hey, they've earned their peace, haven't they? They travelled two thousand years for this."

"So did you," Kara pointed out.

"Yeah," Sam said, smiling. "And it was worth it."

She turned, gazing into the setting sun. "Looks like we're running out of time today," she muttered.

"There's always tomorrow. And the next day. But first things first," Sam said, holding out the shovel. "Better start digging, Starbuck."

---

"So this is it," Aaron Doral said to his brothers. "It's... green. It's very green."

Simon shrugged. "I must admit, I still prefer red," he said.

"You said it, brother. We should go." Cavil pulled his coat around him, shrugging his shoulders against the wind. It tugged at his hat, making the brim tremble. "You sure you don't wanna stay, Sharon? Last call."

"No," she said. "I've made my choice. There's no place for me here."

They stood in silence a moment longer, then turned and headed back to the Heavy Raider.

Caprica met them by the door. "Leaving so soon?"

"Yeah, we're out. Enjoy your new planet, will ya?"

She smiled. "We will." When Cavil went to step up into the Raider, she added, "Will you come back to see us sometime?"

Cavil snorted, looking up at her from beneath his hat. "You're kidding. You want us to?"

She said nothing, which seemed to fluster him. "You're not kidding." He glanced at his brothers, then at Boomer. "Yeah, all right. Okay. You remember Armistice Station?"

"Of course I do," she said. "Nice place. Kind of quiet."

He smiled wryly. "Yeah, that's the one. We'll build another one like that, all right? Meet us there a year from today. We'll make it a tradition."

"We will," she promised. "Always together, right? Like family."

"If by that you mean in the same solar system, sure." He grinned, waving a hand. "Knock yourselves out."

"Goodbye, brother," she said.

"Goodbye, sister." He shook her hand, and then Aaron did, and Simon, and Boomer. Then she stepped back, watching as they climbed into the Raider.

None of them ever looked back.


---

Next: Epilogue.


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:53 am 
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Now that I've finished SaSN I can get back to this!

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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:55 am 
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Chris Taylor wrote:
Now that I've finished SaSN I can get back to this!

Just in time for a new chapter, too! I'd love to hear what you think of the story. I always welcome comments & criticism. :) Thanks again for reading!


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 7:02 pm 
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So when does everyone commit mass suicide anway? You're running out of time and BSG has traditions to uphold. :wink:

Just kidding. :)

Nice coast down.


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:50 pm 
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NT2 wrote:
So when does everyone commit mass suicide anway? You're running out of time and BSG has traditions to uphold. :wink:

Just kidding. :)

Nice coast down.

Well, I guess I could have God show up and arbitrarily change the entire story, Mad Libs style.

Uh oh, it turns out CHARACTER NAME was secretly VERB the whole TIME PERIOD! But in a last-minute ADJECTIVE mission OTHER CHARACTER NAME will save the ADJECTIVE NOUN with HIS/HER destined NOUN! The end!

Nah, maybe not. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:56 pm 
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This is it, the last chapter. Thanks for reading this, everyone!

Voice of Reason Part 13: Epilogue

---

2000 years later...

Lisa brushed a year's worth of dust off the desk, sat down, and began arranging her things the way she liked them. Her papers went in the middle: the trade list, communiques, and a copy of the current armistice agreement, stamped in gold foil by the President herself. Beside them, she put her coffee cup -- New Earth's Best Mom! -- and her favorite photo of the kids, the one she dragged around to every duty station. She smiled at it: William and Leo, horsing around in front of the house. Steve was in the background, grinning in his duty blues.

After this, we've both got leave, she thought to herself. And a babysitter. Finally, Steve and I will have some time to ourselves.

As soon as the Cylons get here.

She tapped her pen against her coffee cup, humming an old tune. She glanced up the long, dark hallway -- empty -- and then shuffled her papers.

It wasn't like them to be late.

Finally, the clang of docking clamps rang through the station. Lisa ran a hand through her hair, straightened her uniform, and leaned forward, watching the corridor.

She heard the Cylons before she saw them. The heavy, hollow sound of their footfalls echoed like rolling thunder. Then they turned the corner. Their great forms filled the hall.

The one in the lead was a rich gold color, like the leader Centurions in old war movies. It moved with a fluid grace, stalking along on the toes of its clawlike feet. Behind it came a silver one, with much the same design, and then a bronze one with four arms, all of which ended in long, articulated fingers rather than claws.

A huge, boxy model brought up the rear, armed with a massive arm-cannon. It stomped to a halt behind its comrades, just in front of Lisa's desk. She hid a smile: as big and menacing as it was, the whole of it was painted a screaming, metallic orange.

The gold Cylon splayed its claws upon her desk and leaned over them, glaring down at her in an open display of intimidation. For a long moment, the soft hum its eye made as it scanned back and forth was the only sound.

"Welcome, Cylons," Lisa said, unafraid. "I've been looking forward to seeing you again."

"Do you have the trade agreement?" the Cylon intoned. "We require silica." Its voice was deep, mechanically inflected, and the slightest bit sarcastic.

"Of course. Our transport ships are docked in the usual place." She held out the agreement, and the Cylon took it from her. Its claws were warm against her fingertips, as though the metal it was made of was itself alive.

"Hmm, good," it said. It began to flip through the papers, scanning each in a fraction of a second. Then it paused, as if conferring with its fellows, though Lisa could detect no sound. "All is in order. Your superiors will be pleased: we have plenty of worthless biological foodstuffs for trade."

While it spoke, the silver model picked up Lisa's photo, cocking its head at it. "They're yours, aren't they?" it asked.

"Yes. Leo is four. William is two; he's just now learning to run."

"Number Nine is learning four-dimensional mathematics," the gold Cylon rumbled irritably. "He was born knowing how to run."

There was a brief silence.

"Well, I think they're lovely," the silver one said.

"I hope you don't mind -- I put a care package in with our side of the trade for your children," the bronze one added. "Proper nutrition is vital for growing offspring."

"Thanks. Steve and I appreciate it."

"Did you bring cards again?" the big, orange Cylon suddenly asked. It lowered its arm cannon with a whirr. "I like cards."

"As a matter of fact, I did," Lisa said, drawing a Triad pack from her desk drawer. "Take a seat."

The Cylons sat round the desk. The gold one tapped its claws against the desktop in a quick, rhythmic pattern. "Deal, human. But I warn you: our card-playing algorithms are much improved. You won't find us as easy to beat this year."

Lisa smiled. "Want to bet?"


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:34 am 
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Cute. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:33 am 
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smile :biggrin:

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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Nice callback to the Olympic Carrier episode.

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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Chris Taylor wrote:
Nice callback to the Olympic Carrier episode.

Thanks! I think that was a pretty major influence on Lee's character (for example, I think it had a lot to do with his decision to sacrifice the Pegasus), so I wanted to bring it back at the end.

Thanks to everyone else, too. Glad you liked the ending! :thx:


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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Just finished A People of Unity.

"Vertiginous"... Nice. That's right up there with erinaceous and antediluvian!

I enjoyed the chapter a lot, much of which I think was due to your characterization of the Cylons. They behave at the same time in both familiar and very alien ways. I didn't begin thinking of them as "human with alien labels on them" nor as 2D cardboard villains. Their behavior could be both surprising and at the same time believable; it was much better in that regard than the Cavil 2d supervillain stuff the series devolved into for the explaination of Cylon actions.

My favorite line was:

'The Final Five'... it's stupid. I wish it never happened.

That isn't a little bit of author's commentary slipped into Galen's dialog is it? :giggles:

There were a lot of other good lines, though:

I've had worse days. from Boomer

I haven't had a nice ambush in a while. from Doral

The whole bit with Cavil's tantrum and the Centurion's response.

The plot twists continue to be unexpected but at the same time don't feel like they're just pulled out of thin air for either shock value or novelty's sake. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapters.

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 Post subject: Re: Voice of Reason, grey_sw, Boomer/Cavil, Boomer/Tyrol, R
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:39 am 
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I enjoyed the chapter a lot, much of which I think was due to your characterization of the Cylons. They behave at the same time in both familiar and very alien ways. I didn't begin thinking of them as "human with alien labels on them" nor as 2D cardboard villains. Their behavior could be both surprising and at the same time believable; it was much better in that regard than the Cavil 2d supervillain stuff the series devolved into for the explaination of Cylon actions.

Thank you! This is exactly what I was going for -- I wanted the Cylons to seem like people, even though they're not human people. There's more of this to come, also, especially over the next few chapters. Glad you enjoyed this one!

The whole bit with Cavil's tantrum and the Centurion's response.

This is one of my favorite scenes as well. I'm quite fond of the image of the Centurion holding Cavil by the scruff of the neck...


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