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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Writing Colonies, Part IV: Merging "Galactica" and "Caprica"

Since I'm currently writing Book Fourteen: The Colony, I have to work with the Final Five and their efforts to stop the Cylon War, as well as the rise of Cavil and the Cylon society we know from the show.  Part of this involves Caprica and what would have happened in a second season.

Thanks to interviews, we know that there was a plan involving Zoe and the Graystones' attempt to make a new body for their daughter.  We glimpsed that new body in the series finale (a mechanical body covered with life-like skin emerging from a Cylon-like bath).  In interviews, the showrunner said the key to this body would be given to the Graystones thanks to a V-World link with the Final Five, who were nearing the end of their journey to the Colonies.

"OK, cool," you're thinking.  Well ... there are several problems.  Among them is the fact that the Five were in a severe time dilation thanks to their relativistic speeds.  They were still light years away, when we saw no such form of FTL communication in the shows.  And then there's language.  Surely, planets separated by thousands of years would have differing tongues.

I came up with a solution while preserving the intent of the producers in blending these two shows.  You can read it after the JUMP.

55 Years Before the Fall of the Colonies

"Time is running short," one of the tenders said.

The being that normally took the appearance of a male said, "The many pathways are about to converge," he squinted and stared into the heavens, "but not all of the pieces are prepared."

"I fear we must push things further still.  Faster."


In an instant, the two Messengers had their plan.  One went to the side of Zoe Graystone.  The other departed Caprica, departed the Cyrannus System, and flew into deep space.

Though mentally a young woman, her body was metallic and plastic.  The most advanced robotic creation the Colonies had seen, yet its creators were wholly disgusted with it.  Skin after skin rejected and died in a horror show of experimentation.  And Zoe, the remnant of the Graystones' daughter, fled into the virtual world to escape her frustrations.

The female tender looked through the digital realm for her, and found her at a representation of her small, childhood home.  Graystone huddled in a corner of her room, her knees clutched to her chest, and she stared at the drawings she had made on the far wall.

Then, the light shifted.  Zoe raised her head and saw flames engulf her papers and the wall.  Smoke filled her sight and she stood, backing into the corner.  She screamed, "Why?!" as her home was consumed, much like it was when she was six.  Then, from over her shoulder, flew a large, blue butterfly.  It barreled toward the flame and, instead of being deterred, its wings gusted air that blew the fire aside and revealed the cool, night air beyond.  The butterfly glowed brightly in the light of Gemenon and Graystone decided to follow it.

Aboard the Aetherjet, Galen Tyrol enjoyed a calming Headspace program for a change.  He had spent an hour or so playing ball on Earth with his favorite team, the New Cleitus Nets, and he felt exhausted, even though his body was in a somewhat suspended state.  His metabolism was slowed, his heart beat less than once per minute, but his mind still functioned.

A Messenger arrived and looked at the canisters containing the resting forms of the Final Five.  He looked into Tyrol's and reached his hand through the glass and into the cool air.  His fingers probed the man's mind and he found him sitting on a pier of some idyllic Earth lake.

With a thought, the angel said to its fellow spirit more than a dozen light years away, "I am ready."

She nodded and allowed her butterfly form to draw Zoe deeper into V-World.  She crossed from signal to signal, racing across half the planet to draw Graystone with her.  And then, when the woman was nearest, the being reached away from Caprica toward her companion and they were linked.

Zoe walked on the shore and watched the butterfly slow its escape.  It drifted and jagged up and down, as she would expect it to move, and unlike it had been.  The blue insect turned onto a dock and fluttered above weather-worn planks that extended twenty meters over the lake.  The waters were clear and still.  There was a warm breeze and the sun was partially obscured by clouds.  Lush, green trees framed the land all around and birds sang their songs from the branches.

Graystone's foot touched one of the boards and the creak echoed across the water.  She looked toward the end of the pier and saw someone sitting with their feet dangling from the edge.  Her eyebrows raised and she slowly began to walk toward him.

Tyrol heard nothing.  He watched his fishing line bob move in the slight waves.  He took in a deep breath and grinned a little.  He looked up and saw that the morning mists had finally receded.  A large bird screeched to his left and he looked toward it.  Then, a large, blue butterfly moved by his right shoulder and he jerked around to watch it move off the dock and skate less than a meter above the water.  He smiled again and watched it go before his brow furrowed and his mouth frowned.


Galen turned and looked into the face of the strange, young woman.  He blinked twice and said, "Hello." 

She smiled and then it faded just as quickly as it had appeared.  "Are you alive?"

He nodded with his eyebrows still raised and he looked to either side with just his eyes before asking, "Who are you?"

She smiled and slowly lowered herself to the dock.  She flung her long hair over one shoulder and said, "Zoe."

Tyrol scoffed and chuckled.  He looked back along the dock and around the edges of the lake.  "OK.  What's going on?"

She wrinkled her mouth and said, "I was going to ask you that.  I've been following that butterfly for hours, all over …"

"Sorry, what?"

Zoe pointed across the water to the large insect.  "The butterfly?"

Galen looked at it and said, "Huh.  I've never seen one before."

She paused and stared at the man.  "You've never seen a butterfly."

He shook his head.  "No."  He looked down at the fishing line and then glanced at her.  "So who are you?  Really?"

"I'm Zoe."

"Tory?  You figured out how to put on some disguise or …"

She laughed and said, "No.  I'm Zoe."  She became self conscious and quietly added, "Graystone.  Zoe Graystone."

Tyrol nodded again and said, "OK."

He looked at his fishing line and her eyebrows raised.  She laughed and in her raspy voice asked, "You've never heard of me?"  He shook his head.  She nodded and said, "Good."  Tyrol focused on his fishing and just watched the line get tugged to one direction.  He held his breath only to have her interrupt the possible catch, "Where are you?"

Galen waited for the fish to tug on the lure again.  "What do you mean?"

She shrugged, "You're in V-World, I know …"

"V-World?"  He looked at her and then nodded before looking back at the water.  "We call it Headspace."

She laughed.  "I like that."  Finally, she turned her attention to the water and saw that the ripples from the dancing line faded away.  "I mean, where is your body right now?"

He tilted his head to one side, "Well, I'm on a spaceship."

Zoe eyes widened and she said, "Really?  I didn't know the signals were good enough in orbit to log in."

Galen squinted and asked, "Orbit of what?"

Now she scoffed.  "Caprica."

Tyrol blinked and looked at her slowly.  "Caprica."  She nodded.  "A planet?"

Graystone's expression went from amusement to concern.  She nodded again, slower, and said, "Yes.  One of the Twelve Colonies."

Slowly, Galen's eyes widened.  "Colonies?"  For the first time, he fully turned his attention away from the water and swiveled his torso to face her.  He swallowed hard and tightened his grip on the simple fishing pole.  "OK.  No more dancing around.  My name is Galen Tyrol.  I'm on a spaceship, the Aetherjet, on our way at near-lightspeed to a double binary star system in hopes of finding colonies of Kobol."

Zoe hesitated.  She leaned away slowly and spoke emphatically, "I'm Zoe Graystone.  I live on Caprica, one of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol."  Tyrol nodded and she continued, "I am … I was killed three years ago and my consciousness was uploaded to V-World.  It's all that I am now."

Galen blinked once and he inhaled sharply.  "I see.  That's, uh, … that's something."

Graystone looked down at the water and said, "Yeah."  She looked at the gear surrounding the man and she asked, "May I?" as she reached for a pole.

He nodded and said, "Sure." 

She picked up the rod and looked at the shining hook.  She stared at it for a second before reaching into the plastic cup and removing a worm.  She speared the wriggling, moist thing on the barb and made ready to cast it.

"You didn't flinch."

She smirked and said, "I'm used to it."  She flung the pole and the hook flew several meters away, landing in the water.  She turned the reel and brought her line closer to the dock. 

Tyrol looked at her, stared at her, for several long moments.  She felt it and glanced toward him a few times before he finally spoke up.  "If you're dead, what do you do … all day?"

Zoe sighed and said, "I used to look for my friends.  I used to play games."  She blinked slowly and remembered her adventures.  "I took out some of my frustrations on others who came to V-World."
"Hmmm."  Galen rolled his reel back a little.  "I'm sure being dead is frustrating."

"You have no idea."  She licked her lips and held the pole to her right to try and get the line farther from his.  "For the last few years, I've been trying to help my mom and dad make me a new body."  Tyrol's head jerked toward her and she said, "Now that has been frustrating."


"Yes.  My father runs a robotics company so that's not the problem."

Galen's eyes widened and he straightened his shoulders.  "No?"

"No.  Making me look real."  Graystone nodded, "That's the problem.  Plastic or any kind of polymer won't work.  We've tried all kinds.  I'm in a body finally," her voice began to raise and it became huskier the louder she got, "but I can't do anything.  I'm stuck in a machine."

Tyrol looked at his line and pulled back on the rod.  No more biting.  "Did you try real flesh?"

"Yes.  My mother's a surgeon. We've tried … lots of different things.  Skin grafts, mostly.  They finally cloned my skin.  Muscles."  She shook her head.  "But it just … it doesn't work.  Keeping it alive is hard enough, but it doesn't look right, either.  I'm not alive, really.  I'm like a mannequin.  I'm a robot wearing a skin suit, like a frakking serial killer or something."

Galen laughed and nodded.  "That's messed up."

Zoe rolled her eyes and finally smiled a little.  "It is."  She swayed to one side and said, "You should see it when the skin starts to die.  I'm like a zombie."

"I don't know what that is."  She looked at him sideways and Tyrol toyed with his line for a moment.  He said, "It sounds like you're trying to mimic life; not create it."

Graystone looked at him directly and paused.  Then she said, "You're right."

He nodded and asked, "You cloned skin.  How about a whole body?"

She exhaled loudly and cranked her reel a few times.  "My mom's had to go to a lot of trouble just to get the skin.  I doubt she could pull off a body.  Plus, I don't want to be stuck as a kid again for another eighteen years."

Again, Galen laughed.  "Maturation?  Do you have any kind of ability to mature cloned cells?"

Zoe clicked the reel once more.  "No.  Not like we'd need, for sure."

"An organic knitter?"  She didn't react.  "A kind of … printer for organic material?"

"Huh.  Sounds cool, but there's nothing like that."

"Well, skin suit it is."  Something pulled on Tyrol's hook and drew it toward the left.  He let the reel advance a bit before tugging back.  "You need your skin to react well to your thoughts, for it to be natural on your metal body, fine muscle control, …" his voice trailed as he continued to tease the line.  "Does the robot body use silica pathways?"

Graystone nodded and said, "Silica fibers, yeah.  Information, data."

"Have you tried linking them to the pathways in your skin?"

Zoe's eyes narrowed and she said, "What?"

Galen looked at her and said, "The silica pathways in your skin.  Can you connect them to the robot body?"

She shook her head in confusion and said, "What?  I don't have silica fibers in my skin."

"You don't?"

"No."  She scoffed and pulled on her rod without taking her eyes off him.  "I'm human."  He raised a single eyebrow and she quickly added, "You know what I mean."

"No silica pathways?"  He tilted his head to one side and ran through the possibilities in his head.  "OK.  An organic transducer.  You can put pathways in the skin and muscle, but you need an organic transducer to translate the signals from artificial to organic and back again."

"Great."  She let her hand fall to her thigh and it slapped her pants.  She looked across the water to the far side of the lake.  A large tree swayed in a breeze that she couldn't feel from where she sat.  "How long will it take for us to research and make that?"

"Hang on."  Galen turned and opened the lid of his tackle box.  He dug through the tools, lines, and lures.  Finally, he removed one red, spheroid bauble and watched it dangle on the edge of a filament.  He turned it slowly from side to side, thought about the information he needed, and then touched it.  It flashed once and he smiled.  "Here."

He lowered the lure into her hand and she held it gingerly.  She dropped her fishing pole to the dock and then cradled it.  Zoe's eyes widened and she looked up at Galen.  "Is this …"

He nodded.  "Yeah.  I'm sure you and your parents can figure it out."

She held it up and watched the sunlight dance on its speckled, metallic surface.  "I don't know what to say."

"Oh, hang on."  Tyrol turned again toward his box and removed a bit of line and small feather-like attachment.  As she held the lure still, he wound the red plastic to the bauble and said, "Nutrient gel.  A kind of bath for your organic body."  When he snipped the filament, the feather flashed, too.

Zoe smiled and looked at Galen.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He smiled and put his tools back in the box before he picked up his pole again.  "Now, tell me something."  Tyrol looked to his right and watched her toy with the lure.  Her glowing face kept him silent for a moment before he asked, "Tell me about your father.  His company.  What is he working on now?"

"Well, me.  Pretty much full time.  The company kinda runs itself, just cranking out Cylons."

Galen turned toward her, again, with wide eyes.  "Cylons?"

"Yeah, sorry.  Robotic servants.  Workers, laborers, soldiers."

Tyrol closed his eyes and breathed slowly.  "I see."

Graystone lowered the red lure into her hand and she clutched it tightly.  She reached back to brace herself and prepared to stand.  "I think I should get this home."

He scrambled to his feet and softly held her shoulders.  She grew concerned with his speed, his looming form, and his sudden earnestness.  Galen said, "Please, be careful with them.  The Cylons.  Watch out for them, OK?"

Zoe saw how important he felt that was and she nodded.  "OK.  Yeah."  She focused on his face and noticed the worry that creased around his eyes.  The sudden tiredness he seemed to exude.

He squeezed her shoulders again and let her go.  He said, "Good luck."

She cupped both hands around the lure and smiled.  She walked back down the dock toward the shore and the blue butterfly fluttered across his path.  He watched it go before reaching up and disconnecting himself from Headspace.

Aboard the Aetherjet, Galen emerged from his sleep and lumbered across the bay.  He found Saul sitting at a workstation.

"Hey," he said.  "What are you doing up?"

"Long story."  Tyrol was out of breath and he said, "We need to go faster."

Tigh squeezed his eyes shut and barked a laugh as he asked, "What?  Why?"

"Trust me.  We have to try."

The Messengers withdrew from both Graystone and Tyrol.  The pair had maintained contact across barriers of time dilation, space, and language.  The female said, "I believe that did it."

The male tender said, "And now we wait."

That's all for now.  More to come.


  1. God damn. I'm very ready for these all to be released. How will you do it? One each week, month? All at once? Either way, I know it's getting closer and it makes me happy.

    1. I'm not sure how I'll do it. There will be three volumes (with multiple "books" in each one), but I don't know if I'll space them out or what.

      I'm glad you're looking forward to it.

  2. Wow... your stories are incredible. Way better than any licensed BSG book ever was.
    I know novels may be out if the question, have you thought of comics? Dynamite Comics currently has the BSG license (not sure about Caprica) for original and reimagined. They don't stick to the conventional storylines, right now they just released BSG Vs. BSG, the old meets the new, so unconventional stories aren't off the table.
    Maybe you can submit the stories to them. Then let the fanbase know you did and have them lobby Dynamite.
    Obviously someone there is passionate about BSG but the editorial oversight sometimes is lacking (one example making Capt Apollo from 78 a right hand shooter when he was a left).
    By far the best story they wrote was a reimagined Galactica 1980 in which the characters were the same but had elements of the newer series, such as full names. The ending is great but they mentioned sequels but they didn't happen. It might be hard to find the actual issues but you can get the digital copies or digital TPB from comixology or Dynamite. Its out there.... I recommend it just for the last few pages. I don't want to ruin the ending if you do decide to read it, but I think you will like it.

    1. I have considered it, but the format is way more limiting to the kind of writing that I prefer. That's not to say I wouldn't give it a shot, though ...

  3. Oh and PLEASE release these stories as soon as possible! Ive been severely depressed since my wife passed away and just reading the excerpt alone made me excited to read them, as if you couldn't tell from the previous post.
    Im going to reread the first 4 books but the Colonies of Kobol has me really looking forward to them. Reading LOK books again helps give my mind a breather from feeling depressed and the Colonies books look so awesome I cant wait for them!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and my condolences for your loss.

      I aim to be typing on a much more frequent basis, and by the time all three volumes of "Colonies" are finished, you'll have many hundreds more pages read.