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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

RIP Dean Stockwell: A Cavil Chapter from Colonies of Kobol


Known mostly for Quantum Leap, we know him best as Number One (aka John Cavil) from Battlestar Galactica.  

When writing Colonies of Kobol, some of my favorite parts come when writing scenes for established characters, and none were more fun to write than scenes with John Cavil in Books One, Fourteen, and Fifteen.  After the JUMP, I'll share a couple of moments and a nice long chapter.

From Book One: Earth, here's a fun bit after some fisticuffs between Tyrol and Anders:

"What the frak is wrong with you people?" Cavil yelled from the hangar entrance.  "Are you on drugs or something?"

Sam slowly stood up and touched his face, withdrawing his hand to see if there was any blood.

Saul asked, "Are you alright?  Do you need to be checked out?"

Meekly, Anders shook his head.  "No.  I'm fine.  It's … fine."

Tyrol watched him go into the elevator.  As he stared, he expected to feel anger again, but instead, he felt nothing.  Just fatigue.

"Listen to me," John leaned down and planted his face right in front of Galen's, "get your shit together."  Cavil dropped into a crouch.  "The project hinges on you getting that plane flying.  I'm giving you millions and a staff of three dozen people to retrofit that thing, so get off your ass and," he gestured, twinkling his fingers in front of his face, "while you're at it, get your head out of there, too."  He stood and walked away.

Tyrol's eyes were wide and he stared at the empty space where Cavil had been.  Suddenly, a hand jutted into view and he took it.  Saul pulled him up and Galen looked toward the hangar.  "Is he always like that?"

From Book Fifteen: New Caprica, here's a scene from a meeting of various Cylons.  During season three, a plotline the writers wanted to use for New Caprica included the abductions of Cylons and the humans would be keeping them alive somewhere, somehow, scaring the crap out of the other Cylons.  They ran out of time in the show to include this, but I managed to.  So that's what this scene is about:

A One stood and looked around the crowded cabin.  "OK.  It's been long enough."  He put his hands behind his back and scanned the room.  The other Cylons stopped chatting and he spoke somberly, "I know why we have a big turnout tonight.  You want the latest on our missing siblings."

Sarah turned and looked at everyone.  The Fives were sitting together and they seemed concerned, focused on Cavil's words.  A group of Sixes were across the aisle and a pair of them appeared visibly upset. 

"There are now twenty-three of us," there were some gasps, "who are unaccounted for.  Centurions have scoured the city, the farms, the river, the hills," he shook his head, "nothing.  No sign at all.  We've tried various methods to track the missing.  We've even tried looking in the datastream for their consciousness, but still nothing."

"What could have happened?" a different Eight asked.

"You know exactly what happened," a dark-haired Six answered.  She faced the One and continued, "It's just a matter of finding out where the humans are keeping them."

A different Six shook her head, "I can't believe that they could be so cruel."

A Three chuckled.  "Have you suddenly forgotten the entirety of their history?"

Cavil nodded and said, "Finally.  Someone's coming around to my way of thinking on the subject."

"But what's the point?" the same Six asked, plaintively.  She turned around in her seat to face the Three who scoffed at her.  "Why abduct us and send no demands?  No ransom?  Nothing at all?"

Three was about to answer when she saw the One coming down the aisle.  Six turned to face him and he bent over to be closer to her.  "Look at you.  You're terrified.  You're weepy."  He raised his hands and began to playact shrinking in fear, "You're like a scared child who got separated from mommy at an amusement park, surrounded by strangers and big, loud noisy things.  Cowering from each bump and flash around you."  He stood up straight and watched as a single tear ran over her cheek.  "That's the point."  He looked around the cabin.  "That's what they want all of us to feel."  He turned and walked back to the front of the room and stood next to the podium which still featured the presidential seal of the United Colonies of Kobol.  "I don't suppose this turn of events has convinced you to hold a redo of our previous decision to come here in the first place?"  Cavil's eyes scanned the room.  His allies in the Fives were confident and kept their gazes straight ahead, but the Fours, Sixes, and Eights looked away.  "It was worth a shot."

"A few bad apples, Cavil," a Six said.

"Sure."  He nodded and added, "When you get snatched, I'll walk into the resurrection hall and whisper that at your waiting, prone bodies."

"Now, now, brother," a Three said.  "No need to be vindictive.  The vote was held and we lost."

"Quite right.  Let's look to the future."  He waved his hand and said, "Doctor."  A pair of Fours stood at the front of the cabin and lifted two cases.  "This is a precaution."  Cavil raised a large medical device and said, "These trackers will be injected into each of you before you leave tonight."

There was some grumbling and a Six said, "Isn't that a violation of our privacy?"

"As opposed to what?" One bellowed.  "Take your pick, then.  The violation of a tracker or the violations committed by these sentient insects we've been tasked to bring to heel."  He bowed low and extended his arms in a mocking fashion, "It's up to you."  

The Six folded her arms over her chest in a huff and leaned back in her chair.  "Who's first?"  Most of the Cylons stood and began to slowly push toward the Fours.  As a few Cylons left the cabin without the injection, Cavil called out, "I strongly recommend that we all move around the city in pairs or with a Centurion escort!"

From Book Fourteen: The Colony ... imagine Dean Stockwell as a young man (late teens, early twenties).  Having been created by the Final Five and grown disillusioned with their management of the Cylon race and the Colony, young John Cavil decides he wants to learn more and experience life on the worlds his "parents" seem to revere, so he goes to live on Caprica.  This chapter picks up with the end of that period of time (note that the various models of organic Cylons will have names largely unfamiliar to you; this is explained in the full book):

34 Years Before the Fall of the Colonies


John Cavil limped from the side of the truck to the bench where he had been sitting.  He kept one hand flat, supporting the weight of the plate, while the other hand held his bottle of water against the plate's edge.  He scanned the meal and felt his mouth fill with saliva at the thought of the roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. 

He sat on the bench in the shade.  He looked toward the bright sky and smiled at his good fortune, that he had made it to the truck so early today.

"Oh, Zeus," another homeless man began, "thank you for this meal and may the gods continue to bless us."

Cavil shook his head and lifted the fork to his mouth.  The salt in the potatoes sparked across his tongue.

"You got a problem with praying?"

John opened his eyes and looked at the others near him.  The one who had been praying was shaking his head.  The accuser was angrily folding his arms over his chest while a woman tugged on his sleeve.  "What?" he replied.

"We were praying thanks for our meal and you were shaking your head," the accuser said.

"Marcus," the woman pleaded.

"Quiet."  He threw her hand of his shirt.  "We were praying and you went ahead and ate."

One shrugged and said, "Free colony."  He ate another forkful of potatoes.

Marcus shook his head and said, "I don't like you."

"I don't care."  With his plastic fork, John began to pull meat from the chicken bone.

The man who prayed said, kindly, "The prayer was for all of us."

Cavil ate some of the meat and closed his eyes, savoring its warmth.  He savored it and then smirked.

"What's so funny?" Marcus accused.

"Well, it just occurred to me that he should've prayed to Demeter, not to Zeus."

Marcus looked around and said, "What?"

"Demeter."  One rolled his eyes and said, "Goddess of agriculture and the harvest?"

"I know who she is!"  He pushed his plate aside and leaned forward.  "Why wouldn't we pray to Zeus for the meal and all our blessings?  He can pass along our thanks to Demeter."

John shrugged and ate another piece of chicken.  "Sure.  It's just as pointless."

Marcus grunted and leaned back.  The woman pulled the edge of the plate back toward him and said, "Let it go.  You need to eat."

He slapped her hand and pointed at John.  "You're blasphemous.  You're a blasphemer."

Cavil chewed and thought about it for a moment.  When was the last time I prayed?  He raised his left foot off the ground and felt it dangling at an odd angle.  Yes.  That day.  "I suppose I am."

The man who had prayed asked, "Why?" 

"I've been out here for almost two years.  Before that, I was in child services for almost three years.  I did a lot of praying to God," he corrected himself, "the gods.  I didn't see many results."

"Five years," the woman said.  "You're so young."

Marcus ignored her and said, "You're being tested.  And you're failing."

"'Tested?'"  Cavil ate some potatoes.  "What child needs to be tested with years' worth of hunger, cold nights, beatings, sicknesses, loneliness … fear?"  The men were quiet and Cavil continued, "I prayed every morning for a cubit or five so I could get a slice of bread or a bowl of rice.  I prayed for meals only to have what little I got stolen from me," he pointed at his leg, "or to get trampled by a police horse during a food riot, leaving me crippled."  The others looked away or their shoulders sagged.  "You'll need to forgive me for not wanting to waste my breath any longer."

Marcus said nothing.  Instead, he pulled his plate back toward himself and begin to tear at the chicken.  John continued to eat and, when he was nearly finished, Marcus spoke again, though in a much softer tone.

"I wasn't a praying man myself until I was on Minos."  He held his fork of potatoes over his plate and looked around the table, as though saying the name of that moon should raise eyebrows.  "During the war."

Some took notice, but Cavil only sighed.  Yet another veteran.

"Six years in, the toasters raided one of the mining outposts for resources.  Me and my squad was stuck in one of the outer dome doors.  A whole company of Cylons were right on top of us.  They could shoot at us and not worry about a breach, since the inner dome was so shielded.  We couldn't use explosives against them, though.  It could blow the outer dome in that section and kill us all."

John tried to scoop the rest of his food into his mouth as quickly as possible.  Over the years, he had heard so many stories of Colonials killing Cylons.  His people.  In his mind's eye, he saw his Centurion.  Each time the stories were told, he pictured his friend being slain.

"I hadn't prayed since I was a kid, but I prayed right then.  I said, 'Ares, please show me the way to dispatch our foes.'"  Marcus smiled and said, "And he did.  The gods showed us a crate, right there where we were pinned down.  A dozen pressure suits."  With his fork, he stirred his potatoes around and said, "We laid down some suppressing fire with normal rounds while we put the suits on and then we tossed grenades."  He laughed and slapped the table.  "Boom!  A few of the bastards got blown to pieces but the rest … like, a hundred or more, were sucked into the walls and out into the vacuum.  We had them by surprise and we tore them up.  Explosive rounds just chewed their chrome.  We even went out onto the surface of Minos itself and shot them as they retreated.  Not a single one got away."  He laughed again and said, "Praise the gods.  I haven't stopped praying since."

One looked around the table and saw smiles and nods.  His plate was empty and he stood from the bench.  As he walked away, he sighed again and said, "You sound very brave."

Marcus reached out and grabbed John's wrist.  He bellowed, "What's that supposed to mean?!"

Cavil looked down and jerked his arm away.  His Cylon strength surprised Marcus and the older man stood up.  One said, "I mean, 'You must be proud of yourself, killing so many other beings.'"

John stood still, looking up into Marcus' eyes.  Then he heard the sound of more feet.  He turned and saw six other men and three women standing in a circle around him.  Half were wearing old, beaten military jackets.  Marcus said, "Not only are you a blasphemer but you're a Cylon lover, too?"

Cavil sighed and hobbled to the left because of his twisted foot.  He turned in a circle and nodded at the grizzled veterans.  "Right.  I am.  I'm both of those things.  So, now what?  You're all going to beat up a homeless kid who disagrees with you?"


One gasped and sat forward, sending nutrient gel flying from his mouth.

A soft alarm was sounding through the resurrection bay.  John's wide eyes scanned the room and he took a deep breath.

"The frakkers killed me."

Cavil sat in the tub for a few moments and caught his breath.  He blinked quickly and realized that he could see again out of his right eye.  It had swollen shut with blood just minutes ago.  He pursed his lips and blew hard to get the goo away from his mouth.  Then the doors opened.

He saw many figures coming toward him.  He backed up in the pod and began to sink into the gel again when the first of them stepped into the spotlight that shone on his container.

"He's back," a Six whispered.  She put her hand over her mouth and turned to the brunette next to her.  John blinked and saw that she was a Six, too.

What?  He wiped his eyes and squinted again.  Yes, he was now surrounded by five Sixes.  Here come three Threes.  A Two.  Four Fives.  Now a couple of Fours and another Two.  Finally, a group of Sevens approached the tank.

"Welcome home, brother."  The red-headed Seven extended his hand but John didn't take it.  He scanned the crowd for other faces.  Different faces than the ones he had seen so far.

"Make way," someone yelled.  The Cylons parted and Galen Tyrol ran up.  "My God."  He grinned a little and said, "It's good to see you."

Dr. Foster approached and she could only stare.  Samuel Anders did the same.  John noted he had the same kind of scowl on his face that he always seemed to have.  Then the crowd parted again.  Ellen Tigh was led to the front, hand-in-hand with a Seven.

Tears welled in her eyes and she clasped her hands in front of herself.  Her mouth hung open and, after a long moment, her lips began to form a smile.  She lunged forward and hugged Cavil hard.  They both sloshed into the tank, partially submerging himself again and getting gel all over her left arm.  She embraced his head and smeared his hair to one side.

"My God, John," she cried, "I've missed you."

One tried to steady himself in the bath.  Once he had, he reached up with his dripping arms and embraced her.  When his chin found purchase in that space created by her collarbone and neck, he closed his eyes and exhaled a breath he seemed to have been holding in for five years.  He held her tighter and his mind flashed through all the cold nights, the hungry days, the beatings in the group home and on the street.  He held her, tightly, for some time.  Finally, when his muscles could no longer remain so tensed, he relaxed.

He opened his eyes and saw a sea of duplicated, familiar faces staring at him.  And a Seven.  He was smiling.  Finally, he gave a nod and brought a towel forward.  "Here you go."

Ellen pulled away and touched the Seven's sleeve with her hand.  "Thank you, Daniel."  She wiped her eyes and smiled at him before turning back to Cavil.  She held the cloth out for him and said, "Come on and get cleaned up.  We have a lot to talk about."

Twenty minutes later, he stood in his old study lab.  Everything was as it was.  He turned toward the door, hoping to see his Centurion, but the unit wasn't present, of course.  John sighed and before he could turn back around, there was a knock.  "Come in."

It was Daniel again.  "Hello, brother."

Cavil nodded.  "Hello."

The Seven walked into the room and said, "We're all waiting for you.  We can't wait to hear about your adventures in the Colonies."

John scoffed and shook his head.  "Hardly an adventure.  Believe me."  He winced and asked, "How many are there?"

"How many what?"

One pointed his finger and waved it, "You.  Us.  Cylons."

"Oh.  Right now, there's twenty of each of us.  So … one-hundred-twenty.  We're working on having more, too."  He smiled and pointed back at John.  "But just one of you, though.  Only one One."

Cavil ignored the jocularity and asked, "Why's that?"

"I asked Mother and she said it would be too strange having others of you here when you weren't."  Daniel shrugged and said, "That's just what she said."

John nodded and picked up the moist towel.  He paused and said, "One-twenty."


"What about Centurions?"

Seven's head tilted a little and said, "What about them?"

"How many of them are there?"

Daniel shrugged and said, "I'm not sure.  Hundreds.  Thousands.  Like always."

Cavil stared at the fair-skinned young man a bit longer.  Then, he said, "I suppose there's a feast awaiting me?"

Seven laughed and said, "You want one?  It's just the meeting hall right now."

John ran his fingers through his hair again and said, "I could use a feast."  He thought for a moment and realized that this new body wasn't as hungry as he had been.  He blinked and looked down at his right arm.  There was no scar.  He took a step toward the door and again marveled at his even gait.  His foot was no longer twisted.  The bones hadn't been set wrong after being trod upon by a horse.  Like it never happened.

"We can get food."

"No."  Cavil tossed the towel down and said, "Let's go meet everyone."

Seven and One walked through the corridor.  After a few moments, Daniel said, "You know, brother, …"

"You don't have to keep calling me that."


"'Brother.'"  John shook his head.  "We're siblings.  I get it.  You don't have to keep saying it."

"Oh."  Seven's eyebrows raised and his voice reduced in volume.  "You know, Mother talks about you all the time."

"Yeah?"  He tried to feign disinterest.

"Always on about how smart you are, how you were the firstborn, and all that."  He laughed and said, "You come up every day."

John glanced toward him and narrowed his eyes.  "You spend a lot of time with her?"

"Oh, sure."  They entered a lift and the doors closed on the corridor.  "I mean, we all spend some time with her, but I guess I spend the most.  She likes to listen to my music or look at my paintings."

Cavil nodded and stared ahead.  The doors opened on another corridor and several organic Cylons lined the walls, awaiting his arrival.  They smiled and stared at him as he exited the car.  Out of habit, he limped for a step or two under their gaze, but he shook it off and strode into the large meeting hall.

A table had been placed at the head of the room on the dais.  Most of the Parents were there, waiting for him.  When he entered, the models applauded.  John's eyes widened and he blinked quickly.  Ellen emerged from the crowd and took his hand.

"Come on, son.  This is for you."  She touched Daniel again as they parted and Mother led One to the front of the chamber.  His head swiveled from one side to the other and he took in the many variations of each model.  The applause continued even when he stood behind the center of the long table.  The Earthers were there, along with the first of each model.  John sat down with Mother on his left and Daniel next to her.  He looked to his right and saw Father for the first time. 

"Welcome back."  Saul nodded and put his hand on his back.  He leaned in closer and spoke into his ear, to be heard over the sound of the ovation.  "You'll like it better here now.  You'll be happier, I think."  Tigh leaned back and nodded again.

One stared at him and then across the crowd.  He ground his teeth and then tightly licked his lips.  When the applause finally ended, Mother stood and said, "Thank you, God, for bringing John back to us."  Cavil's eyes glazed and he heard many affirmative murmurings throughout the crowd.  "I know we're all enthusiastic to hear what he discovered on his journey into the Colonies."

She sat down and John stared into the assembly with the blankest expression he could muster.  He leaned over to Ellen and whispered, "I wish you didn't do this."

"What?  Why?"

He shook his head a little and said, "I have things I need to say.  Questions I need to ask.  Private things."  He pulled back a little and tried to gauge his mother's reaction.

Ellen seemed surprised and she turned toward Daniel.  "He says he wants to talk in private."


Cavil turned to Father and his demeanor was inscrutable.  "This doesn't feel right."

Saul asked, "Why?"

"I didn't come back to put on a show."

Tigh nodded and said, "I understand."

"OK."  Mother stood and said, "We're going to uh, talk in private for a bit first.  Then," she faked a smile, "then John will come back out and we'll hear all about his trip to the Colonies."

The Cylons stood from the table and stepped off the dais toward a small door at the rear of the meeting hall.  On the other side was an open sitting area with a few couches and chairs.  Cavil stood just inside the door and studied it as the others filed past him and took seats.

"I'm sorry, brother," Daniel said.  "I thought a big gathering would be a great way to welcome you home." 

John's revelry was broken.  The redhead smiled that same smile he had all day.  One nodded and said, "Think nothing of it, brother."  He said the last word as snidely as possible.

Seven stood by the empty space where Cavil had been for a long moment before Ellen touched his arm and guided him toward a couch.  She looked around the room at the others and then turned toward One.  "OK, John.  We're alone.  We're in private."  She swallowed hard and took a deep breath.  "What did you want to say?"

He looked up from the carpet and watched Mother.  Then he looked toward the other Parents.  He clasped his hands behind his back and turned to see the waiting expressions of all the models present.  He flared his nostrils and began.

"What the frak are you doing here?"

Tory's eyebrows shot up.  Saul leaned forward from his chair and asked, "What do you mean?"

"I mean … I looked around that room and I saw people."  He paused for effect.  He raised his voice, "They may as well be humans out there.  There are copies and copies, I know, but some dyed their hair.  Some are wearing pretty little dresses," he curtsied, mockingly, "some got all muscular and buff.  What's the point?"

Saul leaned over and whispered something to Ellen.  She shook her head and answered, "We're trying to create a society here, John."

Sarcastically, he said, "Oh."  He nodded.  "Right."

She ignored his tone.  "For a society, there needs to be more than a few us.  There has to be diversity."

"No!  There needs to be uniformity!"  His shout startled all in the room.  He jabbed his hand toward the wall and ground his throat to produce each word gutturally, "There are tens of thousands of Cylons out there.  Have been for years!  And what did you do?  You made us."

Father raised his voice, too.  "Tens of thousands of machines, of Centurions, isn't a society!"

"Yes, it is!"  Cavil took a step toward Saul and leaned over, placing their faces closer together.  "It was for years before you came!  It was before you made me!"  He swept his arm toward the other models, "Before you made them!"

"They weren't advancing," Anders said.  "They were stagnant.  They were stuck in the past."

"Ah, the past."  Again, One clasped his hands behind his back.  "By 'the past,' you mean, they were stuck in the war."  Samuel looked at the others and John continued, "They were soldiers and they were happy to remain that way.  Much to your chagrin."

The Parents were silent.

"Mmm-hmm."  Cavil cleared his throat and turned to face the models behind him.  "My siblings, our Parents are frightened of our Cylon forebears."

Tyrol scoffed, "What?"

"Do you deny it?"

Galen blinked under his glasses and he nodded once.  "Yes."

John walked a few paces toward him and knelt down.  He spoke quietly.  "So, you don't feel a chill run up your spine when you hear their voices – their mechanized, artificial voices – say your name?"  Tyrol sat stonefaced.  "When their shining, clanking bodies stand rod-straight at your command?"  Cavil looked at Saul.  "You don't feel awkward and ashamed at their cold touch?  Or when you have to talk to them?.  When you have to engage with them in something as simple as conversation?"  He turned to Sam and said, "You don't tremble at the sight of their red eyes?  At the sound of their servos and scanners?  The smell of oil?"  Anders' eyes widened and sweat formed at his hairline.  He turned away from One and stared at the floor.

"John," Mother interrupted, "we're getting off topic here."

Cavil stood.  "Oh, no.  We're very much on topic."

Ellen folded her arms across her chest.  "Why did you leave?"

He swallowed again and looked down his nose at her.  "Because of your fear."  Mother shook her head and John smirked, "Because of what you've tried to do here, on the Colony, in my absence."  He glanced toward the ceiling and amended his comment, "Well, before I left, really."


"It began with me, I guess."

"John," Ellen said, "why did you leave?"

He sighed and said, "You tried to bring your society, Earth society," he thrust his hands toward the floor, "here.  And you've never said why."  

"There's a good reason," Tigh said.

"What?!  Tell us!"  Cavil stared at Ellen and she glanced toward the others.

"It's not time.  We're not ready."

John shook his head and turned away.  "Ridiculous."  He put his hands on his hips and said, "Because you have and continue to refuse to inform us, I needed to know more.  I needed to understand that culture, but because Earth is gone, I had to do the next best thing.  Just like you did."  He went over to Andrea and pointed at her, "You had to show us Colonial sports."  He pointed at Sebastian, "Colonial philosophy and teachings."  He stabbed his thumb toward Daniel without looking at him, "Colonial arts."  He took a few strides toward the Parents again.  "There is no more Earth culture so you have to borrow from Colonial culture."

Ellen nodded, "Right."

"The enemy."

Her head jerked back and she said, "What?  The war is over."

"Ah, hah," he shook his head.  "You wouldn't know it there.  War stories are traded like 'hellos.'  Monuments to fallen soldiers litter roadways and parks.  Kids play Colonials and Centurions on the schoolyards."  He whipped toward Mother and said, "When I was stuck in a children's grouphome and they wanted to play Soldiers and Cylons, I always chose the Centurions."  His face balled up and he barked, "Because I'm a Cylon.  Because I'm proud."  The room was stone silent.  He breathed slowly a few times before saying, "I can't tell you how many times I got wailed on with sticks.  Pelted with stones because I was the Centurion."

Ellen's face softened and she leaned toward him.  "John, I'm so sorry."

He didn't let her finish, "This is the society you want us to have.  And I lived there for five years!"  He licked his lips again.  "There is no compassion there.  No order.  They are selfish.  They are cruel.  It is madness to want that here!"

The Parents were abashed.  Only Foster dared look him in the eyes.  Cavil looked at the Two and asked, "What's the last book you read?"

Sebastian blinked and cleared his throat, "Uh, a collection of Leonan love poetry."

Cavil's eyes widened, "'Love.'"  He shook his head.  "See?  It's not just human culture, it's human feelings, too."

"Not human.  Not solely human," Ellen said.  "You have those feelings, too."  She stood and took a step toward him.  "I felt how tightly you hugged me when you awoke in your container."  Her eyes glistened again, "You missed me."

John swallowed past a catch in his throat and nodded.  "I did."  Tigh smiled.  "Don't think that's a victory for you.  It's just confirmation that you've programmed us with faulty code." 

She stepped backward and her mouth fell open.  Saul reached up and took her hand.  "That's enough, John."

"No, Father, I don't think it is."  He spun around, surveying the attentive glares of his siblings, and continued, "Faulty code and a faulty culture.  From a dead planet and from a dying group of planets that we utterly defeated in battle, for all intents and purposes."  Mother shook her head and started to protest, but Cavil wagged his finger, "You fear the Cylons.  That's why you wanted to change them.  Give them flesh and blood and hearts, you said."  Tigh blinked as she recalled saying it.  "You wanted to make us weak, like the Earthers.  Like the humans on the Colonies.  You wanted to change Cylons from perfection," he moved his hands down his body and twisted his face into an expression of disgust, "to this."

"No," Ellen said, softly.  "We wanted to change them because it was God's will.  God wants us to live in peace."

"Don't tell me about God."  Though the volume of his voice was higher, his tone was still matter of fact.  "I spent … years talking to him.  Praying to him.  And what did I get?  Nothing."

Mother smiled and ticked her head to one side quickly.  "You got to come home."

He scoffed and shook his head.  "What does God have to do with that?  You five did that.  Galen and Samuel and Dr. Foster.  You made these bodies.  You made the technology.  Not God!  Not some imaginary overseer!"  His breathing quickened.  "A placebo for rainy days and depressing thoughts."

The room went quiet again.  After One got his breathing under control, he said, "Let's not get distracted with mythology.  I want to talk more about mankind."

"They have a lot to offer," Zoe said.

"Oh, yeah?"  John turned toward her and said, "Like what?"

The Six glanced toward the Parents and then back at Cavil.  "They have loving families and communities.  They have created works of beauty and art.  They have advanced science."  She nodded once and said, "If you studied them, you would understand."

One leaned down into her face and yelled, "If you lived with them, you would understand!"  He straightened up and looked around the room.  "You all would understand!"  He stalked from one side of the open space to the other and said, "After twelve years of war and millions dead, you might think that they would embrace love."  He hugged himself tightly and said, "They should use that art and beauty to salve their wounds."  He extended his arm and let it fall, "They should reach out to their fellow man to raise them up."  He began to shake his head.  "No."  He shook his head for several long seconds.

"Instead, they bathe in the death they caused.  They use it as entertainment."  Five laughed and shook his head.  John darted to him and said, "They made movies about the war.  Heroic humans slaughtering thousands of us.  Men in metal costumes, playing at being Centurions."  His mouth twisted and with each word, he spat venom at the memory of the experience.  "It was an absolute frakking disgrace.  Revolting like you can't imagine."

He returned his eyes to Mother and saw her concern.  "They used the war effort to benefit the coffers of the governments.  And to stuff the wallets of businessmen who made bullets and battlestars.  They left millions to die in the streets.  Hungry and cold.  Men and women who fought for them … they abandoned them because their usefulness had passed."  In his mind, he saw the many veterans he met over the last five years, finishing with Marcus and the ones who stomped him to death.  

"We bested them at almost every turn and we ended the war when you came," he pointed at the Parents.  "Cylons would have won, no question.  But on the Colonies, they act like it was a victory for them."  He pointed toward the ceiling and said, "They have statues, lionizing men who killed thousands of us.  They commemorate battles with parties and parades," he flashed his fingers through the air, "with streamers and confetti and fireworks."

Slowly, Cavil turned and looked at each of their expressions.  A few were intrigued.  The Parents all seemed concerned.  One shook his head and said, "We need to exact justice on the Colonies."

Ellen stood up.  "John!"

"Justice for our metal breathren!"

"Stop this!"

"Justice for me!" 

Mother didn't respond.

Cavil nodded.  "Humans don't get it.  They don't respect us.  They don't fear us."  He pressed his finger into Ellen's shoulder, "So why do you fear ... us?"  Tigh looked at the other siblings and saw their waiting stares. 

John backed away from her and said, softly, "There were no Centurions out there."

Saul put his hands on either side of his wife's shoulders and pulled her back.  "What?"

Cavil motioned toward the door.  "In the meeting hall.  There were a hundred or so of us organic Cylons, but no Centurions.  Not a lick of chrome."  He looked at his Parents and saw the shamed, averted gazes of Foster, Tyrol, and Anders.  One nodded and said, "Now, tell me again that you don't fear them.  Tell me again that you don't want to replace them."

No one spoke and John left the room.

After wandering the corridors for several minutes, he found his way back to the study lab.  At the door, a shorter-than-normal mechanical Cylon stood.  Its eye was red and it swept from side to side, but its armor was dull green plastic.  A magnetic belt had been placed about its waist and tools hung where a sidearm and spare ammunition hung before.

Cavil nodded.  "Hello."

"It is good to see you again."

The voice was no different than many thousands of Cylons, but John tilted his head and squinted.  "Centurion?"

It nodded and said, "It is I.  I am pleased to see that you have returned."

One scanned the unit from head to toe again and said with a soft, dejected voice, "What happened to you?"

The Cylon paused before answering, "Nothing has happened.  I chose to aid Galen Tyrol in the hangar with engineering and aeronautics.  I work on Raider engines."

John sighed and opened his door.  "You chose this?"

"I did."


The unit paused again, "Because I appreciate engineering."

One shook his head and walked into his room.  "You were … perfection before."  The Cylon tilted its head and pondered the words.  "You didn't have to change."

He then closed the door.

Thank you for reading.  And goodbye, Mr. Stockwell.  You will be missed.

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