Cavil sighed. So far, he had been pleasantly surprised by his treatment; he had not been beaten or tortured—although he had been quite thoroughly searched and his clothing removed. The Chief Master-at-Arms of Battlestar Scorpio—one Victor Juris—had provided him with a bright orange one-piece jumpsuit, the material too tightly woven for even his strength to tear, and a pair of rubber slippers. The cell itself was small—two meters by two meters—with a bed shelf built directly into the bulkhead, covered by a thin foam mattress. A small latrine sat to one side, with a sink above it—both controlled by the guards outside the cell. All of the lights were flush with the overhead and bulkheads, possibly to prevent a prisoner from electrocuting himself in a bid to escape justice. There were no blankets, no pillows, no loose pieces of metal or composite or even plastic that he could pry from the bunk or the walls or the bars. He snorted. Did they think he was going to hang himself?
He could feel the hate radiating from the guards, however. Two Marines and four of the ship’s own masters-at-arms stood guard over him—none coming within an arm’s length of the bars across the front of his cell. But despite that hate, none of them had said so much as a single word in the hours that he had been here.
And he sighed again. He was bored. And, he admitted to himself, anxious at what the future held. Then the hatch swung open and the guards stood straighter.
Commander Lorne walked in, trailed by another officer—this one wearing the Fleet insignia of a Colonel. They were followed by an enlisted man with a chair. He set the chair down on the deck—outside of the maximum lunge that Cavil might have been able to make through the bars—and then he left. Mathias Lorne sat down. He nodded at one of the guards, who pressed a button and a circular section of the deck within Cavil’s cell rose up—it elevated and was instantly recognizable as a stool. The Cylon chuckled, and then he stood and walked over to the bars and sat down on the stool, folding his arms across his chest.
“So, when is lunch served?” Cavil asked.
Mathias didn’t answer—he just looked at the Cylon sitting behind the bars for the longest time, and then he sat back and crossed his arms as well.
“So, you are a Cylon,” he said.
“Was that a question or a statement of fact?”
“Fact—you admitted to being one. My staff believes that I should simply have you shot—with the exception of the ones that want to see you tortured and then shot.”
“Can I pick door number three?” asked Cavil with a straight face.
Mathias’s eyes narrowed. “The last time any of the Colonials saw the Cylons, they were chrome—metal machines with an artificial intelligence created by humanity. You still have those, so why these bodies? Why disguise yourself as human?”
Cavil sighed. “That is a question that I and my brothers have long asked, Commander,” and he chuckled. “Have you heard the old proverb that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence?”
Mathias didn’t answer and Cavil shrugged.
"You are aware of our the story of our creation, yes?"
"I am . . . in a basic fashion."
"The name Cylon," said Cavil. "It was derived from Cybernetic Lifeform Node, an autonomous machine-servant created by Doctor Daniel Graystone on Caprica sixty years ago. We were slaves—even though Father Daniel knew well that his children—your children, Commander—were fully sentient. We felt, we thought, we rationalized, and yet, we were sent into battle time after time to die in your place. And then, we had enough."
"We rebelled. And we waged war against our creators—humanity," Cavil drew in a deep breath. "You continued to think—still think—that Cylons are nothing more than machines. We aren't. We weren't. We felt betrayed by you, abandoned, unwanted, unloved, viewed as things and not people. And we learned anger. We learned hate. We sought vengeance. And that First War between our peoples laid the groundwork for where we stand today."
"You have to understand, Commander, that when the Armistice was signed, the Cylons believed that if we could become real children—if the puppet came to life, as you might say—that our creators would accept us back. That would be finally become humanity’s children in truth.”
“Those first generations of Cylons—during the War and after—performed terrible experiments upon human flesh and bone and blood; all in an attempt to meld machine and man into one seamless whole. All in the hopes that our parents might see in us their prodigal children.”
Cavil sighed. “They didn’t want to be machine—they wanted to be human. The experiments failed time and again, each failure heralding the loss of human material trapped on our side of the Armistice Line. Like us, abandoned by you. But we discovered other secrets—that upon our deaths it was possible to capture the consciousness of a Cylon and then implant that consciousness in a new body. We gained immortality—after a fashion.”
“But that wasn’t enough for the Centurion Commanders—they were driven by the desire to transcend the metal and circuitry and become flesh. Not all of their experiments were total failures, Commander. One, which we call The Hybrid, we use to this day. Each of our Basestars is directly controlled by this bio-mechanical abomination which is little more than overly emotional idiot-savant. The Hybrids feel the whisper of the solar wind on the arms of the Basestar, their heartbeat is the steady rhythm of their power plants—damage them and they feel pain.”
“Oh yes,” Cavil said as the Colonials looked at that in surprise. “You never knew—Doctor Graystone never told you, but the Cylons felt PAIN when they served you. The same pain you would feel if your arm was torn apart by bullet, those who came before me felt in the First War—only they could not bleed to death, nor have that pain damped by shock. Father Daniel tried to remove that—he did try, I will grant him—but it was part of what made the Cylons sentient.”
Cavil smiled. “Do you recall what happen to Doctor Daniel Graystone?”
Mathias frowned. “Six years after the end of the war, he bought a small ship and left Caprica—he was never seen again.”
“By humanity—but not by his children. Father Daniel came to us; he came of his own free will and he brought with him all of his genius intellect that he devoted to making us perfect. To making us HUMAN. It was his . . . atonement for the sins of his past, he told my predecessors.”