“You must understand, Commander,” Cavil continued, “Daniel Graystone felt that the misuse and abuse of the Cylons was his fault. That our rebellion and the War that raged for so long between us, was his fault—and he wanted to make things right.”
“We found his ship after he evaded the patrols and crossed the Armistice Line, and the Commanders were torn in their desire to punish him for what he had done—and their hope that our Father might well be able to give them humanity. A truce was struck and Father Daniel worked tirelessly on solving the problem of transforming the Cylon into flesh. But he too failed.”
“Oh, the self-styled Guardians—as the Commanders had begun calling themselves—were furious, and for a period of time Father Daniel knew not whether his life would be taken or spared. That was when he had his epiphany, his greatest breakthrough—the most wonderful discovery in the history of humanity.”
Cavil smiled sadly. “Daniel Grayson decided that merging man and machine was simply too . . . ambitious. Integrating cells and circuitry to work flawlessly, he asked why? Why? When he already had a machine—the human body—which was integrated and self-healing? He started over from scratch, and he discovered a way to duplicate a human body flawlessly. An exact copy of the original template—a cloned organism.”
“A clone?” whispered Mathias. “We’ve cloned cells—never a living organism.”
“Yes. But where your scientists are good, some even great, Father Daniel was beyond them in all possible scope. He managed to test the procedure and grew a handful of human bodies from the test subjects to maturity is matter of months. But the most important part was lacking—the human bodies were without memory or reason; they were blank slates waiting for a memory impression.”
“It took Father Daniel twenty years to get this far with his research—fourteen years ago. He was an old man by then. Old, and yet he had one last miracle that he could accomplish. Under his direction, the Guardians built a dozen massive structures—each as large as one of your flight pods. They were filled with computers that would record the finest detail of a single individual human genome—and the complete and total of their memory and experience—and replicate that body in perpetuity. But he could not transfer the mind of the Guardians to his new bodies—that much lay beyond him.”
“The Guardians moved against Father Daniel—but the Centurions, the new Centurions and Raiders were loyal to Doctor Graystone alone, who had designed and built them at the command of the Guardians. War raged among the Cylons and the Guardians—the old Guard—were defeated and driven off. Leaving only the Centurions and Raiders you know today. And Father Daniel.”
“Do you recall a ship named Joyita
Mathias frowned. “If I remember correctly, Joyita
was a passenger shuttle operating between Aerilon and Caprica—it was removed from service after an FTL accident that killed most of the passengers aboard.”
“Fourteen years ago, Commander,” Cavil said. “Only Joyita
did not suffer an FTL malfunction—one of her passengers was Daniel Graystone, who had returned to the Colonies in disguise and was unknown to you. He changed the jump coordinates and the shuttle emerged in Cylon space across the Armistice Line.”
“Excuse me?” asked Mathias.
“My throat is getting dry, may I have some water, Commander?” asked Cavil.
Mathias jerked his head and one of the Marines gave Cavil a cup. He took a sip and sighed. “There is no possibility, I suppose of getting something stronger?” The reaction on the faces of his guests was answer enough. He shrugged and then drained the cup and held it out for the Marine, who took it and stepped back.
“Father Daniel’s process was untested—and of the sixty-three men, women, and children aboard the Joyita
, only Twelve survived. Or rather, only Twelve copies of their bodies survived. Each of us had the physical appearance of our donor host—with all of their memories and emotions intact; Father Daniel had accomplished the impossible. But in addition to that, we knew—innately knew—all the knowledge that the Cylons had possessed. We were flesh and blood and Cylon as well.”
“And as I said, immediately some of us regretted it. The need to eat, to drink, to piss, to shit—frankly, I’d rather be a machine. Untouched by nature, with the strength and perception that only a machine could have—the grass is always greener, you see. But it was done, and the Twelve models of Cylons came into existence. To preserve the secret of our existence, we returned Joyita
, with her Twelve surviving passenger’s memory wiped of all that had happened and false knowledge of the details of a tragic accident instead.”
“Then Father Daniel died, Commander. And we—the children of his mind and his brilliance—we had to chart our own course.”
“We increased our numbers, but realized that we would continue to need the Centurions and the Raiders. We put cognitive inhibitors in place on the Centurions—so that could not rebel against us as they had against the Guardians, or the Guardians against you. And we debated long what to do with the Colonies.”
“In the course of that debate, five of our line were deemed to identify too closely with humanity. All examples were boxed and removed from service, save those sent back unawares of what they actually were.”
“When we are downloaded, it is not pre-ordained that we will receive a new body. Sometimes, an aberration in a copy of our models will cause a decision to be made to instead download the memories into a storage unit. Placed on ice, so to speak. We call that being boxed.”
“But still we kept the Armistice we signed—until your own government broke that treaty.”
“WHAT?” snapped Mathias.
“Oh, Commander, do not look so shocked. Seven years ago, almost to the day, Commander William Adama in command of the Battlestar Valkyrie
was ordered to send a recon mission across the Line into Cylon space. They were detected, of course, and we responded by sending a ship—whereupon Adama shot down his own pilot with a missile.”
Cavil let that sink in. And then he smiled.
“But Lieutenant Daniel “Bulldog” Novachek survived and ejected—and has our prisoner ever since. His interrogations revealed that the high-ranking officers of the Colonial Fleet were pushing for a resumption in hostilities—to end the Cylon threat once and for all time. And here we had physical proof that your intentions were hostile.”
“Still, it took three years of debate before we made the decision to go to war. And our new human-forms began to infiltrate your worlds in anticipation of that attack. The rest . . . you know.”
Mathias stood, his face was flushed and his expression was grim—and without another word he turned around to leave, followed by Colonel Jayne.
“Commander,” Cavil said with a chuckle as he stood, the stool retracting into the deck once more, “we have much, much
more to speak of. But yes, I do agree that it is past
time for lunch.”