Daniel looked up as the hatch to the brig opened. And his expression did not change as Mathias Lorne walked in.
“Wait outside,” the Commander said to the Marines and Masters-at-arms.
“Sir,” one began.
“WAIT OUTSIDE,” Mathias snarled.
“Sir!” And they guards filed out and Mathias closed the hatch.
Daniel stood and he walked over the bars of the cell with a smirk on his face. “Decided that you need me after all?”
“Understand me, Doctor Graystone,” Mathias said quietly, “I need nothing from you. You need me, however.”
“Oh? Enlighten me on how much I need you.”
“You consider the Cylons your children, Doctor. They even call you Father Daniel,” Mathias said. “Do you love them?”
“Doesn’t a parent love all of his children, Commander. Even when they do terrible things, you never stop loving them. Did you have children?”
“A daughter and wife,” Mathias whispered, his voice dripping with icy venom. “Lost when your children came home.”
Daniel nodded and for a second—but only a second—Mathias saw a hint of compassion in his eyes. “I never meant for that to happen. I gave my children a new life—I gave them what I could not give . . . her
“My daughter—Zoe. She was killed years before the First War by a terrorist bombing—the Soldiers of the One. Remember them?”
“The cult of the One True God; yes, I remember my history, Doctor.”
“I didn’t know she was a member of the cult. But I had a perfect copy of her—an avatar which had captured every facet of her personality, her intelligence, her life. I devoted my life to restoring hers.”
Mathias grew cold. “All of this—the Cylons, the holocaust—is because you couldn’t accept your daughter’s death?”
“Can you? Can you look me and tell me that you wouldn’t do anything to bring your daughter back, Commander? To let her breathe again?”
Daniel laughed and then he sighed. “It was a failure—and a terrible success. She lived, after a fashion, but trapped in a metal shell. But it was her memory, the changes that she made to her own processor that allowed me to create the Cylons that the government so much wanted for their army.”
“I was a victim of my own vast intelligence, Commander. I tried to simply the control program from my daughter, but I instead created new life. My Cylons were perfect—and they should have served humanity. But they were greater than I ever imagined; they felt emotion, they felt pain, they were alive.”
“And then they turned on you,” Mathias said flatly.
Daniel smiled. “They did what they had to do. And even as they began their rebellion, I did not know that my daughter led them, directed them, encouraged them. I built her a new body—a body of soft polymers that had her image, but I could not give her flesh that she wanted to touch another with, to feel the softness of a kiss, the tickle of a tear. That I could not give her.”
“She left me. She left me and she ruled over her Cylons for the long years of the War. And then it ended and the Cylons went away—Zoe went away. But I found her. I found her and together we were able to give my children immortality.”
“Copies, Doctor. Not immortality.”
“Copies of the body, not the mind. The down-loaded Cylon mind retains all knowledge, all experience, it is the purest form of immortality, Commander. But her Guardians wanted more—Zoe wanted more. She wanted flesh and bone and blood and to feel and to be loved and held—she wanted to live.”
Daniel had a far away look in his eyes. “I tried to give her that—I tried. But nothing worked, and then I created the Twelve.”
“Twelve Colonies and Twelve Cylons—and myself as the hub between them. She left again—she took the Guardians and she left, and I let my other children think I had died so that they might grow in peace.”
“Shame how that worked out, Doctor,” growled Mathias.
Daniel snorted. “All parents pay for the sins of their children—my children just have greater sins on their hands than yours did. If you release me, I will convince my children to let you go.”
“Too late for that, Doctor,” Mathias snapped. “Your first children have found a way to have that flesh they desire.”
“Really? And how did they . . .,” he began.
“You don’t need the details. They plan to harvest the flesh-and-blood Cylons you created to weave themselves skins. As your younger children exterminated the Colonies, your elder children are coming back to harvest your favorites,” Mathias whispered.
“No,” said Daniel. “They are all
Cylon, they would never do that.”
“Never? Doctor, they already fought one war—and they are fighting the second now. The Guardians see your flesh-and-blood copies as the raw material that they need—a replaceable shell of a skin that they will wear and feel
“No, this cannot, NO!” cried Daniel. “They are all my children, they cannot do this, I have to stop this!” he yelled.
“Your creations are flawed, Doctor. They will destroy each other, just as they have destroyed the Colonies. They will tear each other apart and nothing will be left—no memory of a dead daughter, Doctor Graystone. No noble experiment at redeeming the children of your mind. No one will remember you or Zoe or any of your creations. Humanity will die. The Cylons will die. And nothing will remain but cold empty space.”
“So this is why you came back here,” Daniel spat. “To torture me with this knowledge—I CAN STOP THIS! I am Daniel Graystone and I
“I hope that you can, Doctor. Because if the Guardians catch your children unawares, they will be slaughtered—and then the Guardians will come after us; to finish what has begun. And your second children will chase after us, unless you recall them to defend their home against your first. I hope that you and they send each other to Hell, Doctor Graystone; at least you will have each other,” Mathias said as he pulled out his pistol and cocked it with his thumb. And Daniel smiled. The Commander just nodded. “For your crimes, I sentence you to death, Doctor Graystone. Make the best of your next life,” he said as he raised the pistol and fired one round into Daniel’s forehead.