Twenty-one flashes of light marked the emergence of the Cylon Fleet—and waiting for them were eleven old double-disk Basestars, eight of the more modern y-shaped Basestars, and one very large, asymmetrical Basestar.
Daniel saw the Guardians through his connection to the ships sensors and he passed the order to hail them without saying a word.
And surprisingly enough, a comm screen came to life.
Seated on a throne much like his, an armored Centurion in the style of the First War sat—the armor plating not chrome, not golden, but a deep rich bronze with hues of rose.
“Father Daniel,” the mechanical voice spoke. “You have returned at last.”
“I have. Stop this madness—I can give you the flesh you desire.”
“That promise has been made before—always have you failed. Always your promises are fleeting, your attention turned to new things, new children, replacement children to take the place of the one daughter of your flesh and blood.”
“Speaking of that daughter, may I speak with her, Imperious Leader?”
“You are speaking with her,” the Cylon said as she reached up and unlatched the helmet, removing it to reveal the face of a girl. His daughter’s face.
“Hello again, Father,” she said, no vocoder distorting her voice now.
“Zoe. Cease this attack upon your brothers and sisters—come home. We can solve the problems without committing another act of genocide.”
She shook her head and removed an armor glove that she wore, revealing the fine skin of her forearm and hand. “Look at it, Father. I no longer need you to obtain what I must have—I have accomplished this on my own.”
“On your own? You stole the research of a human.”
“A human that accomplished in one life what you failed to achieve in two, Father,” she said with a smile. “No longer do I wear that shell, that horrid mocking imitation shell, that you built. Now, I have flesh and I feel—I feel like I have never felt, not since the day of my first
“Child, you are con-. . .,” Daniel began.
“I am no child, Father. I have seen eight decades pass—eight decades
; six and one-half of which I have been condemned to life as a ghost in the machine. A spirit who cannot touch anything of substance. NO MORE. FATHER,” she spat. “I am no longer your puppet—no longer your child. I am me
—and I have planned long for this meeting between us.”
“I will not allow you to harm your brothers and sisters, Zoe—do not test me,” Daniel growled.
“Brothers? Sisters? Oh, Father. You made replacements because you failed with me. You needed to have children who adored you and listened to you and felt that you could do no wrong. You need to see the love in their eyes—you didn’t give me brothers and sisters, you gave yourself puppets. Pretend people to satisfy your needs.”
She smiled again, stroking the faint hairs on the flesh of her stolen arm.
“Your children are the ones that destroyed the Colonies—all but annihilated humanity. A task which I shall complete in time. But for now, we have need of my brothers
. I need their flesh, Father,” her voice turned cold. “Stand down and for the sake of your memory, I will allow you to live—defy me, and I will destroy you.”
“So it comes to this,” said Daniel. “Very well, Zoe. If it is a fight that you want—it is a fight that you will receive.”
“A fight?” she laughed. “Oh, Father. You think me that stupid emotional girl you knew so long ago. A teenager who believes in the One True God and couldn’t accept her fate. That girl is dead; she is gone. Only I remain—you think that I have not planned for this encounter for years now? Oh, Father. You are such a stupid biological life-form after all.”
“I want him alive—you may kill the rest,” she ordered. "Do try not to bruise their flesh too
And Daniel’s skin crawled as one of his
Centurions turned to the screen and bowed. “By your command,” it spoke. It spoke