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 Post subject: Seven
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:31 pm 
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Author's Foreword: Like many other Battlestar Galactica fans I have been intrigued by the idea of Daniel, mostly because his story was only hinted at during the series but also because of the significance of numbers. Daniel not only filled the gap within the "Significant Seven", whose last member was Number Eight, but also brought the total of humanoid cylons to the same number as the Tribes of Kobol - thirteen. Not to mention that the Tribes, as well, had a lost member.

In the following story I have attempted to dovetail Libra canon regarding biological cylons with BSG canon regarding Daniel as well as BSG canon regarding the fate of the Final Five.


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SEVEN

Number Eight knelt beside Daniel's body, cradling him. His arms hung lifeless at his sides and his face was pressed against her chest, having fallen to one side as she raised him. Blood still flowed from the broad puncture wound in his neck, lending a dark liquid sheen to the black shirt he wore. Eight found the back of Daniel's head with one of her hands, entangling her fingers in his fine, dark hair. That had annoyed him when he still lived, and so she had done it at every chance. This time, however, Daniel Kallark did not protest.

Tears ran freely down Eight's cheeks. She sensed them acutely even as she could sense the heat of life as it ebbed from Seven's body. Across one cheek, the tears ran to her jawline, then down her neck into the silk pajama shirt she wore; from the other cheek they slipped past the corner of her mouth to drop from her chin into Seven's dark hair. Eight's body shook as she lamented her loss, and she gathered one of Seven's yielding arms close across his chest, embracing him fiercely.

This was Cavil's work, Eight knew. Not with the sureness of having actually seen Daniel murdered, but with the cold certainty that none other would dare such violence against their brother. She closed her eyes, squeezing them tight against the onslaught of tears, fighting to regain control. Inclining her head, she placed a gentle kiss on the top of Daniel's head. For a moment she pictured him as she'd known him just hours earlier - alive, vibrant, gentle, brilliant. Eight banished the memory of this scene of his death, banished the memory of her discovery. Instead she affirmed her love of her brother with a vision of his handsome face, his beautiful body.

Then she allowed that body to slip to the floor. She stood and faced the door, only then opening her eyes, and she departed. Cavil had killed Daniel, but he would not stop there. The job would be unfinished, incomplete, while there were still copies of Seven viable within the cloning chambers. There, hundreds of her brother lay waiting for Mother and Father to complete them.

A gasp escaped Eight's mouth as she padded silently through the research station, and she stopped abruptly. Mother and Father! Cavil had killed Daniel and left him where he lay. He had made no attempt to hide his crime. He had also removed the knife. To Eight, it meant only one thing. Daniel was only the first target. Cavil's hatred did not... would not stop there. Mother and Father and the others were in danger.

Eight began to move again, silently on bare feet she ran through the corridors. She loved those who had created her, those she named as Mother and Father. They were adults, however, and at least stood a chance against Cavil. Daniel's unborn brothers were defenseless against his malevolence. The vulnerability of those copies, though, might be their salvation, as Cavil would deal with them last. That gave Eight a small window of time....

But to do what? She deliberated that question even as her feet led her on through the corridors, seemingly already set upon some mission. She realized the answer immediately, or else she had known it all along. It didn't matter. She knew what she could do, what she had to do. She had to save Daniel.

Minutes later she entered the cloning laboratory, where Mother and Father had conceived of their eight children, where the originals of each of their lines had been formed and given life. Now their parents still struggled here, but against another foe - how to replicate their success and go from one model of each of their children to thousands. Daniel had been helping with that quest, and only yesterday Mother had confided in Eight that he had hit upon some very encouraging ideas.

Eight stopped as she reached the first cold vault, first - or last - depending upon where one began counting. She pulled on the handle, unlatching the door which was sealed against the cold. Frigid air flowed outward, descending quickly beneath the warm air of the lab, fogging as it contacted the moisture that air carried. She pulled the door shut behind her, sealing it once again. A pulse of trepidation shot through her body as she did, but she reassured herself with a look at the bright red exit handle. She touched it momentarily, feeling its smooth cold reality.

Then she was among them, shelf after shelf of vial racks, each one holding a copy of her. For a brief moment she soaked it in, reveled in it - a thousand of herself, sisters who would soon share life with her. It had seemed so unreal when Mother had first explained it to her. Now she stood in the midst of it, all this potential life, and she feared for it.

Eight fought back that fear, though, picturing Daniel once more. In her memory, he was alive, throbbing with ecstasy as she bonded with him. Unthinking, she smiled, her tongue making a pass across her lips, her body warming at the thought. Realizing she had closed her eyes, she opened them once more and gazed upon her unborn sisters.

I am sorry, she thought as she picked several of the vials from a rack. I am most likely condemning you to death, a death you will share with most of our dear brother's twins. I am confident, though, that if you had life and free will you would choose this sacrifice just the same.

Eight clutched the few vials to her chest as she pushed the red release handle and left the cold vault. She had thought this through as she had hurried here, just how would Cavil destroy the nascent copies of the brother he hated? No doubt the violence of smashing them would suit him, but only for a moment. Cavil would tire of the baseness of such an act before it was finished. No, he would want an elegant finish to his deed, something quick and antiseptic. Eight suspected what that might be.

Silent barefoot steps took her a short ways around the room, to another door like her first. She released the seal and entered another cold vault, the chill fog swirling around her naked ankles. She once more closed the vault door behind her, the fear slightly less this time. Now a thousand Daniels surrounded her, and she smiled as though she were once more in his embrace. Now, she was faced with a decision whose magnitude she had not yet fully realized - which of him would she save? For a heartbeat she wrestled with it, this question that made no sense to her, yet she found herself considering it. These were Daniel, all of them Daniel, all about her and all the same. Why then was it difficult to choose?

In the end she selected those whom chance had placed immediately before her. She removed the vials, one by one, laying them on the shelf and then replacing each with one of her sisters. As she reached to gather those copies of Daniel she had chosen, she felt it. A twinge, somewhere deep in her extended senses, that told her Cavil was here. He was irradiating the room, using the decontamination protocols to kill the Daniel copies. Eight knew she must hurry, risking discovery as she left, for each second of exposure might do damage to the life within each vial she carried.

Eight slammed the red handle forward, shouldering the door open, the few copies of Daniel she had saved clutched against her chest. The door flew open and rebounded; Eight stepped adroitly around it and leaned into it as it closed, latching it tight. She glanced in the direction of the lab's control room as she started back toward her twins' storage. Cavil! The room was alight and she could see One's back as he watched the monitor as it tracked the sterilization procedure. Of course, she thought, why would he watch the vault - there would be nothing to see!

Eight exhaled through pursed lips, though the act did little to relieve her tension. Once more she entered the cold vault where her sisters waited. This time, she placed the few Daniels she had saved into the empty slots left by her earlier pilfering. Then she silently slipped back out, glancing at Cavil and finding him with his back still turned. She left the lab, intent upon her next task, finding Mother and Father.

If they still lived.

__________

Eight ran. Through the corridors of the research station she flew, her bare feet whispering across the metal floors. When she reached the living quarters she stopped at a familar door, one that belonged to Samuel. Samuel was her other father, a distinction she made arbitrarily since he had been an equal partner in her creation. Perhaps it was just his seeming youth that caused her to label him thus, she wasn't sure.

Enough. She cast the thoughts aside and flung Samuel's door open. He wasn't there. That was bad, but perhaps not serious - it was the early hours of the morning, and Samuel could be in the galley getting coffee, or even in the lab getting an early start on the day. Eight turned, leaving his door open, and scurried to the next door. This was Galen's room, and Eight doubted she would find him there in any case, as he tended to spend his nights with Tory. Tory was also an other; Eight could not think of her as her mother, again because of her apparent youth.

She spun out into the corridor, past an empty room to the door that belonged to Mother and Father. She flung the door open, hardly registering the heart hand-painted upon it in Mother's loving brush strokes. Saul and Ellen, it read, his name in bold red and hers in elegant rose tones. She could still hear Father's voice, as he asked "What is this?" He had scoffed at Mother's tribute to their love, but in his eyes it was obvious that he was pleased.

The room was empty. Eight was near panic now, her mind racing as to where they could be - all of them. She took in the room around her, eyes jumping from one bit of Mother and Father's lives to another. When they lit upon the bed, she saw their robes cast in careless disarray atop the sheets. They were somewhere, dressed for the day, and that likely meant that Cavil had called them to some meeting. All of them, together.

She continued her headlong mental rush through the possibilities. The conference rooms were an obvious conclusion, but that felt somehow wrong. Father was not an early riser by choice, and fought the fog of morning with coffee, strong and black. In fact, all of them drank the dark stimulant, brewed from some plant seed that originated on the human worlds. Conversation, over a cup of coffee, was a way her parents often spent the early morning. Suddenly the galley was at the top of her list, and Eight slipped out of the room and began to run.

Heavy footsteps intruded on her senses, and immediately she stopped. For an instant she slid across the metal floor on naked feet, then she spun into a doorway. It was Daniel's room, his name cast in an elegant filigree of copper upon a green circuit board that hung upon the door. In the space of a second, Eight considered entering. The footsteps were becoming louder, and she could now make out the electric whine of servo-motors and the vrrhooom-vrrhooom of a Centurion's optical scanner.

Instead she twisted in the doorway, casting a quick glance down the corridor, but the Centurion was not there. She gulped a breath and held it, then dashed across the floor to the other side of the corridor, coming to her feet in another doorway. Hers. She turned the handle gently, letting herself in without a sound. Within her room, she stood for a moment with her hand upon the inside handle, listening as the Centurion clomped still closer.

Within the refuge of her room, Eight's heart pounded out a doubletime, alternate beats in concert with the Centurion's steps. Something tugged at her consciousness, and she furrowed her brow in concentration as her eyes searched the chamber. As her vision crossed her dressing table, one thing stood out. Her journal, a leather-bound book that had been a gift from Seven, drew her across the room.

At the table she opened the journal's cover, then searched among the small items beside it for a pen. What am I doing? she fretted, the need to hurry pulling her back toward the door. The book consumed her focus, though, and in her mind she recalled words spoken by her brother, Leoben. Sometimes we find the stream, he had told her once, but sometimes it seeks you out. Eight blinked, then took pen to page, not knowing what words would come until the moment she wrote each one.

He lives on among you.

She tossed the pen back onto the dressing table, then laid the dark green ribbon which was her page marker across the open journal. Closing it, she left it where it lay and crossed the room, listening once again for the Centurion's footsteps. She did not hear it, though, and slipped cautiously back into the hall and headed once more toward the galley.

__________

Eight left the area of her quarters cautiously, but by the time she reached the corridor connecting to the galley she was once more at a run. Her bare feet whispered across the deck and the speed of her movement caused her dark hair to billow behind her. Her eyes focused on the doorway ahead, trepidation building in her heart as a pulsing warning light became visible. She reached the door and pressed her full body against it, eyes closed and forehead resting against the metal as she futilely tried to activate the release with her hand. There was no response, and she did not try a second time. There was no need to open her eyes and read the words atop the pulsing light; she knew.

No Atmosphere.

Mother! Father! Eight cried out silently; though her mouth formed the words she screamed them only in her mind. After a moment she opened her eyes and stood, taking a half step back from the door. She held her hand flat, fingers together, and thrust it violently forward against the door's control panel. The impact shattered the bone in the tip of her middle finger, but her hand penetrated the thin metal. The ragged edges tore at the skin of her fingers. She curled the bleeding digits behind the metal of the cover and ripped it from the wall.

Moments later the door slid open as Eight short-circuited the controls. Instantly the air within the corridor rushed into the vacuum of the galley section, reaching hurricane force within seconds. Eight was carried through the doorway, tumbling onto her side and sliding into the dining hall beyond. As the compartment opened up into the large hall, the force of the wind abated some and she skidded to a stop amidst a jumble of chairs against an overturned table. She fought to hold her breath, the burning in her lungs a testament that she had failed to draw a deep breath before opening the door.

Eight struggled to her feet, fighting the tingling numbness in her hands and feet. To her left somewhere was a system terminal and she began to move in that direction. Air still blasted down the corridor from the residence section, now carrying the barely audible sound of the decompression alarm above its howl. The wind made it difficult to see, looking now across it as her goal required. Eight squinted, an arm raised to shield her head, and forced her way across the dining hall.

By the time she reached the wall terminal, the wind had begun to abate. She pulled the interface tray out and placed her hands into the bio-reactive gel, one hand leaving a swirling trail of blood. Above the tray the monitor flashed to life, but Eight closed her eyes, ignoring the archaic device. In the eyes of her mind, the computer resolved into simulacrums of its various systems and Eight's consciousness traversed the virtual landscape at the speed of thought. Immediately she restarted life support for the galley module, then shifted the residential module's life support into emergency mode. She silenced the decompression alarm almost as an afterthought.

Then she was in the surveillance system and the many cameras of the research station became her eyes. Her focus was the galley, and the scene there confirmed her worst fears. Mother and Father lay lifeless beside one exit. One of Mother's arms lay across Father's chest as though they were not bereft of life, but merely sleeping. Galen and Samuel were collapsed nearby, their dead stares seemingly focused beyond the door. Eight did not see Tori immediately, but found her a moment later across the galley beneath the system terminal. Its interface tray was open, though the monitor was dark.

This was Cavil's black work, revenge upon his creators for what he saw as the ultimate discourtesy - his own creation trapped within the frail limits of a human-like body. Self-hatred burned within One; Eight could not see it as simple self-pity. Cavil loathed his biological form, his limited senses, cognitive powers that he viewed as deficient. He focused so much upon his own impediment that he viewed his brothers and sisters with venomous jealousy, their every action and aspiration fed his own inward-turned anger.

Except for Daniel. For some reason Cavil's hatred turned outward against Seven, alone among all others. Eight wondered if it was Daniel's committment to helping their parents solve the problems of initial replication, or if it was simply a matter of Mother's unconcealed favoritism. Eight knew Mother loved Daniel best, and in truth she too felt a twinge of envy at that fact. She could never descend to Cavil's depredation, though, for she too loved Daniel.

In the end, they were careless... too trusting. My betrayal was easy.

Eight felt Cavil's presence beside her within the computer system, his gloating eyes resting on the scene within the galley. Her heart jumped, and she sought desperately to return to her body, withdraw her hands from the interface. Instead, her virtual self stood frozen as the blackness took her. The last thing she heard was Cavil's laugh, dark and ominous as it suffocated her soul.


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