a Life is Time
Author: ALC Punk!
Rating: PG13/R, for language, naked people
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica 2003
Characters: Sharon Valerii, Caprica Six
Warnings: implied femslash, a little violence, a little language, implied het
Spoilers: This contains speculation for season four, and spoilers for season three
Word Count: 3000
Written For: sheepfairy
Prompt: They see each other for the first time since the incident over the child.
Notes: Many thanks to the Primitive Radio Gods for the title, since I hate titles.
Boomer is getting tired of betrayal--Eight, a part of her says, you're Eight of Twelve, not Sharon, not Boomer--but another part of her remembers friends and lovers, holding hands with Starbuck as they raced for the last shuttle back from leave, Starbuck puking right after they make it up the steps, and then there's the naked Eights. The ones who stood around her, doomed to fall with an entire basestar 'We love you, Sharon'. And maybe she is not Eight. Maybe she is Boomer and Sharon, all rolled into one.
Her own family doesn't exist (never existed), her mother and father never smiled at her with love. Her memories are a lie, though they cut deep when she remembers them. Remembers the pain of her parents' death, falling on her knees and sobbing before the nice man patted her head and told her they would take care of her.
The people of the Galactica see her as a traitor, a monster (but Adama betrayed her, first, or was it last, when he ran before she could face him again?), a Cylon.
Boomer isn't her, and Boomer thinks Sharon should watch the frak out, because they'll never trust her. Not like they do Adama or Starbuck or Chief. Sharon is as much a Cylon as Boomer is, but Sharon gave them information they wanted. Give them an excuse and Sharon won't be such a trusted member of their crew anymore.
Hera betrayed her, too. Her own flesh and blood (biologically the same, her brain says) cried and screamed when she was near, but Gaius frakking Baltar could calm her with soft words and human touches. And when her own mother, perfect Sharon Agathon, appeared, she knew her. Like it was some frakking moment from a storybook.
That fact piles on with the rest of them, deepening the bitterness in Boomer's heart.
She learned on New Caprica that humans and Cylons couldn't co-exist. They tried, and for every inch, every smile she gave, she just got more shit in return. Bottles, mud, rotten food--anything they could throw that wouldn't get them carted the detention center. Some days, she would return to her tiny room on Colonial One and sit with the door closed behind her, knees drawn up to her chest.
That's a lie, Caprica whispers in her head. It is possible. More children like Hera--
It was a frakking pipe dream was what it was. And Boomer bought the lie hook, line and sinker. She's wiser, now.
No fish dangling from a line, suffocating in clear air.
"Boomer?" The voice is familiar, but it's not--quite right. Boomer can never place a word on the way she knows. Maybe it's the lilt, or the way it's calculated (at the end, Caprica was an individual in a sea of conformity--just like Boomer, not that she'll admit the latter).
The Six glides up behind her, places a concerned hand on her shoulder (it used to be Three and D'Anna, who had this job. Boxing her changed a lot of things). "I just wanted to check on you. One of the other Eights mentioned you were here."
Boomer can't see the stars through the thick steel, but she can visualize them. She doesn't even have to close her eyes. She used to like sliding between the stars, laughing when she'd nearly fly out of formation. It was the landings she could never nail down (another human foible she can't escape).
"Did you want something?" Boomer asks, not turning from the dull grey of the wall.
"No. I was just concerned." The Six slips away, gliding smoothly, like they all do. It's a trick programmed into them at the basest level. Men like fragility, even the men of the colonies, who think of women as equals.
The Six is already gone. Boomer moves in the opposite direction, not really noticing where she is for a time. But the hybrid isn't silent, her voice a jumble of syllables, some making no sense. Caprica had told her about Baltar, and his obsession with the Hybrid, how he used to come down here. Caprica had told her these things while curled in her arms, something almost like disillusionment in her voice. It wasn't the failed occupation that broke her, it was something else.
A betrayal that cut deep.
Boomer can understand betrayal.
"...five to the power of sixteen. Two to one odds. I'm sorry. Five shall stand alone against the dark--" the Hybrid jerks, her gaze fastening on Boomer, then whispers, "--she returns." A string of numbers follow, multiplication tables in base eleven.
She returns? Boomer stands there for a moment, before her curiosity and sense of dread overcome her apathy.
Leoben used to say the Hybrid knew things they'd all forgotten. Things God had told them, back in the beginning. Boomer tends to think Leoben's full of shit, but there's only one Cylon they're currently missing. Only one who would mean anything.
The resurrection chamber is already warming up when Boomer arrives. She's been here off and on, waiting to give Caprica a piece of her mind. Or maybe to shoot her. Sometimes, Boomer's not sure. Now that it's time, now that it might actually happen, she's not sure anymore what she'll do.
Watching the panels and readouts spring to life as Caprica, or a Six (it could be another, she doesn't know. Maybe one of them shot herself after breaking a nail) downloads into the body already waiting the personality and memory imprints.
Boomer settles at the side, watching as she takes a breath and her lids flicker.
Downloading is a fast process, but it's still disorienting (after the third time, Boomer always felt like she was being shot repeatedly in the head for nearly an hour), and Boomer wonders if Six will wake up as Caprica or someone else entirely.
Six's eyes flicker open, and she stares up at Boomer, surprise in her eyes before she tries to smile.
It's Caprica. None of the others would try to smile at her, most of them hate the Eights. Sharon smiles, but there's nothing kind in it. "Hello, Caprica."
There's no wariness in her eyes, and Boomer feels a little annoyed by that.
"Tell me why I shouldn't just kill you and start the vote to box you?" Boomer says, her voice harsh. She feels like she's been running a marathon. Her hands ache to wrap around that perfect throat and squeeze. The thought makes her feel a little sick.
"I came back for a reason."
Not what she expects to hear, but it doesn't matter. Missions from God are things she doesn't give a frak about, right now. This is about her, not the divine plan no one believes in anymore. "You murdered me."
"That's a strong word," Caprica says. But she doesn't look as though she believes her own objection.
Murder isn't so easy to forgive anymore--even when the dead come back to life. The first murder of Three had been for a reason, a cause. But that cause has been perverted. Staring at her, Boomer wonders if this cause would be, too. "You could have left me unconscious."
"You might have woken too soon."
"Don't." Boomer is angrier, white-hot rage spilling through her veins, then gone as fast as it's come, leaving her feeling worn and exhausted. "Don't lie to me, Caprica."
Everyone has always lied to her, after all. Tyrol had lied for her. The distinction isn't enough to give him a pardon. Cally... Cally is the only one who'd never lied. The only one to give it to her straight. I hate you. Hate was a simple emotion.
"You've lost your capacity for faith."
Like that has anything to do with murder. "Did I ever have any?" Boomer asks, her voice a sneer. She knows she did. Once upon a time, two children were going to let their tours end, cash out and get married. They would have had adorable babies, and maybe lived together forever.
But Tyrol had dumped her when she got too clingy, and Sharon is a Cylon, anyway.
Caprica doesn't know this, she only knows the Sharon who was on Caprica, the Sharon who took her arm inside pit filled with rubble and pledged that love would be a better beacon than hatred. "You had faith--"
"Maybe I lied."
"You're bitter," Caprica replies, like saying it aloud will make it all better.
"Yeah. Yeah, frak I'm bitter," Gesturing rudely, Boomer feels like a kid for an instant. "And you should be bitter. They stuck you in a cell and treated you like dirt--" She hates the envy that hits her, because envy is an emotion for humans, not Cylons. Envy is something she can't afford, not when Cavil sometimes talks about 'those who are too close to human being a threat'. Envy is something she shouldn't feel for Caprica seeing the people of Galactica.
"That isn't how--"
But Caprica's lying. Boomer can see that, can understand, because she's been there. "Don't give me that shit. You were there, Caprica. You let them treat you like a thing, something inhuman," we are inhuman, Boomer, "And then you probably smiled and thanked them for airlocking you."
"I didn't," Pulling herself from the tub, Caprica stumbles a little before catching herself.
Boomer doesn't offer her any help. "But you didn't stop them putting you in it, did you. You probably let them lead you along, a smiling lamb to the slaughter."
A laugh bubbles out of Caprica, but it doesn't sound right. She shakes her head, "That's not how I died."
With a spring in her step, Caprica walks to the recessed closet. Naked, she is fully comfortable with herself. Clothes are a human affectation, but useful camouflage (or maybe that's all a lie, too).
Something about the care she takes in toweling dry keeps Boomer silent. Perhaps it's simply that her eyes are greedy as she looks Caprica over, searching for flaws (there are none), or something that will answer questions she hasn't asked. She remembers this, too, from before New Caprica. Learning her body, fingers skimming over pale skin that seemed to go on forever.
"How did you die?" Boomer repeats, her voice strangely soft. She swallows and looks away when Caprica drops a shirt over her head. She can hear the red silk rustle as it brushes over shoulders, breasts and belly.
"Roslin shot me."
The shock pulls her gaze back, to where Caprica is lovely and remote in her black slacks and clingy red shirt. Not Boomer's anymore (had she ever been? Perhaps, once upon a time).
The words make little sense. "Why?" It's not what she wants to ask, not the angry words she can feel blossoming in her belly. Had Caprica not given them enough intelligence, had she not proved useful enough? Boomer's a little uncertain who the anger is directed at, though.
"Perhaps it was God's will," Caprica suggests and then she walks out the open hatch.
Over-bright light speckles the corridor and turns Caprica's blonde hair to white. Boomer ignores it, moving after her and grabbing Caprica's arm, "Tell me."
She wonders if she really does sound like a petulant child, or if it's just her hearing the edge in her voice.
"Tell you what, Sharon? That we are doomed to repeat humanity's mistakes?"
"Tell me--" a lie. Tell me you love me. Tell me you came back for me. None of those are what she wants to hear, though, and Sharon lets Caprica pull her arm free.
"You would have snapped Hera's neck, destroyed the first hybrid child," Caprica murmurs, speaking in riddles and half-answers. She reaches out and brushes a hand over Boomer's cheek, "And you, little more than a child yourself."
A moment ago, the touch would have pleased Boomer. Now, it just pisses her off again. Jerking clear of Caprica's hand, Boomer snaps, "Don't patronize me."
"Roslin shot me because I asked her to."
Not the answer she expected. It leaves Boomer standing frozen for a good thirty seconds, while Caprica continues on her way. By the time she moves again, the model of Six who is far too individual for anyone's good is little more than a smudge of scarlet in the distance.
Distance aboard a Cylon ship is all relative. With perception and will, one can find oneself ten feet or a hundred feet further along a corridor than one can travel at a normal walking pace. Sharon has never fully cared for this fact. She prefers the physical, the act of movement, the stir of the air in her lungs. The breeze of the air over her skin (she misses planetside air, sometimes far more than she'd ever admit).
With Caprica so far ahead, Boomer has two choices.
It takes her less time to catch up with Caprica than she thought it would. Her breath isn't even burning in her lungs yet when she slows, and repeats an earlier question, "Why?"
Caprica glances at her, as though she hadn't left Boomer in the dust, "We need answers."
Not an answer that makes sense until she realizes where they are. Resurrection chambers are all around them, in particular, the ones that have been locked into cold storage. A glance at the darkened end of the corridor sends shivers down Boomer's spine, and her voice isn't exactly her own when she asks, "What does D'Anna know?"
Caprica stops dead and Boomer almost laughs at the surprise on her face. "What doesn't she know?"
"How to survive Cavil's vote."
"Do any of us know how to do that?" Caprica looks at her steadily, "D'Anna saw something. She may hold the key to God's plan."
"If there is one."
"There is a reason for everything, Boomer," for just a moment, Caprica sounds as though she's trying to convince more than Boomer. "Don't you want to know what it is?"
"Maybe. And maybe we're not meant to. We voted she be boxed because of what she saw in the Temple of Five. Maybe we were right--"
"We were scared. Frightened. Sharon, she's seen the faces of the Five. That is information--"
"That's it, isn't it." Boomer doesn't have to ask, she knows now. "That's why Roslin shot you, that's why you're here. You don't give a frak about the Cylon, but you want to sell the last of us out to the human race. For what, Caprica? So they'll stop calling you a thing?"
"Stop calling me that!"
Caprica blinks, then says, her voice harsh, "If we are to survive, as a people--Cylon and Human, both--the next generation needs all the help it can get, Sharon. And if you're not going to help me, I--"
"You'll kill me again?"
"If I must," Caprica steps closer to her.
"This is what it all comes down to, isn't it?" Boomer doesn't back away, her head raised and her eyes full of anger. Caprica is a little taller, but not enough to make her feel overwhelmed. The anger is still coursing through her veins, "You see a future for Cylon and human. I don't."
"I wish you could understand the things I've seen--"
"Do you?" Bitter, Boomer turns from her and punches the seal on D'Anna's chamber. There's a crack and a hiss as the air pressure equalizes.
"I'm not doing this for you, or your bright shiny future, Six." Her words cut Caprica, and Boomer savors the flinch. "I'm doing this for the intelligence we'll need to destroy the fleet."
D'Anna's words--once she spilled them--echo around Boomer. She's standing at an observation port, staring at the stars and wondering about their future. Behind her, Caprica's still talking to their sister, her voice soft, the cadence one of reverence. Perhaps they should be reverent of D'Anna, for her tireless devotion to the truth.
Something shifts, and Sharon closes her eyes. Cavil is coming for them, Simon, Doral and Leoben with him. The icy fear that they will box her, as they boxed D'Anna, is close. And perhaps they will.
But Sharon knows who the five are now, and that's a bargaining tool she'll use.