It's Not A Dream by Djinn
-------Present (When Pegasus Found Galactica)------
Admiral Helena Cain was the rising star. She was the perfect target. Energetic, smart, and utterly above suspicion. She was also beautiful, or so she came to be to me. Before she became my worst nightmare.
Nightmares are our worst legacy from humans. I am not sure why Cylons were gifted with such a horrible present.
I've heard she has nightmares, calls out my name. I'm glad that I'm her nightmare. She chose me. She targeted me. She betrayed me.
And I destroyed her for it. Nearly had her ripped limb from limb but stopped short. Death...death would have been too good for her. So I left her alive. To suffer. To remember.
And to remind myself to never, ever trust anyone that way again.
This man who cares for me was betrayed by a Six and yet he loves her still. He loves her, and he appears to love me. I can almost believe in God again, the way he loves me.
He brings me food. He gives me water. He talks to me.
He is everything Helena's not. And still...I would die for a word from her.
---------Eight months earlier, two months before the Cylon Attack on the Colonies--------------
I was chosen because I'd lived a little. They studied her profile; she has a propensity for proteges, and I was never meant to be that. They wanted me to be her confidante. An equal.
A lover she will trust.
So I was allowed to be Gina Inviere. To live as Gina Inviere, if she were really human, would have lived. To accumulate some time in society. All for her. Helena Cain. The Admiral.
All so I could come here, to be with her on this ship. She is open. She is lonely. And she likes me. I am tall and sleek and competent and not in her chain of command. A civilian who can talk to her as if she is just another woman--a beautiful, desirable woman.
I have a soft spot for blondes. It's...a weakness, I suppose. Not one I've indulged that often. Decorum's important.
But it's been so long. And Gina is smart and independent and effervescent in the way she brings life to a room just by entering it.
And she wants me. She likes me.
It's been a long time since I've let anyone like me. I'm not sure yet that I can let it be more.
But this is nice. This is good. This just might be enough.
She's a hard one to figure out. I knew the job when I came. I am a soldier, and that's how I view this. Helena Cain is a mission I have to carry out. A dangerous mission. One that will bring death if I am discovered.
I just have to not be discovered. But even if I am, what does it matter? God will protect me. And I'll download into another body, and I'll go on.
And the humans will be gone. Finally.
Helena Cain is only a job.
Caprica is beautiful this time of year, and we sit on a bench looking out over the lake. I see Gina glance over at me, her eyes hedged by those long lashes.
"What?" I ask her.
"What's your strongest weapon?"
I smile, surprised, as always, by the direction this woman takes our conversations in. "You won't like it."
"Yes, I will. Tell me."
"It's me. I'm my greatest weapon."
I pull out my knife. "To do what has to be done, no matter how long, no matter the cost. It makes you like this. A razor."
"You're right. I don't like that."
She's soft. It's what wins me over every time. That she's not like me and seems to want me anyway.
She can't see that I'm like her blade. Willing to do whatever has to be done. I'm heading for her bed. I'm heading for her bed, and God help me, I want to be in it.
I'm not sure what's changed. Maybe it was the way she sat with me--really with me--at the lake. The way the light changed to gold and settled on her arms, lighting up her skin, making me want to touch her.
I leaned in, waiting to see what she'd do. She didn't pull away. She didn't move closer, either.
"Is this all right?" I asked.
"Yes. Oh, yes."
I kissed her. My first kiss. First human kiss, anyway. I had to be trained for this, of course. Kissing another Six or an Eight is nothing like kissing Helena.
Nothing is like kissing Helena.
"Gina?" Helena rolls over, the covers slipping off her lean frame. She is hard and sharp, but in her bed, with me, like this, she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
"Right here." It's true; I may be a Six, but I'm also Gina. I'll always be Gina, no matter how many times I download.
"I'm glad you're here."
I pull her close, nestle in, and she holds me and runs her fingers down my arms and kisses me. She is so much sweeter than I expected.
"I'm glad I'm here, too," I whisper. And for so many reasons, it's not a lie.
It's strange. To want to let this woman in the way I do. To let her be a part of my life, my work life and my social. To see how well she fits with my friends and fellow officers.
I love her. Gods help me, I love her. I didn't mean to do that. To fall in love.
I think she loves me, too. She has a look, helpless, almost angry, at times. I recognize it. It's the look you get when you're slipping, when you're in over your head.
"I'll catch you," I whisper to her as she sleeps. "I'll always take care of you."
I want to do that. Take care of her. She's capable and smart and funny, but there's an innocence to her that I want to protect. She's not like other people. She's not...spoiled yet. I don't want her hurt. I don't ever want her hurt.
I hope to the Gods I don't ever hurt her.
She prays to Artemis and Athena. It isn't surprising, but I wish I could tell her about God, make her understand that there is more to life than these false gods the humans worship.
He is real. He is good. He protects all. He will see us to our future, our destiny.
He could be her God, too. If only.
It is probably a bad thing that I want to share God with her. Probably a sign of weakness on my part. She is only a mission. Only an assignment.
I don't love her. I can't possibly love her.
Just because she takes my hand under the dining table when we eat with her friends. Just because her thigh presses against mine. Just because later, she will make me call out when she touches me, and then make me cry by the way she holds me and talks to me and tells me I am beautiful and hers.
I am hers. She is mine.
God help me. I don't want her to know what I've done. Even if I won't stop doing it, not even for her.
Not even for the woman I love.
It is almost time. The countdown has begun.
She is wistful so I show her an old vid to make her laugh. She is quiet so I make her tea, then give her some space, until she crawls into bed with me.
"You don't have to, Gina. If you're not in the mood."
"Whatever happens to us in the future, this is real. This is now. This is good."
"Nothing's going to happen." I touch her face, wipe tears I don't understand away. "I love you. Do you love me?"
She nods and her eyes glisten. "I. Do." It is more than a statement. It is an affirmation. It is a declaration. I laugh and pull her down to me.
"Then it will all be all right." And I kiss her until she stops crying.
And that's how it was. That's how I made Admiral Cain love me.
I never loved her.
No one can hate the way she's hated me, not without having loved first. Don't let her tell you different.
She's a thing. I never loved her. If I loved her, I'd let her die.
I lie on this cold, metal floor, while a man, a human--who helps because he wants something from me, from this body he says reminds him of an old love--pushes food at me and tells me it's not a trick. And all I can hear is her, telling her brute squad to test me, to push me, to hurt me.
To make me pay.
I will eat. I will eat because I'm hungry. Because she wants me hungry. Because she wants me weak, and I don't want to give her what she wants.
She is her again. Gina. My Gina. How could he bring her back so fast? I buried her under the bruises and blood and dirt and stench. My Gina with her soft golden hair and perfect skin was gone. And I liked it that way.
I told Adama I wasn't heartless; I could tell he didn't believe me. But if he could see inside me now. If he could just see what I feel when I look at her. When I remember that she couldn't pull the trigger, not when she had the chance.
It, not her. It. Cylons are things, not people. Not...lovers.
I can never get over how human they look.
Why is she here? Why has he let her in here? I thought he had power over them, power to keep me from harm. Why is Helena here?
I feel myself tremble. I hate that I tremble in front of her. If God loved me, he'd let me die. If God were powerful, he'd strike her where she stands.
I tell Doctor Baltar that the Cylon's comfort is of no interest to me. I lie. I want her in discomfort. I want her to hurt, the way she made me hurt.
I want her to pay for what I turned into.
I ask him if he's become too close to his subject, if he's lost perspective. He looks suitably shocked: an academic being asked if he's fallen in love with his lab rat.
Never guessing I'd fallen in love with her...with it.
With the frakkin' enemy, a toaster, a motherfrakkin' machine.
I flinch as she moves closer.
"Well, I see you got it to eat." Her voice is harsh, the voice of command. Not the soft, velvet voice I heard in the bed we shared.
"That's progress, I suppose. Can you get it to roll over? Beg?" She sniffs and I can hear her derision in the sharp sound. "See what it can make of these." She hands the man something, but I can't pull my eyes from her face, and then I can't bear to look anymore, and I try to retreat, the way I did before, deep inside myself.
She could read me in bed. She can read me here. "You know this thing used to sit in our mess. And eat our food, and listen to our stories. Didn't you? You just sat there, listening to us, pretending to be our friend." She kicks me in the stomach, so hard, so fast. So full of hate. "Didn't you?"
If I had pretended to be only her friend, I believe I would be dead by now. But I was her lover, and she will punish me for that forever.
The man speaks: "Admiral, please. Any physical contact with the subject will only help to set my efforts back at this point." His tone is mild, as mild as it's been with me, but she stops.
Then she spits on me. "Find out about that ship."
And then she is gone, and I feel her spittle on my face and the echo of her foot in my gut. And the man is turned, and he is there and an easy target, and somehow, finally, my legs will move and I'm up, up and over and on top of him. On his chest, hands locked around his neck.
His neck, not hers.
His--the neck of the man who's been kind to me. For one of my sisters' sake.
I let him go, scuttle back until I hit the far wall. He grabs his neck, and he stares at me with the most disappointed look.
I imagine God must look a little like that when we do wrong.
"I want to die," I say. "Will you help me do that? Will you kill me, please?" And then I cry. Finally, finally, safe with him.
She's told him what the unidentified ship was for. A resurrection ship. Life for the Cylons. I'm holding his report, reading it slowly, unable to take in the magnitude of the gift she has given us.
Of the frakkin' oblivion she seeks for herself. Death. Death with no download. I didn't even know they could download. She never told me anything, never told me no matter how much I tortured. This milquetoast of a scientist is with her for a few days and she spills her guts?
Does she love him?
It. Does it love him?
My hands are shaking, and I force myself to settle, to seek the calm. I will not flinch. This is what we need. Gina--it has given us what we need.
Damn her for being more Gina each time I see her. Damn her for being seared into my memories, into my dreams.
Damn her for ever being born. Or downloaded. Or whatever the frak the toasters call their first breath.
Damn her for everything.
My sin is great. Tens of thousands of my sisters and brothers will die so that I can truly end.
I wonder if God will forgive me. I speak to Gaius as if I believe still in God, because I think he needs to believe I do.
But I don't believe. It's how I can do this. The horrible thing. Without flinching.
I learned that from Helena.
I can feel them dying. I can feel, impossibly, a battle in space. The resurrection ship being obliterated.
My chance for immortality gone.
I am just me. Just Gina Inviere.
Gaius asks, "Do you think God will forgive us?"
"God forgives all." If he exists, I mean. And if he does, then he won't forgive me.
But he abandoned me here. Why should I care if he forgives me?
Why should I care if she forgives me?
Her people are well and truly frakked. The resurrection ship is gone. We watched the spare bodies of my former toaster lover and her kin float into space the way the bodies of all the men and women they killed on my ship floated out of the airlocks when we sent them to their final resting place.
Doctor Baltar tried to explain it to me. There are only so many models. There are many copies of each model. The one I knew is unique. She is the only one who...
She is mine. Mine. And that hurts. That they did this, they picked me to hurt this way. What is it about me that said, "Select me; I'm easy to wound"? Easy to dupe, is more like it. Easy to frak with.
Well, not anymore.
Not by her. And not by Adama.
Although I didn't have Fisk kill him. Today was not a good day for a Colonial commander to die. Not when all these copies of the whore I let touch me filled space.
I know I'll have to kill him eventually. Just as he knows he'll have to send his Angel of Death to me. Poor Starbuck. Poor little Kara. A pawn between two parents. I can tell I'm the mother she always wanted. She could have been a razor, like Kendra, if Adama hadn't dulled her before I found her.
Now, now at least she's a blunt instrument. Capable of dealing out a great deal of grievous harm. I love her more than a little, my precious CAG.
But not in that way.
Never again in that way.
You just never know who you're sleeping with. Who you're trusting. Who you love.
Love. Gods help me, I did love her. It. Gina. That frakkin Cylon.
I think Doctor Baltar's time with her is over. I think I'll make sure she suffers and never, ever dies. I want oblivion to never be hers, or as close to never as I can make it.
The ship is gone. "They've done it. I'm ready to die. Send my soul to God. Please." Or to oblivion, anyway. God probably isn't waiting.
I hope God isn't waiting.
Gaius does his part, lures in a guard, his bumbling hiding cunning. I snap the guard's neck, take his weapon, put it in Gaius's hand, and bring it to my neck. This is how it will end.
But Gaius is sweating. Crying. "No, no, no. I can't do this."
"Suicide is a sin, but I need to die." Funny. I feel it. That spark of belief. That knowledge that God will judge me for killing myself.
Do I think he won't judge me for killing so many of my kind?
I'm a fool. Gaius should kill me for that.
"What you need is justice." He slips the gun into my hand like it's the present of a lover. "I know a place where you can stay, where you will be safe, where I can look after you."
"Why? Why would you do that?" But I know. I've seen the look he's giving me. Only...he knows what I am. And he still wants me. Wants me precisely because of what I am.
"Because I love you." Poor, deluded Gaius. His Six deserves better.
If she's at all like me, she won't get it.
I leave him then, and I run for the quarters of the woman who taught me what love was. And what fear is.
The security is laughable for someone who understands their systems inside and out. I am into her room in seconds. And she is there sooner than I expect. Tired. She looks so tired. She groans as she takes off her holster and lays it on the glass table. She stretches, and I can imagine rubbing her back, easing the kinks out, easing her tensions other ways.
No. No. No.
I hate her. I hate her. I hate her.
I love her. Still. I love her still.
Gina. She is standing in front of me and she is tall--I'd forgotten how tall she is. She is back, my blonde goddess.
And she brings me death. Not Starbuck, then. Not Adama. Not anyone but this woman who hurt me.
Who I hurt back.
Who I love.
Damn her. I loved her.
Helena looks shocked. She doesn't look scared, though. Why doesn't she look scared? I have the gun. I have the upper hand. I have the right to do this. I have the right.
"Tell me, Admiral," I say, putting everything I feel into my words. I want her to know how much I hate her. I want her to know I'll never, ever forget what she's done to me. "Can you roll over? Beg?"
My words thrown back at me. And I can see by the look on her face that she's not going to flinch. I thought I'd made Kendra into my sharpest razor, but I was wrong. This is my masterpiece. Gina is my greatest work.
She will be my death. She wants me to break. It could be my last gift to her. To tell her the truth.
"I love you," I might say. "I've missed you," would not be a lie. "I'm sorry."
Yes, that is what she wants to hear. "Gina, I'm so very sorry."
I tell her instead, "Frak you."
And try my hardest not to cry.
It's not what I want. This last thing she says to me. It's not what I needed to hear.
"You're not my type," I tell her.
She lets out a sharp gasp, her eyes moistening more, and I realize she's holding back tears.
That she does care. That there is pain.
Pain I wish I could make linger longer than it will.
Pain I could make linger.
I could draw this out.
I could torture her and abuse her and make her cry.
But...I love her.
She crumples, without a sound, and the room is empty except for me and the retort of the gunfire echoing in my ears.
She is not beautiful anymore. I fired at point blank range. I destroyed her face, her eyes, her warm, soft lips.
So why can I still see her, just like she was, with the golden light playing on her skin? Why do I think I always will see her every time I close my eyes?