Echoes

Zoe never comes back for her. She's with her parents now. There are rumors in New Cap City that she's even managed to become human again.

Tamara thinks of her father and the brother that she can never go back to, while Zoe sits in the Graystone home, and chokes back a sob.

The whole Avenging Angels thing was a joke, just a distraction from their trapped existence in this virtual hell. The same way that the residents of New Cap City came to get away from the real world.

Tamara Adama sheds the elaborate costume she had made while she was with Zoe for a pair of plain, everyday clothes and decides to wander the virtual world alone.

…...

Tamara is not Zoe. She can never be Zoe. She's a collection of memories and photographs of the original Tamara Adams, while Zoe is a carbon copy of a true scientific genius. Still, she's managed to master a few of Zoe's tricks over the years. She may not be able to enter the real world in the way Zoe can, but she can sneak a peak.

Of course, she looks for her father. She might have listened to that woman's advice and led her father to believe her dead, but she still wants to know that Dad and Willie are alive and happy.

Instead, she finds Willie dead. Her father has remarried and a new William Adama stands in her brother's place. A blue-eyed boy they call Bill.

Tamara holes herself up in a single room in V world and cries.

…...

Years pass, Tamara still looks sixteen, but she's decades old. No one comes to V world anymore, not since the Cylons began to rebel. This is where Zoe came from, the so-called leader of the revolt, and no one wants to go to the place where "evil" evolved. Others say that Zoe is the rebellion itself, that each Cylon is a piece of her consciousness.

Tamara watches her blue-eyed brother grow into a man. Against their father's wishes, he enlists in the war, becomes a fighter pilot. Tamara's not sure if she feels worried or proud.

…...

Tamara's sitting by a virtual lakeside when it happens for the first time. She puts her hand up against her forehead to shield her holographic body from the burning sun, only her hand isn't there...at least not quite. It's flickering, along with her entire body. It only lasts for a couple seconds, but somehow Tamara knows it won't be the last time. After all these years, Daniel Graystone's experiment is beginning to unravel. Tamara Adama is dying.

…...

She can no longer hop from place to place in the virtual world like she used to. The last time she tried, she disappeared for a full day. Confined to the ruins of New Caprica City, Tamara sits and awaits her end.

That's when she hears the music, the haunting melody of an acoustic guitar. She follows the sound along the streets and narrow alleys of the abandoned game world, wondering would kind of person would bother visiting this place and how they could have found it to begin with.

She finally finds the source of the noise in an abandoned tavern. Outside, a man sits strumming on his guitar, the source of the music. He stops and meets Tamara's gaze with a smile.

The man is gorgeous, the kind that would have left young, adolescent, Tamara's heart thrumming like a star cruiser's engines. He's dark-haired and muscular, with magnetic blue eyes.

"Hello, Tamara," he saids with a smile.

A blonde, middle-aged women comes out of the tavern. She's wearing a tight dress and sipping a drink. "Ah, Sam you finally found her! We've been looking for you, Tamara."

Tamara slowly backs away from the two strangers. "Who are you people? What do you want from me?"

The man sets his guitar down and walks towards Tamara, extending his hand in a gesture of friendship. "We're artificial creatures, just like you and, believe it or not, Ellen and I are here to help you."

Tamara considers running in the opposite direction, before a wave of pain signals that she's flickering again. She gives no protest as Sam takes her hand and guides her trembling body back into the tavern. By the time she's taken a seat, the flickering has stopped and she's back to normal.

Ellen slides a drink in front of her. "I'd normally say you're much too young for alcohol, but Galen and Sam have told me you're older than you look."

Tamara gives Ellen a hard stare. "And how do I know you're not a couple of kids using their parents' avatars? It goes both ways"

Ellen tilts her head and laughs. "Dear child, I'm actually 4003, but you can assume whatever you like.

Tamara cracks a genuine smile for the first time in decades. She may not trust these strange people, but if they hang around long enough, she might not have to die alone.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to cut the pleasantries short, Tamara," Ellen continues.

Sam cuts in. "Your matrix is destabilizing rapidly, you're not going to last more than a day or two without our help."

"And why do you want to help me?" Tamara asks.

"Because you're special, child, more special than you realize. Just like your sister Zoe was," Ellen replies smoothly.

Tamara wants to snap back angrily, saying that Zoe was no sister of hers, or even a true friend, but something in the woman's eyes stops her.

"I'm giving you two choices, Tamara. My friend Galen has a simple way of deleting your program so you'll go quickly and painlessly. However, if you want to live, to go on, my friends and I can bring you into a world you've never dreamed of."

Tamara listens to Ellen's proposition in silence before she makes her decision.

…...

They call the Eights the most human of the Cylons, though no one seems to know why. The Eight known as Boomer isn't supposed to know she's a Cylon in the first place, though her recent mission to the Basestar has finally showed her the truth.

She's standing next to her friend, Racetrack, about to receive a medal from the Commander himself, when her Cylon programming finally kicks in. Boomer is looking straight at her target as she reaches for her gun.

As Sharon looks into Bill Adama's blue eyes, the world fades away and a strange memory resurfaces, one that belongs neither to Eight or Sharon. An image of a young boy with bright blue eyes flashes through her mind and, for a moment, she remembers who she was before One had wiped her memories and suffocated her "parents." "No!" she whispers, in her mind. "Not him, how could he? Please John, anyone but him!"

But it's too late. Half a second later and the memory's gone. Sharon pulls the trigger and fires.