God didn't create the Cylons - men did!
Comes the Inquisitor
"Tara, Tara," a voice came calling through the mist, "believe it or not, but even given the circumstances, this isn't the best of places to take a nap."
'What a curious thing to say,' Tara thought to herself. Where was this place anyway? She couldn't tell where she was, mostly because of the ever present mist around her.
She was aboard the Galactica, that much was certain, but beyond that?
"Tara?" The voice called once again and she felt a light slap upon her cheek and a face came slowly into focus. A face, vaguely familiar to her, still she didn't recognise it.
"Honey, is that you?" Tara asked, not sure whether or not she said this out loud.
"Well it's me all right," the voice replied with a touch of humour in it, while the features became more clear and more blonde! "but I'm not sure Willow would be very trilled with you calling me Honey."
"Buffy!" Tara exclaimed, her face going through various shades, ranging from deep red to light pink.
"Don't you worry," Buffy assured her whisperingly, "your secret's safe with me.
Thus assured, Tara started to contemplate the next thing that was on her mind. "Buffy?"
"Why am I looking at the ceiling?"
"Because you lost consciousness after playing your heroic part in ending the hostage situation and saving the hostage by shooting the hijacker" Buffy explained patiently.
"Hostage? What hostage?" Tara asked puzzled and sat up,. Looking into Buffy's face, she suddenly remembered everything. "The hostage!" she cried out and all colour left her face again, making her turn pale.
"Now don't you go unconscious on me again," 'Slayer' warned her seriously. "Because, by the gods, if you do, I will give you mouth to mouth resuscitation. And then you will have a real hard time explaining to your girlfriend why you kissed me."
"But that wouldn't count as a kiss!!" Tara protested.
"That would be for Willow to decide." The moment the words had been out of her mouth, a shadow came down upon Buffy's face, "when she returns."
There was a short and uneasy silence and with nothing more to say they both looked into each others eyes, sharing their hope concerning their best friend and lover.
"Now let's get you to your feet and into your quarters," Buffy said and helped the still weary Secretary of Education to her feet. "You need some rest Tara."
"But wasn't it terrible risky, letting me take the shot at you and Faith?" Tara asked, holding tight to her mug of instant hot chocolate prepared by Buffy. "After all I'm a teacher. With a doctor title in English Literature and Colonial History and another masters degree in Math. But nothing of this even remotely suggest that I'm a good shot," Tara babbled away, and intensified the grip on her mug to keep her hands from shaking - but they shook anyway, she couldn't help it.
"Tara," Buffy said softly, "it's okay."
"I could have hit you," Tara said her voice now shaking too.
"Yes you could have and I was prepared for this. Because if you had hit me, Faith... the Cylon would have had no other choice but to let me go and in doing so she would have lost her shield and Bruce could have taken her out, by jumping for his gun and taking the shot himself. Or I might have had the chance to disarm her... it anyway."
Tara could see how it troubled Buffy to speak of her former comrade as a Cylon agent. But the blond pilot took a deep breath and added, "Of course I favour this outcome."
"Of course," Tara repeated, not sounding like she meant it.
"Listen Tara, I know right now it doesn't feel like it, but in time you will accept that you did the right thing at the right time and were lucky," Buffy said. "Doing something like this is unbelievably tough. Believe me, I know.
"Even for a provisional soldier like me. I wish that there could have been another way, but there wasn't. She would have expected something like this from O'Reilly, so he had to put down his gun first, so you could take the shot."
"Wait a minute!" Tara interrupted, setting down her now empty mug hard on the table. "Does that mean you actually ordered him to lay down his weapon?"
"Just by looking at him?"
"What can I say, I have a very communicative face, wouldn't you agree?"
"That you have," Tara agreed.
Buffy set down her mug onto the table and stood up. "And now I have to find somebody to report this incident to", she said as she started to make her way towards the bulkhead, followed by Tara. At the bulkhead she turned around and put her hand upon the blonde woman's shoulder. "You're going to be all right?", she asked kindly.
"I'll manage," Tara assured her, "I will try to get some sleep."
"Snuggle with Miss Kitty?" Buffy offered helpfully.
"That would be nice but I don't think that it's in the cards," Tara answered doubtfully, watching the tiny kitten canon-balling trough the rooms. After she'd tried to misuse 'Slayers' boots as a scratch tree that is.
"Perhaps you're right," Buffy said, as Miss Kitty Fantastico launched another attack upon her combat boots. Buffy then hugged Tara goodbye, and Tara scoped up Miss Kitty so Buffy could leave the quarters.
After allowing the protesting kitten jump down to the floor again, Tara walked over to her desk and started her laptop computer's media player.
This World could be fed, this World could be fun.
This should be love for Everyone.
This World should be free, this World could be one.
We should bring love to our daughters and sons.
This could be Heaven for Everyone.
Tears started to dwell in Tara's eyes when she heard the first tunes. Not so much because of the lyrics, though they too held some very significant meanings these days. But because this had been Kennedy's favourite song. Sitting down heavily in front of her laptop, Tara opened the folder with pictures of herself and Kennedy. Starting the slide show of these pictures and continuing to listen to Kennedy's favourite song, Tara started to cry hard.
Kennedy Limon had been literally the first person Tara met when she'd moved to Caprica and into a nice little apartment building at the outskirts of Caprica City's governmental district. Residing in the same building, with Kennedy living only two floors below Tara, they soon became friends and because of Kennedy's 'coded flirting' they knew even sooner that they where both gay. But besides this initial and ongoing friendly flirting, they both felt immediately that this wasn't meant to be a physical relationship. They connected on a much higher level. They where like sisters and Tara loved Kennedy like the sister she never had but always had dreamed of.
Tara stopped the slideshow of Kennedy pictures, her eyes resting on one of her favourite images of her best friend and sister.
It had been just for fun that Kennedy had agreed to model for a advertising campaign for a line of jewels or something. The picture showed her in a beautiful with dress, her hair cut short but feminine. A very slight smile playing around her lips. She looked straight into the camera and right into Tara's soul. Beautiful, beautiful Kennedy; who had died in the terror of a nuclear blast, believing that the love of her life had died with her. When in reality this love - Faith, a Cylon - had only been destroyed on Picon, to be downloaded into another body, on her way to the Galactica.
Tara frowned, could this be possible? Being destroyed one moment, and 'waking up' aboard a spaceship on the way to the Picon the next? Tara already knew for a fact, that the liner from which Faith had later transferred to the Galactica, had already been in space when the Cylons had nuked Picon. So how could Faith, or another avatar of her, already have been onboard this Colonial Liner when the Cylons destroyed Picon City in the first wave of nuclear attacks?
Only one way to find out, and so Tara shut down her laptop, took a short time to study the Galactica layout plans, she'd gotten from Willow a few weeks ago and left her quarters with a very determined look upon her face.
'Don't stop, don't think about it,' she advised herself, while walking down the corridors. 'Because if you start thinking about it, you might not be going through with it, and you know you have to, for Kennedy's and your own sake.' At last she reached the part of the ship where she knew Faith was imprisoned, which as she would learn later, was on the opposite side of the Battlestar and where Laura Roslin, 'Apollo' and 'Boomer' were held. But how to convince whoever was guarding Faith, to let her have a moment alone with this enemy agent? 'Could be difficult if not impossible' Tara thought. On reaching the brig, Tara was positively surprised to find the bulkhead guarded by no other then Lt. Dana Kim.
"Hi Tara!" the Raptor pilot greeted her. "Rumour has it you've become quite the hero."
"Believe me Dana," Tara said shock the hand offered to her, "I don't feel like I have done anything heroic today."
"Is it true that she... it was your girlfriend back home?" 'Rice-Pattie' asked curiously.
"Must be hard, finding out that she is a Cylon."
"You have no idea," Tara said wryly. Not wanting to go into this any further right now, Tara turned the conversation to the reason she had to come to this place.
"Dana, I need to ask you a favour," Tara asked quietly.
"Yes?" Dana answered cautiously, like she somehow suspected what this favour might be.
"I need to talk to F... the prisoner."
The look on 'Rice-Pattie's faces told Tara that she'd expected anything but not this particular request from the secretary of education.
"What?" Dana asked, "are you out of your frakking mind?" She pointed at the bulkhead behind her. "That thing in there is a Cylon! They want to annihilate us!"
Tara didn't say a word, but let the enraged lieutenant get it all out of her system.
"It pretended to be one of us, a comrade. It fought at our side. If I had any say in this, that thing would already have gone out of the airlock. That is if I didn't shoot it first."
She reached for her sidearm as if she wanted to make sure it was still there.
"Believe me Tara, if it weren't against regulations I would have shot her already." She fell silent, and took a deep breath, calming herself down.
Tara nodded silently, she knew the lieutenant meant what she said. "Believe me Dana, I know what you feel - though I don't think I could ever kill anyone, not even a Cylon," she said gently. "Back then on Caprica I fell head over heals in love with Faith and she broke my heart when she left me for my best friend.
"And now my best friend is dead and this Faith goes on living." She put her hand gently upon Dana's shoulder and looking straight into her eyes said, "but still I have to talk to her. I can't explain what I hope to gain from this, because I don't know. All I know is that I have to do this."
Dana thought about it for a long moment, then she took Tara aside, and said quietly: "Ok Tara even though it is against everything I believe I will let you in to see this thing. I don't know when I'm going to be released here but you certainly won't have long. I will know about five minutes in advance though and when I call you're coming out at once, no delay, no questions - or we will both be in big trouble, you understand?" Tara agreed and Dana went to open the bulkhead.
Her hand on the handle, she turned again to Tara and sounding concerned she said, "Be careful, okay? From what I've learned they are pretty cunning, they wouldn't just lie, that would be too easy. But they mix truth with lies. Trying to get into your head."
"I'll remember that - promised."
Her heart beating wildly, Tara stepped through the bulkhead held open by Dana, and from the bright lighted hallway into the twilight of the brig.
It took Tara a bit to adjust to the dimmed light, flinching briefly on hearing the bulkhead slam shut behind her. Tara looked around. Right in front of her and about one and a half meter from the opposite wall, where she was standing now, was a row of three cells. All empty except for the last one down the passageway.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" an all to familiar voice coldly observed. "Comes the inquisitor?" Down in the third cell Tara could see the Cylon-Faith; she was sitting on her bunk, her back resting at the wall behind her and her feet drawn up to her chest. Her hands folded around her knees, she looked quite relaxed, a cold smile playing around her lips.
Stepping up to the cell but keeping her distance, remaining at the opposite wall of the corridor, Tara couldn't help herself but stare at the womanly Cylon she had spent part of her life with, shared her bed with. The person she'd been in...
'Don't think about it, don't you ever think about it again!' Tara scolded herself. 'This is not the person you fell in love with, it never was. Never was a person in the first place, but a Cylon.' It hurt too much just thinking about it and Tara felt tears starting to form behind her eyes, but she fought them back down. No, she would not cry in front of this Cylon.
"So you've come to talk to me," Faith asked, "or am I just part of a fascinating exhibition?" It was they way this question was delivered that startled Tara. No sarcasm but genuine curiosity or so it seemed. Looking into her face again, Tara could see the Cylon looking quite friendly too.
"So which Cylon model are you?", it blurred out of Tara, asking the first thing that came into her mind.
"What? No hello, nice to meet you. Just: a right into your face: 'What's your number?" The Cylon avatar asked in mock surprise.
A variety of different responses came Tara into mind, ranging from. 'Hello what's your number', to 'Hello nice to see you, would you mind telling what your Cylon model number would be?'
But in the end she decided to simply ignore 'Rogue's' remark and said: "We know that there are twelve models."
"Do you?" Cylon Faith asked, sounding mildly surprised.
"Yes, and so numerically speaking, which model would you be?" Tara asked matter of factly while she filing away the fact that their information about there being twelve models seemed to be accurate.
"I'm a Number Ten," Cylon Faith told her, keeping her voice neutral.
'I knew it!' Tara thought triumphantly.
"That's all you wanted to know?" Ten wondered. "I bet you're not allowed to be in here and so it seems illogical to me to go through all of this, just to ask me for my number."
She adjusted her seat on the bunk, but made no sign of getting up so Tara went closer to the bars separating her from her ex-girlfriend slash Cylon Number Ten.
"How could you have been with Kennedy when Picon City got blown up by the... by your people!?" She looked Faith straight in the eyes, trying to ignore all the familiar feelings that came with it. "I talked with her on the phone right before Picon City got nuked, and she told me that you had just left the room..."
Her voice failed her, when she remembered those last moments of Kennedy's life.
"You should know by now," Faith explained, like she was holding a lecture, "I cannot die, and so when my body got destroyed on Picon, I got downloaded into this one."
"Of course we... I know that!" Tara said and took up her usually protective posture.
"But how could you have been destroyed on Picon and then wake up on a commercial liner in space the next. Surely you don't had whatever is necessary to... download yourself with you on the way! And we already established that you were on your way already, now didn't we?" Tara's voice had gotten stronger and more aware by now.
"Well you caught me there," Faith remarked dryly.
"Since you didn't get downloaded to the space-liner, after the destruction of Picon City, that means that you are not really the Faith I knew.
"You are just another Cylon using the same body," Tara said, getting more confused by the minute, "you don't really know me at all or do you?"
"Doctor Tara Maclay, born on Gemenon. Came out at age sixteen. Likes to snuggle and goes of like a tiger when you nibble at her right ear and..."
"All right, all right you know me," Tara said, getting ever more confused by the minute.
"Poor Tara," No. 10 said.
Tara looked up surprised, since she heard no trace of sarcasm in the Cylons voice and in her face she saw what seemed like genuine sympathy.
"How could you have been in two places at the same time?" Tara asked whisperingly, "that's impossible."
"Is it?" Faith asked in return. "Tara, you think too much in two dimensional terms. Of course I can be in two places - two bodies - at the same time; even more." She looked patiently at Tara, like she waited for the mere human to understand what she'd just said. "You see," she eventually continued, "we can split up our personality and transfer them into different bodies."
"So all those Cylons out there that are looking like you are part of your... personality?" Tara asked unbelievingly.
"No," Cylon Faith said, "there are many other Cylons that... let's say are using this particular model of a body but they are not me."
"So are there more versions of you out there?"
"You don't really expect me to answer that question, do you?"
"Ok, then how long have you been living on Caprica, while at the same time being an ongoing Viper pilot on...?"
"Troy" Tara repeated, and then another question came into her mind "Did you always knew what you are, or were you what we call a sleeper agent?"
"Oh you mean like Sharon?" No. 10 asked. Tara nodded.
"I always knew who and what I was, I had a mission. But don't ask me what that mission was, I will not tell you. As for your other question, I have been on Caprica for quite some time already before I 'simultaneously' enrolled in flight school on Troy."
"Three years", Tara whispered to herself, remembering what Willow had told her about her time at flight school. "So when your body got destroyed on Picon, you downloaded into this one, rather than to get a new body all together." It was less of a question than stating a fact.
"So you simply zapped yourself out of there," Tara said, tears dwelling in her eyes at last.
"Now I wouldn't put it that simple," Faith objected, "you see I can't simply 'beam' out of my body at any given time. In order for my consciousness to be released I have to die first. And believe me that is not the most pleasant experience. Not even for a Cylon."
"Oh pity," Tara said, " so you died and got away to join with this body. But at the same time... the same moment, the woman you claimed to have loved, died in the nuclear horror unleashed by your kind!"
One single tear ran down Tara's cheek as she went on. "She died alone, with only me as a distant voice to be with her. She died believing you died with her, when in reality you were already out. She trusted you and you betrayed her to her death."
"That's one way looking at it," the Cylon said dryly.
"You telling me there's another way to look at this?" Tara asked unbelievingly. "Kennedy's dead isn't she?"
"Yes she is."
"Then there is no other way of looking at this!" Tara yelled. "She's dead, you killed her - that's it!"
Raising herself up gracefully, Cylon Faith took a step towards the bars of her cell. "Maybe Kennedy is now in a better place," she said, sounding like she meant it.
"A better place?"
"You mean with the gods."
"No with God. There is only one."
"You're not going to talk about religious beliefs with me now, are you?" Tara asked, while staring to question whatever she thought she was getting out of this meeting.
"Oh I never would do that," Faith answered. "After all I do remember that even though you generally believed, you never were the one to really speak about your faith."
She started to pace slowly in front of Tara. "All I wanted was to maybe give you some comfort in assuring you, that I firmly believe that Kennedy really is in a better place." She stopped right in front of Tara, but keeping her distance from the bars.
"A better place!" Tara repeated angrily.
"Really Tara, look around you. You're lost, running through empty space, onboard an old Battlestar. Do you really think that this would have been a place where a lover of nature and fresh air like Kennedy would have liked to be?"
She continued looking at Tara but then the expression of her features changed subtly and when she continued her voice was all cold and sarcastic again. "Honestly, the way I remember my girlfriend I think it was an act of mercy to letting her die on Picon, rather then letting her die out here in the darkness." She said it in a way one would talk about an old, an ill dog that was put down in order to spare it any more pain.
"Shut up!" Tara yelled, her voice resounding from the brigs walls around her. "Shut the frak up, and never say her name again!" By now tears were running freely down her face.
"Look, the evil Cylon made poor little Tara cry," Number Ten commented mockingly and sat back down on her bunk again.
"I loved her," Tara wept. "I loved her like the sister I never had. And you're talking about her like a dog that's put to sleep as an act of mercy."
"What makes you think that I didn't love her?" Faith asked, her voce had changed completely again.
"You're a Cylon! A machine, a gods dammed walking chrome toaster!" Tara spat out, while trying to dry the tears. "You don't love! Love is a human emotion that I doubt could be programmed into a mere machine."
"No emotions huh? We were together for how long? Two years? We laughed, we cried together. Looks pretty emotional to me," Faith said quietly.
"Or maybe only a very clever imitation of human emotions from a Cylon mechanism," Tara said.
"Why do you keep saying this?"
"Because it's true, you're a Cylon!"
"I am a Cylon," Faith agreed. "But I'm no longer a mere mechanism. I'm alive, there's blood running through my veins." She pointed to the band aid on her leg. "When you shot me I bled. And I have feelings Tara, real feelings. I feel and I love as deeply and fully as any human being. I loved Kennedy and I loved you - still do as a matter of fact."
She'd said this so casually, like an afterthought, but it cut through Tara like a knife and all the suppressed longings and feelings flooded her mind again.
"You loved me?"
"Oh you loved me all right," Tara said, "and then you dumped me for my best friend!"
Faith looked at her in genuine surprise. "Tara," she said, "the way I remember, you took it rather well. Even agreed to stay friends."
"Oh believe me, it wasn't for your benefit," Tara told her. "The only reason I went with this charade was that I didn't wanted to lose Kennedy too. You can't imagine how hard it was seeing the two of you together and Kennedy more happier than I ever seen her before. When I was still..." She broke of, not wanting to further open herself up to the Cylon.
But Faith didn't have to hear anymore to understand and quietly said, "Seems to me you were still quite in love with me when we broke it up." Tara starred at her. "Of course I still loved you, even after you dumped me." And without thinking she added, " still do."
The sooner the words were out of her mouth she knew it was true. It hit her like a punch in the stomach but nevertheless it was true. Despite everything she had endured following the end of this relationship. Despite that she now knew Faith to be a Cylon agent, some part of her - even if only the very smallest one, still loved Eliza Faith Davis.
Of course this "rest of love" didn't compare to the love she was feeling for Willow, and never could.
But for some time she had loved Faith, and the reminder of this love would always be part of her. A part she couldn't simply cut out of her heart.
For a very long second and despite the absurdity of the situation at hand, and the fact that she was an enemy of humanity this very small part of Tara greeted the illusion of being reunited with Faith again.
Tara knew this part of her had never given up on Faith. Not even while she had been with Kennedy and probably never would.
"You still love me?" Fait asked warmly.
Tara had expected this question of course but was surprised by the tone of Faith's voice when it was uttered. No sarcasm, it seemed as if she was really touched by this unintended revelation of her ex girlfriend.
"What does it matter to you?" Tara asked whispering. "You killed billions of people and if I hadn't happened to be on my way back from the Galactica, I would have been dead too. Dead like my family, like Rene, like Kennedy..."
Tara turned away, wiped her tears away with a tissue and blew her nose. When she turned back again she was determined to no longer talk about her feelings, past or present, to this Cylon Avatar.
"So are you really gay?" she asked bluntly.
"What?" Cylon Faith asked, obviously taken by surprise by Tara's sudden change of subject. As well as by the very un-Tara like bluntness in which this question got delivered.
"You heard me," Tara said, her voice all steady and controlled again. "Are you really gay? Or did you just get into these gay relationships to see what it would be like. You know, to collect data to further improve on your ability to mimic human behaviour."
Ignoring Tara's attempt to offend her, Faith simply said: "I'm not into labels."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means," Cylon Faith explained patiently, "that unlike you humans, we Cylons do not have the need to label the different - how should I put this? - possibilities. You know, gay, straight, bisexual, bi-curious, bi-flexible, transgender. Oh and my personal favourite: 'a woman who just happens to be in love with another woman'." She paused for a bit. "You see Tara, it's ridiculous! People love whom they love. For us there's no need limit us in our relationships by using such labels."
She was right, Tara knew. After all, this was exactly what she'd been fighting and campaigning for ever since she'd been so prematurely outed by Rene and started out in politics. Even now on the run, she dreamed that should they ever find a new safe heaven to start all new, a planet safe from the Cylons, maybe even Earth, that there they could build a society that would unite the past with the present and the future. A world where such labels would be truly obsolete. But then what was more of an utopian dream? That they could ever really outrun the cylons, not to mention possible sleeper agent's still hiding within the fleet; or that the majority of humanity would ever give up on their stupid little prejudices against gays and lesbians?
"It's time, you have to go," Faith interrupted Tara's daydreams. "They will be coming soon. They mustn't find you here if they do..." She sounded genuinely concerned.
However before Tara could ask her what she meant Dana called in that the marines were on their way to relieve her.
Without saying another word to her ex - the Cylon, Tara left the brig.
It wasn't before too long, before Tara realised that Faith hadn't been talking about the marines.