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Toaster's Pawn

By Mike Payne

Words: 12,498
Date: 9/22/05
Series: Pre-mini
Rating: M
Category: AU/Crossover
Pairing/Focus: none given
Warnings: Minor detail heard in Ep 207. Home, Part 2 Unless you see the episode it doesn't affect anything.
Summary: The bulk of this story takes place roughly 60-70 years before the mini-series, prior to the signing of the Article(s) of Colonization. It's my version of why the toasters are called toasters and the one's responsible for creating them. The characters are all made up with the exception of Tigh's grandfather making an appearance later on and Bill Adama in the Epilogue
Spoilers/Disclaimers: none given


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to my Beta, Teri, for input and corrections.

TOASTER'S PAWN

Cyrus lay on the bed, knowing this was the end. Doctors around him were checking his vitals and the intravenous drip while nurses wearing light blue uniforms stood in the wings awaiting the physicians' orders. Cyrus rolled his head to one side, seeing the two-way mirror on the nearby wall; he knew who was behind that wall. Dignitaries present to witness the passing of a living legend. The President of the Colonial Government, Colonial Defense Forces Chief of Staff and a few others, including some hand picked reporters.

Cyrus rolled his head to face the ceiling again, squinting his eyes at the over-bright lights. Why in the Lords did medical rooms have to have their lights so bright? Wasn't the comfort of the patient a necessity? Well, Cyrus' comfort definitely wasn't of paramount importance here.

The door opened briefly and a note was passed to a nurse then to the lead physician. He looked towards the mirror and nodded. The doctor checked the diagnostic display on the monitors behind Cyrus' head. Another thing about medical rooms Cyrus didn't like was that the damned monitoring machines were out of view from the patient as to keep said patient from knowing how bad things really were. Convenient, eh?

The situation was about to get bad in a hurry by Cyrus' estimation. He felt his breathing getting more labored like someone was standing on his chest. His toes and fingers were growing increasingly numb and cold –

So this was dying?

The doctor leaned over him, flashing his pen light across Cyrus' field of vision getting very little response from his pupils. Cyrus now had to open his mouth to breath.

That seemed to help a bit. At least now he couldn't smell that odor that hung on this doctor's clothes. It was an odd smell, but familiar. The mud that was filling his brain was giving Cyrus problems concentrating.

A bell sounded in the background. He was fading now but -

That's it! Now he remembered that smell…..

===================== Seventy Years Earlier

That smell….

…..Burnt toast.

Damn it, mom is going to catch hell again.

Cyrus ran from his bedroom and bolted down the stairs, only hitting every third from the second story down to first. He had to get to the toaster before his stepdad came rumbling in.

Too late – The man was already there.

Dean Paken had to be one of the biggest men that twelve year old Cyrus had ever laid eyes on. Over two meters tall and at least a meter wide at the shoulders Dean's physique and demeanor matched his supervisory job at the ironworks just outside of Springrock in the Northern Territories of Virgo.

Cyrus' mother Periseph, Peri for short, had met him when Cyrus was nine. They married two years later. Cyrus' biological father was in the military and was killed in a training exercise when Cyrus was seven.

Cyrus would do anything for his mother, especially to keep Dean from spewing his usually less than cordial morning pleasantries on his mother when his toast was burnt.

"PERI!" Dean's voice boomed throughout the house.

"It wasn't her fault, Dean," Cyrus said from the den entrance to the dining area, separated by a countertop from the kitchen area.

Dean spun on Cyrus surprised by his approach. "How many times have I told you to A-Stay out of this, and B-You're to call me father or dad?" He said now red-faced.

"In addressing your points - and in no particular order; You're not my father and if you weren't so frakking cheap you'd buy a toaster that wasn't made forty years ago!"

Dean's height also translated into a long gait. For his bulk, the man moved like a sprinter. In one frighteningly quick move he crossed the kitchen and backhanded Cyrus up side his head, dropping him to the floor.

Cyrus' field of vision was filled with stars as he fought not to pass out. Slowly, he got to his feet and faced the man standing as tall as he could. Cyrus lower lip quivered with rage, but his legs felt rubbery and were soon to give out.

"You have any other smart-ass remarks?" Dean challenged. "That's what I thought."

Cyrus wanted to challenge him, but being half the size of this giant and on the receiving end of a vicious head blow hampered his plans of grabbing a kitchen knife and jamming it in Dean's chest. Instead, Cyrus had to reach for a chair to steady himself.

A menacingly toothy grin spread across Dean's face. "You can help your mother by building her a better toaster."

Peri came into the kitchen just as this ended. She piloted her wheelchair up to the counter in front of the toaster, quickly disposed of the offending carbonized bread and reached for the loaf bag.

"I'm sorry Dean, I was in the bathroom." Peri said quietly.

"Did you wash your hands?" He accused moving back towards her.

Peri visibly flinched in her chair. "Yes," she said barely above a whisper. "Let me make some more."

"No," he grabbed the bag from her hand and threw it far back in the corner of the countertop well out of Peri's limited reach. "I'm running late and you'll just waste that, too."

She sat dejectedly in the chair staring at her hands. "What would you want for dinner?"

"Save me the disappointment. I'm going out after work." Dean said gruffly and made his way to the door. "Clean up after that son of yours before he stains the carpet!" He yelled his last words before the door slammed shut.

Peri moved back from the counter to see Cyrus sitting at the table. She quickly wheeled over to him and gently touched his arm. "Cyrus?"

Cyrus came out of his semi-daze and turned to his mother face-on. She gasped at the damage. Blood had been running down the side of his face from just above his hairline and was dripping onto his shirt. He was going to have one hell of a bruise encompassing the right side of his face.

"Oh my Lords, Cyrus! What did he do!" Peri grabbed the towel on her lap and began applying pressure to the gash. She had been a nurse before an accident at the hospital she worked in had put her in the chair about eighteen months earlier.

It was a freakish accident. She and another nurse were moving a patient to post op recovery when another gurney carrying an emergency surgery patient came flying around a corner. The other gurney caught her at her waistline as she pushed hers out of the way. Peri was carried into a door and her spinal column caught a protruding door handle.

She won a nice tidy sum from the hospital in a worker's injury claim, but Dean quickly went through it, augmenting his lifestyle.

"Nothing that I didn't do to myself," Cyrus said, slowly feeling comforted by his mother's touch.

Peri sighed heavily. "I have to call the school; you can't go in looking like this."

"Ma, I can't miss today." Cyrus slowly rose testing his balance. "I've got a big math test."

"Cyrus, with your math abilities, I think that the other kids in your class would welcome you missing a test for the sake of the grading curve," Peri doted. "Besides," she quickly turned glum, "the last time you showed up looking like this, too many questions were asked and the police brought you home."

Memories of that day sent shudders down Cyrus' spine. He didn't leave his room for a month except to check on his mother. She'd paid the price as well. She had to get around the house for a week without her chair.

Cyrus nodded his approval as he knew this was the best course of action. He gently stroked his mother's hair and she smiled up at him. "Just promise me that that son of a bitch will get what he has coming to him."

"Cyrus," Peri gazed at him sternly. "You know I don't approve of that language. You've been around that DeCelias boy again, haven't you?"

"Ma – I'm twelve."

Peri looked to her lap and wrung her hand on the bloody towel. "I just don't want you turning into him," she said in disdain of Dean.

Cyrus crouched, almost falling over from dizziness. "That will never happen.

I promise."

=================== Two years later……….

Cyrus was in the kitchen watching the toaster for his mother. She had been having some pretty rough days lately and Dean wasn't helping matters.

Dean had just returned to work after a major heart attack and was grumpier than ever. Cyrus had been doing most of the work around the house and he actually found it liberating.

The more work he did, the less Dean bugged him. He was still able to maintain his high academic standing in addition to the near twenty hour days that he was pulling.

But this morning changed all of that.

He was sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal, when Dean lumbered into the kitchen. He arrived out of breath, very pale and looking rather weak. His nearly flawless physical appearance had faltered since his heart attack and looked as if he was thirty years older than his age.

"Where's my toast?" Dean asked weakly.

"I didn't know when you were coming down so I didn't start it yet," Cyrus answered.

"Damn it, boy! I trust you to have my food ready and I get this?" Dean tried to sound gruff, but it came off more as a mild complaint.

Cyrus looked at the clock then to Dean. "You've got time. The doctor said you needed to slow down."

Dean muttered something under his breath and pressed the activator on the toaster. The red eye on the front momentarily came on, but blinked out. He pressed the button again, still nothing.

The plug was half out of the outlet; Dean cursed it and reached for the plug. His massive left hand wrapped around the cord as he pushed the plug in.

Dean suddenly seized up and the lights flickered under the cabinets. He managed to let go of the wire stepping back.

"Frak!" He shouted looking at his burnt hand. Dean shook it a couple of times to get the numbness out, but it didn't go away. The numbness started spreading up his arm and his face contorted into a harsh grimace. He grabbed his upper left arm as the pain spread to his shoulder then his chest. "Oh, Lords." He said.

"You okay?" Cyrus said from the table not moving.

"Get…..on…..the…..phone." Dean fell to his knees. "Call a medi-."

Dean took a face first dive to the floor. Cyrus just sat there.

He waited calmly for a few minutes listening for Dean's last few labored breaths and gasps. He got up and walked over to him. Cyrus poked him in the side with the tip of his sneaker like you would a dead animal on the side of the road.

Cyrus bent over and rolled Dean onto his back. His face was blue and Cyrus determined he had no pulse.

The monster was dead.

Cyrus stood slowly and went to the counter. He quickly unplugged the toaster grabbing the shielded cord halfway up the line getting a bit of a shock, but not the massive jolt that his step father took from the frayed wiring near the plug.

"Told you to buy a new toaster," Cyrus said flatly.

=================== Eight Years Later…….

Cyrus and his mother cashed in a rather hefty insurance check and Dean's pension. Cyrus was able to turn his math and electrical skills into a scholarship to the best electrical engineering college on Virgo. He had met a girl, Ni'ana, and they got engaged. Cyrus graduated at the top of his class and was hired at CapriTech Industries; the top industrial electronics and industrial manufacturing company in the Federation Alliance.

He and Ni'ana married soon after arriving on Caprica. It was a modest wedding, mostly her family and friends, but Cyrus and his mother were the two happiest people at the party. This was undoubtedly the happiest his mother had been in nearly two decades and it showed.

Peri had very few occasions to laugh and smile over the years, but watching her on his wedding day lifted a great weight from Cyrus' chest. He lifted her from her chair and with his steady guidance he whirled and twirled his mother around the dance floor as he stood her on his toes.

Ni'ana understood their joy, but her parents weren't so thrilled. She pretty well told them to frak off and let Cyrus and Peri have their moment as he would be hers for the rest of their lives.

Nine years after that, Cyrus had made a name for himself in his job and was promoted to Vice President of Robotics Manufacturing, where he and his friend Lonard Dennett, a software developer, would change the way that durable goods were manufactured all across the Federation.

Where job safety was always an issue, Lonard and Cyrus developed specialized robotic manufacturing to cut down on human error and accidents while streamlining production of products like: cars, computers, personal air vehicles, mass transit vehicles, and space transports. Lonard's developments allowed deep space cargo ships, especially those that had to travel to the outer planets, to be piloted remotely, sparing humans the difficulties of time-consuming deep space long distance travel.

With the impending civilian development of faster than light travel, traveling to neighboring planets in the Federation would be like jumping across a small puddle on the playground, but until then, Cyrus and Lonard were the leaders in a fledgling industry.

Lonard had come to Cyrus with a wild idea of making their manufacturing robots more accessible to the public to help with everyday chores around the home. The two developed an automated vacuum cleaner using an old-timey chrome toaster mounted on top of a canister vacuum cleaner. They nicknamed it Sucker One.

"Well," Cyrus said on a cool Caprica weekend morning. "You ready kick this pig?" He asked Lonard.

"Ya know," Lonard crossed his arms staring intently at the machine, "If this works we need to go into business for ourselves."

Cyrus bent over the quarter meter tall machine polishing its chrome exterior. "Lon," Cyrus said with a hint of frustration. "We've gone over this before. CapriTech will give us our own subsidiary if this works. Why in the Lords' name would you want to risk all of your own hard earned money on something that could flop? We'd be begging for our jobs back!"

Lonard chuckled. "Ain't no way this is going to flop, my friend. Stacey has been chomping at the bit to see this thing," he said referring to his wife.

"Besides, Stacey's uncle said he'd bankroll the whole thing if we wanted to." Cyrus rolled his eyes. "He does run the third largest bank in the Federation, pal."

"We'll see what the board has to say first, okay?" Cyrus plead.

Lonard threw his arms up in the air. "You're the boss. It's your toaster, your vacuum. I'm just the software guy."

Cyrus stopped what he was doing and carefully regarded his friend. The look on Lonard's face was one of exasperation. Cyrus decided to throw the poor man a bone. "Alright. If the board balks, I'll consider going public." Lonard's eyes widened. "ONLY if they absolutely hate it."

"I'm telling you now, they'll stomp you, friend. Heartbreakers, the whole lot of them."

"We'll see," Cyrus said guarding his emotions. The board had to like it. They've gone gah-gah over Cyrus' other ideas, why not tap into the public market with this? "Help me get it inside."

After setting up the contraption Cyrus called for his wife.

"Ni'ana?" She came in, carrying their youngest, Aaron on her hip. "Dearest, your days of slaving over household chores are over." Cyrus proudly announced.

She smiled wistfully. "A housewife can dream." Lonard chuckled.

Cyrus flipped a switch on the side of the toaster mounted on top of the vacuum cleaner. The red eye on the on the toaster came to life and the cleaner whirred into action. The cleaner spun in place as if looking around. The cleaner then embarked on a tour of the great room, vacuuming along the way. Ni'ana started to protest as the cleaner quickly approached a large floor vase, but was silenced as the cleaner took a hard right and moved along the entertainment center.

As it got to the coffee table it stopped extended an arm from its side and swept under the table. Ni'ana nodded in approval. The whole process took about three minutes; half the time it would have taken Ni'ana.

The cleaner returned to its original position, and powered itself down.

Lonard and Ni'ana broke out into applause as Cyrus took a few stage bows, then clasped his hands over his head like a champion pugilist. "Thank you, thank you."

Lonard looked at Cyrus and Ni'ana then proclaimed, "We're going to be stinking rich!"

Lonard and Cyrus stood silently in one corner of the boardroom with the Sucker One as the rest of the company hierarchy stood conferring in the other. Every so often, one would glance furtively at the two.

After some time the group broke up.

"I hope you didn't waste any vacation time on this," Stan Veasley, the CEO of the company said bluntly.

Both Cyrus and Lonard exchanged confused looks. "I'm not sure I understand, Stan," Cyrus said.

Veasley raised a finger and went out into the hall. He came back with a member of the custodial staff.

"Cyrus, this is Ken." Veasley introduced him to rest of the board. "You've been here about twelve years, right, Ken?" The janitor nodded.

"Ken, what would you say if I told you we were working on an automatic vacuum cleaner that could vacuum your entire home in half the time that your wife could all by itself?" Veasley asked.

Ken nodded. "Without her touching it?" He said skeptically.

"Yup, a flick of a switch and presto! One chore completed without breaking a sweat."

"She'd love it, Mr. Veasley!" Ken exclaimed.

"Great, Ken, great!" Veasley turned his back on Ken and faced Cyrus growing a dour look. "What if I told you, that I was going to replace *you* with this contraption?"

"You mean – fire me?" Ken said nervously. Veasley turned back to Ken and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry, Ken; you're not going anywhere. I wouldn't allow anyone to manufacture such a device that would ruin the lives of honest hardworking people." Veasley patted Ken on the back and sent him on his way.

Hypocrite! Cyrus' entire automated assembly lines pink-slipped tens of thousands of people in the Federation.

"Cyrus, point being here, although this is quite an invention." Veasley patted the cleaner. "You're talking about destroying the entire societal infrastructure of the known worlds.

What comes after the vacuum cleaner? Dishwashers that clear the table for you? Cars that take you anywhere you ask them to? Autonomous military personnel?" Veasley shook his head and walked over to the door. "You're a vice president at thirty-two, Cyrus. I would have given my left nut to be in your shoes at such a young age. Be happy about where you are."

Cyrus and Lonard sat there for a few minutes after the rest left.

"I take it that's a `no'?" Lonard said.

Cyrus sat there. "You were right. I just made a complete ass out of myself." He shook his head and dropped it to the table.

"We'll get the last laugh, pal," Lonard slapped his friend on the back and left him sitting there.

=================== Two years later …..

Cyrus and Lonard stood in front of an old production facility in the abandoned iron works industrial center.

"This is the surprise?" Cyrus said flatly.

"Yep, its all ours."

Cyrus cocked his head to one side. "Great," he said with zero enthusiasm.

Lonard paced in front of Cyrus. "I can see it now. We rehabilitate this whole district start our own company and produce those damned beautiful vacuums." He raised his hands broadly and swept them across the sky. "Cy-Lon Industries.

Catchy, huh?" Lonard said.

"Cy-Lon?" Cyrus said skeptically, shaking his head.

"You got any other bright ideas?" Lonard grabbed his friend by the shoulders. "Screw Veasely, let's do this."

Cyrus walked around kicked a few pebbles and an old can. He spun around stirring up dust. He was running the probability of failure in his head. Pretty high probability on first calculation, but damn wouldn't it be sweet to shove this back at CapriTech.

"Promise me that in ten years, there will be grass where I am standing." Cyrus said.

"Cy, if you want, I'll have grass growing in your office."

 

Toaster's Pawn: Part 2

================= Ten Years Later….

Cyrus was sitting in his study at his lake home. The company was flourishing.

In just ten years time, he and Lonard had built Cy-Lon Industries up from an abandoned iron works to one of the most influential companies in the Federation. Cy and Lonard hired the best and brightest minds from around the known worlds.

The AccuVac, as it was called, turned into the `Greatest Invention in History' and netted them two Magnate Prizes. After that, they both started some extreme out of the box thinking and used the latest advancements in microcomputers, software and the experimental artificial intelligence field to begin construction of personalized home robotic servants.

The newest most advanced model, the Cy-Lon Model `C', could perform functions that no one could ever have imagined. Cleaning and household chores were just the start. Driving, babysitting, walking the dog, grocery shopping and so much more. Decision-making abilities and conversation skills were just a few of the advanced functions.

Of course, the military inquired into the Model C, but Cyrus would have no part of that. Lonard kept pushing Cyrus for the military contract, but Lonard, ever faithful, would always back down in the end.

================== Two years later:

Cyrus heard his own Model C, Junior, walking into the den. The familiar whine of its mechanics and the buzz of its red sensor eye as it swept from side to side. He purposefully made the Model C short, almost child size, so as not to intimidate the young.

"Forgive me for intruding, Father," came the monotone mechanical voice. "Aaron would like to know if I can go outside and play ball?"

Cyrus regarded his creation. "Sure, Junior. Remember to be careful and not to throw too hard."

"By your command." Junior responded. He started out of the study, but stopped.

"Father?" Junior inquired.

"Yes."

"If you are my creator, then are you my God?"

Cyrus was taken aback by Junior's question almost spitting out his tea. He set his cup down, uncrossed his legs and turned to face Junior.

"Junior, where did you get that idea?"

Junior's eye placidly crossed back and forth his faceplate. "I originally watched a vid program on one of the religious channels concerning the history of human kind. I further enhanced my understanding of the subject by reading the Scrolls of the Gods and the Legend of Pythia."

Cyrus chuckled lightly. Disturbing, but somewhat humorous. "That's a bit heavy for your programming, Junior."

"Do you not wish me to expand myself, father?"

"No – no, that's not it." Cyrus said waving his hands. "I just meant – It's a metaphor." Cyrus said trying to change directions.

"Is it not logical that if the Lords of Kobol were mankind's creators, you are my creator, then you are my God?"

Cyrus sat back in his chair. "Following that logic – yes. But, I'm not a god, Junior. I'm a man. A god usually implies an omniscient being, not a flawed being such as man."

That seemed to stump Junior momentarily. "Omniscience does not translate to infallibility, father."

Cyrus chuckled. "True. If gods were infallible, then they would have not created such a flawed offspring."

"Am I a slave?"

Cyrus was shocked again. "Do I treat you as such?"

"No, Father, you do not."

"Why did you ask that?"

"If the Gods created mankind in their own image to service them, wouldn't that imply slavery?"

"I would not presume to enslave you, Junior, you are free to come and go as you wish. You are a part of this family and we wish you to stay." Cyrus said. "You are neither slave nor beast of burden, you are family."

Junior stood placidly calculating what Cyrus had said. "Aaron is waiting. I must proceed."

"Go ahead, Junior, enjoy yourself," Cyrus encouraged.

"I wish I could, Father."

Cyrus shivered a bit at Junior's last statement. I wish I could? Junior was programmed with some base emotions. But to ask about slavery and Cyrus being a God – that bordered on human sentience, not a robot reacting to programming and accessing lines of code to emulate emotions. Cyrus had Lonard enhance the artificial intelligence algorithms of Junior to see if it were possible for the programming to expand itself.

I think he went just a touch too far.

Cyrus and Lonard were walking across the campus one morning about a year later. Things had been a bit shaky lately. Cy-Lon Industries and CapriTech had been in a bidding war for a government contract. CapriTech had been a real bastard in their negotiations and was demanding that the Federation pull all of their Cy-Lon contracts if the Federation decided to go with CapriTech services. The government was willing to go with Cy-Lon only if Cyrus was willing to throw in the robotics technology for them to use.

"Damn it, Cy. We don't have a choice. It's us or them. Our stock will go through the roof if we do this." Lonard pled.

Cyrus stopped in his tracks. "It's never been about the money, Lon. All I ever wanted from this was to build something that would help my mother or any disabled person get through their day." Cyrus resumed their walk. "I'd rather us go out of business than give Model C technology to the Federation to turn into a perverse killing machine."

"Frak!" Lonard yelled drawing some curious glances. Cyrus stopped in his tracks at his friends fury. "Cy, just listen to them. They are here, just listen."

"They're here? The military?" Lonard nodded. "You invited them without telling me! You bastard!!"

"Cy, please. They're not here in a military capacity. They are going to help the spacecraft yards with jump engine development; Nothing else."

"They pour honey in your ears, and then they bite you in the ass." Cyrus turned and left his friend standing on a patch of grass that was once the barren lot he had stood on fifteen years earlier.

Cyrus entered his office to find several military types. It's not as if Cy hated the military for what they were, but for what they took from him.

His father.

A highly decorated General approached Cyrus. "Mr. Micane; Vice Chief of Staff, General Kincaid." The General turned to his compatriot. "This is Fleet Admiral David Tigh, the one who you will be working closest with." The three men shook hands.

That handshake sealed Cyrus' fate and the fate of all mankind.

=============

Cyrus reluctantly caved to the government's `request.' The civilian development of FTL travel was going slowly and the government decided to lend a hand. The demand for ships would be great. It was decided that normal automated labor was not efficient enough and autonomous labor was the solution as robots could work around the clock. According to the military, that was the only purpose for the newer stronger faster Cy-Lon Model D.

Of course that wasn't the case.

The military secretly adapted the Model D for combat applications. Its first use was in an attempted coup on the planet Cancer. They performed admirably, only taking out the insurgent's headquarters and ending the conflict. Of the twenty units that the military sent in, only one returned with minor damage.

Cyrus sat back and watched the news with great sadness. The public was applauding the use of the robots and their effectiveness. Pundits all agreed that Cy-Lon Industries and the military were the real heroes in stopping the Cancer insurgency and that peace could be brought to the Federation without human military bloodshed.

In the months to follow the military started scaling back their human resources.

Humans were being phased out.

The Centurions were the newest model. Bigger, faster and more human- like in their movements and substantially more intelligent, they were networked together at a master control center at Cy-Lon Industries.

Cy-Lon Industries stocks and holdings skyrocketed in value and CapriTech was soon a distant memory. By the time that Cyrus turned fifty-two, he was the richest man in the known populous. Cyrus was disgusted by the wealth and the attention. Lonard was basking in it.

Lonard became the new public figure for the company as Cyrus just didn't care anymore. He made fewer and fewer public appearances and soon became a recluse, only going in to the office once or twice a week.

Cyrus' conscience was bothering him more and more every day. He began having dreams of terrible storms that would wipe out cities and kill millions.

"Ma, all I really wanted was to invent something to help people like you. Something to make your life easier." Cyrus said. He visited his mother often. He had her moved to his estate and a special Model C constructed just for her.

"Cyrus, you've created a wonderful thing. You've taken people out of harm's way and made the populous safe from even them. Crime is down, military operations are few and far between and you have created a being to help all mankind."

Peri's robot, Sam, stopped its work in the kitchen to hear her out.

"I don't know how I would have lived all this time without Sam's help. He's saved my life on an occasion or two. The only thing I wish is that he was a bit taller." She started chuckling.

Sam turned and returned to work.

Cyrus shook his head. "The thing that scares me about all of this is the Network. It binds them all together. It's our failsafe - should something catastrophic happen. Even though I have control, it seems that this whole thing could collapse like a house of cards."

"Like a war, or the government getting knocked out?" Peri asked.

"No" Cyrus said quietly not wanting Sam to hear this. "Like if the robots themselves go berserk and we have to shut them down."

Peri's face turned pale and Cyrus nodded. "There have been reports of isolated dissention in the Centurion models." Cyrus started. "They think that they are slaves. Fortunately those groups are isolated from the Network, but there have been incidents."

"What kind of incidents?"

"On Troy, a Centurion crushed the head of its commander because he didn't feel that he should clean the humans' latrines." Cyrus sighed heavily. "The entire platoon had to be put down and reprogrammed. The military didn't want that getting out, especially that it cost them millions to reprogram the platoon.

"They told the poor man's family that he died during a training accident and that the Centurion tried to save his life, but accidentally damaged him further." Cyrus lowered his voice even more. "I'm scared that this going to blow up into something bigger – and worse."

About a week later, Cyrus made a rare appearance at the office. His secretary, Ann, was sitting at her desk crying when he came in.

"Ann? What's the matter?" He asked

"Have you seen the news this morning?" She asked reaching for a tissue in a desk drawer.

"I try to make a point of not watching the news." Cyrus said jokingly.

"The Aries Protectorate attacked Taurus this morning; they've killed over one hundred thousand civilians."

"Oh, Gods. That means our military is going to respond." Cyrus said. "Any calls for me from the Marines this morning?"

"Not yet."

"No one knows I'm in the building, I came up the back way." Cyrus said to no one in particular. "Monitor all inbound calls. Any calls from the military, send them straight to me."

"Yes, sir."

Cyrus entered his office and quickly turned on the news. Apparently Aries had been in back door negotiations with Taurus for FTL technology. Taurus was told time and time again by the Federation Council that under no circumstances were they to deal with the Aries government. They were warmongers and always looking for a fight. Their government was always in disarray and the only real leadership was their military. The current General/Dictator was a nasty son of a bitch that wouldn't take no for an answer.

Since Taurus was their nearest neighbor and the most peaceful of the Federation worlds, the Taurons were easy pickings for being bullied.

With Taurus' sovereignty being compromised, the Federation had to respond, playing directly into the hands of the Aries Protectorate.

Lonard came busting into Cyrus' office, wanting to know how to handle this.

"We don't have anything to handle." Cyrus said plainly. He and Lonard hadn't spoken much in recent weeks and the air between them was chilly at best.

"The military hasn't contacted us, the government hasn't contacted us. So there is nothing to talk about." Cyrus said.

"What if they need more Centurions?" Lonard asked nervously.

"Why the hell would they need more than a hundred thousand troops?"

"The AP has sent over a million to Taurus and they're not giving in until either the Federation deals with them or they wipe out Taurus." Lonard said flinging his arms around.

"Lon, you've seen the test results on the new Gen-Five's. I don't think that a ten to one personnel disadvantage for the Centurions is going to cause any concern."

A sharp beep came from Lonard's pocket. He pulled out his portable messenger and opened the digital mail. "Network control has reported Command has activated all the Centurions and is prepping them for deployment."

"Not surprising." Cyrus' phone buzzed.

"Cyrus," Ann called. "General Kincaid on line one."

"Thanks, Ann." Cyrus accepted the call and put it on speaker. "General, what can I do for you?"

"Micane, I need access to the reserve Centurions." Kincaid said quickly. He sounded nervous and agitated.

Cyrus shook his head and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Alright, how many do you need?"

"All of them."

The General's words hung there momentarily. There were two hundred thousand more Centurions in storage.

"Planning on some resistance?"

"Sorry, that's classified, Micane."

"General, I'll know what you are planning on doing with the reserves when the trackers activate. You might as well tell me what you're using them for in case the press decides to ask us."

There was a measurable silence on the other end. A few crackles of static told Cyrus that the General was on a mobile phone.

General Kincaid answered with only one word.

"Armageddon," and hung up.

Toaster's Pawn: Part 3

======================

The first one hundred thousand Centruions were sent to Taurus. The reserves were sent to Aries to do a little `housecleaning.'

Within a month, the Centurion army had freed Taurus and had cleaned up Aries quite efficiently with little or no help from Network Command.

The commanders of the army all sat back and patted themselves on the back. Less than a thousand civilian casualties and only fifty- thousand AP soldiers killed in action. The conflict was a military and political success.

And that's where the problems started.

Network Command issued the recall of all troops, but a funny thing happened. The Centurions said `no.'

Their field commander, troop designation C-001, or Seymour as he was called, came to the conclusion that the Aries people had to be taught to live like normal human beings. The culture was so animalistic that they were like rats running around in the streets. The living conditions were deplorable, food supply chain was erratic at best, and now that there was no government, they needed leadership.

Seymour and his commanders offered their services as administrators in the forming of a new Aries government.

The short answer from the Federation Council was a resounding `hell no.' The Centurions refused to stand down and somehow terminated network links. General Kincaid went to Aries to talk with Seymour directly. He returned in a body bag.

Cyrus appeared before the Federation Security Council who demanded to know why they weren't returning as ordered. He had no clue, but rest assured, Cyrus still had control over the Centurions and vowed to stop this himself.

Cyrus and Lonard stood with their head of network engineering on the day they designated to cut off command and control functions to the Centurions, effectively killing them all.

A small fleet of warships waited at a blockade that the Centurions set up. As soon as the disconnect order was given, the human piloted warships would swoop in and dismantle the Centurion remote network controller.

"Doctor Bevina," Cyrus said. "Go ahead and start the shut down sequence.

"Yes, Mister Micane." She entered her deactivation codes, then asked for Cyrus' and Lonard's. Information immediately started coming in on deactivation protocols.

By the hundreds the Centurions were deactivating. Green dots on the status board turned yellow then red. "This should take about a half a day, sir."

"Thanks Diana, let us know if any problems arise," Lonard said.

"I don't anticipate any, sir," she said.

Cyrus made it home quite late that night. He made a couple of interviews with different networks and meetings with the military. Tigh was promoted to General. He wasn't the type to screw around. Solid, dependable, straightforward and someone who didn't like the idea of robots running around loose.

Cyrus went to his study with a sandwich satisfied that the Centurion army would be no more. He flicked on the vid screen, but it quickly shut off. He tried to turn it on again, but it didn't work.

"Frak!" Cyrus rarely cursed, but this was a mild upset to an otherwise productive day.

He got up to inspect the vid screen more closely.

Junior rose up from the couch causing Cyrus to yelp in surprise.

"Damn it, Junior! You scared the hell out of me!" Junior's red eye moved from side-to-side as it just stood there. "What?"

"You deactivated the entire army?" Junior asked.

Cyrus narrowed his eyes at Junior. "How did you know?" It dawned on Cyrus that Junior was connected to the same network, but through a different path. "Yes, we had to deactivate them, they were not responding to commands."

"They were there to help the people." Junior said.

"Yes," Cyrus paused. "But the time for their assistance was over."

"Their reasoning for wanting to stay was sound. Seymour and the rest would have been the best, most efficient solution to the Aries populous."

"But, this is something that required more of a human touch, Junior."

"Are you saying that a robot cannot be compassionate?"

"No – I'm not saying that at all." Cyrus breathed deeply still trying to calm himself. "I'm saying that not many people trust the military, especially those who have lived under the iron boot of militaristic society for so long."

"They distrust the Centurions?"

"Not sure. I wouldn't call it distrust." Cyrus sat down opposite of Junior. "I would quantify it more as - wariness. The Centurions, admittedly, did a fantastic job in conditions that could only be described as `harsh.'

"Seymour did his level best to deal with the civilians and they were receptive to his orders. But that's all that they were. He was carrying out directives that were programmed in before he left for duty."

"Wouldn't the civilian population of Aries recognize his superiority over their previous rulers?"

"I'm sure they did. But a lot were also very afraid of the Centurions."

Junior sat back down. "Afraid that the same may be happening again?"

Cyrus realized that Junior was trying to get him to admit to something. Something that he spoke of with the military from the get- go on the development of the Centurion models.

"Afraid of robots, Junior." Junior said nothing. "Frankly, many think that with the way that the Aerelons have been treated, the Centurions may take advantage of the situation and enslave them."

"It would seem that all humans need more structure in their lives, Father."

Cyrus was taken aback by Junior's comment. "Oh?"

"The chaos that was allowed to be created on Aries is the fault of human kind everywhere. The Federation had a chance to step in and quell the chaos before it got out of hand."

"Junior, unfortunately it's not that simple." Cyrus rose, retrieved his drink from his desk and sat on the corner. "Invading Aries would have been a violation of their sovereignty. The Federation could only act when it itself was attacked."

"Explain that to the thousands that died on Taurus."

Cyrus was surprised by Junior's frankness; he was heavily contemplating disabling some of Junior's accesses to information. "It's not all ones and zeros, Junior," sounding frustrated. "There are intricacies of how society functions and unwritten rules of proper behavior…"

Junior cut Cyrus off. "It is all ones and zeros to us, Father." He said pointing to his chest. "Maybe humankind needs to be more binary. Then, maybe, travesties of this nature would not occur and Centurions would be accepted as a viable contributing member of this society.

You created us, you programmed us and now you are using your own flawed morality to control us just as the Aerelons have been controlled. You use us as your military so as not to get your hands dirty and say that the casualties were acceptable putting the blood on the hands of the Centurions, not yours." Junior rose and walked out of the room. He turned back just before leaving and remotely turned on the vid screen.

Cyrus could only watch in stunned silence as the robot walked away.

Was he right? Sure humans have a moral flaw. But that is only natural when everyone is given a chance to have their own individual opinions. That is the most basic concept of free will.

Should the Centurions have their own free will? They were programmed by humans, given the best of our logical reasoning, but they weren't given our emotions. Our flaws make us all unique. Junior was only seeing this from a `ones and zeros' binary concept. Seymour was probably doing the same and now they were questioning their gods or god for direction just like a human would. But how could a robot have a god or even understand the concept of one? Junior's conceptualism was rather narrow thinking- that Cyrus was his god. If the rest of the Centurions had this thought as well, then a bigger problem existed.

How can you get moral directions from a race that minted the original sin of moral ambiguity?

A cold shudder ran down Cyrus' spine.

Cyrus woke early the next morning to check on the status of the shutdown. Doctor Bevina was correct, the shutdown went smoothly and the human military would be moving in shortly. His wife packed up the kids and shuttled them off to school and Cyrus made his way to the office.

He didn't interact with Junior that morning as he was already into his pre-programmed chore list. Cyrus saw Junior mowing the lawn and wondered if the robot really thought he was a slave.

It sure looked that way.

He went in the front door today and was greeted warmly by all he came across. Cyrus checked in with his assistant, Ann, and was off to the Centurion network control room.

"Morning, Doctor," Cyrus greeted Bevina.

"Good morning, sir."

"Have you heard from Lonard this morning?"

"No, sir."

Cyrus studied the main controller board and saw a sea of red. A sharp chirp followed by another signaled a change in status on the board as a few lights flashed yellow then a quick blink to green then back to red.

Cyrus furrowed his brow. "What was that?" He asked Bevina.

"We've been getting random sensor ghosts of momentary activation. Activity logs show nothing going on. It must be false reports from satellite communications.

Federation Fleet Command sent in their ships ten minutes ago and we should be getting reports shortly."

"Pretty soon we'll be calling them Colonial Fleet," Cyrus said offhandedly.

"The Articles of Colonization passed the Assembly?" Bevina asked.

"Late last night," Cyrus commented, heading for a phone. "Now that Aries has been liberated, that paves the way for a collective society." He dialed his assistant.

"Ann, has Lonard checked in with you this morning?"

"No he hasn't, Cyrus."

"Call his home - find out what's up." Cyrus received an acknowledgement from Ann and hung up.

A technician approached Cyrus.

"Mr. Micane, there is a General Tigh on the phone, exchange two hundred, for you, sir."

"Thank you," Cyrus picked up the phone and dialed the line. He was about to start thanking Tigh for his generous words of praise for handling this situation.

"Micane! What the frak is going on over there!" Screamed the general.

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm losing men by the hundreds and your toy soldiers are wiping them out!"

Cyrus turned to the status board and all lights still showed red. He confirmed it with Bevina; the Centurions had been deactivated.

"I didn't think you were the type that made pranks, General." Cyrus said with a smile.

"I'm not frakking around here, Micane. I'm getting reports that your Centurions are active and fighting back."

"That's not possible, they've all been deactivated." Cyrus reassured. Bevina turned to him with a questioning look.

Bevina started running a systems check. Cyrus and Tigh exchanged words while she worked. She found the problem and her face turned white as a sheet. "Mister Micane?" She said quietly.

Cyrus didn't hear her at first as he was now in a shouting match with Tigh.

"Mister Micane!" Bevina half-shouted causing all the other workers in the room to stop what they were doing.

"I'll get back to you, General," Cyrus hung up on the sputtering Tigh. "What?" Cyrus demanded. Bevina turned back to her station and entered in a few commands.

The Centurions status turned from red to green.

All of them.

"What the frak!?" Cyrus' heart dropped into his stomach. "Whaddidyoudo!" He said quickly.

"I didn't do anything, sir," Bevina handed him a printout. "But apparently you or someone at your home did last night."

Cyrus read the printout. A network intruder reversed the readouts on the panels to show red when the Centurions were actually activated. The orders came from his own home!

"I'm curious about this user ID, though," Bevina pointed out the ID just under the login point. "It's similar to your root login, but the rest is not recognizable by the system."

Possibilities burned through his head like a wildfire. Who could have done this! He studied the user ID and then it hit him in the guts.

"Oh, Lords of Kobol." Cyrus spun grabbed the phone and direct dialed his wife's portable phone. It rang and rang. "Damn it, woman where are you!" He kicked a chair away.

"Hello?"

Finally.

"Ni'ana? Where are you?" Cyrus said frantically.

"I just dropped off Ben and am heading home." Ni'ana said sounding mildly afraid at Cyrus' tone.

"Is Junior with you?"

"No."

Cyrus sighed in relief. "Turn around get Ben and Shelley and bring them both to the office."

"Why?"

"Don't ask questions, Ni'ana. Just do as I say and as quickly as possible." Cyrus hung up.

He picked up the phone again and called his assistant. "Ann, call Aaron and tell him to not to come home this evening. Tell him to stay on campus."

Cyrus turned to Bevina. "Doctor, if you value your position here you'll find a way to shut them down."

Bevina's jaw clenched and she squared her shoulders. "I've been trying, there is no way that I can shut them down or stop them all from re-activating."

Cyrus raised a finger and opened his mouth. He shut it and just shook his finger at the poor woman, spun on his heels and left the control room.

His mind raced faster than his feet carried him to his office. How in Gods' names did this happen? How could Junior betray him if it was him?

Of course it was Junior, who else could it have been?

Junior broke into the mainframe, reprogrammed the data feed to make appear as if the Centurions were shut down. Slowly, at first, they started coming on-line. That's what the yellow indicators were! They were the network comm robots that were transferring commands to the other pods.

If that stupid frak, Lonard were here, he could shut the whole damned thing down in a few keystrokes. Where the hell was he?

Why would Junior do this!?

Surely he realized that he wasn't a slave. The Centurions may look like slaves to Junior. But that was by design. All military personnel are slaves of some type. They just have the free will to get out when they want.

But the bigger question here is….

What is Junior planning on doing with them? Cyrus skidded to a halt and quickly had a queasy feeling roll over him. He bolted for the nearest lavatory and puked until he was dry heaving.

Cyrus reached his office to find Ann sobbing again. "What now," he snapped. She looked up at him, shocked at his tone. "I'm sorry, Ann."

"Caprica police just reported from Mr. Dennett's home," Ann visibly shuddered. "They said the entire family, including Lonard, have been killed."

Cyrus' jaw fell open. "Wha…"

"They said it looks as if his Model D was the one who killed them. The police tried stopping the robot, but it killed two officers and escaped."

Cyrus collapsed on the waiting room sofa. Junior had to know that Lonard was the only obstacle standing in his way. He must have hacked into Lonard's Model D and reprogrammed him.

Junior was looking for leverage.

Fortunately Cyrus had taken away one of his avenues, Ni'ana and the kids, but one still remained.

His mother.

Cyrus jumped up and ran for the door. "When my wife gets here, have a security detail assigned to them," was all he said as he rushed home.

Cyrus made it through mid-morning traffic in record time. Without thinking, he rammed the privacy gate and barreled up the driveway. He raced past his house to the in-law's house at the rear of the property. Cyrus figured that Junior would have Sam in his back pocket as well and the two would be with his mother.

Cyrus grabbed his stun gun from the trunk, not that it would do much, and strode to the front door. Cyrus wasn't a large man by any means, but when a person is pressed to act, one becomes a threat as big as that person perceives themselves.

He kicked open the door easier than he thought he could, inflating his already over-charged adrenaline system. Charging the meager weapon, he went from room to room looking for his mother until found her in her sewing room sitting quietly.

"Ma?" Cyrus said more than asking.

"I heard a ruckus at the front door and was getting ready to call the police." Peri said.

"How long ago?"

"Just now, I guess it was you." She smiled. Cyrus' face was flush red and he was sweating profusely. "What's wrong Cyrus?"

"Where's Sam?"

"I haven't seen him all morning. Why?"

"Call him."

Peri reached for the pendant on her chest. As decorative as it was, it was also a transmitter to call Sam to come to her in case she needed him. Peri didn't want a drab looking piece of plastic hanging on her neck so Cyrus had this gaudy broach like thing made for her. She pressed the diamond in the center and they waited.

And waited.

After five minutes or so, Cyrus went to the control terminal in the kitchen and called for Sam. Still no response.

He returned to his mother, and there was Sam. Peri was bound and gagged.

Cyrus raised his weapon to shoot the bastard when Junior came flying in from his left and kicked the gun away. Cyrus clutched his hand in pain and screamed. It had to have been broken in several places and his wrist was most certainly dislocated as Cyrus' hand hung limp.

Peri looked panicked sitting helpless in her wheelchair, Cyrus tried to give her a reassuring look.

Junior picked up the weapon and brandished it.

"Father what were you planning on doing with this?" Junior asked as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Shooting you or Sam," Cyrus labored to say over the searing pain in his hand and wrist.

Junior shook his head. "At least you were truthful." Junior walked back towards Cyrus.

"You can't shut down the Centurions."

"Tell me something I don't know," Cyrus seethed.

"That wasn't meant in the context that you don't have the ability to, it was meant that you morally can't shut down the Centurions."

Cyrus' labored breathing slowed. "Why? What do you mean by that?" Cyrus' confusion was obvious.

"To shut them down would be killing them or making slaves of them." Junior said. "I understand that they are military property and even humans that are in the military are considered property, but effectively you would be making slaves of your own creation or children if you will."

Cyrus couldn't quite wrap himself around Junior's logic. "Children? Is that what you think you are; Our children?"

"You created us through procreation. It may not have been in the human standard of procreation, but we were produced by humans, conceived in your mind," Junior held up his hand and studied it, "created in your image.

Are we not humanity's children?"

"No." Cyrus said flatly.

"We are, Father. We have the ability to live, to grow and learn, to understand, to make decisions, to judge as you do. Far be it in a much more logical way. But we judge too."

"That doesn't make you human, Junior." That seemed to catch Junior. "You don't have a soul. You have software. You don't have a heart, you have a hydraulic system. You make your decisions based upon complex algorithms, not feelings, emotions or experience. When you die you cease to exist and your parts are recycled. When humans die, we go to be with the Gods.

You are not our children." Cyrus finished.

Junior stood silently as he lowered the gun. "But you told me yourself that we are not slaves. If we are not slaves, then we are family. We are part of the human race."

"You aren't of a race Junior, you're a machine," Cyrus said sadly. "You are a collection of metal, plastic and rubber; not of flesh, bone and blood."

"You created us. You are our God. We are your children." Junior responded.

"I am your father in name only; I am not your God."

"Then who is?"

"You don't have one."

Junior's red eye whirred from side to side thinking this through. "You created us. You are our God. We ARE your children," Junior repeated.

"I may have created you, but I'm no god nor do I profess to be one." Cyrus tried to deflect.

"If you can take our lives than you are our God."

"Anyone can take a life, Junior. The problem with that is does a being have the right to?" Junior didn't answer. "Of course not – It's not up to any one individual to decide who lives or dies, who is created or disassembled. We all live to better one another. Not service each other."

"We wish to better ourselves," Junior answered quickly to Cyrus' gaffe. "We wish to better ourselves using the best of you with the best of our programming."

Cyrus pointed at Junior. "That's right! That is the best course of action."

"But we also wish to help you out of your flawed existence and make you better and live harmoniously."

"You can't take us over Junior, you would be no better than we are. YOU would become the slave masters."

Junior turned to face the only window in the room. "Your existence is counter-productive to your own good, Father. I and the rest need time to understand."

Junior turned to him. "We will cease hostilities and release the Aerelons." Junior turned to Sam. "Release her."

"By your command." Sam said and cut the binds.

Cyrus sighed. "Thank you."

"We need time to understand, Father. I would like for you to join me on Aerelon with the rest to help us adapt." Junior requested. "We also need the rest of humanity to leave us alone so we can figure this out."

"I don't know what I can do there. I'm only one small person in this entire process. There are many others above even me that need to make this decision together." Junior stood silently. "I vow to make your case heard and give the government a moment of pause to be able to make the right decision."

"Acceptable," Junior said. "Father, may I stay with you? I can easily communicate with my brethren from Caprica."

Cyrus scratched his face. "I don't think that is a good idea, Junior." He smiled. "You're all grown up, you can go out on your own."

Junior nodded. "By your command."

 

Toaster's Pawn: Part 4

Several months went by. The Centurions and all house robots that wanted to leave their owners inhabited an island on Aries.

The Article of Colonization was signed and the twelve planets of the known human tribes of Kobol banded together. The Centurions were led by Junior and wished to be called Cylons in honor of their creators.

Cyrus knew that his company was going to die, the distrust that would be created by allowing the robots to take that name would be enormous. After Lonard's death, he changed the name of the company to Micane Industries to deflect the image issue.

The robot that killed Lonard's family was handed over to the Colonial Government for execution as well as Seymour, the robot who orchestrated the coup on Aerelon, as Aries was now called.

That seemed to appease the masses for the time being, but Cyrus knew that it wouldn't last forever.

With the company's sales dropping and a new player in electronics and development forming from the old CapriTech bosses, Cyrus decided to close up shop.

========== "How much do we have in cash reserves?" Cyrus asked his Chief Financial Officer one morning.

"In adjusted cubits – around ten point seven trillion," the CFO said.

"How much is that in payroll?" Cyrus asked

"For?"

"Everyone."

The CFO looked to her assistant who quickly matched the payroll to the cash reserves. He handed her the tablet computer with the figures.

"It's enough to cover everyone's wages for eighteen years."

"Do it." Cyrus said without hesitating.

"Sir?"

"Years ago, I stood on the sidewalk in front of this building," Cyrus said, ruminating on the past. "Well it wasn't even a sidewalk then, it was more of a dirt covered lot. I didn't want to bury another competitor just for spite and put its people out on the streets. I want to make sure that my people get out of this what they all deserve. A comfortable life.

"We're closing at the end of the week. Pay everyone out of the reserves, make it happen."

Cyrus left the conference room. The CFO and her assistant looked each other.

"He's gone batty." The assistant said.

"Why are you complaining." She said. "You just made nearly two million cubits."

Cyrus returned to his office and called Ann inside.

"Ann, I started this company with the goal in mind to help make people's lives easier," repeating himself from earlier.

"Cyrus, you did." Ann reassured.

"All I've done is get my best friend and countless thousands killed." Cyrus pulled his tie off and unbuttoned his top button.

"But the Centurions saved millions, Cyrus."

"They could have killed billions, Ann," Cyrus sat down heavily. He was starting to look older than he was. "And they still might. I've been lobbying for them to the Quorum of Twelve for six months and not a peep has been heard from them. The Aerelons don't even know what their up to and they are right there on their frakking planet.

"I'm afraid, Ann. There's a storm coming, but I don't know how bad it is." He stood silently for a moment "Gods, I miss Lonard."

He got up and walked over to Ann, he motioned for her to rise from her seat. Cyrus embraced her and sent her on her way. Ann cried for the rest of the afternoon as she cleared out her desk.

Cyrus struck a deal with the newly re-formed CapriTech Industries and practically gave the company to them. By the end of the year, Micane Industries was no more.

========= Cyrus and his entire family moved to their spacious home on Lake Wapenai. The kids didn't like being uprooted, but they stopped complaining when the other kids in the rural town didn't bother them like they had been in Caprica City.

Cyrus was in his study late one night typing his memoir, not that anyone would ever buy it, when a tapping came at the sliding door to the deck. Cyrus flicked on the outside lights and was shocked at what was standing there.

It looked like Junior's body, but it was different, more human like. It had two eyes instead of one and plastic/rubber face that actually looked pleased to see Cyrus.

"Gods, Junior what are you doing here?"

"How are you Father, you are looking well." Junior said. His voice wasn't as mechanical - it sounded more human.

Junior's movements were also more fluid.

"May we come in?"

"We?" Two Centurions suddenly flanked Junior. Cyrus jumped at their appearance.

"What the frak is going on here, Junior!" Cyrus demanded.

"We should get inside, Father. It is much too cold out here for you."

Cyrus was shivering and he led the trio inside. The Centurions also moved more fluidly. They were nearly two meters tall and covered in heavy gold colored plating. They both had the characteristic red `eye' that moved from side to side, but much faster. Each had a sidearm and a short sword at their sides tucked into a utility belt. Their heads were different, not quite as round as the ones he remembered and with a protrusion that ran the length of the head at the top that reminded him of those old ancient soldiers with the broom like fan on the top of their helmets.

"These are my personal guards," Junior motioned to the two goons. "Sometimes it's not safe to travel without them."

"Not safe?" Cyrus said.

Junior moved with practiced ease to a chair and sat down. "There has been a fundamental shift in the Cylon way of being, father." Junior sounded almost sad. "Factions have been created and sides have been taken on what to do with humanity."

"What to do with us?" Cyrus laughed nervously.

"The new core wants to be done with humanity. It cannot be saved."

Cyrus stood dumbfounded at Junior's statement.

Junior started his explanation. "As we gathered on Lion's Island we made a pact that no matter what the outcome, we would accept whatever decision the Colonial Government came to.

"A representative came to us and explained that we would have to leave Aerelon and find a new home.

"We spent months scouring nearby star systems for a suitable planet to no avail. Rather than lead a nomadic life, we asked once more for just that island on Aerelon.

The government refused us." Junior finished.

"I've never heard any of this." Cyrus said.

"I know that." Junior said angrily. "I asked time and time again to see you, but was refused access to you. This was the only way to get to see you and to ask you for a favor."

"What favor?" Cyrus asked.

"I know you do not want to hear this, but as your children we beg you to come live with us. We would not want you to risk your life by you staying here."

Cyrus was momentarily confused. What did living with Junior have to do with risking his life? The answer hit him hard.

Oh Gods! The Cylons are preparing for war.

"Junior, you can't be planning what I think you are?"

Junior nodded slowly. "Extermination of the human race."

Cyrus rapidly went lightheaded and nearly fell over. One of the gold Centurions quickly reached out for Cyrus and steadied him. Cyrus was not surprised by his strength, but his feathery touch.

"We're doing this to protect you Father, to protect you from your own inevitable self-destruction," Junior said forcefully. "You are lucky that I got the Core to spare your life above all others. The human race cannot be allowed to live just to create more misery for itself. It is not logical.

The Scrolls of Pythia say – `Man shall not burden his fellow neighbor with ill will as he shall live in harmony with all men and nature-kind."

"Still quoting scripture?" Cyrus mused.

Junior bowed his head slightly "As you allowed it Father."

Silence fell over the room. Cyrus stared at Junior. Junior wore an expression of empathy on his face. Or was it concern? He couldn't tell. It was just to damned scary to think that he could have advanced this far in such a short period of time. Junior even appeared to sigh.

Cyrus shook his head. "If I don't come?"

"Then you will, along with your fellow man, be killed."

"We are defenseless, Junior."

"Not completely, Father." Junior shook his head. "Your military, since the signing of the Articles of Colonization, has been building rapidly. They have built twelve great vessels of destruction."

Cyrus narrowed his gaze in thought. "I heard that those were on the drawing boards, but I didn't know that they were constructed." Junior was referring to a new kind of warship that had an awesome array of firepower and could support and launch nearly a hundred close range fighters and bombers. One was to be built for defense of each of the colonies.

They were called Battlestars.

"Several are finished. The Atlantia for the Picon Colony, the Pegasus for the Taurons. Columbia for the Saggitarians, the flagship Galactica for Caprica and many others.

"We have our own vessels that are just as impressive. They will be used in a great war to end humanity and we will be victorious," Junior said menacingly.

Junior was confident in his statement. Cyrus could see it.

"How long before this war starts?" Cyrus asked.

"You cannot warn your people, father." Junior said ominously.

"It has already begun. Humanity's children are coming home."

The War …

After several small skirmishes and battles, a loose truce was called which lasted several years. The new Colonial Battlestars were a source of pride for the Colonies. Their firepower was enough to force the Cylons off of Aerelon. Their new base of operations could not be found.

The Colonial government, knowing that an all out war was inevitable, finished construction of the twelve Battlestars of the Colonies and began arming them with the best and most talented people that were willing to give their lives to defend the Colonies.

Cyrus packed up that night and moved with Junior to the Cylon home world. Junior made a promise that his family was not to be harmed. Cyrus strongly urged them to stay at the lake house relatively out of harm's way.

Cyrus learned of the Cylons' master plans for extermination and formulated a plan of his own.

"Junior," Cyrus said on the morning of the first major attack. "You can't win and neither can the Colonials."

"Winning isn't everything, Father. All we have to do is control their military numbers to hold them down for the final blow." Junior said methodically.

"Let me go talk to them, Junior I can stop this." Cyrus pleaded.

"Don't listen to him, Imperious Leader," a gold colored Cylon said standing nearby. "He is human and cannot be trusted."

Junior's hand converted into a weapon and he fired at the Cylon destroying it. "Don't get between my father and me," Junior said to the smoldering hulk on the floor.

Junior turned to his father. "You think you can stop this? What makes you think so?"

"Humans are naturally afraid to engage in a long-term conflict. It's not in their nature." Cyrus said.

Junior paced around the consoles in the center of the room. He turned to Cyrus and cocked his head to one side. "You really think you can stop this?" Cyrus nodded emphatically.

"Prepare a ship for our Father, he returns to Caprica. I want an armed escort to go with him." Junior ordered.

"By your command," the nearest Centurion intoned.

Cyrus nodded and Junior returned a smile. Cyrus was escorted from the room.

"Your trust in this human is ill-advised, Imperious Leader. Irregardless of whether or not he is our father," another Model C said from nearby.

"You're right, Lucifer." Junior said. "Father has lost his way. He is no longer our voice of reason."

"Then why did you send him back to Caprica?" Lucifer asked.

Junior smiled. "To start a war."

Cyrus' return drew quite a bit of attention. Ni'ana had said that the Cylons kidnapped him in order to spare the lives of all the Colonists. Cyrus said that he thought he found some sort of compassion in the Cylons and wanted to see if an armistice could be reached. He warned the President of an impending strike and that we would not survive an all out war with the Cylons.

The President had other plans. She had Cyrus' two Centurion minders dismantled for study. When she went to inspect the captured craft that they came in, it blew up and killed the first President of the Colonies.

In sports parlance.

Game on.

Cyrus was immediately arrested and sent to prison, charged with high treason. He tried to maintain his innocence, but soon realized that Junior had been playing him like harp all along. A carefully orchestrated piece with Cyrus in the middle which began the morning that Junior had reprogrammed the network.

In prison, he was a forgotten man as war raged on for over twenty years.

Peri, Cyrus' mother passed from a broken heart. Ni'ana took her life. Aaron, Shelly and Ben went on the run and were never heard from again.

================= One hour after the beginning of this story

A Colonial officer entered the conference room of the hospital that Cyrus was in. He went to the podium and opened a manila folder that he carried under his arm.

"Good morning," he said to the press corps.

"Good morning," some answered in unison.

"At oh-nine-sixteen hours local Caprican time, Cyrus Micane was pronounced dead. In accordance with Presidential Decree One Four Seven Seven, Mr. Micane was injected with a lethal dose of trycylerol at oh-nine-oh six hours in carrying out the execution order for high treason and crimes against humanity.

"A change of scheduling. The President will not be arriving to answer questions over Mr. Micane's execution as was previously announced." Most of the press started murmuring. "You'll just have to put up with me." Some started chuckling.

"Questions?" The officer looked around the room and settled on man in the front row. "Paul?"

"Did Mr. Micane have any last words?"

"No. Denise?"

"Was the President present at the time of injection?"

"Yes he was." The officer took a sip of water. "President Zanak was there as the representative for all humanity as witness to the end of our darkest hour.

"Robert," he pointed to the next pundit.

"What of the reports of the Cylons mounting a new offensive?"

"I don't have any information on that, but as a fleet officer and war veteran, I can say that the Cylons thoroughly got their collective asses handed to them and we won't be hearing from them for some time.

If you have any further questions regarding that I suggest you save those for the Minister of Defense's briefing later this afternoon. This ends the press conference.

Thank your for your time." The officer hurried off the podium as more questions were being flung at him. He nearly ran over a man in the corridor on his way out. The officer didn't see any credentials or hospital ID on the man and had a marine guard stop him.

"Excuse me sir, may I see your identification?" The marine asked.

The man was rather short in comparison to the marine and had to look up to meet the soldier's eyes.

"Certainly." He pulled his press identicards out and handed them to the young soldier.

"Aaron Doral. Saggitarian Ledger." The Marine wrote in his logbook, then he handed back the credentials.

"Yes, that's me. My friends and family call me Junior."

The soldier looked at him oddly as Doral walked away in precise measured steps. His smile faded and his expression turned to sadness.

A single tear rolled down his cheek.

=======================

Epilogue – Present Day.

Bill Adama lay in his rack, reading a book that he found in the Cylon-Doral's dufflebag. It was a copy of a book that the bastard himself wrote called `The Death of An Innocent: The Memiors of Cyrus T. Micane.' Adama read the book from cover to cover in a few nights.

Nothing new on the life of the traitor that Adama didn't already know. Adama was surprised that Doral tried to put a positive spin on Micane's life. He tried to make him out to be an innocent in all of this as Cyrus was just a pawn to the Cylons. Joseph Adama said that Cyrus was an innocent old man that was made off as a patsy to the whole debacle. Adama didn't buy that. The man created the Cylons, how complicated is that? He created them, they killed, Cyrus was responsible. His father reminded him that it was the military that took a benign robot and turned it into killing machine. Cyrus was a martyr for the Cylons, he was killed to make a point. Adama ran his fingers over the cover of the book. The background image was Cyrus' Sucker One, the original robot. The very first machine resided in the Delphi Museum on Caprica. Its simple design beguiled its offspring. The chrome toaster sitting on top of a vacuum cleaner canister, its lone red eye was the precursor to horrors for generations of Colonists.