Word Count: 2,104
Series: Alternate Universe
Pairing/Focus: Two (not exactly original) characters, both based on the two lead characters from the TV series 'Xena: Warrior Princess'.
Warnings: Definite lesbian subtext, but nothing too explicit.(After all, this was originally written as a BSG based uber-Xena altfic!) Still, if this offends you, or is illegal for you to read, please move on.
Summary: none given
Spoilers/Disclaimers: The more familiar characters in this story, from 'Xena: Warrior Princess', are property of Renaissance Pictures and Universal/MCA, as are the setting and some of the other characters, which have been adapted from the newly redone Sci-fi Miniseries 'Battlestar Galactica'. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has changed hands.
Junior Lieutenant Gabrielle Brady can’t remember exactly how she got here. The last thing she really remembers is that she was on long range patrol, at the controls of a Colonial ‘Raptor’ class patrol craft, off the Battlestar ‘Columbia’, when all Hell suddenly broke loose, courtesy of an old enemy, the Cylons. Then, things just moved so fast, what with trying to evade or outrun Cylon patrols, that…
And now, she is stranded on the moon Cimtar, near the edge of what had been Colonial Space, with nothing but a wrecked ship and a dead ECO. Worse, she can just sense the Cylons leaving no stone unturned to find her, and kill her. Even though she can pretty much rule out the Cylons as having been the authors of her current predicament. Had it been the Cylons, they would have finished the job.
Cimtar is a relatively barren rock, orbiting a gas giant planet. About 70 percent the size of decent planets like Caprica or Sagitara, it has just enough free liquid water to support plant life, which in turn maintains the thin but breathable atmosphere. Thus, at least the basics for survival are available here. But, how long can she last, before she receives unwanted company?
Having eaten, she looks at her reflection in a nearby pool of water. She is medium height, slender, but in excellent shape, with strawberry blonde hair, gray-green eyes, and a rather youthful appearance. In that last regard she had often been compared to her old buddy from Flight School, Sharon Valerii, call-sign ‘Boomer’. Lieutenant Brady’s own call-sign had been ‘Gabby’. Not very original, she had thought, but quite descriptive of her nonetheless.
Her uniform is rather disheveled, though she had fixed the worst spots on it. Not regulation, but acceptable under the conditions.
Occasionally, she sees movement in the night sky that does not look like an ordinary shooting star (she only comes out at night). At such times she takes refuge in some nearby caves, which she also uses for shelter during daylight hours. Still, if the Cylons *do* mount a determined search, it would only be a matter of time before they find her. As for Colonial forces, the last thing she even partially remembers on that score is hearing word on her comm system that more than half the fleet had been destroyed, and that anyone engaging the Cylons in battle was shut down, and then blown out of the sky. How, she has no idea. She also thinks she remembers hearing something about the Colony worlds being systematically nuked from orbit.
“Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer. May these latest reports be completely wrong.”
Number Twelve is herself on long range patrol. Her mission: to locate isolated pockets of surviving Humans, for extermination. Her craft: an old style Raider class craft, originally designed to be operated by three Model One Centurians during the first war with the humans, but more recently refitted, so that she can operate it all by herself.
Number Twelve, herself a much more advanced type of Cylon than the old Centurians or the equally old Model Two’s - once designated the IL Series, is one of many of her model. And like all of her model, she looks Human. To be exact, she is tall and statuesque, with jet black hair and striking blue eyes. According to the esthetics of their mortal enemies, the Humans, she would have been accounted quite beautiful.
Suddenly, she notices a blip on her forward long range scanner, coming from the moon Cimtar. She adjusts course, to investigate more closely.
After a while, she is in orbit above Cimtar, directly above the source of the blip. Once more, she checks the readings. It proves to be a life sign – Human! But only one appears to be present. This should be easy to take care of, all by herself! She begins to decelerate out of orbit.
Less than an hour later, she sets the Raider down near some caves. After shutting down, she emerges, brandishing a pistol and a portable scanner. This shouldn’t take too long. Especially considering that the sun is already up.
Following the signal from the scanner, she soon comes upon a cave. She checks her scanner, to see that her intended prey is indeed inside.
‘Careful, Number Twelve. Don’t underestimate Human cleverness, or their will to live, or it could be you that is exterminated.’
Moving as silently as possible, she enters the cave. Before too long, she comes upon her quarry, who is sound asleep.
‘This is *too* easy!’
Carefully, she takes aim, and tries to depress the trigger of her weapon.
Something is wrong. For some reason which she cannot understand, she cannot complete the seemingly simple function that would rid the universe of another Human.
Number Twelve goes back outside the cave. Raising her weapon, and taking aim at a nearby rock, she presses the trigger. No problem blasting the rock. She returns to the cave, hoping to complete her task this time.
Once more, however, she is unable to do so. This time, she realizes that there is something inside her CPU that is inhibiting her from doing anything to harm this particular human. Reholstering her weapon, she goes over to the sleeping Human, to have a closer look.
The sleeping human is of medium height, and rather slender, though obviously in excellent physical shape. Her hair is colored strawberry blonde, and her face has a youthful look to it.
Number Twelve now sits down, next to her captive. She then reaches over, to gently stroke the Human woman’s cheek with one finger, and brush back some of her hair. Smiling, she realizes now what is happening. The mere sight of this particular Human has caused some new programming to take root in her CPU. Programming that is most atypical for a Cylon. Programming that tells her that this particular Human female must be protected at all costs. That the two of them somehow belong together, always have, and always will.
Still, a Cylon must be careful. She carefully disarms her captive without waking her, and lays the weapons on her other side, well away from the Human. Then, she settles in, to wait for her companion to wake up.
Some hours later, Gabrielle Brady wakes up. Almost immediately, she senses that she is not alone. She goes for her weapons, only to find that she has been disarmed. Then, she hears a rich feminine voice.
“Relax, Human. If I had truly wanted to kill you, you would have been dead hours ago, and I wouldn’t still be here.”
‘Human’. Not ‘Lieutenant’, or ‘Colonial Warrior’, or ‘Ma’am’.
She turns, to see the other woman, who is half a head taller, with hair the color of deep space itself, and eyes so strikingly blue, and a figure that won’t quit, sitting nearby. The other woman is smiling warmly at her. A smile that seems sincere enough. Still, she must ask the other woman one now obvious question.
“Cylon? Yes. Model Number Twelve, to be exact. And you are?”
Realizing that there is no escape, that this Cylon does have her at it’s (her?) mercy, Gabrielle does relax, if only a little. She slowly sits up, facing her captor.
“Junior Lieutenant Gabrielle Brady.” Then, “So, why didn’t you kill me?”
After a moment, “I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. There is something about you, that no other human has, that called out to me in my innermost being. Something that overrode my Cylon programming concerning Humans.”
After a moment, “Funny, but the last time we saw any Cylons, they all looked like chrome-plated walking toasters.”
“I assume you’re describing the Model One Centurians. We still have that model around, too. They have their uses.”
Somehow, that is all making sense to Gabrielle, who is now beginning to sense something strangely familiar about this particular Cylon. Something very deep in her subconscious. Something very old.
“So, what now, Number Twelve?”
“I say we stay together, and take the time to get to know one another.”
“Don’t you have to report in?”
“Not for several weeks. My mission is to seek out and eliminate isolated pockets of Human survivors, which is a time-consuming task, you have to admit.”
After a moment, “Speaking of human survivors, what of the ‘Columbia’?”
“Your entire fleet was wiped out in a matter of hours, some weeks ago, with one exception. The Battlestar ‘Galactica’. As for where that ship is, or the civilian ships she’s escorting, we have no idea. We last engaged them at planet Ragnar, but they all escaped, by hyperjump. >From all indications, they must have jumped to somewhere far beyond the Red Line, into uncharted space.”
Gabrielle just sits there, numb. Then, she begins to cry. No doubt, for all the dead.
Number Twelve now reaches out, to gently pull Gabrielle into her arms, and rest the sobbing woman’s head against her shoulder. The smaller, Human woman, who might have been expected to violently reject a Cylon’s attempt at caring and compassion, instead accepts Number Twelve’s kindness.
‘I’m beginning to wonder myself. After all, we had gained our freedom from Human rule as a result of the first war. Was it truly so important that we exterminate them?’, as she strokes Gabrielle’s hair.
Sometime later, the one-time Colonial Warrior’s tears ease off. Number Twelve partially releases her from their embrace, and takes hold of her chin, so they can look one another in the eye, while using her other hand to dry Gabrielle’s tears.
Looking into those deep blue eyes, ‘This Cylon isn’t my enemy. In fact, she’s the only friend I have now.” She now returns Number Twelve’s smile, or tries to.
Then, Cylon and human both begin to lean toward one another. Their lips meet in a tender kiss that reveals to each what is in the other’s heart as mere words never could. In that moment, each is bonded to the other with a truly unbreakable bond. Or perhaps, they are simply renewing a bond of love that transcends time and space, and which is now proving it’s capacity to transcend even the hatreds and suspicions that naturally attend a genocidal war.
Also, as their kiss continues, a name enters Gabrielle’s mind, that seems to be perfect for Number Twelve.
Finally, their lips part, and they resume gazing into one another’s eyes. At the same time, they lay down on Gabrielle’s service issue blanket, in each other’s arms. Gabrielle speaks first.
“I love you, Xena.”
“’Xena’? Where did you get that from, Gabrielle?”
“I have no idea. It’s just that the name seems to fit you perfectly. Almost as if I had once known someone somewhere by that name, who was just like you.”
“’Xena’. ‘Xena’. I like it. And Gabrielle, I love you, too.”, as their lips meet again. Number Twelve (or Xena) now eases Gabrielle onto her back, climbing atop the smaller woman, whose face she then proceeds to bathe in more tender kisses..
The two women, Cylon and Human, remain together on Cimtar for some time, getting to know one another better, and enjoying their newfound love for one another. During this time, they move their camp to the spot where Xena had left her Raider parked.
Then, the day that Gabrielle had known to be inevitable comes.
“Gabrielle, I have to go now.”
“To report in.”
After a moment, “Xena, please take me with you.”
“Are you sure about that? You know that the rest of the Cylon Alliance would want you dead.”
“Yeah. I can hardly wait to see the look on your Imperious Leader’s face when you bring me in alive.”
With a sideways smirk, “You know, Gabrielle, I never have figured out where you Humans got that term.” Then, “Okay. You’re in. I’ll figure out something, before we get back to my Base Star.”
With that, they pack up their gear, including the stuff they had salvaged from Gabrielle’s Raptor, aboard the Raider. Then, Gabrielle takes her place in the copilot’s seat, alongside Xena, and the Raider lifts off.
Almost as soon as they clear the atmosphere, Gabrielle notices that there’s a regular beeping coming out of the console every few seconds.
“A homing signal, so that my Base Star can find us more easily.”
"I assume you mean they’ll be coming to us, rather than us going to them.”
“Actually, we’ll be meeting about halfway. Like you and I did.”
Gabrielle smiles, a sweet, loving smile, as Xena operates a series of controls in front of her. Then, she turns to her Human.
“There. I’ve set the autopilot, to home in on the Base Star’s signal as well as broadcasting ours.”
“Well, then, I guess we have nothing to do now but wait.”, as she leans her head against her Cylon.
After a while, the two begin to talk again, about what might happen when they meet the Base Star.
“Xena, suppose they detect my life sign on this ship, and shoot first?”
“Gabrielle, I can’t die. If this body dies, my consciousness would simply move to another Number Twelve unit.” A moment later, with a grim look on her face, “As for your fate in that situation, I’m afraid they’d have one more very honked off Cylon on their hands.”
Then, Gabrielle remembers something else that Xena had told her, back on Cimtar.
“Xena, didn’t you say that there are now twelve models of Cylons, several of which look Human?”
“Cue me if I’m wrong, but did any of them originate with a Human template, perhaps taken alive during the first war, who’s consciousness was transferred to a Cylon body fashioned to look just like them?”
After a moment, “Gabrielle, you’re a genius!”
“What do you mean?”
“If you’d be willing to do it, we could develop a Model Number Thirteen, and then transfer your consciousness to it. That way, we would be together forever, and the Cylon goal would be satisfied.”
“The other question would be, would the other Cylons go for it?”
“I think they would. After all, now that we have won, we can afford to be more tolerant than before. At least, I think so.”, as she lowers her lips onto Gabrielle’s upturned mouth.
Eventually, they get an indication of a Base Star on rapid approach. Gabrielle is asleep, her head in Xena’s lap, and a smile of contentment on her face. Xena gets on her comm system.
“Base Star Twelve, this is Number Twelve, requesting clearance to approach and land. I have a little surprise for you all.”
“Permission granted. We just hope you know what your doing, bringing one of those here.”
“I have never been more certain of anything since my incept date.”
About that time, Gabrielle wakes up, in time to hear Xena’s last sentence. She sits up, and looks out the forward viewscreen, to see a particularly bright star rapidly grow from a speck, to a distinct though distant shape, which then steadily grows until it’s size is overwhelming.
‘It’s huge! About twice the size of a Battlestar.’
All she can say to her Cylon, however, is, “I’ve never seen a Base Star this close up.”
“I can imagine.” ' And also rather more esthetically pleasing than I would have ever believed.'
About that time, they feel the ship shake slightly, as Xena shuts the drive systems down.
“Tractor Beam, Gabrielle. They’re bringing us in.”
Gabrielle can only watch with awe as the gigantic Base Star approaches close enough to where just a small section of outer hull completely fills her view. Then, a door opens along the side they are approaching, and the Raider proceeds inside. It then comes to a rest on a designated spot of deck.
The two women now gather up some of their gear, and Xena opens up the rear entrance to the Raider. As they proceed out onto the ramp, hand in hand, Gabrielle looks around.
Among the advanced, Human-looking models she sees are a lot more copies of Xena – correction: Number Twelve, some tall, slender platinum Blondes, each in a red dress, males who look rather blue-collar, other males which look like the Platonic Ideal of a Bureaucrat – and several copies of Boomer!
One of the Blondes walks up to Number Twelve.
“You, too, huh, Number Twelve?”
“What do you mean, Number Six?”
“You’re not the only Cylon to fall for a Human. Remember, one of my model was romantically involved with the Human scientist, Dr. Gaius Baltar..”
“Then, one of the Sharon Valerii look-alikes walks up, and speaks.
“Not only that, but I think another of my model currently aboard the ‘Galactica’ is just as involved with that ship’s Hangar Bay Chief. Of course, since she’s a deep-cover agent, she has no idea at all at the moment that she is, in fact, a Cylon. She honestly thinks that she’s Human, and actually hates Cylons with a cold passion, and will continue to do so until such time as we activate her.”
Meanwhile, Gabrielle is taking in all that she sees, totally ignoring the potentially mortal danger she is in. The hangar bay that they are apparently in doesn’t look like the unkempt, angular, utilitarian setting that she had always associated with hangar bays before – harsh glaring lights and all. No, this one is suffused with a soft bluish light that provides adequate lighting, but without the harsh glare that can hurt one’s eyes. Not only that, but instead of sharp, angular corners, she sees rooms, and further on, passageways, that are bounded by graceful curves that she finds much more esthetically appealing.
Then, another Number Twelve steps up, and addresses the Number Twelve that Gabrielle had named ‘Xena’.
“I am assigned to inform you that the Commander wishes to see you. Both of you.”
“Very well. By your command.”
The two Number Twelves now leave the hangar bay, and proceed through what can only be described as a maze of passageways and turbolifts, one of them still leading Gabrielle by the hand. The other Cylon looks at Gabrielle, and apparently likes what she sees.
“At least you have good taste, where Humans are concerned.”
As they proceed, Gabrielle does notice that amongst the many Human looking Cylons, there are still quite a few that still look like robots, even like ‘chrome plated walking toasters'. After all, as Xena had said, they still have their uses to the Cylon Alliance. In addition, she sees some of the once mysterious IL Series.
At length, they get to what is obviously a Command Deck or Bridge. The Commander turns in her chair, and stands. She proves to be another Model Twelve.
Addressing the escort, “You may go.”
“By your command.”, as the escort departs.
Then, she turns to the couple that had been brought to her.
“Now I can understand why you saw fit to not only spare this particular Human, but to then bring her amongst us.”, looking at Gabrielle with very sincere admiration. Gabrielle gets the distinct feeling that if Cylons could do a wolf whistle, she would have been hearing a lot of them, all from the various Model Twelves she had seen, and all directed at her.
“You may speak freely of your reasons for doing so.”
“By your command. I was going to carry out my orders, but found that I couldn’t. It was as if I became aware of being somehow incomplete, and that Gabrielle was the component needed to complete my makeup.”
“You need not explain further. I fully understand where you are coming from. I have likewise had this feeling of something missing from my makeup for some time, and now that I see your guest, I can likewise see that she is the missing component, not just for you or me, but for the entire Series Twelve.”
Gabrielle has been keeping her mouth shut (most atypical of her), realizing that the Lion’s Den is no place to shoot it off. In addition, she is taking in the Bridge. The dark empty chamber with the Commander’s Chair in the center, mounted on a tall pedestal, that she had heard about from forty years ago, has been replaced with a somewhat busier chamber, bathed in the same soft blue light, with the Commander’s Chair still in the center, but on a much shorter pedestal now, so that the Commander could move freely about instead of being a virtual prisoner of her post.
But then, the Commander addresses Gabrielle.
“Has your host explained to you about the procedure for transferring consciousness from one body to another, especially where it applies to transfers from Human to Cylon?”
“Some of it. Enough to where I now feel that I want to go through with it, and should go through with it.”
“You do understand that, if you do this, your organic body will die.”
“That will happen eventually, anyway, Commander. But, a chance at being able to spend eternity with someone I love, in a body that is far more durable than this one…”
“Very well. The two of you will remain here, while we jump. When we get back to Cylonis, we’ll proceed from there, as the facilities for the procedure only exist there.”
“By your command.”
Turning to the Helm and Navigation stations, the Commander issues her orders.
“Set course for Cylonis, and prepare for hyperjump.”
”By your command.”
A few minutes later, “Commander, the course is set for hyperjump”
The Commander now gets on her shipwide comm system.
“All hands, prepare for hyperjump.”
Upon that command, all activity ceases throughout the ship, except that needed to initiate hyperjump. A moment later, Gabrielle feels herself shrinking, or compressing. It is a sensation all too familiar to all Colonial Military Personnel, as all Colonial warships, from the Battlestar Class on down, had been jump capable. Then, everything goes blindingly bright.
A moment later, she looks out the forward viewscreen again, to see a planet where there had only been stars a second or so earlier.
Xena speaks to Gabrielle.
“Cylonis. Your new home.”
Meanwhile, the Commander is instructing the Cylon Model Development Bureau to go into high gear, for the development and mass production of a new Model Number Thirteen. Then, she turns to the couple.
“The two of you will proceed planetside, and report to the Model Development Bureau. They will be expecting you.”
“By your command.”
With that, Xena and Gabrielle leave the Bridge.
An hour later, they are being escorted through another series of rooms that are likewise utilitarian and esthetically most pleasing, this time on the planet. They get to one, where Gabrielle is gently placed in a standing framework, and strapped in. Here, she is scanned, inside and out, down to the subatomic level. This procedure takes about an hour. Xena remains with her the entire time, holding her hand. Then, they are escorted to what will apparently be their quarters for the night. This room has a food replicator (no doubt for Human subjects!), and one bed, large enough for the both of them. Gabrielle sees it, and smiles wickedly up at Xena, who returns the smile just as wickedly.
‘Lords of Kobol, *please* don’t allow us to be interrupted tonight!’
The next day, they are taken to see the prototype of the new Model Thirteen Cylon. Gabrielle is afforded a privilege she strongly suspects the other Human templates were never granted, as they had all no doubt been *most* unwilling subjects – unlike her. This privilege is to inspect the prototype Model Thirteen, to ensure that the Cylons had replicated her perfectly. Model Twelve assists, of course. She has a knowledge of the prototype’s specs that is nearly as intimate as Gabrielle’s, but from a rather different perspective.
After a while, an IL Series Cylon comes up. Apparently it is in charge of the procedure.
“I do hope the prototype meets with your approval.”
Both women say, “It does.”, in unison.
“Very well, then. We may proceed to the next step. This way, please.”
Both women, Cylon and soon to be Cylon, follow the IL Unit.
In another room, Gabrielle is made to lie down on a cot, and a series of electrodes is hooked up to her head. The prototype is also brought in, laid down on an adjacent cot, and more electrodes hooked up to it. Number Twelve pulls up a chair, next to Gabrielle’s cot, and takes her beloved’s hand.
“Xena, thanks for staying with me.”
“It’s the least I can do.” Then, “Gabrielle, you’re going to feel like you're going to sleep, and slowly falling at the same time. Don’t worry – I’ll be here to catch you. And when you wake up, you’ll be an all new person. And I’ll be there for you.”
“Xena, even in death, I will never leave you.”, with a warm, loving, adoring smile.
Some time later, Xena is still sitting in the chair, which is now pulled up by the other cot, and is now holding the prototype’s hand. The Human body on the other cot is now dead.
Then, the prototype’s eyes open, to fix upon Xena.
A smile forms upon the smaller woman’s face, which reveals that the transferal is complete. Gabrielle’s consciousness is now located in Cylon Model Thirteen, and reaches up to give Xena a big hug. One could sense that if it were possible for an IL unit to smile, the one present, who had handled the procedure, would be doing so. It does speak a moment later.
“Welcome to the Cylon Alliance, Number Thirteen.”
“Gabrielle, and this is Xena.”
“As you wish.”
Then, Gabrielle speaks again.
“If I could take custody of the body that was once mine?”
Xena speaks up.
“I think I know what she has in mind, and it will be okay.”
The next day, outside the Cylon capital. A spot has been set aside, and Gabrielle has built a pyre of wood, upon which has been placed the dead Human body which she had but recently occupied. Not only Xena herself, but quite a few other Number Twelves, are there. Most are from the Base Star, which is still in orbit. In fact, one of those present is the Commander. There are also a few Number Thirteens present – from the already highly successful initial production run. These are already starting to pair off with various Number Twelves. And other Cylons are also there, but only a scattering, of various models, from Centurians on up.
Xena begins by singing a funeral dirge, a haunting melody, the words of which are in one of the ancient languages of Kobol. Then, Gabrielle takes a torch, and slowly drags it around the base of the pyre, setting it alight.
Then, she turns, to face the other Cylons present.
“May this day be not just an ending, but also a new beginning, not only for myself, not only for my fellow Model Thirteens, but for all of the Cylon people.”
Xena now steps forward, takes Gabrielle’s hand, and lifts it over their heads.
“So say we all!”
The crowd responds with, “So say we all!”
“So say we all!”
“So say we all!
“So say we all!”
With that, Xena lowers Gabrielle’s hand, and takes the smaller Cylon woman into her arms, to seal the occasion with a warm, loving kiss.
THE END, OR A NEW BEGINNING?