grey_sw: Cavil from BSG (Default)
[personal profile] grey_sw
Title: All About Mathematics
Author: grey_sw
Author's Contact Info: greyfic@gmail.com or [livejournal.com profile] grey_sw
Rating: R (for language)
Genre: Cylons, humor, post-series
Spoilers: MAJOR spoilers for 4x20, "Daybreak, Part II"
Characters: Cavil, Doral, Simon
Pairings: None
Summary: 45,708 Cylon survivors in search of a home... called perfection.



"In the end, it's all about mathematics." - Simon, Daybreak, Part II

---

The day after the end of everything, one of the last Cavils in the universe sits at his desk aboard one of the last Basestars, his head pillowed upon one of the last whiskey bottles.

He doesn't want to remember, but he had Simon rev up his liver function a couple of years ago, and now he can't drink enough to forget. He still tries, taking shot after shot straight from the bottle, but it comes to him regardless:

They'd received a fragmented message about the rediscovery of Resurrection, garbled yet clearly joyous. They'd thrown a crazy party as the ship jumped its way toward home, with an even crazier night afterward. Everybody had paired up at random, almost as if it were their last night alive instead of the first. He'd ended up on the floor with a Simon, another Cavil, and a very willing Doral, like in one of those jokes where they all walk into a bar.

Wonder if Aaron's tie is still at the bottom of the datafont? he thinks, trying desperately not to remember any further. He can't help it, though. He's a machine, and for machines, memory is flawless.

He remembers, in perfect clarity, arriving back at the Colony only to find that there wasn't one anymore -- just nine other Basestars and a whole lot of drifting wreckage, all that was left of his home, his brothers, his family. Millions of Cavils and Dorals and Simons, all gone, forever.

"Resurrection, my elderly ass," he mutters, shifting on his bottle-pillow. "Frak."

His gun feels very heavy in its shoulder holster, warm against his armpit. According to his internal tally, the universe consists of about 87.6% bullshit at the moment; when that number finally hits ninety, he'll use the gun. Goodbye, stupid frakkin' world. That's always been John Cavil's Money-Back Guarantee, a small, wan comfort at the back of his mind.

No matter how bad the world gets, nobody can force you to keep on living in it.

Some of the other Cavils have already taken that way out. Last night, when he checked the internal census, they had 1,762,824 copies online. When he'd first thought to check it this morning, there were only 15,892 Cavils left, a loss so staggering that it seemed like it had to be a mistake, like somebody had left a couple of numbers off.

Then they'd arrived, and he'd looked at the datastream, out into what was left of the Colony.

Yeah, there was a big frakkin' mistake!

When he checks the census now, morbidly curious, the number stands at 13,748.

Oops, make that 13,747.

He checks his bullshit meter again: 87.9%. Good, it won't take much longer. He thinks about doing it now, just a little bit early; he tucks his hand into the holster, rubbing the ivory grips of his pistol.

No. He is a machine. He's not the best machine -- not now, and from here it sure looks as though he never will be, unless he somehow manages to stumble into apotheosis during the next twenty minutes or so -- but he's a damn good one nonetheless, and he won't give in. He will kill himself at the proper time, not a moment before or after.

Cavil sits up, stretches, and takes another pull from his bottle. He wonders about the ones who are already gone. Did they go out early? Or is the amount of shit in the universe a subjective matter, depending solely on one's own vantage point on a mountain of feces?

"Guess that makes me a frakkin' optimist," he chuckles. 88.2%.

He sits for a while, drinking his whiskey, watching the number go up. It seems like it's much slower than it ought to be, so slow it hurts.

Doral and Simon come into the office, looking formal as always in their suits. Cavil glares at them. Can't they see the way things are? Don't they have a meter of their own, some inner sense that tells them when to pick up their their ball and go the frak home? They exist in a universe of lies and filth, a world so disgusting that no decent machine can stand to function in it, and then they put on their frakking immaculate suits like it's just another day?

They drive him crazy, his brothers. They always have. If they're not stating the obvious, or jumping the gun and getting them all into trouble, then they're asking him inane questions... and they're both always so frakkin' neat and tidy, too. No curly flyaway hair or liver spots or rumpled shirts for them! They drive him up the wall. But if he's seriously honest with himself -- and he's in a serious mood, what with the meter at 88.9% and all! -- Simon and Doral are each about five percent of what's still keeping him tethered to the world, stupid suits or not.

It's good to have a couple of true-blue brothers, good to know he's surrounded by like-minded machines who seldom engage in gestures of futility.

"Don't leave us, brother," Doral says bluntly. "I don't want you to."

OK, maybe not that seldom.

"Frak off," Cavil says. "Both of you just frak off, okay? I've got dyin' to do."

"No," says Simon. "We need to talk first. We found out what happened to the Colony." He waves a folder full of papers in his hand.

Despite himself, Cavil is curious. "Oh, yeah? What?"

"The humans assaulted it. They hit it with a brace of nuclear missiles, which knocked it out of orbit and into the singularity. But before they did, somehow you convinced the Five to give up their secrets -- that's why we got that message about Resurrection."

Cavil blinks. "How the frak did I manage that?"

"There's no data," Doral says, picking up the thread of the conversation. "All we know is that something went wrong. I bet it was another human trick!"

"The download was interrupted, and then the humans destroyed the Colony and jumped away," Simon finishes.

Cavil groans, putting his head in his hands. 89.6%. 89.7%. He doesn't want to kill himself in front of his brothers, but in another minute or two, he's sure as frak going to.

"Whatever I did, whatever happened, it was my frakkin' fault," he moans. "This is all my fault. I never shoulda gone after the humans in the first place. If only I'd left them alone, if only I'd killed the Five outright and just taken the Colony an' left, this never woulda happened!"

"You're right," says Simon. "It is your fault. But not in the way you think."

Cavil looks up, staring at him. He can't believe it -- the frakker is actually smiling, as in hurrah for you, Cavil! You've just destroyed our entire race! It suddenly occurs to him that he could put his second-to-last bullet right through Simon's knowing grin, but before he can act, Simon continues.

"Look, brother. Look what we found!"

He hands Cavil the papers. There's a thick sheaf of them, double-sided, dense with text. Cavil barely notices; he can't look away from the header on the first page.

"Standards for Cylon Resurrection", it says. "7/4/4869, Galen Tyrol".

"Say what?" Cavil says, weakly. His hands shake. He flips through the pages, aimlessly, his mind a blank. Then something on the fourth page catches his eye, snaps him back to reality.

"I'll be damned, they used an organic matrix to store the personalities! That's why we could never duplicate it with silica relays! Holy shit!"

Simon nods. "We found this file in the Colony's data core, at the edge of the singularity's orbit. Somebody must've managed to eject it. The file cuts off abruptly, so it's not the whole system -- it's not even half of it -- but it's a start, isn't it?"

Cavil looks through the pages, considering. There's not much there, but what is there is fundamental; the basic concepts behind the core of the Resurrection system, laid out before him like a promise. They'll have to rebuild everything else from the ground up, slowly, painstakingly... but with this, it's at least possible.

"Yeah," he says softly. "Yeah, this is a start."

"You see? You did it. You saved our people, Cavil." Simon smiles down at him. "Doral and I will follow you anywhere. Won't we, Aaron?"

"Until something better comes along," Doral says dryly... but he is smiling, too, just a little.

"Aw, you guys..." Cavil's eyes well up, and he swipes at them with the back of his sleeve, hiding behind his wrists like a child.

"Cavil?"

"S'nothing, I'm all right. I, uh, think I got a little somethin' in these ridiculous gelatinous orbs of mine, is all. Gimme a second here."

Simon and Doral look away, dutifully.

Cavil gets to his feet, still scrubbing at his face. Somehow, his bullshit meter is at only 78.2% now; obviously, a stray speck of solar radiation must've flipped a bit somewhere!

After a moment, he clears his throat. "We, uh, we gotta change the Plan if we're gonna try to rebuild Resurrection." He shuffles awkwardly.

Doral and Simon look at him again. "How should we start?" Doral asks.

"It won't be easy," Simon replies. "We have the basic concept, but we lack specifications for most of the parts."

Cavil gives him a forbearing look. "What'd I tell you about stating the obvious, Simon?"

Simon blinks. "I'm not supposed to do it, correct?" he asks blankly.

Cavil rolls his eyes. "Yes, that was it exactly. Never mind, carry on."

"It could take us decades to re-develop everything," Simon continues. "The Five had an entire army of Centurion laborers, but we must assume they were destroyed along with the Colony."

"Squashed right down to their constituent atoms," Cavil says gravely. "Damn it. Those were our grandparents, sort of. I always had a soft spot for the Centurion side of the family. Let's have twelve trillion cycles of silence for 'em, shall we?" He lowers his eyes for perhaps a quarter of a second, then raises them again. "OK, that's done, what else?"

"We can't afford to take risks, either. Without Resurrection to fall back on, we must be very careful not to lose anyone else." Simon gives Cavil a significant look during the last part, which Cavil pretends to miss.

"Hmm. How long d'you think these bodies'll last us, Simon?"

Simon clasps his hands behind his back. "Barring any further... accidents, and with a proper nutrition and maintenance program, I'd say about forty years, plus or minus five. If we develop some cybernetic enhancements, perhaps as many as fifty."

"Fifty years," Cavil mutters. It isn't much, not when they don't even have the specs for the system. He cross-links with Simon and Doral's census numbers, calculating feverishly. Then he opens himself to the collective, calling to his brothers, laying the future before them. If they gather all of their people, if they divert every resource to the problem, then maybe...

13,746 Cavils -- damn, but he feels sorry for that last guy, timing's a bitch! -- plus 16,592 Simons and 15,370 Dorals, all to be given five years to study the problem and then forty-five years to plan and build. Ten Basestars with ten Hybrids. One thousand, three hundred and two Raiders, with a 25% negative factor given the lobotomies. Seven thousand, eight hundred seventy-five Centurions, each with a 50% positive factor, assuming he can put them behind something bulletproof and then take the inhibitors off.

Cavil puts all the numbers together, working with his brothers, sharing the computational load. Individually, there's no way any of them can rebuild the system. They simply can't do it as a loose collection of Simons and Dorals and Cavils, Raiders and Centurions and Hybrids. That would have been the usual approach, but it's so obviously inadequate that they don't even bother to calculate it; they move straight to simulating the Cylon race as a whole, as one organism with a single goal.

The Cavils know how much each part of the Cylon system can do, but the idea of working on just one thing together, all of them, is revolutionary. It transforms the math, making it much more than simply additive. It's multiplicative -- no, exponential -- an unstoppable groundswell of possibility. The solution comes together like a puzzle, bit by bit, each piece shining more brightly than the last. And when they finally find the answer together, it changes everything.

Just thirty-four years. That's how long it will take the Cylons to do this -- to do anything, to be anything. Best of all, they can do it in a universe that is, at this moment, no more than 41.5% shit. An all-time record!

Cavil grins broadly, spreading his hands before his brothers, the way he used to when he was playing at being a priest. "We can do it," he says eagerly. "We can rebuild Resurrection, only better. Better! We'll rip out all the human nonsense that's been keeping us down, and build ourselves perfect metal bodies instead. Think about it! We can give ourselves carbon-fiber muscles and iridium bones, fifty-exahertz brains and infrared eyes. We'll have ears that can hear the vibrations of distant stars! We'll be able to see and feel and do everything!"

"Could we have guns in our arms, like Centurions?" Doral asks. "I always wanted a gun-arm."

"You want a gun in your arm, you got it, Aaron. You can have 'em in both your arms if you want. Or better yet, who needs guns when you can have missiles? Or lasers! Red lasers!"

"Wait. What about the humans?" Simon asks. "They destroyed our civilization. They escaped us! Shouldn't we attempt to neutralize them?"

"Frak that," Cavil says, waving his hand. "The humans are gone. The Final Five are gone, too, an' good riddance! We don't need 'em anymore. We've got their secret right here in our hands; having this document is just like having them, only not nearly as much of a pain in the ass!"

"That's a good point," says Doral.

"Damn straight it is. They're a buncha worthless stuck-up human-lovers. They can die out in space somewhere, for all I care. It serves 'em right!"

"Mother always insisted I should be an artist instead of a doctor, anyway..." Simon mutters darkly.

Cavil gives Doral and Simon a steady look. "Listen. Resurrection is gone. If we're ever gonna get it back, we gotta do it ourselves, and we've got just one lifetime and 45,000 people left. Do the math: if we're gonna make it, we don't have time to run around playin' games with the humans. We gotta cut the crap an' get our shit together, starting right now. Frak the humans, frak the Five, frak everything -- this is our last chance, perfection or bust! So, whattaya say? Are we gonna become the best damn machines the universe has ever seen, or what?!"

"Yes. I want to be like that," Doral says. "I want a gun-arm. The Fives agree."

Simon nods. "The Fours agree, as well." He frowns thoughtfully. "Lasers might be a bit much, though, don't you think?"

"Y'think so? Wait'll you see 'em," Cavil says, grinning.

"You just wait an' see."
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grey_sw: Cavil from BSG (Default)
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April 2009

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