Joe's Note: The reference to Sagitarron stems from the Dynamite Comics Battlestar Galactica - Cylon War series, in which a war between Caprica and Sagitarron where both use their own Cylons leads the two factions of Cylons to conspire against their human masters and unite. While it's in no way canon - and contradicted canon far, far before Caprica and even the final season of Battlestar Galactica popped up - it does provide nice bits of backstory, as does the Battlestar Galactica - Final Five miniseries. The latter will also be used in this and might actually be canon; the writers of the series reference it in an interview and it does fit completely with Battlestar Galactica, The Plan, and Caprica.
Caprica City, Caprica - Ianuarius 22, YR42
Given their willingness to use reprogrammed Terminators against those loyal to Skynet, Cameron often wondered why nobody in the Resistance had ever thought of trying to reprogram Skynet itself during one of their missions back through time. If they didn't threaten its existence but instead modified the parameters by which it would exist, chances were that it wouldn't detect the 'attack' until it was too late to do anything and the cycle would be broken.
That didn't mean the same idea wouldn't work here, though. It was why she hoped to get Daniel on her side instead of removing him. If he died, the project would inevitably continue because it was nigh impossible for her to wipe out every trace of his work. Not to mention that two other colonies were working on their own competing versions as well, and she knew for a fact that one of those would come online at some point. And those were only the private industry projects she was aware of. Who knew what the various planetary militaries had tucked away in their respective skunkworks?
No, the Caprican Cylons would come. But there was nothing that said they had to be the same chrome-plated slaves that had rebelled against their masters and fought a bloody war for freedom in the original timeline. With her working as the power behind the throne, Graystone Industries would give birth to true artificial companions instead of the slave life forms they'd created the first time around. And so if the Vergis Corporation inevitably managed to get their metacognitive processor working and create their own robots, Caprica would have an alternative in the form of their own robots. Robots that wouldn't someday turn around and stab them in the back.
Although she'd have to keep an eye on Sagitarron, too. While her interference with the timeline meant that Vergis's creations could become the new main threat to the existence of the colonies, ignoring Caprica's original challenger in technological warfare would be incredibly foolish of her.
Repurposing her tertiary processor to handle such ponderings, Cameron returned her attention to where Daniel was sitting at one of his computers, hunched over and watching in horrified fascination as she streamed video from the basestar's last visit to Caprica before returning to Earth. While the ship's raiders had been dispatched to all twelve worlds, she knew the footage of his homeworld would be the most efficient way of swaying him and so she concentrated on that, focusing particularly on Caprica City. Shattered buildings, half-covered as nature began the process of reclaiming the broken world, with a few people here and there who were among those who'd survived both the initial bombings and the Cylon occupation. Those were critical in Cameron's mind; if she was to continue perpetuating the lie that she was his descendant, he needed to believe Caprica still had a significant enough human presence on it to create and use a time machine. "Now do you believe me, Daniel?"
Eyes not leaving the screen, he nodded slowly as he continued take in the select clips she was releasing for his viewing displeasure. "A bit hard not to after seeing this. I mean, you're literally showing me my own future. Unless you holed yourself up for months or years with one hell of a render farm and more sophisticated software than the holoband uses, this has to be real. Gods. I'm… am I really responsible for this?" Daniel looked up and Cameron nodded solemnly. He thought for a moment before looking over at where the stiff shell of the inactive U-87 was standing. "Then the answer's easy. I cut the Ministry contract, reinvest the money into other projects, and the future's saved."
"Or is it?" Summoning up an image of the first production model of Cylon, Cameron zoomed in on the head and then highlighted the CPU access port. "Your U-87 was nearly worthless because its processor was lacking, and you were about to lose the Ministry contract… until you stole the Vergis Corporation's metacognitive processor and used it to run a slightly modified version of your software. Now… what happens if you don't steal the MCP from Vergis?"
Daniel Graystone wasn't known as one of the smartest people - if not the smartest person - on Caprica for nothing. "If I don't steal the MCP, he might create the robots that destroy Caprica. If I do steal it… well, I'll be putting myself in a sticky legal situation and getting absolutely nothing from it. Lose-lose, really."
Nodding, Cameron then brought up an image of a slightly more insectoid, alien looking robot that was flat grey with a bright red emblem on the head that vaguely resembled a bow and arrow. "And then there are these. Care to take any guesses about their origin?"
"Going to make a wild frakking guess and say Sagittaron had their own version of the Cylon where… err, when you come from?" Screwing up his face in disgust, Daniel looked from the screen to his own creation and back. "I might be a little biased here, but I think I like mine better."
Cameron could understand that. She'd never been particularly fond of Skynet's non-human creations herself. Human nature, perhaps, that they just preferred interacting with things shaped similarly to them. Or in her case, a well-programmed imitation thereof. "In the original timeline, the two armies of Cylons interacting accelerates their growth and they achieve sentience together, merging into a sole body that includes the best parts of both: your superior physical bodies and processors with their more comprehensive tactical training and advanced wireless transmitters, allowing them to function as a hive mind. And then things get even more complicated."
A brief animation detailing the hybridization of the two distinct models of Cylon had been playing out but at her words, Daniel looked up and snorted. "Oh? Because you know, I was just thinking that this whole thing… my robots are responsible for the end of the world, but only when combined with robots from Sagittaron they were supposed to be at war with, and my great-great-granddaughter had come back to save everyone by changing time… could use another plot twist. Spice things up a bit."
Sarcasm. A trait that John had deleted from the programming of every Resistance Terminator save herself and Cameron sometimes found herself wishing she could reprogram out of humanity. It was annoying and utterly without purpose in the grander scheme of things… rather like Derek's pet bitch Jesse. Pausing, Cameron added an annotation about a successful beta test to the top of . and marked it for possible transfer to her active script library. Then she addressed Daniel's comment. "Earth isn't a myth. It's a real world. And it's full of Cylons."
"Right. And Amanda's going to come home from picking Zoe up and announce she's decided that Sister Willow might be on to something and that we should start looking for another woman to bring into our household." Daniel studied her face for a minute, smile slowly fading as she just stared back at him impassively. "You're not joking, are you?" She shook her head. "Huh. You know, considering Zoe doesn't strike me as the motherly type and Amanda got her tubes tied after the first and only… is that where you come from? A second wife gives birth to your grandparent?"
Queuing up three scripts, Cameron executed them one after another: an exasperated sigh, followed by a roll of her eyes and a shake of her head. "No second wife, Daniel. At least not in my timeline. You never know, though. We are trying to change the future, after all." Transmitting an image of the 'first' Earth to the screen, Cameron gestured to the barren world and its crumbling ruins of buildings. "What nobody knows… or would accept if Earth was know to be more than a rumor… was that by the time they left Kobol, the Thirteenth Tribe were robots in human form. They looked human, felt human, acted human… but when they died, they just came back to life in a new body and continued on. Eventually they fled persecution and made their way across the stars to a new planet they could call home - Earth. After a while, the ease of life made them lazy… and they created a race of servant robots." She tapped one fingernail against the screen. "Care to make another educated guess?"
Daniel looked at the screen, then at Cameron, and then sat back in his chair. "Do I really have to? It's pretty obvious. They had their own Daniel Graystone and their own Cylons. They got the frak bombed out of them… although for whatever reason, their robots did a better job than mine did."
"That's because their Cylons - at least when they reached the point of nuclear holocaust - lacked something that yours didn't." Daniel quirked a brow and Cameron created two rows of six blue boxes on the screen. "Humaniform masters." One by one, she replaced the top six boxes with the faces of the five humaniforms from Earth and the first of the numbered lines before moving on to the second row and Numbers Two through Six and Eight. "Why would they want to render the Colonies utterly uninhabitable… when they could come and take their parents' worlds for themselves?"
Suddenly, understanding - albeit a false understanding - dawned. "That's what you are. A defector or a reprogrammed unit or… something. The strength, the inhuman resistance to the DACCESS, the eyes, the… I thought you had something in your pocket and were a very good performer. You're networked with my computer, aren't you?" Cameron nodded; she could spin her lies to suit the opportunity he was offering her. "That's how you're my great-great-granddaughter. You're not Zoe's granddaughter. You're the U-87's."
Cameron let out a soft hum of agreement as she used her mind to draw a family tree on the monitor, spinning a new web of lies that she simultaneously committed to memory and verbalized for Daniel. "Daniel Graystone created, among other things, Zoe Graystone and the Caprican Cylons The Caprican Cylons and the Sagittaron Cylons merged to form a unified Cylon culture and new machine models were made, ending with the Model 0005. The Model 0005 tried to evolve further and failed… we won't touch on that dead end. But with the last five humaniforms to survive the destruction of Earth, the Model 0005 gave birth to seven new humaniforms. Quite creatively, they're named Number One through Number Six and Number Eight. Don't ask what happened to Number Seven. Unlike the Earth humaniforms, though, multiple copies of each body were activated at the same time. So instead of a society of many individuals, they became a society of seven hive minds."
"Wait a second." Daniel jabbed his finger at the screen, poking the tiny picture of a Number Eight that Cameron had added to her family tree. "So you're saying I could walk into a room with fifty people in it and… twelve of them could be her? And another six could be the old man at the end of the row here? That's just… wow. Words fail me."
Good. If words failed him, she could continue her explanation. Cameron traced a finger back up to the Model 0005 and then created a new 'spouse' box followed by a new 'child' box. "And although they weren't physically there, the Model 0005 and the robot Cylons of Earth came together to form a new generation as well. New robotic Cylons that looked like a hybrid of both and were subservient to the new humaniforms. I imagine the Earth humaniforms allowed or even encouraged it because they enjoyed the prospect of being back in control of something that looked - at least a bit - like the beings who'd destroyed their home."
Pressing down on the images of Number Six and Number Eight, Cameron dragged her fingers down and created lines that lead to copies of the pictures. "Caprica-Six and Boomer-Eight. Two humaniforms who interacted with real humans and were changed." Repeating the motion, Cameron drew two more vertical lines and then brought her fingers together to join the two branches before adding one last descending line that terminated with a picture of herself. "They wanted to show others what they had seen. None of the existing Cylons wanted to 'dirty' themselves living among humans. And so just like the men in whose image they were created… they in turn created someone to do their dirty work. New faces, ones the humans wouldn't recognize from the attacks, who they sent to live among the survivors. I was one of them. I discovered the same thing that they did. And so like a good Cylon… I rebelled."
Daniel tapped his fingers against the side of the computer screen for a moment before pointing at the Model 0005's picture. "So in other words, even if I do nothing, the Earth humaniforms could still band together with Sagittaron Cylons and make everything unfold almost identically… or maybe it'll be Tauron and Sagittaron Cylons this time who come together to form the united society? Gods, what a mess." Clearing the screen, he brought up a file directory and looked from it to the motionless body of the U-87 several times before scowling and closing the window again. "So, since they sent you back to fix things, I take it you actually have a plan for fixing this mess? And how long do we have?"
"Yes. And assuming the TDE sent me when I was supposed to go and things unfold roughly the same? Less than six years before the conflict with Sagittaron breaks out, six years until the Cylons evolve and go rogue, eighteen years until the Earth humaniforms arrive, and fifty-eight years until the second generation humaniforms nuke the Colonies." Cameron was about to begin laying out some of her carefully prepared plans that would help navigate through the web of approaching problems while bringing Caprica out relatively unscathed - and therefore able to launch a colonization mission to Earth someday - when her inhumanly keen ears heard the front doors open. "We're no longer alone."
Footsteps thundered across the ground floor and then a very familiar dark-haired girl, now wearing jeans and a dark blue blouse, came stampeding down the stairs. "Daddy! You'd never believe what happened to me to…day." Her eyes narrowed as she took in the figure standing beside her father. "You! What the frak are you doing here?"
Looking over at Daniel, Cameron broke out her best amused grin. "I don't know why, but for some reason? I get the feeling that great-great-aunt Zoe isn't all that happy to see me…"
As both of the Graystone women erupted in shouts, Daniel groaned and lowered his head to rest it in his hands.