Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction, I make no claims to the Ownership of either BtVS, Stargate, or NBSG. All belong to their respective creators.A/N
As always; 'speech' Caprican, "Speech" English.
“Cordelia, do you have a minute?” Jenny asked knocking on the door to Cordelia’s office. Not that it was much of an office; the lack of any furniture beyond a desk and office chair gave the whole room a barren feel. The entire CRD building was like that, aside from Fred’s lab, which was filled with Colonial tech scavenged off the science section of the Atlantia.
“Sure,” Cordelia looked up from where she had been working on a colonial laptop. Jenny wasn’t sure, what with Cordelia’s new physiology, but she looked exhausted. She wasn’t haggard yet, but it was clear that she was heading there.
“Do you think that you’re going too fast,” Jenny decided that bluntness was the only way to handle this. “Taking over the CRD building and trying to let Sunnydale syndrome take care of the details… it isn’t the smartest thing to do if you want to take the company national.”
“What can I do?” Cordelia sounded defeated as she asked that question. “Six’s memories are telling me exactly what’s going to happen if the government or even the watchers council finds out about us. We need to be established and successful to protect ourselves. Giles told us that governments noticed the Atlantia…”
“And getting yourselves involved in the intellectual property disputes that your ‘new’ laptop design is going to generate, especially since you don’t own this company? That isn’t going to put you on the governments radar?” Jenny’s tone took a measure of steel. “Think Cordelia, you took the guts of an IBM laptop, rearranged them on the back of the screen and shoved in a colonial heat sink to compensate for the heat issues with a hand made case.”
“What do you want me to do?” Cordelia slumped back in her seat. “We need this and we don’t have time. Willow and I have been busy altering all of the public records showing that we bought this company out of bankruptcy last year. The former owner was a victim of a gang on PCP, so that angles covered… Everything we’re releasing is theoretical, the laptop is just a demonstration piece for the heat sink design and the battery design.”
“Cordelia…” Jenny trailed off as Cordelia continued to rant.
“I can’t fail again, I was responsible for my people and I failed. I will not let New Caprica happen to my people,” Cordelia’s voice was dead as she said that. “I have to move fast, get us into position, be ready for whatever comes next. There are only twelve of us left!”
Jenny felt her mouth tighten as she heard the desperation in Cordelia's voice. She had noticed that while that both Xander and Cordelia hadn’t really coped with their sudden infusion of memories. Cordelia had integrated herself better, but that was probably a function of her not being around her old friends, even so Six was much more dominant then she had suspected. Cordelia had always been a driven person, desperate to get out of this town, the addition of Six had given her a way to do so on her own merits and she had embraced that. The cost was just now showing.
“Cordelia, how long has it been since you talked to your parents?” Jenny asked gently, trying to get a feel for how far the girl had gone in embracing Six.
“I don’t know, the day before Halloween? It’s not like I can go home again…” Cordelia chuckled bitterly. “I can see it now, Hi daddy, I had a bit of work done, I don’t look or sound the same, I’m about ten years older, but I’m still me, your little princess. Yeah right. Something like that would get me noticed, and that would get the rest of us noticed.”
“You need a break,” Jenny said sadly as she looked at the other women. “Take a day and go to the spa, go shopping, just… take some time for yourself. I know this isn’t easy but working yourself to death isn’t the answer. Right now you aren’t at your best, think about running a cheer routine when you aren’t at your best, what happens? It's going to be a hundred times worse when you’re running a company.”
“I know but there’s…” Cordelia began.
“No, take some time for yourself. You have lost your sense of identity, your parents, and had your world turned upside down. You are going to fall apart if you keep going like this.” Jenny interrupted. “You have responsibilities, new big scary responsibilities, but you can’t meet them in your condition. Take a day, let yourself relax a bit, and come back to work tomorrow recharged.”
“Like that will solve anything?” Cordelia sounded skeptical.
“No, it won’t, but mentally you will be in better shape to deal with it.”
Andrew Wells looked over at Jonathan Levinson nervously. He really didn’t want to be here but Jonathan had talked him into it. After all they both were smarting from the Halloween disaster, which was totally Warrens fault. They were supposed to go as the team from Wormhole Extreme, but no, Warren had to find a perfect Kirk costume and had dumped the idea while he was out buying the costumes. So Andrew had ended up with a Major Stacey Monroe costume and no time to get a new costume. At least Jonathan had gotten the right costume. He had gone as Colonel Danning.
So when the CRD flier had gone up and Warren had been interested in it they had ignored it, only to respond when that Lando failed to obtain a spot. After that Jonathan had talked him into applying and much to both their surprises they had gotten in. It was the perfect thing to rub in Warrens face. They would be the king geeks now, Warren would be losing his spot! He thought he was Yoda but he would learn. Still they had to pass the interview and Andrew was nervous about that.
“If you two gentlemen would follow me?” A polite voice said with an accent that Andrew had never heard before. He and Jonathan got up and followed the women. For some reason she looked really familiar.
They were led to the elevators and from there to the top floor. Not that the top floor was all that impressive. After all the CRD building was only four floors high. Still the building and minimalist décor were way outside Andrews’s area of expertise. Well it was until he saw the two things guarding the door that was labeled CEO. Then he started to hyperventilate. His mind connecting the dots. He knew where he had seen the women leading them before!
“Oh god…” Andrew whimpered. “Please don’t kill me?”
“What? This is an orientation, keep it together and get in there,” the women, the eight, said and pushed him through the door and into the CEO’s office. Jonathan just gave him a look and sauntered in behind. Andrew knew that Jonathan hadn’t connected the dots yet. After all he wasn’t freaking out. They were Cylons, Cylons were here on earth! How long before the nukes began to fly?
“Please don’t say it, please don’t say it, please don’t say it,” Andrew chanted under his breath, trying to hide behind Jonathan.
“Jonathan Levinson and Andrew Wells,” The brunet behind the desk said pleasantly. “I would like to welcome you to CRD Industries. We are a cutting edge tech firm that will soon be an industry leader in both the computer and military fields. As interns you are getting in on the ground floor, and because we are such a small company I wanted to welcome you to the firm personally before turning you over to Karl our head of personnel.”
“Can I ask why we were chosen?” Jonathan asked with a slight twitch as he had noticed Andrews freak out.
“Oh, yes, you mister Levinson tested out as having a much better understanding of avionics then all of the college level applicants. Given that you are still in high school we decided that it was in our best interest to nurture your talent. After all breakthroughs in that field have been few and far between in recent years.” The women smiled encouragingly. “As for mister Wells, he shows an understanding of high level physics that we rarely see. In fact the last person we came across who had that level of understanding is our current head of research and development. She was quite insistent that he be assigned to her team.”
“Thank you for the compliment,” Jonathan said once he got himself back under control. It wasn’t every day that he was complimented by a beautiful woman. “May I ask what we are going to be doing?”
“You are going to be looking over some of our experimental avionics designs,” She answered honestly. “Most of it will be our first generation stuff, if you have any ideas on how to improve it we’ll see how it mesh’s with our own later designs. The idea is to get you used to thinking in terms of improvements so that when you are qualified we can immediately put your ideas into practice.”
“And Andrew?” Jonathan was slightly salivating at the idea. He would get to play with cool new plane designs.
“Will be working directly under our head of R and D. Some of his answers to the equations were groundbreaking.” She answered with a shrug. “Especially the theoretical hyperspace problem.”
“Hyperspace?” Andrew snapped out of his panic induced stupor. “You mean like outer space, other planets?”
“Once you sign the NDA,” She answered. “We are working on a theory of hyper travel, it’s one of Fred’s hobbies. Nothing may come of it, but so far the math has checked out and every experiment that she has run has been successful.”
“Outer space…” The two boys chorused as their eyes glazed over. Now not even the Cylon issue would keep Andrew from working here. This was big, bigger then anything they had ever heard of and they were getting in on the ground floor.
“Oh, and mister Wells,” She said with a mocking grin. “Humanities children are already home.”
“Oh… God…” Andrew felt his eyes bulge out of his head before they rolled back and he fainted.
“Man, that video Cordelia took of her freaking out Andrew is going to be a memory I’ll treasure to my dieing day.” Helo said from his position under the Raptors port hard point. “It was sick and wrong on so many levels, but funny.”
“I’m not sure I get it,” Faith said as she reached in to screw the two disparate modules together. Lady S had tried to send her to school, but that hadn’t worked out. Some jock moron had called her a slut on her first day and she had responded like she always did. Hitting him had been wicked satisfying. Since then Lady S had decided that she would be home schooled. Which meant in practice that she would spend most of the day following Helo around and learning from him.
Faith liked the new arraignment. Yeah, she still had to do some academic work in the morning while Helo did his paperwork. But most of her schooling was hands on. Helo was teaching her how to pull maintenance on a spaceship, how cool was that? She was still recovering from her first ride out into space. Helo had taken her up to the Atlantia to pick up some spare parts for an idea he had. So she, some nobody southie from Boston, had joined the select ranks of Earth humans who had gone into space.
“We told you about magic right?” Helo grunted as he shifted the cannon into alignment between the paired rocket pods.
“Yeah, magic, demons, and all that shit,” Faith slid the bolts home and began to tighten them with her hands. “Fucked up.”
“Right, so we came into being because some moronic chaos mage stole a couple of costumes and enchanted them. That whole humanities children are coming home thing? Its from the show that the costumes were from.” Helo said as he slid back and began to fiddle with the electrical connections. “For us, well we lived it. It’s why none of us watched the show… but using it to freak out Andrew? Hysterical. He’s the only person I know who would be geeky enough to get the line. Besides his reaction was priceless.”
“Andy’s a bit geeky…” Faith trailed off. In truth she kind of liked the geek. He was harmless, if a bit annoying.
“You didn’t grow up with him,” Helo said. “Plus with him finding out about Cylons his ever present love of all things Star Wars has been turned back a notch or ten.”
“You just like that he gives Lady S a wide berth,” Faith said reaching for a wrench. Even doing this kind of scut work was interesting to her. It was totally different from anything she had ever done before and she was beginning to see the connections. If she attached this lead that way then this happened. If she did it differently then something else happened. She had heard Lady S and Helo talking about what to do with her, and she had been surprised when instead of punishing her they had simply tried another approach to her education.
It seemed that Helo had known someone who was like her in his old life. So they had tried putting her to work as a way to educate her. The thing that got her was that it was working. She was getting more out of this hands on stuff then she had ever gotten out of any books. When she had asked Lady S about it she had been told the some people just learn differently, apparently she needed lessons that could be connected to the real world. That and the fight they had with that jackass principle had put her mind at ease about them.
Faith had been skittish around Helo before then, she was woman enough to admit that. He was big, strong, and as she had learned after he started teaching her how to fight, fast. What convinced her that he was an alright guy was him going to the plate for her. The principle had been all for filing assault charges because she had broken one of his jocks around the edges. Helo had just looked at the man, and informed him that he was welcome to do so, the lawsuit for condoning sexual harassment and covering for sexual misconduct would be on his desk the next day. She had never seen anyone back down that fast.
Lady S had barely been able to contain her laughter until the got out of the school. She had then sat Faith down and went over everything that happened point by point. From that Faith had learned that while the rules weren’t always important, knowing them was. Both Lady S and Helo knew the rules, and the system, so they could use it to their advantage. Her mom hadn’t known the rules, which was why she was always as screwed up as she was. It was a lesson Faith wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Then Helo had started in on her. He hadn’t said anything bad about the fight, but he had critiqued her performance. Somehow he got a copy of the security video and sat Faith down in front of it and gone over everything she did wrong. From his perspective it didn’t matter how dirty she had been fighting, she wasn’t fighting dirty enough. He saw three places she could have used ball grabs, two throat strikes she hadn’t gone for, and a foot stomp that hadn’t happened. After that he had started to teach her how to really fight as he put it. Apparently he didn’t want any kid around him to not be able to defend themselves with the maximum amount of viciousness.
“Hey Helo,” Faith brought herself back to reality as she tightened down one of the bolts. “You think there are any real aliens out there?”
“Might be, but I doubt it,” Helo’s voice drifted up to her. “We never ran into any of them.”
“Yeah… but you said that was fiction right?” Faith was frowning slightly as she spoke.
“It might be fiction, though given how weird our lives are? You ever read any comic books?”
“No. Never had the time or money for them.”
“I’ll need to get you a couple then. Okay, the thing about comics is that they’re a business. Since kids don’t have the kind of money they used to have the companies have adapted to the adult market. What that’s meant is that the companies have been hiring theoretical physicists, and other big brains to simplify complex concepts. Pages of math do not a good comic make. You with me so far?” Helo asked.
“Yeah… I got you.”
“So one of the big things in comics is the cross over, which leads the companies to have a need to explain why the crossover works without this big glaring plot hole. So they went to their brains and told them to come up with an answer. The brains came back almost immediately with this philosophical concept; human fiction is a result of some peoples propensity to tap into alternate dimensions and timelines. So what creative people are really doing is glancing at an image of an alternate time line or dimension and then using that image to create a work of fiction.” Helo slid out from under the Raptors wing. “Let me take a look at that and see how you did.”
“So what your saying is that everything that happened to you might be real, just somewhere else?” Faith asked as she backed away and let Helo take a look at her work.
“It’s a theory at least.” Helo answered. “Good job.”
“What makes you think that it’s right though.” Faith enquired.
“Because… Okay, so you have heard about the mini series right? Well Cordelia’s Six memories and my own memories extend far beyond what was shown. I mean we have years of memories that the writers haven’t written yet.” Helo answered as he climbed into the cockpit. “Come on up here.”
“Sure,” Faith followed him in and watched with interest as he began the hard point testing sequence. “So you’re saying that because your memories aren’t limited to what’s been created in this world you think that this comic book theory is right.”
“Yep,” Helo watched the lights for a moment and then nodded in satisfaction. “Neither Xander nor Helo had an imagination capable of creating this detailed of a reality on their own or together. It’s not just the big things; the memories I have include the little things. Like this trick. You see the third firing button on the stick to your right?”
“Yeah…” Faith eyed the trigger. She had been told never to touch it without permission.
“Push it please, and hold it down.”
Faith pushed the button and listened as a high-pitched whine filled the hanger. Helo fiddled with his controls for a moment and then hit another trigger. The caused there to be a popping sound along with the high-pitched whine. For a moment everything seemed to be working and then she heard the sound of an electrical explosion.
“What the fuck?” Faith asked wide-eyed.
“We overloaded the connecting box I put in,” Helo commented leading her out of the Raptor and back to the hard point they had just been working on. “Take a look.”
“Damn…” Faith could see the scorch marks on the box he was pointing to. “What caused that?”
“Firing off the KEW and both rocket pods at the same time. It’s a trick I picked up from Chief Tyrol my first week on Galactica. He used it to test if Boomers gimbals were bad, or if she had just overloaded the circuits again.” Helo said calmly. “Can you go shut her down?”
Helo pushed himself out of bed and went to the bathroom to splash water on his face. Another nightmare. Looking at his face in the mirror he had to physically restrain himself from punching the glass. Even with the work he had been doing the question of who he was kept ringing in his mind. The only way he could get to sleep anymore was to work himself into exhaustion. That was the real reason he had taken on the Raptor refit project. Xander’s fears and insecurities preyed on his mind every time he slowed down enough to think.
The nightmare was a prime example of that. Sharon and himself emulating Xander’s parents with Dawn playing the part of Xander. He didn’t even want to think about his issues with Faith. Of course saying any of this out loud wasn’t something that he could do. Sharon would leave him, and his friends would abandon him. The only reason he still had his friends was because he could shift in Xander mode around them for a short while. Pretending to still be the goofy kid he used to be. Of course he was doing the same thing around his wife, pretending to still be Helo, with no alterations. Well minimal alterations, his snack food cravings gave lie to any idea that he wasn’t affected by what had happened.
Helo turned away from the mirror and used one of the towels to dry off his face before lumbering back to the bed. Sharon was getting restless without him in it. He gently reached down and pulled her hair away from her face. Part of him went into a loop every time he saw her, exalting how lucky he was and then certain that he would screw it up. It made it easier to repress his Xander side around her, since that part of his brain didn’t want to come out of its loop yet. He feared the day when that loop broke.
That was the day everything would fall apart. Sharon would realize that her husband wasn’t her husband anymore and would either leave him or she would spend the rest of her life resenting him. It wouldn’t matter that he had all of her husband’s memories, or that he looked just like her husband. She would feel just as violated as he had felt when Boomer replaced her for the night.
‘Hey,’ Sharon’s sleepy voice came from the bed. ‘Cubit for your thoughts?’
‘Just… everything,’ Helo answered, he tried for a light tone but his voice betrayed him.
‘Come here,’ Sharon pulled him down into their bed and kissed him. ‘What’s bothering you?’
‘I… I’m not sure how well I’m dealing with the whole other life thing.’ Helo rolled a bit and pulled her tight to his side. He knew she would be watching his profile carefully, but he didn’t turn to her instead he kept his focus on the ceiling. ‘I don’t know how much of me is going to be left when this integration that Giles talked about is finished. I keep… pushing myself to remain me but I don’t know how well its working.’
‘Helo, look at me,’ Sharon pulled his head down so that he was looking in her eyes. ‘I know you’re scared. I get that. You need to start accepting the new parts of yourself though. You will still be you when this is over, trust me I know, but not if you keep fighting it.’
‘How can you be so sure?’ Helo whispered back. ‘I don’t want to lose you and Dawn… Xander… he wasn’t me.’
‘Helo, I’m sure because this is just like a resurrection. I’ve been through it too. You come out of it with new memories and mannerisms, but when everything settles down you’re still you.’ Sharon’s voice was reassuring. ‘We’ll work through this together. Now talk to me, you’ve been shutting me out.’
‘It’s just… I don’t know how to explain it. I’m worried that I’m really Xander and all of my Helo memories are just an overlay. I keep having nightmares of turning into Xander’s father. I see Xander’s friends and I act just like him, but when I’m with you and Dawn I act like myself. Every morning I get up and I wonder; is today going to be the day I lose myself?’ Helo tried to look away but Sharon held him firmly. She seemed to be searching his eyes for something and then she nodded firmly.
‘Do you know why I didn’t freak out when Giles implied that I was created by the spell?’ Sharon asked with gentle firmness.
‘No…’ Helo snorted as he thought of that conversation. ‘I almost decked him for that.’
‘I know. I didn’t freak out because it’s just another type of resurrection for me. No matter how it was done I was resurrected here. The twos and the threes have been having long debates for as long as the eights have been around on the nature of the soul. One of the things they talked about was how each Cylon was different, each of us had our own soul, and nothing they did to their own memories changed that.’ Sharon stopped for a moment clearly thinking about how to go on. ‘The Colonials thought of each model as a monolithic entity, all thinking and feeling the same, but we aren’t. Every newly made Cylon is different; each has tics and foibles, even the newly made. Even when you pour identical memories into the same model they turn out differently. It’s what the twos say prove that we each have our own soul.’
‘I know that I’m still me, I have my own soul, so it doesn’t matter how I got here. I was worried about it while you were still out, its ironic to think but each Cylon has their own little ‘soul check’ routine. We’re just as insecure as you humans are about some things. Anyway, I ran mine on myself so I know I’m still me.’ Sharon looked deep into her husband’s eyes, willing him to believe in her. To let her help him. ‘I’ve been through resurrections with memory additions, its exactly like what you’re going through. Relax and let it happen, you will still be yourself at the end of it.’
‘You’re sure?’ Helo almost whispered it broke Sharon’s heart to see her husband so unsure of himself. Even after she had been revealed as a Cylon he had not be unsure of his identity. He had been conflicted yes, but not unsure.
‘It’s already happening,’ Sharon grinned as she said that, it was a little thing but it would help to reassure him. ‘Haven’t you noticed that we don’t drink at all anymore? That’s your Xander memories beginning to leak through.’
‘We don’t…’ Helo broke off as he considered the past weeks. ‘You’re right. I thought it was just the snack foods, I hadn’t considered the drinking.’
‘Now stop worrying and get some sleep. You’re already working thirteen hour days on the Raptor project, you don’t need to add exhaustion to your problems.’ Sharon let go of his face and snuggled into her husband. Helo relaxed as her comforting weight and warmth burrowed into his side. Hearing her thoughts had settled him a bit. He still had doubts, but just talking about his fears had made him feel better. So when he finally closed his eyes sleep came easier then it had in weeks.