Memoir: Cidra's Prayer Journal, Entry 6

Lady Athena grant me wisdom, for I feel myself more an idiot with each passing day.

I have not written in this journal in so long. Madilyn Willows-Cavanaugh said to me once that a journal is a place to organize ones thoughts, examine them. I am not sure I want to. That which I loved, that which I trusted like family, betrayed me. Again. How could I have been so blind to what he was. What IT was.

What in the hells were you, Trevor Cairn McQueen? And why did you do all that you did? That damned letter of yours only left more questions.

By now, you've heard enough of the truth, or made some guesses, both probably being somewhat accurate. Let's get the hard shit out of the way first: I am a Cylon.

I have tried to erase your name from my mind but I cannot. I wrote the names of those I flew with too deeply to uncarve them. I keep going back in mind. I keep remembering all you did. All the abominations did. And each time I understand it less.

"I am a little sleepy," is Cidra's drawling reply to Tisiphone. "It is beautiful, though. Is it not beautiful, Tisiphone? That is such a lovely name, by the by. A hard name. But a beautiful one. Tisiphone of the furies. Avenger. Well. There is beauty in that. We live in the age of Ares now. Much as I pray the Wise Lady still guides my flight, I feel the heavy wings of the vultures upon me. Perhaps I am becoming a vulture, Tisiphone the Avenger. I only ever wanted to be the owl, though…" Blink, blink. And those blurry eyes focus, kind of, on McQueen. "Queenie. Trevor Cairn McQueen. Of Leonis born. Hello." She notes his sniffing and takes the opportunity inhale. Then exhale slowly, with a contented sigh. The air here isn't particularly thick with the smell. It certainly clings to her, but it does not appear she was puffing away right at this very spot.

"Tisiphone, Avenger of Murder, so say we all," the Junior Lieutenant murmurs, more to herself than anything, though the pale gaze remain upon the CAG. Her mouth quirks, the edges of her teeth flashing in a smile that doesn't reach her eyes. "You forgot your boots," she points out, before half-turning to give Queenie an odd, unsmiling look. She nods a silent greeting to him before turning back. "You were in a hurry? Did you have a vision?" Utterly practical questions with perfectly reasonable answers — at least to the Sagittaran.

Not really batting an eyelash, McQueen's response consists of a weighing nod as he tilts his head to one side, studying the CAG as she speaks. His pale blue eyes linger there a moment more, as he lets out a single chortle. "An' that's me. Straight out of the City of Newport, a jewel of industry and such an important place that it managed to get bombed not once, not twice, but three times in the last two hundred years." He shakes his head, sighing. "I can attest that it wasn't the nicest place even when it wasn't getting bombed. So there you have it." Finishing this line of thought with a shrug, he narrows his eyes down at Cidra a moment more. "I won't disturb you further, really. That's a pretty potent path to spiritual inspiration. Isn't for the timid, I'll give you that. Hope you find whatever blessing you're looking for."

What would Money Shot have made of you now, when she knew what you were? The Fury was well-named. That one never wavered. Salt. The Yazdah creature she met on Leonis. She never saw them as anything other than abominations. Part of me is grateful she did not live to see this. Salt took her hard enough.

"Amelia in her summer dress," Tisiphone echoes, as prompted by some restless ghost. "I wanted to fly as calm and easy as he did, someday. And then there he is smiling and dying and telling me he /liked/ me and-" She shakes her head sharply, and a terrible sort of wide, brittle smile cuts her mouth suddenly. As if it /needs/ a laugh to clear the thought, but she can't quite make it. "Eleven," she corrects, when Cidra names the 'woman' Yazdah. "'Yazdah' is 'Eleven'. There were three of us there from Sagittaron. She- took our accent and words and- used it to win our trust. It worked. At first. On- some of us." The Ensign is not one of them, from the look of that cold and troubled stare. "One of twelve brothers and sisters, she said. She talked with others, in front of Rutger Tower. All numbered. The Threes and the Nines and- like that. I don't understand any of it."

Perhaps you were right all along, Money Shot. Threes. Nines. Fives. Twelves. Elevens. Twos. Many copies. All the same. Machines. Abominations. Made to destroy us. They slaughtered us by the billions, nuked everything, all the holy places upon my Gemenon. And yet, if that was the whole of it, if it was all a trap, then why..?.

Sitka breathes out slowly when Cidra speaks his name, as if having not been fully aware that he was holding it. One booted foot is drawn up to rest at his knee, and an absent little tug given his blues jacket. "You know what really frakking baffles me?" His eyes rove closer to Cidra's paler blues, skirting them like a cat at a half-dead mouse. "Yazdah. The one I spoke with. I don't think she agreed with what they've been doing. She and a couple other.. skinbags. Skinjobs. Whatever you want to call them. They were arguing. What's more, she called off a good hundred Centurions who'd been moving in on our position when we found her. Why? I want to know why."

Why. They tell me I should not bother asking, Ibrahim. That there is no answer. Spiral tells me it does not matter. But I cannot stop. I think it matters more than anything. My head wants to believe Money Shot was right. That the answer is simple as it all being a trick. A terrible game. A trap. And yet…the Yazdah creature saved your life and hers, and there was no trap in that.

Did she do any good at all in the end? You are dead now. Our Money Shot is dead, too. Not by the abominations, either. We kill each other. We destroy ourselves. That is what it is to be human. That is what we have always done.

But the Yazdah did save you after you gave her your trust on Leonis. And that was not the last time.

The man nods a few times. "She says that there is a division in the ranks. There was an implication that some of her kind won't order the baseships to engage us. If that's the case, then there could be something else at work." He takes a long breath. "Cid, we're facing stupid odds. The engagements we've seen? If they really wanted to they could drop thirty baseships on top of us. We'd be screwed. She might be full of shit and playing at something, but if she isn't telling the truth then there is a larger strategic application we aren't seeing." Hands lift to his face and rub at it. Tillman isn't sleeping much. All that information is taking a toll. "But I won't commit until I'm convinced. For now?" He shakes his head. "Anything else strike you about what you saw? Other than all of it?"

"Stupid odds?" Cidra repeats the words incredulously. "Clive. We are over-whelmed. The Cylons destroyed everything. They outnumber us by the *millions*, if not more. We fight for our survival." As for the rest, a shake of her head. "No. I find it strange these creatures have adopted the blasphemy of monotheism. But it is not an area I know much about. The main of my studies in theology at the Kobol Colleges dealt with the split between Caprica and Gemenon. My scholarship on even the Sagittaron practices, another arm that still remains *our* faith, is not particularly versed."

"That's exactly what I'm getting at, Cid. We're fighting for our survival when we should be dead. The amount of firepower that they could bring to bear on us if they really wanted to? Damned right we're fighting for our survival but aren't you curious as to how we're still able to do that? There's something going on here that is larger than what we are seeing. You and you pilots have done incredible things. So have the Marines. But like you said..possibly millions of them. A few thousand of us?" Clive shakes his head, still looking at the floor.

They were stupid odds, Clive, but you trusted them in the end. And they worked. The Eleven saved all our lives over Sagittaron. She saved my pilots. Twice over. Try as I might, I cannot hate her. Part of me feels I owe her a debt. But I still do understand why. I do not understand the whys with you either, Queenie.

Allan Rejn. I thought him a useless sod. I never suspected.

"Sentimentalist bullshit. You want to know what makes us human? The fact that we've got to construct ourselves as opposed to something to live. You'd think it'd be easy, these days, since we've got the Cylons to kick around and all, but we've still got people buying into the us-and-them business. Just look at that asshole with the scarf. Or these poor fraks entombed in a flying steel death trap running from gods know what. Sounds pretty familiar, from where I sit." Rejn wipes a bead of sweat from his high and balding forehead. "But you know what I think when I come down here and look at all these damned skeletons and all those incomprehensible scrawls on the wall of a ship this old? I think to myself, I think 'Allan, these guys didn't make it. But enough of them did.' So here we are, two millennia later, standing right where they stood, talking like we've changed. That humanity's managed to overcome all the old bullshit. News flash: we haven't."

You were not human, Allan Rejn. Rudolph Kepner was, though. And he tried to destroy us. And you were the thing that helped to stop him. Humans saved again by an abomination.


I was inserted at Picon Anchorage as a saboteur with very little work to be performed - just oversee the coup-de-grace on any Colonial vessels that survived the initial assault. Salt could not just stand by and let that happen after he got to know you, and let me tell you, a Twelve showing any speck of decency or consience is a frakking cosmic event. No wonder they boxed him for being "Defective." He was the only one that was ever made right. Anyway, Salt could not. I /would/ not.

Salt. Lieutenant Ryan Shaker. He was but a face among three-hundred pilots when the Cerberus launched. I barely spoke to him after he reported for duty. I had to memorize his name from a casualty report after Warday. After so many of mine fought and flew and died against the Cylons.

Now I dream of him. I still dream of him sometimes. Could not, Queenie? Why could he not? Why would you not?

Why do you both still haunt me, even knowing what you are?

Because you were my pilots. My Fighting Fourteenth. And I love you all.

"Well. We are both still flying, you and I. And as I say, Queenie. I love you all, for I have nothing left in the worlds but the lot of you. And if this is the end of me, there are none I would rather share it with than each of you." That said, she straightens, and leans forward to kiss him. It's an impulsive gesture, and full on the lips, albeit it's not a romantic one. There's a hint of ceremony to it, and formality.

Formality or not, McQueen's response is peculiar and spontaneous, as he throws his head back and laughs. Not mocking, but celebratory, the noise of it disturbs the almost oppresive solemnity which hangs over the discarded husk of the abandoned ship. He throws his arms about her shoulders briefly and pulls her head to his shoulder once and then retreats, smirking. "To the end, then. Let me tell you a secret though." His arms drop to his sides. "There are ends, but there /is/ no end. But you know this already, yeh? Just — remember that, even if things get as low as they can go, I'll be looking out for you. All of you. And you."

I did love you, my Queenie. I loved Salt and all the 147 down for their sacrifice. I cannot stop loving him for it. Yet he was an abomination.

You are an abomination.

You left me.

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