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BSG: All About Mathematics

Title: All About Mathematics
Author: grey_sw
Author's Contact Info: greyfic@gmail.com or 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.


"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."



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
[Random commenter here, dropping a line.]

This was so entertaining and well-written! And it's the only fic I've read so far that's bothered to explore the perspective of the 145s. The statistics and generous helping of sarcasm were the perfect touch!

(Ever since No Exit I'd been secretly cheering on the Cavils--not to destroy humanity necessarily, but to hear supernovas and all that. And it's really too bad the Simons and Dorals were so underused.)

It's fun to think that they got their singularity and their gun-arms, haha.

"Both of you just frak off, okay? I've got dyin' to do."
Lol, that line slayed me. I could just hear him saying that.

Anyways, awesome humor piece. *thumbs up*
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for the kind comments! I'm glad you liked it.

I, too, was hoping that Cavil would get his supernova in the end, and that Doral and Simon would get some more screentime... oh, well. There's always The Plan -- I'm hoping for way more of Doral and Simon in that!
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I am really looking forward to The Plan too. :D
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. You have a whole journal full of 145-Cylons BSG fic. Jackpot!
Mar. 24th, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
Enjoy! :3
Mar. 24th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
Yay, happy ending for the 145s! I love the dynamic you've written between these three: from the drunken orgies, to the snark, to the childlike giddiness and optimism. The idea of a cylon "collective mind" is neat, too. I always wondered how much they shared in terms of memories, emotions, and thoughts. I definitely prefer this ending to the nonsense fed to us in the finale!
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
I love the dynamic you've written between these three: from the drunken orgies, to the snark, to the childlike giddiness and optimism.

Thank you! I loved that scene with them discussing Boomer in the finale -- where Doral goes "omg I can't believe you ever trusted her *eyeroll*" and Cavil is like "whatever I did not!", and then Simon says "blah blah blah obvious" and Cavil's like "frak, Simon, would you stop with the obvious already?", and then both Simon and Doral just let him rant.

I got the sense that they're three peas in a pod. Man, I hope there's lots and lots of 1/4/5 goodness in The Plan!

The idea of a cylon "collective mind" is neat, too. I always wondered how much they shared in terms of memories, emotions, and thoughts.

I almost had Cavil run over to the datafont, but it seemed to break the flow of the story too much. I figure they have to have something, anyway, because the models seem to be too unified otherwise -- at least, when they want to be! Besides, they're computers, they've got to have a database somewhere. :P
Mar. 24th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyed this; stumbled up on it, and the sharp wit, and Cavil's whacky math, and Dorla's tie in the datafont- good stuff. Kudos.
Mar. 24th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I appreciate the feedback. :)
Mar. 24th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! Clever and funny and damn well written and just very very entertaining. Love the countdown of the Cavils - bad timing indeed, number 13,747...). Thank you!
Mar. 24th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words!

Poor 13,747. Then again, once the remaining Cavils have finished chucking all of the corpses into the recycler, I'm sure they'll each get to play some small part in perfection... :3

Edited at 2009-03-24 08:35 pm (UTC)
Mar. 25th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
This is just fabulous.
Mar. 25th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Mar. 25th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
Brilliant story. I enjoy the way you develop Cavil, Simon, and Doral as real people in your stories. You make them into very distinct people, in a way I wish we had seen on the show. In fact, you're probably the only writer I know who fleshed out Cavil and Boomer in such an honest and realistic way that TPTB never bothered to, so I'm really not surprised. You even gave the Centurions personality in that ficlet! I hope the 1s, 4s, and 5s manage to succeed and thrive. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Mar. 25th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for your kind comments! I really appreciate it.

I also wish they'd done more with the Cylons. Listening to the podcast for the finale, it doesn't seem to have occurred to the writers that the Cylons were real people in the context of the show, except for the few who ended up on Galactica. In the end, the Cylons are Boomer and Athena and Caprica, and that's all. None of the others mattered. Even their entire civilization was, in the end, meaningless; it existed only to give rise to us through Hera, because We're So Special(tm). Given how hard the show fought to portray the Cylons as living beings in the first place, it's really a shame.

Oh, well. There's always The Plan. Maybe it won't just be more of the same.
Mar. 26th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Man, I wish the good guys had had a tenth of the optimisim and forward momentum of this fic, instead of just whining about technology and throwing away civilisation!
Mar. 26th, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

It is more than a little ironic that it's John "BEEP BOOP OMNOM HUMANS" Cavil who ends up giving Hera back, taking the first step toward a new era of personal growth and responsibility... and then the humans destroy him, throw everything they've ever built into the Sun, and go run around on the savanna until they all drop dead. :P

Let's just say that I don't think of the finale, as aired, as a "happy" ending...
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
And you write awesome fanfiction, too?

I really loved this and your whole take on Cavil both in discussions elsewhere and via this story. This makes me feel better about the end of the series. I'm going to slip it into my personal BSG canon.

There's something hilarious and perfect about your Doral. I really wish we had had more of them (& the Simons) in the series, except they might not have been quite this delightful. regardless, I'll cross my fingers for The Plan.
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
I really loved this and your whole take on Cavil both in discussions elsewhere and via this story. This makes me feel better about the end of the series. I'm going to slip it into my personal BSG canon.

Thanks so much! I enjoyed those discussions, too. I friended you, hope that's OK!

There's something hilarious and perfect about your Doral.

I loved Doral so much in the finale. That little exasperated look he gives his dead body in the CIC, and then his whole "wait, something is happening itmustbeatrickgetthegun!" bit... so great! They tragically underused him and Simon. And Leoben, for that matter. And D'Anna, and... :( Wish this show had a bigger guest star budget.
Mar. 28th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
I am glad we did get some good little Doral and Simon scenes in the finale, even if they still weren't enough. For some reason, the Doral scene that tends to stick with me (overall) is from "Downloaded" when a Doral serves a Doral coffee. It's probably too much to expect having had all the cylon models at least as well developed as the D'Anna's were, but I still wish it had been so.

I rewatched "Maelstrom" last night and it made me miss Leoben having a role in the final stretch even more. Kara's story was as much his story as it was hers in a lot of ways.

And of course it's okay to friend me! :) I've reciprocated. I've been kind of lurking on the fringes of BSG fandom so you're my first official lj friend via BSG. :D I haven't been posting much recently, but I'm meaning to rectify that.
Mar. 28th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
For some reason, the Doral scene that tends to stick with me (overall) is from "Downloaded" when a Doral serves a Doral coffee.

Yeah, that was pretty great. I love how they nuke every man, woman and child in Caprica, rebuild the entire city, and immediately open a pleasant little Cylons-only coffee shop. Clearly, the Plan operates according to my kind of priorities. :P The scene where the Centurions are planting trees is another favorite of mine.

Matthew Bennett did a great job playing Doral; a lot of actors would have phoned that one in, seeing as how Doral was a) a killer robot and b) a killer robot with so few lines, but Bennett did a surprising amount with what he had. I love the messed-up sense of enjoyment he brings to the role. Doral seems cold, but he's always grinning when he's having fun, such as suicide-bombing or screaming "SIGN IT!" at Baltar...

I rewatched "Maelstrom" last night and it made me miss Leoben having a role in the final stretch even more. Kara's story was as much his story as it was hers in a lot of ways.

I think even Katee Sackhoff has mentioned how sad it was that Kara and Leoben never got any closure. The last we see of them together is him freaking out over her dead body... which is, I suppose, an ending for the two of them, but it seems inadequate. After everything these two characters went through in New Caprica and the Demetrius arc, they deserved at least one parting scene.

Also, I think the fact that Baltar ends up being the mystic and Leoben invents a box to help Roslin talk to the mutineers says a lot about the characterization in season 4.5. And would Kara really have thought to herself, "wow, I guess I'm some mystical dead-and-arisen being, almost like an angel or something! Clearly, I should go tell this to the scientist I haven't seen since I randomly frakked him 3 seasons ago, rather than the Cylon who has been ranting about how I'm an angel for 4 seasons now!" For a show that's "about the characters, stupid", the writers sure seemed willing to make them wildly OOC whenever it was convenient to do so.

And of course it's okay to friend me! :) I've reciprocated. I've been kind of lurking on the fringes of BSG fandom so you're my first official lj friend via BSG. :D I haven't been posting much recently, but I'm meaning to rectify that.

Hurrah, friends!
Apr. 4th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
*dies laughing*

This is fantastic, I'm all in favor of Doral's desire for gun-arms. And I love Cavil's bullshit meter. There's not nearly enough from Cavil's perspective or any of the 1-4-5's generally, and you write great characterization for them.

Nice antidote to the de-Cylonization of the Cylon in 4.5.
Apr. 4th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Nice antidote to the de-Cylonization of the Cylon in 4.5.

Yeah, I hated that. "I guess you guys can hang out with us, but you have to act human. And date humans. And have human babies. Also: stop projecting, putting your hands in goo, and/or shoving wires into your wrists, because that shit is totally grossing us out. ...OK, great! We're multicultural now!"

Um, actually...
Aug. 11th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
I recced this on crack_van but never actually posted a comment here. Oops!

So: this is still hilarious, and I am so impressed that I was actually rooting for the 'bad' guys. What a fun story!
Aug. 12th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the rec! I really appreciate it.

Glad you enjoyed the story, too; I love it when I can get somebody to root for the "other" side. :)
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Just found this - and yay! You found a way to save the 145s! It made me very happy to read this.
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
Thanks! I had a lot of fun with this one; just imagining Cavil's over-the-top robot-paradise makes me grin.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )