Battlestar Galactica

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
The Girl On The Pale Horse

(What makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of?)

Athena checks the Raptor as the docking bay curtains on the Basestar close, at once grotesque garage doors and beautiful shimmering flesh. There is a hand on her shoulder and she whirls, shouting, startled, cocking guns. It's the usual homecoming, the usual welcome committee of Sharons, who love her and always will. Last time, they had not fallen from Eden: there was no celebrity among the Cylon. This time, they've put on clothes.

"They call you Athena now," says the girl in front. "You even wear their uniform, like you're one of them." Athena looks at them warily. In their twinsets and sweaters and t-shirts, like they're ones of us. "You were the first to say no." To what? "The entire Plan." To kill their parents and to multiply: "You joined the humans. You had a child. You showed us that we don't have to be slaves to our programming." Athena rolls her eyes; Athena knows they never were. Without love, where would you be right now?

The Eights nearly weep, in frustration and shame: "We wanted the same thing, but it turned out to be a disaster." She swallows. "The Sixes have made one mistake after another. They have to be stopped before they get the rest of us killed." Another Eight urges her, to ask. "You could help us." Athena is sickened: "You want me to lead a mutiny against the Sixes?" The Eights are confused: why is she so angry? Why this disgust? What aren't they getting? What are they still frakking up? Why won't she just tell them how to be strong?

The word "turncoat" was once more than a metaphor: it was an answer. It meant to turn one's coat literally inside out, to hide who you really are. To take that piece of your heart you can look at, and turn it into something else. Sharon turned herself inside out, once upon a time; her strength is based on keeping herself inside that newfound skin. She's still learning to inhabit it; has tacitly allowed outrages against her own people, to prove to herself that she's earned this skin. She is more human than human, and thus proves her humanity to herself and everybody else. You can't explain that, any more than you can sell anybody independence. Not even Athena has outgrown war: she thinks you have to pick a side. And in war, you do.

"You pick your side, and you stick. You don't cut and run when things get ugly. Otherwise you'll never have anything." Seeing their unrest, their guilt and jealousy, she pushes those Eight buttons. She knows better than anybody how to twist the knife just right; she remembers: "No love, no family. No life to call your own." The Eight looks down, embarrassed. "Now you guys can either help me, or get the hell out of my way." They watch her go. They love her, and they always will.

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Battlestar Galactica




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