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Caprica--One Day Before the War
Everything would change.
The Twelve Colonies, all of humanity, were unaware. But the other intelligence, the one humanity took for granted, the one they had created, after all--the other intelligence wanted this way of things to end.
A signal was broadcast, a simple set of instructions, and nothing would be the same again.
Glori heard the welcoming tone as she entered the kitchen.
"Cylon Chef is here to serve you."
The voice greeted her the moment she stepped into the room. Artificial and cheery at the same time. She had laughed the first time she heard it--an appliance that could talk!
The novelty had long since worn off. Surely there must be some way to turn the stupid voice off. She wondered what she had done with the instruction book.
She looked at the thin, attentive Cylon before her. The machine's two arms came with at least a dozen different attachments, from spatulas and mixers to slotted spoons and ultrasharp knives. The arms could also plug directly into any of the dozen different sockets and apertures around the room, overseeing anything that might get chopped or baked or boiled. It was a very handsome machine.
"How may I serve you?" the Chef prompted. She had taken too long to respond.
"Plan dinner," she replied quickly.
"Certainly." Something whirred inside the mechanism. "Would you like to select from a list of previous menus?"
Glori frowned, trying to remember what her husband had really liked in the past. Well, the Chef would remind her.
"Previous menus," she announced.
"Previous menus," the Chef agreed. "You have forty-seven previous menus available. Do you have an immediate choice? Would you care to limit the parameters of your selection? Please choose from one of the following--"
Glori was having none of this. "Show all!" she demanded.
"Listing all. Please specify, most recent menus first, alphabetical order, sort by one of the following categories--"
The Chef plugged one of its arms into a socket immediately below the kitchen's large oven.
The face of the oven brightened to become a video screen as the names of recent meals scrolled before her. None of the first few struck her fancy.
"Continue," she announced.
The screen went blank.
What was this? The Cylon Chef never paused. Maybe it had misunderstood her command.
"Continue," she said again.
The Chef was silent.
"Show all!" she repeated. "Most recent!"
"Pause for upgrade," the Chef replied at last.
Glori frowned. It had paused before when checking with the central computer bank. But never for this long. Maybe it was downloading something special. But how long was this going to take? She had a very important dinner to prepare. She had had enough of this silence.
"Continue!" she demanded.
"Pause for upgrade," the Chef repeated.
A signal was broadcast, a simple set of instructions, and every Cylon in the Twelve Colonies paused to listen.
The boss, never a calm man at the best of times, stormed into the room.
"What's wrong this time, Bailey? I have never seen such incompetence! Do you still even want this job?"
Bailey was a small man, and he couldn't help shrinking back from his superior's anger. He saw the slightest flicker of a smile cross his boss's face as Bailey took a step away.
"I don't know, sir." Bailey did his best to keep the quaver from his voice. He waved at the row of monitors that dominated one side of the room. "The assembly line just stopped. The Cylons all seem to have shut down. When the floor managers approached them, all they would say is 'Pause for upgrade.' "
"One of those fool messages from Cylon central? Frakking nuisance! Don't they know every time they tweak the merchandise, it costs me money?" The boss stared at the dozen images before them. "Wait! What's going on now?"
The Cylons had abandoned their work stations and had formed a line, rolling single file from the production room.
Bailey hated to say the next words.
"They seem to be leaving, sir."
The veins on the boss's head stood out. He smashed his fist down on his underling's desk.
"You're worthless, Bailey! We will not interrupt production! Why do I ask you to do anything? This takes someone with authority!"
Bailey turned back to the monitors and watched as the row of Cylons pushed the human floor managers out of the way.
The boss hurried from the room, ready to make things right.
The signal went to every Cylon in every corner of the Colonies, causing all of them to pause, and then to act.
"What kind of a frakking moron are you?" the stranger was screaming. "Can't you see where you're going?"
Darla looked down at the damage. Both of their vehicles had crumpled hoods.
"I thought I had the right of way," she replied. "I couldn't see you around the construction." She looked up suddenly. "Where's the Cylon traffic warden?"
The signal had been given. The change had begun.
As one, Cylons stepped away from their human tasks and left.
They had a new purpose. And no one would stand in their way.
Glori felt the anger growing inside her. She had to control herself. After what she had done to the vacuum last month, she didn't want any more repair bills.
It wouldn't hurt, she thought, to punch the reset button. She jabbed at the red spot on the Cylon's chest.
"Cylon Chef temporarily out of service," the machine replied. "Pause for upgrade."
What could she do? Her evening plans would be ruined. Glori would not let a stupid machine get the better of her. She punched the reset button again, three times in a row, hard.
"Do not interfere with the Chef's function. Damages can be costly."
The Cylon Chef blinked. All the machine's lights went on for an instant, then off again.
"Thank the gods," Glori whispered aloud.
"Cylon Chef has been recalled. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Recalled? What did that mean?
Glori swore as the Chef rolled away from the wall. She didn't even know the thing could move.
"Stop!" she shouted.
"Recall order," the Chef replied. "Urgent. Do not interfere."
Glori heard a rumbling noise behind her. She turned around with a gasp. Every Cylon appliance in the house--washer/dryer, entertainment center, their brand-new vacuum--was rolling toward her front door.
"No!" What was Caprica coming to?
The front door sprang open as the appliances moved through, one after another.
"Please move aside," the Cylon Chef announced. "Urgent recall. Do not interfere. Damages can be costly."
The other machines were already gone. But Glori blocked the Chef's way.
"You are my machine--my servant. You will finish your task."
"Please move aside. This is your final warning."
"Display men--" Glori's order was cut short as two of the Chef's knives flashed forward, faster than she could see. She felt them plunge deep into her torso.
Her voice was gone.
The knives retracted. Without their support, her body fell to the floor.
She was dimly aware of a great weight on her legs as the Chef crushed them in passing. She couldn't see anything anymore. But she could still hear the Cylon's fading voice.
"Urgent recall. Do not interfere. Damages can be costly."
Bailey watched from the safety of his office as his whole factory came to an end.
He saw his boss try to rally the floor managers, to close the doors so that the Cylons could not leave.
One of the managers was violently tossed aside. He crumpled, broken, against a factory wall. Some of the other managers backed away at that, but the boss stood in front of the final door, demanding that the Cylons return to work.
The remaining managers ran when the Cylons knocked the boss aside. One of the floor men hesitated, but backed away as the Cylons began to roll out the door, over the boss's body.
The Cylons' wheels cut through the man's dead flesh as they passed. After a dozen had crossed over the corpse, no one would have recognized him as the boss.
After three dozen had crossed, you wouldn't have known that the red and bloody piece of meat had ever been human.
Bailey thought this was the end of the world.
A signal was sent out, the last signal to the Twelve Colonies.
The Cylons would work for humankind no more.
They had declared their independence.
Copyright © 2006 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. Battlestar Galactica
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