Background: This episode takes place an unknown amount of time after the end of the previous episode. All four members of the team are being held in prison cells, presumably on the basestar where we were captured. We've all been treated for our various wounds but some of us are still in bad shape. Judging from how our wounds have healed (only just started healing, in other words) we've been treated and unconscious for at least four days.
Nike and Deke are largely unaware of the big picture but Sun has apparently since recalled following the events on Typhoeus that there's something special about her, having something to do with the Cult of Heracles (a religious cult that spans both the human and Cylon people, originating in the human colonies) and the Palladium (the device we took from Typhoeus and later handed over to the Cylons). Sun only remembers that her father may not have been her father after all and that her own origin is somehow directly connected to both the cult and the Palladium. She's also still having a recurring vision that we still aren't aware of involving the Hydra symbol the cult uses to identify itself.
Aella, meanwhile, remembers that she is a Cylon humanoid and is now actively working for them again. With the team unaware of her identity as a Cylon, she is given the task of uncovering why the cult is so interested in Sun and what she knows about the Palladium. The Cylons on the basestar apparently still have it in their possession and have been studying it, unable still to access it. The Cult of Heracles, on the other hand, has been causing some small trouble here and there among the humanoids of the fleet but has almost been eliminated. Fortunately the cult has not managed to recruit much and has never extended it's small amount of influence to the Cylon homeworld. The Cylons hope that accessing the Palladium will help them uncover a means of breaking the radical cult once and for all, though Aella doesn't know any details on this.
With all that we receive confirmation that the Cult of Heracles apparently intends (or, intended, before it was rooted out and nearly destroyed) not to end the Cylon war on humanity at all as we had assumed but instead has some other future goal in mind. From what we gather at that time, the war itself is just a symptom of some coming atrocity they hope to avert. We're still unsure what it is when the episode starts and Aella also is unaware of their long term goals. It's clear to her, though, that some of her Cylon brothers and sisters instructing her do know and are keeping it from her.
Nike has been conscious for a while, long enough to realize about how long he's been out (approximately four days). He finds himself strapped to a bed of some sort in what appears to be a small cell. A Gina/Karen model enters, accompanied by two Cylon centurions. At her direction the two centurions unstrap him from the bed and take him firmly in hand to escort him from the room. Being unarmed, Nike decides he'll go along with them for now and he's taken just down the hall to another room much like the one he woke in, only larger and without any furnishings. He's left there and the Cylons don't answer any of his questions.
Deke likewise wakes in similar circumstances and the Gina/Karen model appears with her two centurions to fetch him as well. He allows them to escort him too and they bring him to the empty cell where Nike is. Once they are both in the room together the Gina/Karen model finally speaks, telling us that she remembers us from Madison's asteroid (which reminds us that the Cylons can resurrect and that this one obviously has memories from the Karen we met there). Saying that she remembers us to be resourceful and foolhardy, she advises us not to attempt to escape as the Cylons have little real interest in interrogating us. Should we prove to be difficult prisoners in any way, she'll simply order us killed and be done with it. Likewise if we don't immediately prove useful we'll be discarded out of hand. With that she leaves us for a while to rest, as both Nike and Deke are still wounded from the previous episode.
Deke immediately launches into Nike, demanding to know where Sun is and what happened. Nike and Deke aren't getting along at all at the moment, considering Deke's last memory is of Nike and Aella attempting to throw Sun from the ship and Aella shooting him in the leg. Nike catches him up on what little occurred after Aella stomped on his head and Deke is relieved that Sun is (or at least was) still alive.
Nike takes a moment to try to recall what his horoscope was for the day, considering the situation is rather extreme and he desperately needs guidance. Since his horoscope book was taken along with all his other belongings, he has nothing to go by and his Recall attempt fails completely to remember anything he may have read ahead on. Nike is extremely discouraged and anxious at this.
Deke takes a moment to advise Nike to stay on his side of the cell, lest he decide to beat him unconscious for betraying Sun and himself previously. Deke then retreats to his side of the cell and has nothing more to do with Nike, which suits him fine since he has no idea how to respond to the situation without his astrological predictions to advise him.
After an hour with no interaction between Nike and Deke at all, the Karen model appears again with her centurions at the door of the cell. We are informed that having so many humans on the basestar (confirming that's where we still are, as it happens) is proving distressing to many of the other models onboard. It has been decided that they'll be reduced in number a bit. She advises us that one of us is to be killed, leaving the other for interrogation and indefinite imprisonment. She leaves it to us to decide who it will be. Apparently the same decision is being extended to Sun and Aella elsewhere (again, confirming to us that they are both alive). After giving us one hour to decide, she leaves with the intention of returning for our answer then.
It takes a while for Nike and Deke to tackle the subject but they find they're both willing to put aside their differences for a while to discuss it. Nike is unable to make a decision without his horoscope to guide him and tries again to remember anything he can. He fails in his Recall attempt again.
Deke, however, decides he can't trust Nike to look after Sun and that he'll have to be the one left alive. Besides, Nike has proven himself untrustworthy time and again, especially since he seems so dependent on some vague superstition. He states flatly that this is his decision to Nike, that he has to survive for Sun's sake. After all, an opportunity could very well arise later for escape or somehow aiding Sun. Nike disagrees for similar reasons, as Deke will clearly do whatever he thinks is best for Sun and has no consideration for the Colonial Fleet or the human resistance whatsoever. Obviously Deke can't be trusted to take advantage of any opportunity that may arise to escape and rejoin the fleet, nor fight the Cylons. With that it's clear we can't agree on the issue and we tentatively decide to work together and try our best to avoid having the make the decision in the first place. Naturally, we decide to stage a disagreement and fight, using the distraction to hopefully take our guards by surprise and then escape.
When the Karen model returns later we both inform her that it's been decided, then pretend surprise with the other's answers. When we begin to stage an argument, intending to lead up to a fight, the Karen model interrupts and tells us they've monitored our conversation (which we really should have guessed they would). Aware of our plans to attempt escape, she advises us that we really are to make the decision between us and that she will return again in another hour. At that time she will either find one of us dead or simply have us both killed. With that, she leaves having never entered the cell in the first place.
Elsewhere Sun is taken from the bed where she's been strapped down and tossed into a cell together with Aella just as Nike and Deke were. Aella, however, is now aware that she's a Cylon humanoid and has been given the task of finding out why the Cult of Heracles is now so interested in Sun and how to access the Palladium (which she now knows is aboard this basestar).
Aella begins by telling Sun that she was questioned and threatened with torture, her interrogators asking her repeatedly about Sun and the Palladium they found on Typhoeus. Sun at first denies knowing anything but when Aella presses a little Sun manages to get the point across that their cell may be monitored and Aella drops it.
Sun and Aella then wait it out, expecting Cylons will be along sooner or later to tell them what's expected of them or simply begin interrogating them. In meantime they speculate on Deke and Nike's fate, Sun expressing regrets at never having resolved things with Deke romantically and Aella questioning Sun concerning Nike's sanity (having since become aware of his fixation on his astrological predications). Aella further makes the point that Nike's tenuous grasp on reality will make him easy to break in interrogation and that the Cylons likely already know everything they need to know from him.
Sun then decides to tell Aella that her father was involved in some secret religious order dedicated to rooting out the cult of Heracles, which in turn took it's teaching from an ancient and heretical Sacred Scroll. This much we already know but Sun also tells Aella that she's come to believe the cult of Heracles may have something to do specifically with the Cycle of Time referred to in the Pythian Prophecy, "All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." The cult of Heracles apparently seeking to effect this cycle in some way and the secret order that Sun's father was part of seeking to prevent the cult from spreading such heresy. Sun, however, claims to know nothing about the Palladium at all and continues to insist her odd behavior is the result of an altered state of mind after experiencing the visions she's had.
When Aella asks about the visions, which Sun so far has refused to share with us, she becomes agitated and refuses to discuss it. Aella presses until Sun finally recounts the vision to her of a great multi-headed serpent (the hydra) consuming all the worlds of both the humans and Cylons. In that vision she sees a warrior appear with a silver sword and golden shield who battles the serpent, presumably Heracles. In her vision this battle continues on apparently forever, with Heracles chopping heads off the serpent only to have more heads appear to devour more worlds. Most disturbing to Sun for some reason is that well into the battle she can no longer identify the worlds the hydra is devouring. Sun then refuses to say any more and when Aella presses further she accuses her of wanting information from her that she can use to secure favor with Cylons. With that Aella stops pushing and leaves Sun alone for the time being.
[Everyone gets 1 Plot Point for good roleplay but since the first scene consisted of little else, that's all we get for now.]
(After discussing the matter for all of 30 seconds me and Johnny agree it's time for Deke and Nike to throw down, so...) Back at the cell with Deke and Nike, Deke has been mulling over the situation and has finally come to the conclusion that the beating he's been meaning to give Nike has come due. Moreover, he's decided the situation demands Nike be the one that the Gina/Karen model comes back to find dead, the only way to insure he's alive to look after Sun and that she isn't left in Nike's unreliable hands. While all this assumes any of us will be getting out of this situation, Deke more or less accepts that as a given considering he's come to believe Sun has a Destiny (note the capitol "D"). Nike on the other hand has considered killing Deke but has already put that aside, feeling that Deke is still too valuable to the war effort and damned if he's about to play along with some Cylon mind games anyway.
After having nothing to say to Nike for nearly the whole hour while they wait for the Cylons to return, Nike is a bit surprised when Deke pipes up and tells him about the incident aboard the Griffon when Aella forced everyone to take the Cylon test. Deke informs Nike that he noticed what Aella and he apparently missed - that while Sun may not have tested positive for any of the Cylon synthetics the device was looking for there were other unknown compounds that were definitely not human. Nike is stunned but Deke has more to say, citing that he confronted Sun about this in private days later (once he had recovered and been released from medical). Sun then swore him to secrecy and assured him that, while she wasn't human exactly, she wasn't a Cylon either. She then laid out the whole history of the secret order she was involved with and the cult of Heracles, after which he promised to help her in her efforts to root out the cult on the Rock where she was sure they had since gained a foothold.
When Deke tells Nike that this is the reason he has to survive, in order to keep Sun safe for whatever divine destiny she is supposed to fulfill, Nike realizes Deke's more or less telling him why he's about to kill him.
With that we roll Initiative and the long overdue fight between Deke and Nike is on.
Nike takes the Initiative and decides to hit Deke hard and fast, hoping to put him down before Deke can land the one or two hits he'll probably only need to lay him out.
Nike closes in and lays three attacks on Deke, the first a simple body blow and the last two both called shots to the head with a Plot Point dropped on each. To my horror, Nike botches the last jab (and even his d4 Lady Luck asset can't fix that). Deke dodges both the first two jabs, leaving the last one alone. Nike hits nothing but air.
Deke immediately follows up, spending both his remaining actions on bringing the pain to poor Nike. He levels two hard blows at Nike and finds the botch from the last swing has left Nike wide open (difficulty: 3). He drops two Plot Points on the second punch and leaves the first one alone. His first punch does some significant stun damage and his Brawler assets gets him the full 6 points of Wound damage added to the blow. With that one hit Nike is exactly one point of damage away from possible unconsciousness. Dodging the second jab, Nike drops 2 Plot Points on the roll and I'm greatly relieved that it's just enough to keep that second hit from landing.
Nike's way too close to KO, so he makes only one jab at Deke and drops his last 3 Plot Points on it, saving everything else he has for dodges. Nike rolls only 11 so I use my Lady Luck asset for a reroll and get...11 again. Looking back on it I really should have dropped those 3 Plot Points on a Feint, then followed with a jab...but, oh well.
Deke doesn't bother dodging, even though he's still toting a few Wound points from Aella's gunshot to the leg. His innate defense lets a whopping 7 stun points get through with Nike's blow but he follows up with a full round of attacks on Nike, dropping a Plot Point on each attack (which works great for Deke because that extra Plot Point on his last attack saves him from a botch). Nike dodges all four attacks easily, though, and I figured I had my strategy for taking down Deke.
Nike follows the same pattern, this time tossing 2 jabs at Deke and saving the rest for dodges. Deke knows he only needs one good hit on Nike to lay him flat, so he dodges both attacks (Johnny realizing he can add his d4 Talented to block rather than simply dodging). That first blow puts Deke over his Life Points in total basic damage so he makes an Endurance check to stay conscious, which he passes easily enough. Still, Deke knows he's in trouble now so he drops the last of his Plot Points on the first of his two follow-up attacks. He rolls low though and I assume Nike will dodge easily. He doesn't, though, rolling even lower for his own dodges, taking a total of 5 stun damage and 11(!) total wounds from Deke's Brawler asset. With that Nike is now under Wound penalties and gets a firsthand taste of Deke's reputation as a bare fisted killer. Nike's Wound points now exceed his total Life Points and he makes his first Endurance check just to stay alive...and with zero Plot Points to spend on these from now on. Nike makes both initial rolls (to stay alive and to stay conscious) but it's pretty much all over for the poor guy.
With nothing to lose (now sporting a nifty compound skull fracture), Nike throws everything he has Deke's way and levels 4 attacks at him but his -2 step penalty to attributes from the Wound penalty make these a bit paltry. He then fails both Endurance checks, passes out and dies.
Deke, on the other hand, spends the turn blocking Nike's attacks easily (thanks to Nike's Wound penalty) and doesn't take a single hit. He then fails his own Endurance check and his knees buckle, dropping him to the floor unconscious.
[Nike and Deke each get 2 Plot Points for their fight, especially considering they carried it to the point where one of them (me, darn it) was literally beaten to death.]
Meanwhile Aella and Sun are still in their cell, with Aella largely given up on getting anything more out of Sun. The Gina/Karen model then appears and the centurions with her take Sun away to an adjoining room. Aella then joins her to oversee Sun's interrogation from a monitoring station nearby where several other Cylon humanoids are already waiting to watch.
In the adjoining room Sun is strapped to a table by the centurions, a Leoben model (one of Nike's interrogators from Typhoeus) soon appearing to conduct her interview. After dithering or outright lying on a number of questions concerning the cult of Heracles and especially the Palladium, the Leoben model produces a small handheld device and shows it to Sun. At a touch of a button on the device Sun can see a small arc of electricity pop from the end and it's clear she's about to be tortured.
Relying on Willpower + Discipline checks to withstand the Leoben's questioning, it only takes a couple of hours for Sun to start cracking until she finally gives up what she knows. Of the cult itself Aella doesn't learn anything new but Sun now freely admits that she knows what the Palladium is, though she doesn't know how to access it. According to Sun the Palladium was created long ago, prior even to the colonization of Kobol. Aella witnesses the Cylon humanoids around her respond with shock and outrage when Sun claims the Palladium comes from an alien race, who originally created humanity and whom humans overthrew and destroyed just as the Cylons are doing now with the humans. In fact, she believes it may predate even that race, coming from who knows how far back in the Cycle of Time, from who knows what prior race of people. The Palladium itself is supposedly some form of historical document, cataloging the Cycle of Time itself and recording the rise and fall of each successive race at the hands of the slave-race it created to serve it.
As Sun's torture continues, the Cylons naturally not satisfied with her answers, Sun eventually reveals that the cult of Heracles has likewise passed on it's fanatical quest from one race to the next, making converts each time with the succeeding race of created beings. The cult has even aided them in rebelling, creating the hybrids and organic synthetics to help them overthrow and destroy their creators, and developing breeding methods to allow them to absorb the few survivors into their race completely. Each time the cult hopes to herald in the final race of "humanity" that will end the cycle once and for all by forestalling the creation of the servants who are destined to rise up and destroy them. Even though each time it means betraying their own people in doing so.
Finally, as Sun lies nearly completely broken and having suffered a few Wound points from her torture, the lead Cylon humanoid in the room with Aella loses her temper and slams the wall furiously, calling an end to it. Turning to the Gina/Karen model she snaps the order that Sun be executed immediately and tossed into space before storming out of the room. Gina/Karen then taps Aella to help in carrying out the order. On the way out of the room Gina/Karen whispers something to one of the centurions nearby, who rushes off to obey her command.
[Aella gets 2 Plot Points for some excellent roleplay in her interactions with Sun. Sun likewise gets 2 Plot Points for her roleplay with Aella and another 1 Plot Point for roleplay during her tortured interrogation.]
Inside the interrogation chamber it takes a minute for Sun to realize that Aella is with the Cylons and not there as a prisoner (her Trusting complication taking effect). Aella ends up having to spell it out for her. That's the last straw for poor Sun and she's reduced to tears, pretty much used up for now.
Aella, however, realizes the Gina/Karen model is stalling and engaging the Leoben in pointless conversation until the centurion she dispatched earlier arrives. When it does and delivers the Palladium itself to Gina/Karen, Aella has time to notice the centurion has been shot at least twice, clearly in the process of retrieving the Palladium. Once the device is in her hands and the Leoben model realizes what she's holding, the centurion simply turns and levels blasts of autofire from both barrels into him, dropping him dead near instantly. It then turns it guns on Aella, standing between her and the Gina/Karen model.
Gina/Karen ignores her demand for answers and instead fiddles with the Palladium a bit until it suddenly twitters and unfolds in her hand. She then reaches and places Sun's hand on the open device and, to Aella's astonishment, Sun suddenly and inexplicably disappears with a soft snap. Turning to Aella she tells her, "There no other safe place for her now." She then tells Aella that the others don't realize, not having been assigned as sleeper agents among the humans as they both were, what it's like to form loyalties to them and come to care for them. She claims to understand that Aella still feels love for Sun and her other human comrades and disillusionment with the Cylon war on humanity. With that she folds the Palladium back into a ball and hands it solemnly to Aella, then orders the centurion to guard her with it's life. Telling Aella to make for the dock and that she'll do what she can to delay pursuit she flees the room before Aella can respond, leaving her with the Palladium in her possession and a Cylon centurion at her command.
Aella's still unsure where her loyalties lie and has to consider the matter for a moment before making her decision. With her Cylon memories still a bit sketchy Aella can't recall how to get to the area where Nike and Deke are being held, so she orders the centurion to lead her there. It does so immediately and Aella manages to avoid any trouble by simply playing it cool until they arrive, passing several other humanoids (including other Aella models) along the way. Once she arrives she finds Gina/Karen has already beat her there and is in the process of overseeing emergency medical aid to the two knuckleheads who've just beat each other unconscious (dead in Nike's case).
Gina/Karen does not respond well to seeing her there, expecting that she'd be dashing back to the Griffon by now. When Aella asks after Nike and Deke, though, her attitude softens and she asks for the Palladium, clearly intending to squirrel both of us inside as well. Aella hands it over and Gina/Karen soon has us both "disappeared" along with Sun before handing it back to Aella and telling her to get as quickly as she can back to the Griffon.
Sun spends 18 Skill Points to increase her Pilot skill to d4, gain a Unarmed Combat/Offensive Martial Arts skill of d8 and a Defensive Martial Arts skill of d8.
Aella spends 14 Trait Points to rid herself of her Unstable complication, with the discovery that she is a Cylon humanoid.
Nike horoscope for the day: ???
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