Cate remembers the day of the uprising, when the Cylons struck at a pyramid exhibition in Picon's capital city.
Location: Big Blue Pyramid Stadium, Hyperion, Picon
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 575
Cate lay in her bunk, listening to the snores from down the way. The barracks was dark at this hour, and only a small reading lamp provided illumination in her berth. She stared at a gold coin grasped gingerly between her fingers, studying the seal of Picon on one side and the image of a boat on a river on the other. Her friend Evan had told her it was their tradition to carry the coin if it couldn't be placed with the body of a fallen loved one to pay the ferryman. Cate wasn't sure she believed in all that, but she carried it anyway. She stared at it, and she remembered who she carried it for.
Cate cupped her hands around her mouth. “Woohoo! Let’s go Bucs!”
Deb Brody cast an odd look at her friend. “Why are you rooting for Caprica? You do know we’re on Picon, right?”
“Because they’re my favorite team,” Cate replied with an easy grin. Off Deb’s arched eyebrow, she shrugged. “What, like I’m going to root for the Knights?” She scoffed at the notion of cheering on Virgon’s pyramid team. “It’s cool though - I’ve never seen them play in person.”
Cate returned her attention to the field. The Colonial Fair exhibition game was off to an exciting start. The Picon Panthers had scored a goal early on, electrifying the home-town crowd, but the Caprica Buccaneers had retaliated with two quick goals. Now the score was 2-1 and halftime was approaching.
“I still say we should’ve gone to the club,” Deb groused. Pyramid wasn’t her thing, but Cate didn’t feel too guilty considering the art exhibition Deb had dragged her to this morning. The first Colonial Fair in a century promised to showcase of the best each world had to offer in science, art and innovation. Deb had ooohed and aaahed over the paintings and sculptures while Cate smiled politely and pretended like she cared about the difference between Tauron and Leonese color palettes.
“We can go to the club tomorrow,” Cate retorted. “The exhibition game is just for one night. Anyway, consider it practice for when Zach signs up for junior leagues next year.” Cate grinned at Deb’s scowl, knowing her friend was dreading her little boy’s foray into organized sports. So far his experience consisted of friendly 'games' in the backyard with his dad and honorary-Aunt Cate.
Cate leaned forward when the action down on the field turned intense. “Come on, Sid!” she cheered on the star Caprican center.
“Is that the hot guy from those shoe commercials?” Deb asked.
Cate laughed. “Gods, you’re hopeless. Yes, but he’s also the top scorer in the league. Do you…” The question died on her lips as the lights suddenly went out, plunging the entire stadium into darkness. A hush fell over the crowd, cheering giving way to hushed questions and a few children crying. The announcer’s play-by-play cut off abruptly. Whistles down on the field called for the stoppage of play, as if it weren’t obvious.
The power interruption lasted only a minute, just long enough for people to start taking out their phones or keychain fobs to use as flashlights. Everyone’s relief at the lights coming back on was short-lived. As the players began to regroup for another face-off, the giant video cube above the field suddenly came on with the unexpected picture of an office. The desk bore the seal of Picon and the words ‘EMERGENCY MESSAGE’ scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Cate glanced around and saw a similar video playing on several wireless phones around her.
A disheveled woman came into view on the big screen. Even Cate recognized her as Picon president Miranda Easton. Cate glanced over at Deb and saw her own confused alarm mirrored on her friend’s face. The sleeve of Easton’s impeccably-tailored Leonese suit was torn, and her usually-composed face showed signs of fear, the makeup hastily touched up after being marred with tears. “People of Picon, a vicious, coordinated attack has begun in our capital. Our military and police forces are being deployed even as we speak. I urge everyone to stay indoors until this crisis is resolved." Gunfire echoed somewhere off-screen, and the president looked rattled. "We will fight. We will never give up, never…”
There was a collective jump and gasp from the people in the arena as the president’s words were abruptly cut off by the boom of a burst of gunfire, red blossoming across her blouse. The president fell across the desk, groaning. A metallic clanking sound heralded the steps of a Cylon Centurion coming into view on the screen, its markings identifying it as part of the president’s security detail. Cate saw blood on its chrome, which probably didn’t bode too well for the president's human bodyguards. As the spectators at Big Blue Stadium (and across Picon) watched in horror, the Centurion grabbed the Picon president by the neck and snapped it as easily as if she were a doll. The Centurion held her broken body in its single metallic hand for a moment and then let the lifeless form drop to the floor. The robot turned toward the camera, its ominous red eye flashing, and then the feed suddenly cut off.
Cate sucked in a shocked breath, her heart racing. Several people in the arena screamed. It took a moment for the president’s words to sink in. The capital is under attack. That’s us. Hyperion. The realization hit her like a punch in the gut.
She wasn’t the only one to realize the implication of the president’s message. Around the arena, panic quickly set in. People started flooding toward the exits, shouting, screaming. Cate stood up on her seat, trying to see above everyone’s heads to figure out the best way to go. “Cate?” Deb’s uncertain voice caused Cate to look down at her friend. Terror was written all over her face.
Suddenly, loud pops could be heard from the concourse level behind them. Cate ducked instinctively, recognizing the sound of gunshots. There were more shots, screaming, people trying to scatter but just crashing into each other. Someone went down under the press of the crowd, probably ending up trampled. It was chaos.
“This way - come on.” Cate grabbed Deb’s arm as she started climbing over the backs of seats to get down closer to the field. Cate had splurged on decent seats in honor of their vacation, so they weren't far from the field. There had to be a way out down there. Through the lockers - something. Anywhere away from the shooting.
Down on the field, she saw a flash of chrome and then heard more gunfire. Several Panther players went down before her eyes, felled by a hail of bullets. The Cylons were shooting. Was this some kind of Caprican sneak attack? On the opposite side of the field, two fleeing C-Bucs were shot in the back by a different Centurion, one of them wearing the number of Caprica's star player. So much for that theory.
Now that Cate knew what to look for, she caught glimpses of more Cylons throughout the stadium. Private security models, from the bodyguard details for the bigwigs who had come for the halftime tribute ceremony. Centurions from stadium and Hyperon police. Vendor Cylons selling popcorn and souvenirs. A few maintenance models. All of them - without exception - now going on the offensive against the humans.
“Frakking hell, the Cylons have all gone crazy,” Cate said breathlessly to Deb. With gunfire ahead of them on the field, and behind them on the concourse, she searched for another way out. “This way!” She pulled Deb behind her, dashing across the seats towards an alcove that led down to the lower concourse.
Cate hopped over the railing, and glanced back to urge Deb to do the same when she saw a shape moving behind her friend. “Deb, get down!”
Deb turned, and got her arm up just in time to block a blow that would have crushed her skull. Deb screamed and collapsed. The vendor bot didn’t say a word, its torso still adorned with “Let’s go Panthers!” pennants, and a button that read, “Pretzels - 4c”.
Lunging forward, Cate grabbed Deb under the shoulders and pulled her under the railing. They both landed in a heap at the bottom of a short staircase. Deb screamed again briefly as the impact jostled her broken arm, then went limp. Passed out. Above them, the vendor bot climbed on top of the railing, preparing to pounce. Knowing that she couldn’t outpace a Cylon while carrying Deb, Cate frantically looked around for some kind of weapon.
Turned out she didn’t need one. More gunshots ran out, this time from some unseen friendly face. A security guard maybe? Cate had no idea. The bullets rocked back the vendor bot, nearly causing it to lose its balance on the railing. It didn’t fall, though, and then it leapt forward - toward the shooter. There were more gunshots, then a scream, but Cate didn’t stop to think about what had probably happened to their rescuer. She pulled Deb into a fireman’s carry and started shuffling down the tunnel to the lower concourse.
More gunfire rang out ahead of them, causing Cate’s heart to skip a beat. She looked back and forth, feeling trapped. Then she noticed a doorway marked ‘AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY’. Frak that. Cate tried the door. It was locked, naturally. She kicked it, like they did in the movies, but only succeeded in bruising her foot.
With the sound of gunfire getting closer, she gently laid Deb down and tried again. Over and over. “Come. On. You. Mother. Frakker. Arrrgh!” It was the final desperate kick that finally overcame the paltry lock, splintering the door jamb. Murmuring a quiet thanks under her breath, she dragged her friend into what turned out to be an electrical closet.
Keeping her back against the door to hold it closed, Cate struggled to catch her breath. Their tiny sanctuary was dark, just a faint illumination coming from some buttons on a control panel. Deb lay at her feet, blissfully unconscious. Cate would tend to her arm soon enough. For now, she huddled in the darkness, shaking and praying as she listened to the screams and gunshots echo through the arena.