"Gina Inviere." Her Sister reaches out and touches Gina's honey-blond hair lightly, her perfect lips curving up into a smile. "That's what your name will be."
Gina closes her eyes and lets the syllables roll through her mind. They have a nice sound, she decides, smooth and lilting. It's a name she can grow into, make her own. "Gina," she repeats, and opens her eyes. She smiles confidently back at her Sister, their faces mirror images of each other. "I like it."
"We're happy to hear that." Her Sister's fingers slide downward to cup Gina's cheek. "Just remember that you won't be alone. We'll be in constant communication, and if you find yourself in any danger..."
"I know." Gina reaches up and covers the other Six's hand with her own. "I can always get back."
"Of course." The Six leans forward and brushes her lips gently against Gina's. "You'll always be able to come back."
It all seems so simple.
* * *
As it turns out, it's not simple at all.
It's easy in the beginning. She's just another contractor working on the Pegasus' upgrades, taking her meals in the mess with the other crew members, putting in long hours for pay that's decent but not spectacular, curling up in her rack at night.
She makes friends. It surprises her how trusting humans are - all she has to do is flash them a smile and offer her hand and they're off telling her about their childhood on Picon, or Aerilon, or wherever, and asking her what she's doing once she gets off shift. They're such an open and friendly race. It makes her feel sorry for them, just a little. They don't even know what's coming to them. They don't know that they cannot run from the sins of their past, and that before too much time has passed they'll all be annihilated in the destructive splendor of a nuclear blast.
She feels sorry for them, but not enough to turn away from her assigned task. She lays the groundwork that will cripple the Pegasus' defenses on judgment day, and pushes the small tendrils of conscience aside.
She is a Cylon. She will never forget that.
Then she and Helena Cain come face to face.
* * *
Helena Cain is young for an admiral.
Gina's heard the stories about her, of course: top her class, distinguishing herself for her clear, level-headed analysis of extreme combat situations, able to make the tough calls. She also has a reputation for being something of a hardass. That's why everything on the Pegasus runs with clockwork precision: everyone knows that if anything's out of place, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, there'll be hell to pay. Gina plays her part perfectly. She has all of her progress reports in on time, perfectly formatted, and no one has any reason to complain.
It's a mark of her success that the Admiral summons her to a personal meeting in her third week on the job. Gina isn't surprised that Admiral Cain is perfectly put together. Not a strand of her dark brown hair is out of place, her uniform is buttoned all the way to the top, and her posture is perfect. She's quite lovely, thinks Gina, lovely in the same way that a statue carved by a master is. Cold and imposing and so very distant.
"You've made quite a name for yourself, Ms. Inviere," says the Admiral, looking down at her report. "Our retrofit is ahead of schedule at this point, thanks to your work on the network configuration."
"Thank you, Admiral." Gina smiles politely and steps forward to point out the more relevant details. The Admiral listens intently, her eyes occasionally flickering up to Gina's face. Gina thinks that the Admiral must be lonely on some level, and wonders if that is something she can use to her advantage.
She lets her fingers brush against the Admiral's, seemingly by accident, as she points to something on the page.
Helena Cain's breath quickens, just a bit, and Gina smiles.
* * *
In the beginning, Gina thinks it's just manipulation.
She tells herself that she doesn't feel anything for the Admiral (for Helena). Helena might see the time they spend together in the intimacy of the Admiral's private quarters as relaxing, or as a tender affirmation of the connection growing between them, but Gina reminds herself that as far as she's concerned, she's just establishing the relationship for tactical reasons. Helena might sigh into the kisses Gina presses against her lips, and murmur her appreciation when Gina massages the tight, hurting muscles in her lower back after a day spent in meetings, but Gina tells herself that she doesn't feel an answering glow of warmth when she can ease some of Helena's burden.
When they have dinner together, Helena's smile is real, and there's a softness to her expression that is never visible when she's in the CIC.
Gina tells herself that her answering smiles are just a front.
She's aware that she's lying.
* * *
It doesn't matter that her internal world is becoming more and more confused. Gina is still, first and foremost, a Cylon agent. She makes no attempt to warn anyone about the coming nuclear holocaust, and after the Pegasus's miraculous escape, she allows a Centurion force to board the ship as soon as a viable opportunity presents itself. That's the point when everything unravels. Because everyone finds out, of course; everyone sees the footage of her Sister Six that Lieutenant Shaw shot dead in the corridor. Everyone now knows the truth of what she is.
The gun is in her hands, and she's pointing it directly at the Admiral (at Helena). Gina knows she should shoot her. There's no way that she'll walk off this ship alive; her only chance now is to download into a new body, and if she's loyal to the cause she'll kill one of the highest ranking humans before she goes.
But she remembers the way Helena used to smile at her before falling asleep, the way she ran her fingers lightly over the curves of Gina's breasts and the bow of her upper lip, and hesitates.
She doesn't pull the trigger.
It's not long until she wishes she had.
* * *
By the time Gaius Baltar walks into her cell, Gina has been beaten, raped, brutalized. She's covered in bruises and no longer speaks. She does not want to download. She does not want to go home. She just wants to die.
Suicide is a sin, however, and if she takes her own life, God will not forgive her.
But Gaius presses a gun into her hands, tells her that what she needs is not death, but justice. She listens to him. She flees from her cell, that prison of glass and metal and torment, and makes her way back to the Admiral's quarters.
"Frak you," whispers Helena when she sees Gina's battered face and the weapon she's holding.
"You're not my type," retorts Gina, and lifts the gun.
This time, she doesn't hesitate.