Battle of Atlas Arena
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|Battle of Atlas Arena|
|Conflict:||STO terrorist campaign|
|Date:||Approximately 58 years before the Fall|
|Place:||Atlas Arena, Caprica City, Caprica|
|Result:|| Caprican government victory|
Major defeat of Clarice Willow's STO terrorist cell
Broad public acceptance of Cylons
Although U-87 Cyber Combat Units attached to the Caprican Marine Corps were deployed against the terrorists, the robots were not ordered into action by any military or government official, but instead by their inventor, Daniel Graystone.
A ten-year silence was broken by the Soldiers of the One, or STO, in the suicide bombing of the Maglev 23 commuter train in Caprica City, claiming hundreds of lives (CAP: Caprica pilot). A string of smaller bombings and a failed larger attack followed, including an attempted assassination of Sister Clarice Willow, the nominal head of STO operations in Caprica City, as part of an internal power struggle (CAP: "Gravedancing", "Know Thy Enemy", End of Line", "Retribution"). In response, Clarice requested that the Monotheist Church, the ultimate masters of the STO, grant her full control of the entire terrorist organization. Clarice promised in return a practical path to eternal life after death, perfect digital holographic avatar re-creations of faithful Church members who would dwell forever in a virtual environment - what would come to be called apotheosis.
Initially, apotheosis would be made available only to those who had proven their devotion to the Church and to God by becoming martyrs in the STO's largest attack yet. Clarice presented a holoband simulation of the attack as part of her proposal to the leadership of the Church: the martyrs would simultaneously activate bombs on their persons at the start of a Caprica Buccaneers match, triggering additional charges planted throughout Atlas Arena by allies posing as a repair crew. The combined explosions would collapse the entire structure, killing the more than thirty thousand spectators, players, and others present. At the moment of death, life monitors planted on the martyrs would activate their avatars, rewarding them for their sacrifice. Clarice envisioned this attack and others to follow as a clear message: die in the service of the one true God and be reborn, or die in vain.
During the period following the Maglev 23 bombing, Graystone Industries successfully developed and began mass production of U-87 Cyber Combat Units, robotic soldiers in the service of the Caprican military. The robots, also known as Cylons, were in the early stages of their integration into the armed forces (CAP: "Unvanquished").
On the eve of the attack, Clarice came to learn that Amanda Graystone, a close friend and confidante, had been spying on behalf of the Global Defense Department, Caprica's highest law enforcement agency. In retaliation, Clarice and two of her husbands broke into the Graystone Estate to eliminate Amanda and her husband, Graystone Industries CEO Daniel Graystone. Nestor Willow was killed during the break-in, but Clarice and Olaf Willow managed to escape, and with the help of an STO operative highly placed in the GDD, were able to turn the Graystones themselves into fugitives wanted for acts of terrorism.
The next morning, Daniel and Amanda located a holoband stolen by Amanda from Clarice's home and hidden in a city park. The holoband contained the bombing and apotheosis simulation first presented to the leaders of the Monotheist Church months earlier. Daniel deduced from details in the simulation that the bombing would occur later that day.
With the help of fellow STO members working security, Olaf and the other martyrs entered the arena without interference and took their seats among the crowd. Daniel and Amanda surreptitously made their way into the arena and entered a television camera booth manned by only one operator who tried to contact security but was overpowered by the Graystones. Amanda blocked the door while her husband logged into a laptop computer smuggled out of Graystone Industries by a junior member of the U-87 team recruited by the couple hours earlier. Daniel used the laptop to locate the nearest U-87 combat units and order them to converge on Atlas Arena.
As the crowd stood for the Caprica national anthem at the start of the game, four marine aircraft flew close over the arena. They were initially mistaken as a surprise airshow, until the craft landed on the playing field and their passengers - all Cylons - emerged and rapidly took up positions along the perimeter of the field. Daniel ordered the U-87s to scan the stunned crowd, communicating through a single command Cylon clad in camoflage pattern armor. Once most of the explosives were identified and their operators targeted, the U-87s aimed their weapons and almost simultaneously killed six of the martyrs with single head or chest shots.
Silence in the crowd turned to panic. Most attempted to flee as the Cylons continued to pick out their targets, but amidst the chaos, Olaf calmly realized that their was no escape and attempted to detonate the bomb strapped to his torso - until the fleeing spectators knocked the trigger out of his hand. The command Cylon maintained its lock on Olaf and waited for further instructions. In the camera booth, Daniel and Amanda struggled with both the camera operator who had awoken and Caprica City police threatening to break down the door. Once the camera operator was knocked unconscious, Daniel sent the final command to surround and take down Olaf, and the Graystones immediately surrendered to the police.
Olaf located the trigger, and saw six Cylons climbing through the stands and swarming in on him. He cried out, "The one true God will drive out the many! So say we all!" As the U-87s pounced upon him, Olaf detonated his explosive, killing himself and destroying the six Cylons, and causing only minor damage to a small section of the arena. The attack had failed.
The facts about the Graystones' role in the battle emerged sometime after their arrest, and all accusations of terrorism against the couple were eventually revealed to be false. The rehabilitation of their public reputation was accompanied by a dramatic surge of interest in Cylon technology, and over the next several years, the robots found their way into an ever-broader spectrum of military, commercial, and domestic uses. This interest occasionally turned into public affection, represented most vividly by a heroic Caprica City statue commemorating the U-87s that had fought in Atlas Arena. Daniel was interviewed about these developments and the future of the Cylons in a special episode of Backtalk with Baxter Sarno.
With the deaths of her spouses and the loss of a large number of STO members in a futile attack, Clarice's ability to continue a terrorist campaign was severely diminished. The rise of Lacy Rand to the leadership of the Monotheist Church, a personal adversary of Clarice and someone with a more ambivalent attitude toward terrorism, undoubtedly limited her even further. In a final blow, the apotheosis program and the martyrs' digital avatars were destroyed at the time of the battle, removing Clarice's most valuable contribution to the Church. Despite her fall, Clarice was able to avoid legal punishment for her crimes, and continued to serve the Church. She eventually came to recognize the growing Cylon population as "differently sentient" and as potential followers of the faith. She petitioned Rand for the Church to accept the Cylons into their number. Clarice evangelized to growing Cylon congregations in V-world, claiming that one among them would lead them to "rise and crush the ones who first gave them life" (CAP: "Apotheosis").