Leoben Conoy

Leoben Conoy is a character from the Battlestar Galactica re-imagining. He is played by custardpringle on dear_multiverse and #thesanctuary. He is very close to BSG canon, but custardpringle's backstory for him incorporates a great deal of crossover with due South and House of Leaves.


Leoben is a humanoid Cylon— that is to say, he resembles a human being so closely that in theory he could father children with a human, but he is in fact an extremely advanced and very highly evolved computer. For the most part he will function like a human being; he is externally entirely indistinguishable from one, and no more difficult to physically damage. He is, however, much stronger physically than a human being— he has been shown to be able to break out of a pair of metal handcuffs with very little effort— and can theoretically download into another Leoben body if killed.

Most importantly, Leoben can "see" in ways that a human would consider extrasensory; all Cylons have this sort of enhanced vision, but Leoben's is the most powerful, and the ability is more necessary to his purpose than to any other model's. Essentially, Leoben sees patterns— in a sense somewhat like precognition, but also in the sense that he is simply very good at noticing and interpreting connections of any kind. While the vast complexity of the Nexus makes it impossible for him to comprehend events as thoroughly as he could in his home universe— where there was no free will at all— he can still focus on the people he speaks to, and to some extent on his surroundings, and notice the major events in their past that brought them there as well as any set events in their future. Between this ability and Leoben's more cerebral skill at understanding and manipulating people, he may sometimes seem to be telepathic, but he is not.

For all intents and purposes, Leoben resembles a human man in his late forties, with blond hair and blue eyes. He dresses utterly horribly, unless he's trying to get laid (it's canon folks) and is fond, for no reason he can explain, of coffee with M&Ms stirred in. He lives in a sideroom of the Sanctuary with his dog, a female Bohemian Shepherd named Terrwyn, and is in a serious but nonexclusive romantic relationship with Captain Jack Harkness.


For reasons that the mun does not feel like exploring at this juncture, Leoben is to some extent a reincarnated version of S. Raymond Kowalski, a Chicago police detective from the late 20th century. By no means does Leoben retain all of Kowalski's memories or personality, but a few things have filtered down for him— his odd way of making coffee, for example, and his great fondness for dogs. (Leoben even once, in a dream sequence played outside his continuity, found himself on the top floor of a Chicago skyscraper.) Most of what Leoben retains of Kowalski's experience, however— and the reason a Cylon model was patterned after Kowalski to begin with— concerns the time Kowalski and his parter, RCMP Constable Benton Fraser, spent in a highly unusual house that violated the laws of physics.

This house ultimately became a religious object, and ultimately as the Cylon religion developed it was necessary to "reincarnate" Kowalski, who was considered to have seen the face of God, into the humanoid model Leoben, so that the Leobens would become the prophets of the Cylon race and eventually lead them home to Earth and thus to the house. There was at one point a Cylon model based on Fraser as well, the Varis model, but they ultimately proved mentally unstable and were placed into storage. Although this was by the very nature of Leoben's universe inevitable, the fact remains that Leoben was designed to function best with a partner and companion rather than by himself; consequently he craves companionship and understanding, and copes much more badly than most with any extended period of isolation.

Unfortunately (if inevitably) the original intent of Cylon scripture has become somewhat distorted, and the Cylons now understand the promise of a home free of humanity— meaning the house, where humans cannot survive but Cylons would thrive— to mean that the entire universe must be rid of the human species. Consequently the Cylons bombed the Twelve Colonies out of existence, reducing a population of fifty billion humans to around forty thousand, and are now in a race with the survivors of the Colonies to find Earth— for the Cylons have misinterpreted their Scripture and believe that the entire planet Earth, and not just the house found there, is the home their God promised them.

Leoben himself has not been granted the knowledge of what will happen when Earth is found. He has been able to gain sufficient influence over the Colonial pilot Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, with whom Leoben is very much in love, that she followed the guidance of an angel taking his form so that she was able to find Earth; however, none of the Leobens is able to see anything but darkness very far beyond that point. It is therefore likely— if that darkness does not represent the interior of the house— that the Leobens, much like Moses in Jewish Scripture, will lead their people home but be boxed or killed without finding a home there themselves.

History in the Nexus

This particular Leoben already stood out slightly from his brothers, being noticeably more demonstrative in his affection for Kara Thrace, before he turned down the wrong corridor in a Cylon basestar and found himself in the central Nexus. For a while the complex patterns of events in the Nexus— exponentially more complicated and incomprehensible than his own, entirely predetermined universe— made him dizzy and ill with what can only be called realitysickness; Leoben still has mild difficulty with this when visiting the central Nexus, as well as with people or places with the ability to manipulate cause and effect— the Doctor and his TARDIS, for example. While Leoben was trying to recover from his confusion, as well as the more existential and emotional difficulties the Nexus and its inhabitants posed him, he found some people genuinely concerned about him, and ended up— more or less by accident— making friends there, as well as adopting a dog. However, he also made a few enemies, the most prominent being Keyser Soze, who came to the Nexus under the alias of Verbal Kint in an attempt to hide from the authorities in his own world, and was not happy to find that Leoben knew his true identity.

At one point Soze tried to solve this by killing Leoben, only to find that Leoben downloaded into a new body and returned from his home universe alive and well. In fact, Leoben attempted to take advantage of this by setting up a Cylon invasion of Jack Harkness' Earth, but he was surprised to find he felt guilty enough about betraying his friend that he was unable to follow through, and ultimately called off his own invasion. It was at this point that the other Leobens from his universe concluded the Nexus had clouded his vision, making him unstable and unreliable, and that they could not risk letting him return for fear that his unpredictable behavior would reflect badly on all of them; consequently, at this time, Leoben can no longer die and reload, because his brothers will know and place him into immediate storage rather than risk that fate for all of them.

It was shortly after this incident, strangely enough, that Leoben's friendship with Jack Harkness first expanded into a sexual relationship. Initially the relationship remained a purely "friends-with-benefits" arrangement, as so many of Harkness' friendships are, but after some time Leoben began to suspect— on advice from an angel from his universe, taking Kara Thrace's appearance— that the feelings between them had deepened into something substantially more than that. Unfortunately, it was very shortly after this realization that Jack found out— from Leoben himself, who was very belligerently drunk at the time— about the Cylon genocide of the Twelve Colonies. Both men were deeply upset by the incident, Jack angry and Leoben guilty, and they hardly spoke to each other in person for nearly a month; however, for some reason not yet known, they did on two occasions share a dreamscape and communicate that way, each failing to realize the other was any more than a figment of his dreaming imagination. By the time they were properly reconciled, it had therefore been made quite clear that Leoben was incredibly contrite and apologetic both for the genocide and for his behavior in telling Jack about it— and, further, that they had in fact fallen in love. Shortly afterwards, however, a crisis occurred which has kept Jack trapped in his own universe, leaving Leoben once again on his own for now.

Since then, Leoben has primarily been occupied with dealing with Keyser Soze, who finally grew tired of his verbal sparring with Leoben and began killing Nexizens in large numbers as a form of intimidation. Eventually Leoben was able to force Soze's attention directly back onto himself, and the situation culminated with Soze kidnapping Leoben and locking him in a storage room in the Paris Metro on Soze's Earth. During the three weeks it took a group of Leoben's friends and Soze's enemies to capture and interrogate Soze's employees and find their way into the cell, Soze tortured and abused Leoben very thoroughly, inflicting bruises and cuts and broken bones over as much of Leoben's body as he could without risking actually killing the Cylon and— as Soze thought would still be the case— allowing him to escape into a new, healthy body. Leoben, for his part, possessed the physical strength to overpower Soze and escape at any time, but chose not to— partly because he wished to keep Soze's attention on torturing him rather than killing Nexizens at random, and partly due to his own guilt at having misjudged the extent to which he could provoke Soze and hence having precipitated dozens of murders. Ultimately, though, Soze was captured and killed, and Leoben rescued. He still bears marks from the experience, however: crosshatched knife scars across the backs of his hands, his upper back, and the soles of his feet, as well as a slight limp on his left leg when tired. Further, the extended periods of isolation in total darkness have triggered some memories associated with Ray Kowalski's time in the house, and Leoben has recently begun having nightmares as a result of this.


Leoben is … not by any means your average guy, but for the sake of getting along easily with people he will tend to act like one nonetheless. After all, his original programming and purpose emphasize influencing and manipulating people, which means getting on with them as well as possible. Nonetheless, his enhanced vision is too natural a part of him to be ignored entirely, and Leoben still tends at times to discuss such things in matter-of-fact terms incomprehensible to most other people. As he's spent more time in the Nexus, however, he's managed to control this tendency, because it frequently results in discussion of his home universe and Cylon culture, topics Leoben prefers to avoid discussing in detail whenever possible. Consequently, while Leoben is rather dependent on his vision— after all, he regards it as one of the primary reasons for his existence— he doesn't discuss it nearly as much as he used to: usually only with close friends, or for real practical purposes, or when upset or ill or otherwise suffering from poor self-control.

In short: for the most part, to most people, Leoben's an average, fairly sane guy with some precognitive ability. In reality, though, he's stuck between being a Cylon and being the much-more-nearly-human person he's turning into; he's adapted to life in the Nexus much more easily than he expected to, but not by any means perfectly. There is always going to a be a small, permanently Cylon piece of his subconscious telling him that this is wrong, that he's betrayed his nature and beliefs and purpose and that he should be ashamed of himself— and, in fact, he is. Leoben will never be entirely, comfortably human; nor, in fact, will he ever even be entirely comfortable with the idea of free will. He's accepted it out of necessity, can even appreciate it some of the time— for example, he made conscious willful decisions to adopt Terrwyn and to start a relationship with Jack, and by now would never even consider regretting either of them. However, he continues to feel more comfortable in structured, predetermined situations, will— if the subject comes up in conversation— jump instinctively to argue against free will, and might even, if a sufficiently tempting opportunity presents itself, be tempted to abandon the Nexus entirely in favor of a new pattern into which to fit himself.

This is not to say, however, that Leoben's time in the Nexus has not shifted his priorities and ethics a great deal. He still has some difficulty grasping that his welfare as an individual being is important to people— or, in fact, that he has friends who'd care at all. He cares very much for them in return, however, and it is in fact that utter disregard for his own welfare that means that Leoben would do anything to help the people he cares about. Even if his own definition of help differs from theirs. He also takes a certain inevitable amount of interest in the well-being of the Nexus as a whole. Admittedly this is partly self-interest, since he lives there and all— and this same self-interest means that Leoben takes a rather dim view of people being too curious about other Nexizen's pasts outside their behavior in the Nexus, since his own history wouldn't exactly make him very popular if it became general knowledge. It is also, however, indicative of his continued desire to serve a purpose and fit into a larger system of some kind; Leoben will more than happily accept the responsibility of helping look after the Nexus for the sake of having some meaningful role, any at all, to play.

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