On 33, and FTL Radio in Battlestar Galactica

Well, readers could not help themselves from talking about 33, the first episode, due to a mention I made in yesterday’s topic. So it is time to write out some analysis of both that episode, and the general question of whether circumstances in the show demand that somebody has an FTL radio (over and above the FTL jump ships.)

The colonies certainly don’t have an FTL radio. And I suspect the writers do not intend the Cylons to have one either. The hidden string-puller (one true god) may be intended to have one.

Of course, all parties have jump ships. With a jump ship you can send a message FTL by putting it in a ship and jumping. While the colonies can’t jump anything smaller than a raptor, the Cylons probably have a small robotic probe which can jump with messages.

Using FTL jump ships for messages works fine, though it is expensive, and you can only send a message to somebody if you know exactly where they are right now. To make that work you need a constant stream of ships relaying data, so you can know where they are and where they go if you want to send them a message. Expensive, but it can be done. However, you can never get a message to a lost ship, unless it is sending message drones back to you to pick up the messages. A recent revelation, that the jump field is dangerous to use inside a ship, suggests that such message drones would need to be fired out of a ship, and then would jump. It is possible, in theory, that Cylon technology is sufficiently better than they could send a jump drone from inside a ship.  read more »


More on pappa, Tyrol

A few more notes (besides the comment threads on the other topics are getting too long…)


I noted that it remains curious just where he thought he was sending her. Some just think it was a dangerous attempt to find a habitable rock. One other line caught my attention in review, though. “Come with me. I can’t do it alone.” He doesn’t know it, but this means come be Cavil’s prisoner. Based on what we know, Tyrol was the technical wizard on the final five team. He’s as much of a prize for Boomer as Hera is, perhaps. His threat to open up Ellen’s brain was probably fake, but he definitely wants what Tyrol knows. He wants all five of them, I suspect.

What this means is that all of her last words to him, about meaning all that she said, are just as much a lie, even though they read like “I know I am about to betray you but I want you to know I have feelings.” Or perhaps it means that she truly is Cavil’s “Pet 8” and programmed to obey him, regardless of her feelings. She certainly has been under such compulsions before, in so many things she did. In which case she’s not really a traitor either.

Michael Hall notices that one of Boomer’s compulsions, long ago, involved her not seeing water readings when she was sent out to recon for water to replace the tank she had destroyed in the very 2nd episode, Water.

Slick, the piano player

Podcasts confirm what was already strongly shown, this is Starbuck’s father. Whether he is Daniel or not is another question. He is, however, different from the other “head characters” in the show. When Starbuck meets him at the bar, she has a loud conversation with him. Starbuck is at the bar, Slick is on the raised piano stage. Nobody even turns their head at Starbuck conversing loudly with a ghost, the way they did for Baltar. Some later scenes appear to be in private, but of course in the chilling climax, she starts playing the BSG intro for the Final Five Theme Song, and it’s clear she really is in the bar, really at the piano and presumably playing it. (Though she is not playing a bass guitar etc. which Tigh seems to hear, but he also can be in the illusion.) But nobody notices her talking to anybody invisible.

This is different from her Leoben (who seems to me was almost surely the same being) who appeared to her while seemingly unconscious. And different from Roslin’s Elosha, who appeared in a period of zero time between jumps. And they are different from Baltar’s and Six’s head characters, who are conversed with in real time.

More on the star hunt

Another bad realization for the star hunt. Galactica appears to have been stalled for several weeks in this region of space, which has the stars only seen from here in the solar system. They’ve been sending out week-long recon missions in raptors, looking for anything habitable. The Earth at the end of season 3 was such a planet. They could not miss it if they were sitting right on top of it the way the star patterns say.

So the most likely explanation is the star patterns are the work of careless post-production team members. But one last stretch of an explanation exists. That, like Boomer and the water, they are programmed to not see it, or it’s deliberately hidden in some way. Alas, the appearance of the star patterns (but not obvious ones) near the Ionian nebula makes it look bad. There has been no supernova right near Earth, nor will there be one for a very long time to come, if ever.

The jump damage

The jump damage starts to make sense if you consider that the jump field pushes away things near it. An entire raptor, near the jumping Tylium ship, would be pushed away as a unit, and it’s designed for the acceleration. The wall of Galactica, however, faces having a degrading jump field in the middle of it. Some parts are in the push field, some are not, and it is the difference in forces which tears it apart, and why you can’t jump in-ship.

Not being able to jump in-ship, if also true for Cylons, makes it harder for the Olympic Carrier from the first epsisode to have been sending back FTL signals to the Cylon fleet, except via a true FTL radio with no jump drive. Or of course, as it turns out they probably weren’t sending signals — it now seems almost certain that Starbuck and Apollo destroyed a ship full of innocent surviving civilians.