Galactic geometry and sublight travel

Lots to think about based on No Exit, but let's start by looking at one of the minor, but scientifically important revelations. The Final Five went from the 13th colony to the 12 colonies in a sublight, relativistic (meaning near the speed of light) spacecraft, first retracing their steps to Kobol, and it took about 2,000 years.

This explains their absence from the scene for so long, but it raises a lot of questions.

Anders says the 13th colony never had FTL ships. These may have been invented on Kobol after losing contact with the 13th colony.

We now know that the path of 13th Colony -> Algae Planet -> Kobol -> Colonies is under 2,000 light years.

Since Starbuck was able to take a Cylon raider and jump Kobol -> Colonies in one jump, and this is 10 times the maximum 30 light year "red line" of the colonial FTL, this distance is in the range of 300 light years.

But we also know that there was a round trip from Kobol -> 13th Colony, since the story of the landing and early days of the 13th Colony made it into the sacred scrolls the tribes took with them from Kobol 2,000 years ago. And the 13th tribe left the Algae planet 3,000 years ago. That's a problem as it states that Algae Planet -> 13th Colony -> Kobol, at sublight speed, is well under 1,000 years, making that at most a 500 light year trip. Probably much less.

So of course this doesn't add up, unless the Final Five sublight ship is not very relativistic, and they just lived on it for many centuries. Which they can do, as they are machines. Or perhaps they just had really bad luck on the trip, and took a lot of wrong turns, so that a trip of a few hundred light years as the space crow flies took 2,000 years.

But then we add the Ionian Nebula. That's 13,000 light years from the Algae Planet. Completely impossible to visit it with sublight ships. So very odd that it is the "signpost" on the way from the Algae Planet to the 13th colony, which are only a few hundred ly apart. Very odd as a choice for a location that the Final Five will wake up. Very odd place to do the strange fleet vs. Cylons confrontation including power loss, visions and return of Starbuck.

This now requires that this "signpost" is a 13,000 ly detour, both ways! It means the fleet spent 3 months trekking out to this nebula, and then another 2 months trekking back with the Demetrius on a parallel course, also trekking back 13,000 light years. Hard to imagine this is even in the range of the Demetrius without a fuel ship.

Worse, at the end of this 13,000 ly trek back, they set a rendezvous point that happens to be near real-Earth. That's OK, Starbuck got compulsions and visions about that zone, they could pick it.

Yet they set this rendezvous point so precisely that after the 13,000 ly journey -- 430 colonial jumps -- the Demetrius and base star end up right in the middle of the fleet. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

The lack of FTL does help explain how the 13th colony could have forgotten the way back to Kobol, and Kobol could have forgotten the way to the colony. It also explains how Kobol could have forgotten the location of real Earth.

If the 12 tribes didn't have FTL, they would have taken a few hundred years for their trip. I guess that's workable. We aren't told what they know of this. If so, it makes the 12 tribes a lot smarter than we thought, developing FTL when the others could not do so.

One interesting thought: Perhaps Kobol developed FTL right around the time of the exodus and the war at the 13th colony. That could suggest the 13th colony was destroyed by an FTL fleet from Kobol with a grudge, who now had an easy way to get whatever revenge they wanted without needing to take a multi-century trip. (However in this case the Final Five would not want to rush off to Kobol to warn the 12 tribes of the dangers of keeping AIs as slaves. Since they lived on an all-Cylon planet, where does this lesson suddenly come from?)

Where is "The Colony"

Cavil refers to the fact that the others "don't know about the colony" where Ellen has "all her equipment." Where is that? We suspect it has this beach that young boy John played on, so that's not the 13th colony, though this could refer to one of the 12 colonies. But they would not have left their equipment back on the 13th colony, they had to take it with them to cut their deal with the centurions.

Most likely it's just a nearby planet.

Others suggest it's the real Earth, now deserted, and this is how they will be led there. This makes sense, but since Cavil knows where this is he would not have risked using it as his ambush site. He doesn't want to tell them about it. And that's still pretty far away, about 6 Cylon jumps.


Is it a coincidence that Dualla found jacks on the beach?

Planning doesn't seem to be Ron's (or the Final Five's) strong suit. Thank the gods for the WTF drive!

Putting the distances and technology black holes aside, it's a bit of a leap to think that the Final Five arrived on their sub-light ship just at the time when the Cylon Human war was kicking off. That's a small window. It doesn't even count the navigation and communication issues they may have had when they arrived. What are the odds of the Cylons not blowing them up before they'd had a chance to warm up the radio?

My general view is that the logic is just too much for regular viewers to grasp and the drama is pushed so strongly to the front that BSG has turned into a magic trick. It's the triumph of personality over policy: Castro like force of will driving them to the finishing line and pulling the crowd behind them. The original series dated horribly and, I suspect, this is where BSG will date.

Now, what about Daniel? Anders mouthed off about the "miracle" happening. Are we going to see some sort of rapid aging thing here with Caprica 6's baby? I hope not. I'm glad they airbrushed out the Boxy character as that was cringing but if they tripped at the last hurdle and are pulling the Space: 1999 style rapid aging thing I'm doubtful that it's going to work. They were a bit "Hai Karate" and sideburns when they were done back then.

Never thought I'd see "It's so crazy it's gotta work" and Doug McClure style drama come back into fashion.

I give up on this making sense. It's all about the characters. Time, physics, common sense doesn't matter if it gets in the way of the characters.

Oh, fiction is always full of ridiculous coincidences. They don't bother me too much. Some of them smell like they mean something, some are just drama.

However, this show had a rather strange one, the nova day on the algae planet and the Temple of Five. One just one, but two characters had lines in the script saying, "Wow, the odds of this happening by chance are just impossible." When the characters start noticing the coincidences, you know the writers have something in mind.

Which made be a bit surprised when John seemed to blow off the significance of that day and the events. We'll have to see if there is more.

When the specs say one thing, marketing says another, and some cheesy sales guy is proferring a pen I'll say nothing and watch the blood slowly drain from his face.

I'm not going to ink this one, yet. So, yeah. We'll see.

The question is, do you think Dualla finding jacks in the sand was foreshadowing of some sort? I actually watched No Exit again and could not find the part where they mention Cavil being played with on a beach. Where was that?

If that line is in there, though, then it seems like a huge coincidence, maybe not coincidence at all. But either way, i'm fairly certain that the planet John/Cavil refers to is the 13 colony. The 5's resurrection tech-- their original research lab-- is surely there. That's what he wants to find. If the 5 invented the current version of resurrection, then with the hub destroyed, their original lab and orbiting ship would be the only remaining hardware available.

On an unrelated note-- i'm now suddenly thinking about the Cylon virus left by the 13th tribe. Could the canister found in space have been part of the 5's original ship? Or was it part of the original cylon journey to 'Earth?' Either way, why would they leave a virus that only infects themselves or even just their offspring (S7)?

With these revelations, we should go back and watch older episodes and rethink our previous assumptions.

The 5 would have taken their tech with them, they had to, as they built the giant resurrection hubs and ships when they joined forces with the colonial Cylons.

They might have left some ruined labs there, but they would be ruined.

The other Cylons don't know about "the colony" Cavil says.

I think it's somewhere else, and has a beach. Perhaps it is real Earth, which is where Cavil is when Boomer and Ellen escape.

The virus probe was dated to 3,000 years ago, which is when Ellen says the 13th tribe built the temple of hopes.

I think you're right-- after looking at it again, Cylon-Earth can't be the colony they were raised on. Doesn't make much sense to go BACK there to develop the 8, especially if it'd been nuked. As Forrester says below, the Centurions left after the war for a third, as-yet unrevealed planet. This must be where Cavil and the other 7 were raised, and where the last resurrection technology still remains. Could this planet be our Earth, named for their original cylon homeworld? I'm trying desperately to reconcile our Earth with the BSG universe, as you can tell.

Well, our Earth wasn't named for anything else. We evolved on it, acquired speech and named it ourselves.

We're not sure where the Cylons went, we have never seen anything of that. They may not need a planet, they just project images of pretty places.

But this "colony" is not known to the other 6 (or 7) according to Cavil. That is why he wants to go there to get the gear after the 2-6-8-human alliance destroys the resurrection hub.

The other models might not know of it because Cavil may have wiped it from their programming. He presumably was responsible for the directive telling the cylons not to think about the five. He could have further manipulated their programming in other ways as well, especially with regards to memory.

As we see, Cavil has quickly become the deus ex machina. We can use him to explain a lot of discrepancies now. Some folks might have a problem with this, but i'm fine with it as long as it makes sense.

I'm fine with it too because Cavil was motivated to doing these things. His reactions have been consistent with his worldview. That doesn't really seem like deus ex machina to me because he's had his reasons. If he was just doing it to make the story work without any character motivation then it would be deus ex machina.

Did you see the latest from The Watcher column where I think it's Jane Espenson flat out says humanity began on Kobol? That directly contradicts what Moore has said in the past.

About this other "colony" (Terra Prime, Terra Prime, Terra Prime...) where the F5 originally resurrected -- why does he have to rebuild the resurrection technology? Why would it not be intact from the last time they used it? And if it's intact, then he wouldn't need to slice open Ellen's brain a la Sylar. If Anders dies I assume he'd resurrect at this colony, since conceivably it would be the backup for the Resurrection Hub. Also, it seems that all the skinjobs could be redirected to resurrect there since as of right now they're obviously locked out/unaware of it.

The final 5, it seems have only resurrected twice (3 times for Ellen.)

Once on a ship in orbit around their Earth.

Once under Cavil's control without their memories.

Ellen with memories in Cavil's ship.

"The Colony" is a place where the equipment is, not known to the others. Presumably the equipment from the ship. They might also have had other equipment back in their old nuked lab, but they left it sublight, so they would not have left anything important there, they knew they were not coming back for thousands of years.

I'm sure there are times that the writers have contradicted themselves because they got better, different ideas as the show progressed. This leads me to something i've wanted to say for a while to those who are frustrated that the plot has holes or contradictions:

Any form of ongoing fiction, whether it a TV show or book series or comic, is subject to more continuity errors and retcons than a self-contained story such as a movie or a novel. The reason is pretty simple: the writer of a movie or novel has a chance to look over and edit the story IN ITS ENTIRETY before its release. He has a chance to make sure every plot point fits, that no holes or errors exist. In an ongoing form of entertainment such as a TV show, the writer can continually come up with newer, better ideas as the show progresses, and it becomes more and more difficult to ensure that every plot point, every piece of dialogue and every visual cue fits seamlessly. I know that BSG was conceived a single story-- and RDM may have set out with a beginning and ending in mind-- but as the show progressed, it's almost impossible for he and his staff not to tweak and/or change the original design as new ideas emerge. The best they can do is try to reconcile any discrepancies as best they can or hope that any errors are small and forgivable ones.

Having been a fan of Star Trek-- and having read a lot of RDM's interviews on his time on those shows-- it's clear to me that he doesn't like to get too bogged down in continuity, and is not willing to sacrifice drama and a good story in a desperate attempt to keep continuity 100% perfect. He always complained that the producers of Trek forced the writers to adhere very strictly to continuity, which became almost impossible with 40+ years of shows and movies.

The question is, do you think Dualla finding jacks in the sand was foreshadowing of some sort? I actually watched No Exit again and could not find the part where they mention Cavil being played with on a beach.

Since you brought up Dualla, note that among the photos in her locker is one of a beach and children playing there.

I thought the colony was the cylon homeworld referred to in the original miniseries.

The Cylons were created by Man.
They were created to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies.
And then the day came when the Cylons decided to kill their masters.
After a long and bloody struggle, an armistice was declared.
The Cylons left for another world to call their own.
A remote space station was built...
...where Cylon and Human could meet and maintain diplomatic relations.
Every year, the Colonials send an officer.
The Cylons send no one.
No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years.

They might have left some ruined labs there, but they would be ruined.

Why? I don't recall Ellen or Anders saying their original lab was destroyed. I've only watched it once, so I could have missed it, but I don't remember anything along those lines.

Maybe this has come up here somewhere before. I have only recently found this interesting site so i haven't waded my way through every post yet.

As regards the 13th colony. This may have no meaning at all but the 12 signs of the zodiac used in BSG and astronomy (lets leave out the pseudo crap of astrology- it did its job centuries ago in older civilisations mapping, naming and identifying the relative position of the stars per se seasonal requirements/predictions for planting/harvesting/tides time of year etc)

The 12 signs are 6 degrees above the ecliptic plane of the earth (there in fact more than 60 signs or areas of the zodiac in other parts of the sky but lets not get too complicated)

The 12 we all know are the ones on the ecliptic where the sun moves through them hence can be eclipsed by the moon.

There was a 13th sign that came into misuse "ophiuchus"

The problem of Ophiuchus is very old: at least nineteen hundred years old, if not more. It dates back to at least the time of Claudius Ptolemy, the Classical father of astrology [c 130 - 170 AD].

Ptolemy produced two great works, Al Magest, which charted the heavens, and Tetrabiblos, the seminal work of astrology - a compendium of essentially all the astrological knowledge of the Ancient Greeks. Al Magest contains the earliest Star Catalogue that we still possess.

In Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy treats Ophiuchus as a non-zodiac constellation; he follows the simple, inherited tradition of the twelve part, equal-sign zodiac. However, in Al Magest, Ptolemy actually charts Ophiuchus in the heavens. He looks at the reality of the stars above. He catalogues 29 stars in the constellation. 24 of these he measures to have a latitude above the Ecliptic. But 5 of these he observes have a latitude below the Ecliptic. In other words the figure of Ophiuchus crosses the Ecliptic [the path of the Sun] making it by definition a Sun Sign. (this may seem important to astrologers now for some reason)

So to cut this short Ophiuchus was ditched from the 12 because it didn't really fit in neatly or properly
All the constellations are uneven and of different sizes so therefore it takes them all different rates of time to pass by the ecliptic. Precession (The wobble of the earths axis due to the effects of gravity from the moon and the sun) over 26,000 years really screws the whole thing up for astrology too (what a shame)

This probably has no meaning at all to BSG other than maybe a route idea about a 13th tribe. Unless Brad's super analytical skills can put more bearing on this?

apparantly there are 88 constellations, these were drawn up last century.

I've seen a lot of people point out Ophiuchus and relate its existence as a 13th sign of the Zodiac as a possible correlation with the 13th tribe, which is not named after a Zodiacal constellation.

As you point out the real sun moves through 13 constellations, spending a range of anywhere from 8.5 days in Scorpio (Nov 20 to Nov 29) to 44 day in Virgo. All roughly off by one month from what Astrologers tell you based on long out of date alignments.

But I just have not seen a strong connection here. Michael Hall has been big on trying to see if the mythology of constellations, including Ophiuchus, ties into themes from the show but every connection I have seen proposed is a stretch. Oph. is a serpent handler, and conquerer of death. We've seen serpent references in the show (notably a famous vision) and of course conquering death has been a big theme of the show, and this is something the final five did.

But none of this has called out to me as important.

Ophiuchus is the serpent holder. sculptor James Nathan Muir, sculptor called "Caduceus", recognized as a universal medical symbol, in this bronze representation by James N. Muir has become and Angel of Healing bringing love and peace upon the earth and all of its inhabitants. She is 12 feet high with a 9-foot wing span and includes fountain capabilities.
"My goal is to see these "Seven Ladies on Seven Continents" transcending individual differences to become a unifying symbol for the universal kinship of humanity and all creation in a physical metaphor representing the spiritual connection between all things. To help bring the healing power of love into the earth, ushering in a new era of Peace."

Does this sound familiar??

Also the statue ""Asclepius"1964 by Harry Whitehorse Art, Madison, WI has a figure standing arms outstretched to the sky, face in the air. Looks a lot like Pres Roslyn in the fountain scene in daybreak 1???

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