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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Unity

Battlestar Galactica

Unity

Novel
by Steven Harper
Published 2007

 

A popular Colonial rock star is rescued from the Cylons, but the question is: is he more than he appears?

 

Notes from the BSG chronology

 

This novel takes place between the episodes "Flight of the Phoenix" and "Pegasus". A number of people in the fleet die in the course of this novel: six dead marines, at least two dead Viper pilots, 21 dead of the plague, and 12 more that were to die of the plague soon (though these 12 may have been treated with the new serum in time to save their lives; it's left unrevealed). This would normally put the fleet population down by at least 28 in the next episode, "Pegasus", but that episode has the battlestar Pegasus joining the fleet, significantly increasing the population by close to 2,000 people, so the earlier loss gets "lost" between "episodes".

 

Didja Know?

 

The author plays it pretty loose with the use of Earth terms in this novel, such as "vampire bats", the children's' game of jacks, Plexiglas, "scarlet fever", "dengue fever", barracudas, martini, beagle, etc. I'll point out a few of these along the way.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Starbuck

Apollo

Hot Dog

Kat

Chief Tyrol

Commander Adama

President Roslin

Lt. Gaeta

Shadow (Jen Curtis, dies in this novel)

Creeper

Fireboy

Zelda

Dee

Colonel Tigh

Mistress Eight (dies in this novel)

Boomer (mentioned only, deceased)

Caprica-Valerii

Peter Attis

Baltar

Peter Deimos (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Pamela Gallic (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Dr. Cottle

Chloe Eseas

Penelope Troy (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Captain Renee Demeter

Billy Keikeya

Helo

Corporal Mason (dies in this novel)

Head Six

Shelly Godfrey (mentioned only)

Zak (mentioned only, deceased)

Captain Shin

Carolanne Adama (mentioned only, deceased)

Racetrack

Jim

Hyksos

Ken

Sarah Porter

Tom Zarek

Nick Liaden (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Helga Upton (mentioned only, presumed deceased)

Sam Anders (mentioned only)

Mack (dies in this novel)

Ukie

Powerball

Lt. Simes

Baltar's grandfather (in Baltar's thoughts only, presumed deceased)

Remus Tal

Nikolas Koa

 


 

Didja Notice?

 

Chapter 1:

 

It is stated there are 70-odd ships in the fleet. But "33" and other episodes of the TV series seem to indicate 60-odd ships instead.

 

The fleet hangs in space near a blue planet the humans call Goop. A former mining ship called Monarch is on the surface gathering algae that grows in the planet's oceans, good for food and anti-radiation meds due to its radiation resistance. This is presumably the same planet referred to as the "algae planet" in episodes of the TV series following the events of this novel.

 

During the Viper/Raider dogfight, Lt. Gaeta identifies one of the Raiders as carrying a nuke and changes its color on the battle readouts from red to yellow. Starbuck remarks "Don't eat the yellow snow." This is a reference, of course, to snow that has been urinated on, usually by an animal such as a dog.

 

The Viper pilots are afraid to shoot down the Raider carrying the nuclear device because the explosion would take all of them out as well and possibly damage the Galactica or other ships in the fleet. But, nuclear weapons are triggered by a fission or fusion reaction of the nuclear material; an outside explosion from another source will not trigger the nuclear reaction, so destroying the Raider with gunfire should not cause a nuclear explosion.

 

    A cloud of Cylon Raiders is described as rushing in a hundred dizzying directions "like a horde of vampire bats looking for prey." Are the Colonials aware of vampire bats? They are an Earth creature. Did they also have similar myths of vampires?

    The Cylon basestar is also described as looking like a jack from the children's game of jacks. Jacks is an ancient Earth game (known as knucklebones) from before the civilization of Ancient Greece, so maybe it originated with the Colonial refugees who come to Earth at the end of the TV series! (In "Sometimes a Great Notion", Dee will find some children's jacks on the "original" wasteland Earth.)

 

Chapter 2:

 

Starbuck reflects on the time she killed a humanoid Cylon on Caprica. This occurred in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 2 in which she killed a Six.

 

The SAR (Search and Rescue) Raptor is introduced in this novel. It is described as larger than a normal Raptor, presumably allowing it to carry a number of survivors and also sports additional equipment for hauling in ships, pods, or other objects from a rescue mission.

 

Starbuck ruminates that Caprica-Valerii has aided the human fleet against the Cylons a number of times, but remains incarcerated in the brig. Caprica-Valerii first assisted the fleet in "Home" Part 1 and has continued to advise and assist while still being held in the brig since then.

 

Commander Adama's face is described as acne-scarred. This is true of actor Edward James Olmos.

 

Chapter 3:

 

Starbuck asks Peter Attis some questions of the type that might be found in Teen Tiger magazine. This is a play on the American magazines aimed at adolescent girls, Tiger Beat and Teen Beat, full of photos, interviews, and trivia about the latest male teen idols.

 

Apollo theorizes that the man they've rescued could be a Cylon construct of the real Peter Attis, but Baltar counters that the Cylons have never done anything like that before. Caprica-Valerii also remarks that the Cylons do not make copies of real people. Of course, in the Returners storyline of the Dynamite Entertainment comic book series, the Returners are essentially that.

 

Caprica-Valerii's cell is said to have a window of Plexiglas. This is the trademark name of transparent thermoplastic of polymethyl methacrylate made by the Rohm and Haas Company...here on Earth!

 

President Roslin mentions a ship of the fleet called the Lesbos.

 

Caprica-Valerii had single-handedly helped to destroy a fleet of Cylon Raiders just a couple days ago. This occurred in "Flight of the Phoenix".

 

Chapter 4:

 

Starbuck remarks to Attis that she sometimes watches the Colonial Gang. The Colonial Gang was a political talk show filmed on Caprica, as seen in "Trust" and now is shot within the fleet, as seen in "Colonial Day".

 

President Roslin convinces Attis to put on a concert aboard the Cloud 9.

 

In the pilots' lounge, a card game called Full Colors is played.

 

Godfrey was the Number Six model Cylon who appeared on the Galactica for a short time in "Six Degrees of Separation" before vanishing.

 

Chapter 6:

 

During her fling with Attis, Starbuck is photographed with him in pictures that appear in Person to Person magazine, which seems to be a paparazzi type periodical.

 

The Tyrol and Helo fistfight over their respective relationships with two different Sharon Valeriis mentioned in the novel occurred in "Flight of the Phoenix".

 

Chapter 7:

 

Dr. Cottle orders two milligrams of ativan for the flailing form of Hyksos in the medical bay. Ativan is the brand name of the real world drug lorazepam, used to treat seizures and anxiety disorders.

 

Chapter 8:

 

Sarah Porter tells Roslin that a fringe group called the Unity has started causing problems around the fleet, especially on the Tethys and the Phoebe.

 

Chapter 9:

 

Attis invites Starbuck to have dinner with him on the Cloud 9 at an upscale restaurant called the Gilded Lily.

 

Baltar's description of prions to Head Six is essentially correct.

 

As Baltar ruminates, prions are not considered contagious, i.e. spreading person-to-person through simple contact. Prions must be ingested or enter the body through blood transfusion. Baltar goes on to think on speculation of possible contagious prions, but they are purely theoretical; I am not aware of any serious speculation in this area here on Earth, but more advanced Colonial science may be speculating on it.

 

Attis' followers believe he is the one foretold as the Unifier in the Book of Glykon in the Sacred Scrolls. Sarah Porter states that the book was declared apocryphal during the Third Conclave of Kobol.

 

Sarah Porter states that the exodus from Kobol began because one of the gods demanded to be elevated above all the other gods.

 

Alexander states that the oracle Arachne had favored the writings of Glykon on Kobol.

 

Chapter 10:

 

Baltar's explanation that "prion" stands for "proteinaceous infectious particle" is correct. His description of the Protein X hypothesis is also accurate.

 

Chapter 11:

 

Attis is referred to as Patient Zero. This is a term used in medical science for the purported first infected person in an epidemiological investigation.

 

Adama states there are six Gemenon ships in the fleet, including the Monarch and the Kimba Huta. Zarek hides the president and her entourage inside the freezer of the transport vessel Kimba Huta during Adama's attempted military coup in "The Farm".

 

Gaeta narrows down the target of the Unity's escape ship to either the Monarch or the Celestra. He describes the Celestra as an Aeron ship.

 

Chapter 12:

 

O-negative type blood is considered the universal donor, just as Cottle states.

 

Baltar's grandfather is described as a man who attended conferences all around the world and seduced "anything that walked on two legs."

 

The riot on the Gideon that resulted in the death of four civilians by marine gunfire mentioned here occurred in "Resistance".

 

Chapter 13:

 

Adama reflects on anthropological studies of ancient tribes who had lived in caves on the Numinol Islands of Caprica. It seems a bit odd that there should have been primitive tribes on Caprica considering humans migrated there from the planet Kobol aboard advanced starships thousands of years ago. Still, it's within the realm of possibility that some or many population groups declined to less technologically advanced states over the centuries separated from the mother culture.

 

Chapter 15:

 

Starbuck tells Apollo that her blood is AB positive.

 

"The time Cylons got aboard Galactica and cut the power" is mentioned. This occured in "Valley of Darkness".


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