Battlestar Galactica #16 (Marvel)
Written by Roger McKenzie
faces the menace of a Mark III Cylon.
In its search for fuel, the fleet comes across an uninhabited red
planet which turns out to have a Cylon satellite orbiting it.
Detecting the fleet, it begins to send out a signal but the
Galactica jams the broadcast. A Viper patrol is sent out to
destroy the satellite, but they detect that it has a link to an
set deep in the crust of the planet that will detonate it. A
bomb squad led by Master-Tech Shadrack is sent out in a shuttle
to deactivate the trigger on the satellite.
The team comes under attack by an advanced Cylon fighter of
unknown design from the planet and, in a duel, all the Vipers
are shot down by the Cylon. Apollo manages to bring down the enemy ship at
the same time his Viper is crash-landing on the planet. Apollo
emerges from his crash to find the Cylon emerging from its. The
Cylon is like none he's ever seen before and the warrior robot
introduces itself as a prototype Mark III Imperator series. It
and six others like it were marooned on planets scattered
throughout the galaxy 1,000 yahrens ago when the Imperious
Leader found them uncontrollably ambitious and indestructible.
The Mark III had managed to build a sub-light fighter for
itself during this time and now wishes to capture a
faster-than-light human craft to return to Cylon and assume
command of the empire.
The Mark III attempts to kill Apollo with its sword, but the
human finally tricks the Cylon into falling into a lava pit.
The fleet spends several weeks at the planet mining tylium for
fuel, then continues its quest for Earth. After they've left,
the Mark III emerges from the lava virtually unscathed and
determines to gather parts from the downed Viper craft still
left scattered on the planet's surface from the battle, in hopes
of building a ship that will take it back to Cylon.
This is the first of several "souped-up Cylon" stories that take
place in the saga of BSG as produced by various licensees.
This story (and its title) seem to have been inspired by the
Berserker series of books by Fred Saberhagen published in the
1960s. In particular, Saberhagen's short story "Wings Out of
Shadow", in which personality modules of historic fighter pilots,
including that of the Red Baron, are used. Here, in our BSG
story, the Mark III Cylon is clearly designed to look like a
futuristic Red Baron. To go further, some fans feel that Glen
Larson based the original Cylons on the Berserker robots of Saberhagen's
series, who seek to eliminate all sentient life.
On page 1, the satellite seen orbiting the
red world by which the fleet passes has the pentagonal Cylon
symbol on its receiver dish.
Page 6 reveals that the Cylons apparently
have a bomb capable of destroying an entire planet.
Page 7 reveals that the Galactica
has a tech shuttle called Moondog.
On page 10, Apollo tells Epsilon Patrol to
"form on me...and stick like plerds on a daggit's back!"
Presumably plerds are similar to Earth fleas.
The Mark III says that he and the six other
prototypes of his kind were exiled to distant worlds by the
Imperious Leader long ago because they could not unmake the new
models, which threatened even him. Why could they not be unmade?
On page 26, the Mark III reveals to Apollo
that he and the six other Mark III prototypes marooned across
the galaxy have waited for 1,000 yahrens (about the same amount
of time that the Cylon-Human War has gone on) to capture a
faster-than-light ship to return to Cylon and take command from
the Imperious Leaders.
Also on page 26, Apollo discovers he emptied
his laser pistol's charge while he was firing it at the Mark
III's ship. Really? He left the Galactica with a minimal charge
in his pistol that would run out after just a few shots?
No-prize time: possibly, the laser has a setting which allows the strength of
the shots to be adjusted and Apollo turned it to the highest
strength before firing it at the Cylon vessel, thus draining it
The presence of the exiled Mark III on the
planet would suggest that the Cylon satellite placed in orbit
was to alert the Cylon Empire of escape
attempts by the prototype rather than to scan for other Cylon
enemies in that sector of space.
The last page of the story reveals that the
fleet remained in orbit around this unnamed world for several
weeks, mining tylium to fuel their ships.
Somehow, the Mark III emerges from the lava
pit after several weeks submersion without any apparent ill
effects on its systems. From what we've seen of Cylon
technology, it seems unlikely any of their robots could survive
such an ordeal.
Since the Mark III seemingly waited weeks
until the humans had left to emerge from the pit, might it be
that it allowed Apollo to "trick" it into the pit, deciding it
was more logical to let the humans do their thing and leave
unmolested so it could gather the Viper wreckage in peace once
they were gone?
Given the scarcity of resources available to
the fleet, you'd think they would salvage the Viper wreckage
themselves in order to make use of the parts and metal for
repairing/building other Vipers.
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