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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
By Richard Hatch and Alan Rodgers

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, mass market paperback edition, published October 2004)

The fleet finds itself trapped in Ur space, under the "real" universe.

Notes from the BSG chronology

References in the book place it immediately after the events of Resurrection.

Didja Notice?

The cover of this novel is an inverse of a Frank Frazetta (1928-2010) painting illustrating a scene from the "Lost Planet of the Gods" 2-part episode.

In this novel, unlike the earlier Hatch novels, the author seems to have reverted to the measurement unit meanings used in the TV show, i.e. microns=seconds, centons=minutes, etc.

On page 2, Apollo reflects on the destruction of Kobol and the fleet's flight from it, noting that they are merely men and women, not immortal birds or beings of light. The reference to immortal birds is probably one to the mythological phoenix, able to be reborn from its own ashes. "Beings of light" is, of course, a reference to the mysterious beings who have made themselves known to Apollo on the Ships of Light.

Throughout the novel Cassiopeia's nickname is spelled as "Cassi" instead of the usual "Cassie".

On page 8, senior engineer Nilsen remarks that the highly unusual space the fleet has unexpectedly warped into can be considered an Ur universe. "Ur" is a Germanic prefix, meaning "early" or "primitive". It implies that this strange space lies under and forms the foundation of the "real" universe of which we are familiar.

As the novel begins, fuel and food supplies in the fleet are described as already being low. But in the previous novel, Resurrection, which takes place immediately preceding this one, the fleet is said to have replenished its Tylium and food reserves before the destruction of Kobol.

In this novel, Baltar is depicted as incarcerated in the Galactica's brig. But ever since his agreement to help the fleet in Armageddon he has been allowed to have his own private quarters and was not even under formal guard except to act as security against threats from others to his life.

Page 11 suggests that Baltar was capable of creating an illusion in the mind of a jailer that would trick them into releasing him, so all the brig sentries had deep hypnotic controls to prevent them from following the orders of anyone besides command personnel. Athena gives a high sign with her left fist and speaks seven secrets words and syllables that tell the sentries to stand down so she and those with her can enter Baltar's cell.

On page 13, Starbuck refers to Baltar as a Muskvynian ferret. This epithet has not been previously heard in the series.

On page 15, Baltar does not seem to be speaking metaphorically when he says he has travelled in a starship to the ultimate moment of creation (presumably with the QSE technology) a dozen times.

On page 19, Baltar muses on Iblis' employing his ansibles to observe everything that happened. The term "ansible" is derived from the 1966 novel Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin. In that novel, an ansible is a device capable of providing instantaneous or faster-than-light communication. Since then, the word has been borrowed by other science-fiction authors.

Page 19 implies that Baltar now considers himself free of Iblis' influence.

This novel continuously refers to what seems to be God as "the Maker".

On page 21, Starbuck compares Apollo to a trance channeler at the bazaar on Galfrax Nine. This is the first mention of the world Galfrax Nine.

Page 21 remarks that Starbuck wasn't born yestersectare. And on page 155, Dalton worries that she was sectaredreaming. These references would seem to indicate that "sectare" represents approximately one day, as in "wasn't born yesterday" and "daydreaming".

Also on page 21, Starbuck considers Baltar to be an "Alturian slime vermin, the kind that infests the produce on Alturia Four." This is the first reference in BSG to Alturia Four and its slime vermin.

This novel uses the term "agri-ship" is instead of "agro-ship" as in previous shortenings of the term "agricultural ship". Additionally, the novel goes back to referring to such ships in the fleet in the plural. The Hatch novels have gone back and forth in referring to a singular agro-ship or multiple ones in the fleet.

Page 26 names two ships of the fleet, the Ceres and the Astrogator. Ceres was a Roman goddess of agriculture and also is the name of our solar system's largest asteroid, considered a dwarf planet.

Page 29 reveals that Flight Officer Omega has been transferred to the battlestar Daedalus, under Athena's command.

Another ship of the fleet is named as the Hestia.

The novel uses the terms "yahrens" and "years" interchangeably.

Throughout the novel the term "sickbay" is used instead of the more prevalent "life center" seen in most other BSG stories.

On page 41, President Tigh refers to Starbuck as "Colonel" and he does seem to fill that role for Apollo throughout the novel. Possibly, he was promoted to the position by Apollo behind the scenes in between Resurrection and this novel seeing as how Colonel Athena has seemingly been given command of the Daedalus since then (Athena's membership on the Council also seems to have been forgotten). On page 154, Sheba is also referred to as Colonel.

Sire Aron is introduced on page 45, said to have been one of the Council's earliest members after the fleet's escape from the Colonies.

Page 52 states that the civilians of the fleet had been armed with lasers during the battle with the Cylons and Chitain (I guess during the end of Resurrection). But there was little or no face-to-face combat occurring with the humans against those enemies, just ship-to-ship.

Page 52 refers to the blasts from the Colonial laser guns as bluefire. This may be a term used by the Colonials in common parlance. It makes sense, as the laser blasts from Colonial handguns were depicted with a bluish tint in the TV series (though the Viper lasers were an orange-red, with the Cylon Raiders lasers blue).

On page 56, Athena remarks, "...we can't sit around on our astrums chatting." "Astrum" seems to be Colonial slang for "ass", as earlier depicted in "The Living Legend" Part 1.

Page 62 reveals that Baltar was a member of the Council of Twelve at the time he brokered "peace" with the Cylons before the attack on the Colonies.

On page 66, Apollo reminisces on Sire Adar. Adar was the President of the Twelve Colonies before he was killed during the Cylon attack on the Colonies in "Annihilation".

On page 78, Boomer thinks about the yahrens Bojay had kept the Vipers going. But Bojay had been missing for many yahrens until he was rediscovered living on Poseidon amongst Cain's people in Resurrection, where he worked in the mines, not servicing Vipers.

Page 87 reveals that Cassiopeia had not been with anyone in yahrens before her tryst with Apollo in Resurrection, so she's sure the baby she's expecting is his. It was suggested in Resurrection however, that she may have been tricked and the baby may actually be Iblis'. Baltar later indicates to Apollo that the baby is Iblis'.

Page 93 reveals that Starbuck won't talk about his death and resurrection at the hands of the Beings of Light, as reported in Resurrection.

Page 96 implies that Baltar is also a Kobolian, like Adama's family.

It is revealed on page 96 that the tracking device that Apollo has attached to Baltar's ankle also administers pain to the wearer if they leave their designated area of parole.

Page 96 also suggests that Baltar has the ability to give mental commands to the weak-minded.

Page 102 reveals that there were once three other Celestial Chambers on the Galactica, but now only the one used by Apollo here and in "The Hand of God" remains. Apollo seems to be introducing Cassie to the chamber for the first time here, but she was previously there (as Starbuck's date, along with Apollo and Sheba) in the aforementioned "The Hand of God".

Page 105 has Cassie reminiscing on Starbuck's father, Chameleon. The old codger's fate is not revealed (last seen separated from the fleet in Surrender the Galactica). Here, he is said to have been called Chameleon because he was always changing. It is also suggested here that Starbuck was not like his father and that "sparks had flown whenever they'd met." This does not seem like an accurate description of the relationship witnessed between Starbuck and Chameleon in "The Man With Nine Lives", where Chameleon was introduced.

On page 106, Starbuck buys Athena some Dnigibian orchids and a magnum of real Protean ambrosa. Page 109 suggests that Adama had loved the lavender Dnigibian orchids himself, they reminding him of his wife. This is the first mention of the proper descriptive names "Dnigibian" and "Protean".

On page 127, Dr. Salik recommends that Apollo take a brief furlon. "Furlon" is the Colonial term for "furlough", a military word for an authorized leave of absence, first used in "The Man With Nine Lives".

On page 130, Sheba recommends that Apollo go on IFB and tell the fleet what he knows about the rebellion and the traitors aboard the Galactica. IFB is Inter-Fleet Broadcasting, the news and entertainment channel for the fleet. It was first seen in "The Man With Nine Lives".

Page 143 reveals that the blackshirts (security personnel working for the Council of Twelve) carry wrist restraints that require a push-button code to open and close.

On page 151, Tigh states that Jinkrat has arrived on the Galactica. But he is later depicted as arriving on page 169.

Page 165 describes Baltar as having a beard at this time.

Page 170 states the Chitain forced Iblis into the Ur cloud, cutting off his direct influence on his living minions. How/when did this happen? It is not explained.

When Baltar arrives in the Council chambers in Chapter 8, why is there no mention of Siress Kiera with whom he'd been keeping company in Warhawk and Resurrection?

Page 187 suggests that referring to an old man as "Father" was an old-fashioned form of address among the Colonials.

Also on page 187, Apollo finds the names of several former prisoners etched into the wall of his cell in the Galactica's brig: Starjumper, Orgon, and a prolific artist named Michelangelo.

On page 190, Athena muses that it seems like centurons since Baltar interrupted her and Starbuck in Apollo's quarters, even though it had only been sectares. According to some sources, "centurons" is the equivalent of 100 yahrens, a century. Centurons is used as a simile here, so can be excused. But it seems unlikely it has been sectares (days) since Baltar's interruption; it seems hours (centares) at best.

On page 194, Tigh surreptitiously speaks to Athena in Colonial military code to avoid alerting Sire Aron. This reveals that Red-One means "highest alert" and Green-Three means watch your back.

On page 199, Troy remarks to Dalton that Trays would walk on Borellian glass for her. Presumably, this is a type of glass made in the Borellian region of Caprica or by the Borellian Nomen.

Page 201 describes Troy, Dalton, and Trays as having been travelling through the whiteness of Ur for sectons. "Secton" means one week, so the description seems unlikely unless we are to chalk it up to distortions of time within this under-universe.

Page 201 also describes hypoxia as oxygen deprivation. This is correct.

The seeming ghost-ship of the Sky being called Valor is described as "great" and "huge". But Valor's original appearances in Armageddon and Warhawk do not imply the being as particularly large. In fact, he seems more the size of a Cylon Raider.

On page 202, Troy refers to the remains of a basestar as a Cylon battlestar.

Page 205 describes the battlestar Pegasus as having escaped the battle of Caprica. Of course, this is not true, as the Pegasus was lost in space during the Battle of Molecay, over a yahren before the Cylon annihilation of Caprica and the rest of the Twelve Colonies.

Page 205 also describes Cain as wearing the rich, deep-blue command uniform (like Adama's). Did he choose to adopt the more formal uniform sometime during the 18 yahrens after his encounter with the Galactica and the rag-tag fleet? In the two-part "The Living Legend", he wore a modified brown and khaki Warrior's uniform the entire time.

In the fourth paragraph of page 206, Dalton is mistakenly referred to as Sheba.

On page 206, Dalton and Trays discover Cain's body (actually still living) in the wreckage of the Pegasus, in a hallway leading to the Viper bays, probably racing to launch in a Viper himself. But in Resurrection, Cain is described as being on the bridge of the battlestar when it rams into a Cylon basestar.

Troy, Dalton, and Trays find "tons" of fuel and food pellets in the wreckage of the Pegasus and the Cylon basestar and they bring it back to the Galactica. How are three small Vipers able to bring back "tons" of supplies? Admittedly the term "tons" is probably an exaggeration on Troy's part in the novel, but it still must have been a lot to describe it as such and I just don't see how they could have packed anything but a very modest amount in their fighters.

Page 210 describes Apollo as having spent "all that time rotting in the cell," implying at least several days. But, again, the events of the novel seem to have occurred over only a number of hours, seemingly affirmed by Apollo's thoughts on page 213 that "this had been the worst sectare of his life" (sectare=day).

On page 218, Athena thinks of Baltar as "Janus-headed". Janus is the two-faced Roman god of beginnings and transitions.

Page 225 suggests that Borellian Nomen are able to call telepathically to another individual with whom they have mixed their blood, as Gar'Tokk does with Starbuck.

Starbuck says, "don't look a gift Boray in the mouth" on page 226. This is obviously a take on the English expression "don't look a gift horse in the mouth." The term "Boray" has been used a couple of times previously in BSG, in "Exodus" and "The Magnificent Warriors". In "The Magnificent Warriors", the Borays are seen to be bipedal, boar-like creatures of at least some intelligence.

On page 239 Baltar dies, having sacrificed himself to save Apollo. Don't worry, he gets better.

The novel refers a couple of times to the Cylons as tin-cans, the disparaging term used by the child warriors met by Starbuck in "The Young Lords".

On page 248, a Cylon war cruiser sneaks through the battle raging among the Vipers and Raiders and bores a hole in the side of Galactica, to disgorge a boarding party of Cylon commandos. This is a similar tactic to that used in "Time Bomb".

On page 250, the narrative remarks on the Cylon centurions' obedience to orders, "A Cylon was to do and die. A Cylon seldom wondered why." This was obviously inspired by lines from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's epic 1854 poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", about the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The line from the poem is "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die." Later, on page 270, Apollo mentions a past military battle known as the Charge of the Borellian Nomen, in which none of the Nomen emerged alive. The novel's co-author Alan Rodgers is himself also a poet.

On page 279, after the fleet has arrived at Paradis, it is revealed that the human inhabitants there are in possession of an ancient book bearing the seal of the Galactica. The ancient script of its pages is indecipherable to most, but it turns out that Gar'Tokk is able to read it. He reveals it was left to them by the Thirteenth Tribe and details where they should go next.

On page 280, Cain's body is buried on Paradis, despite the fact that Dr. Salik continued to measure strange traces in the body that might or might not be signs of life.

At the end of the book, Apollo has asked the reformed Baltar to become a teacher, but for the moment it seems that the great traitor has chosen to wander and ponder his fate.

Also at the end of the book, it is revealed that Cassie gave birth to her baby on Paradis and blacked out at the moment of birth. When she awoke, the midwife was gone, along with the baby. 

Unanswered Questions

Why do the people of the fleet behave in uncharacteristic manners throughout the novel, e.g. Apollo losing his temper twice and beating the shit out of both Starbuck and Jinkrat; Apollo's seeming indecision at times; civil war within the fleet; Starbuck and Athena acting amorous in unusual circumstances; Cassie and Starbuck kissing; Sire Aron turning traitor after previously being described as an honest, if not always agreeable councilman. Did the Ur space effect not only the Tylium reactors, but human minds as well? It's never explained in the book.

What happened to Siress Kiera? She seemed to be a romantic interest for Baltar in Warhawk and Resurrection, but is not mentioned in this novel at all.

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