"The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 1
Story by John Ireland, Jr.
Teleplay by Michael Sloan and Donald Bellisario and Glen A.
Directed by Alan J. Levi
The Cylons force the fleet
towards a Cylon controlled ice planet where a powerful pulse
weapon is pointed directly in its path.
Read the episode summary at the Battlestar Wiki
Notes from the Battlestar Galactica Timeline
Commander Adama mentions they are still in the Epsilon
Quadrant, which is the same one Kobol was found in in
in the Family". This episode was also filmed after that, so it seems logical (along with
some other clues mentioned below and in the study of
"The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 2, that this story
takes place while the fleet is still in the Cyrannus galaxy,
despite its original airdate order (which was after
they entered a new galaxy in "The Long Patrol").
have thus placed it before
"The Long Patrol" in the timeline.
The title letters of parts 1 and 2 of "The
Gun on Ice Planet Zero" revert to the yellow color of the
Planet of the Gods", suggesting again that this story takes place
before the fleet leaves its home galaxy of Cyrannus.
The story seems to be an amalgamation of three well-known
Hollywood films, The Guns of Navarone (1961), Ice
Station Zebra (1968), and The Dirty Dozen (1967)...and
a dash of the Death Star thrown in.
Richard Lynch portrays Wolf in this two-part story. Lynch later
goes on to play Xavier on Galactica: 1980 and Count Iblis in
Richard Hatch's proof-of-concept trailer for Battlestar
Galactica: The Second Coming (which never evolved into a full
Boomer mentions a game called 7-11, but we never see it played;
it's unknown what kind of game it is. Possibly, the writers
borrowed the name from the convenience store chain! It may also
be a disguised reference to 21, otherwise known as blackjack,
since 7 and 11 equals 21.
An analysis of the ice planet appears on Rigel's screen at 4:35
on the DVD. It mentions di-ethene storms occurring on the
surface. The novelization suggests that di-ethene is a gaseous
waste product of the style of laser beams used by the Cylons,
suggesting that the planet's buildup of di-ethene is due to the
use of the Ravoshol pulsar. There is an actual chemical compound known as
4-di-ethene acid on Earth.
At 5:17 on the DVD, a Cylon centurion is staring at a screen of
moving, psychedelic colors for some reason. His dialog indicates
that it is a long-range scan showing approaching craft, an
intriguing interpretation of the colors...and he's right!
At 5:22 on the DVD, we get our first (televised) look at one of
the golden-hued command centurions (one is first seen,
chronologically, in the comic book story "Baptism of
Viper scan information about the arctic mountaintop upon which
rests the pulsar weapon appears on Athena's screen at 10:56 on
Athena's monitor screen at 13:43
lists several of the members of
the Arcta landing party. Moments
later, Starbuck reads a printout
of the same information. (PopAposte
reader Jace Toronto points out
that Athena's screen is riddled
with spelling errors, while the
printout is not.)
Boomer refers to Blue Squadron as Commander Adama's strike wing.
The clothing worn by the inmates brought from the prison barge
is ragged and torn, augmented by strips of mismatching cloth and
crude stitching, suggesting that standard prison uniforms are
not given to the prisoners.
At 18:06 on the DVD, Commander Adama refers to approaching Cylon
base ships as "Cylon battlestars".
The painting of the Galactica seen at 18:07 looks like it might
be one of the preliminary paintings produced by the legendary
conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie.
The planet, Arcta, is described as being in a sunless system. So
how are the characters (and the audience!) able to see on the
planet's surface? It sure looks like daylight!
Why does Cree's laser gun stop working after just one shot at
19:59 on the DVD? Must have been made in China.
Boxey appears to be in Commander Adama's quarters when Apollo
comes to tell him he has to go away on a mission at 20:17 on the
DVD. Note the "three-dimensional chessboard" and Galactica image
on the wall. (The Galactica image on the wall also
suggests this two-part episode was shot before the
"Lost Planet of the Gods"
two-parter, where the wall in question is still blank.)
When Apollo tells Boxey he can't come along on the mission this
time, he is probably meant to be referring to Boxey's
earlier presence during the tylium
scouting mission on Carillon in
in our PopApostle BSG chronology, Boxey most recently
accompanied both Apollo and Serina to the surface of Baalfarr in
Apollo gives Boxey a medallion
that was given to him by his
father when he graduated from
the academy. We never get a very
good look at it.
A couple different symbols
appear on the boxes of
provisions taken by the task
force aboard the shuttle. In the
first screenshot below, the
top two symbols are similar to the
Colonial emergency symbol, but
have some extra lines in the
middle. The bottom two I'm not
sure of but, given that it
resembles a crosshair, it may be
a symbol meant to represent
firearms. At 22:35 on the DVD,
another symbol similar to the
emergency symbol, but
upside-down, appears, again with
extra lines in the middle.
symbols on the shuttle
The snowram appears to be the same vehicle as the landram (seen
"Exodus"), just painted white!
The characters' parkas have a different colored patch on the
right sleeve for different characters. We see red, yellow, blue,
orange, and purple. They don't seem to denote rank, so what is
It seems throughout this and other episodes of the series that Boxey has a
bit of hero-worship towards Starbuck.
During his interrogation by Vulpa, Cree denies he is from the
Galactica, claiming instead to be from the Columbia.
Vulpa reveals that the Columbia was destroyed at the peace
conference (though the novelization of
"Saga of a Star World" tells us
that Atlantia, Pacifica,
Triton, and Acropolis were the battlestars
During the discussion in the snowram, Boomer remarks that there
are 220 ships in the fleet in danger from the Cylon pulse
weapon. In our, admittedly retroactive, continuity, there are
actually just 217 ships left in the fleet due to loss of ships
in "Collision Course" and
"The Last Hiding Place".
Apparently, another term for "clone" in the BSG universe is
"theta class life form".
When Ser 5-9 refers to Dr. Ravashol as the "father-creator",
Boxey asks Apollo if that means Ravashol is God. Apollo answers
he's not God if he's with the Cylons. Ironically, in BSG2000,
the Cylons do consider God to be on their side!
The Arcta expedition is carrying solenite bombs. Solenite makes
a few other later appearances as an explosive compound in the
annals of the series as well.
Notice that, as the expedition, led by the clone Ser 5-9, is
making the trek to the mountain on foot at 43:43 on the DVD,
Muffit seems to pause or stop behind a rock and Apollo picks him
up and carries him! Possibly, the trained chimp
in the daggit costume, Evie, preferred to stop and rest at that rock on
repeated takes, so actor Richard Hatch just picked her up to
keep the scene moving.
As Baltar is relishing his upcoming defeat of Adama at 47:38 on
the DVD, he is rubbing his right leg with his hand. Is this due
to an injury or soreness still present from his being trapped under
a stone slab in the tomb of the Ninth Lord of Kobol (in
"A Death in the Family")
for which he blames Adama? (In
"The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" Part 2, we see him limping
somewhat on that leg.)
Notes from the Deleted Scenes
One of the deleted scenes reveals that a member of the expedition, Colonial Warrior Vickers, was a
member of the gun crew who held the rear guard at the Battle of
Notes from the novelization of
"The Gun on Ice Planet Zero", The Cylon Death
Machine by Glen A. Larson
and Robert Thurston
(The page numbers come from the 1st
printing, paperback edition, published January 1979)
Pages 1-129 cover the events of
"The Gun on Ice Plant Zero" Part 1.
The cover seems to have been inspired by an Oriental style and
was painted by the renowned artist Frank Frazetta, perhaps best
known for his artwork of Conan the Barbarian. The painting was
inverted vertically for
placement on the cover of the
book (the original is below).
It's unusual in that it depicts
Apollo wearing red stripes on
his shirt, Starbuck wearing a
tank top and Athena(?) wearing a
one-piece bathing-suit type
outfit! The image of the
Galactica also has a decidedly
Oriental look to it.
The Adama Journal entry at the beginning of the book suggests
that Croft met Adama at some point in the past and desires
vengeance against him. It's later revealed in Croft's own
journal that the theft of platinum from the Cylon outpost on
Kalpa which is brought up by Starbuck while reviewing the
prisoner files, was the occasion when he and his crew were
stopped and arrested by Commander Adama.
Like the first novelization in the BSG series, the Cylons are
described as reptilian, with cyborg enhancements and armor.
In the novel, it is the Imperious Leader, not Baltar, who is
herding the human fleet towards the Cylon's pulsar weapon.
On page 3, the Imperious Leader thinks of the human fleet as
"mismatched", there not being a translation in the Cylon
language for a Colonial prisoner's description of "ragtag".
Page 3 reveals that the Cylon ice planet is known as Tairac. In
the televised episode, it is called Arcta. (Notice that the two
names are almost anagrams of each other.)
Page 3 also reveals the ice planet's Command Centurion,
Vulpa, was exiled to the remote outpost for his outspokenness
against the Imperious Leader's current strategy against the
fleeing human survivors. Vulpa believed that, as long as they
are fleeing, they should be allowed to escape rather than waste
resources pursuing and trying to eliminate them.
The Cylons seem to be obsessed with Starbuck. In the
novelization of "Lost Planet of the Gods", The Tombs of Kobol,
Lucifer was rather friendly with him during his capture and
interrogation. Here, the Imperious Leader calls up a simulation
of Starbuck in an attempt to understand the humans' erratic
patterns of motivation and action.
The human fleet is still using a camouflage force field around
it, as described in the novelization of
"Saga of a Star World".
Page 8 reveals that the fleet has a former research ship called
the Infinity that has been converted into a flight
training facility for Viper pilot cadets.
Page 8 also reveals that Boxey is 6 years old at this time.
Page 9 reveals that there has been enough volunteers from the
fleet to form 100 Viper squadrons, if only they had enough
On page 9, Commander Adama recalls attending space academy at
the Caprican Academy.
Page 9 also reveals that the fleet has converted a half-dozen
freighters into foundries for building new Vipers. Page 12 tells
us one of the foundry ships is called the Hephaestus.
On Earth, Hephaestus was the Greek god of metallurgy (and other
things). The Hephaestus is
mentioned in the later novels
The Nightmare Machine,
Page 12 reveals that Athena has turned down some important
postings in the past in order to remain on the Galactica.
Page 14 mentions the Universal Museum on Caprica. Is this the
same as the Planetary Museum on Caprica, mentioned in the
portion of the novelization of "Lost Planet of the Gods"
covering "A Death in the
Page 14 also reveals that the Colonial Movers ship recently
turned back a squadron of Cylon Raiders single-handedly and the
achievement was being praised in song and legend already amongst
the fleet. This would seem to be an untold tale of the fleet.
Page 14 reveals that the leader of Starbuck's flight crew is a
woman named Jenny.
goes on to appear in
The Nightmare Machine
and Die, Chameleon!
Also revealed on page 14 is the fact that Boomer is an expert on
the botanical aspects of smoking devices. This harkens back to
Boomer's own comment near the end of
"Exodus", "She must have been smoking
Page 21 mentions the planet Cassarion, a Cylon outpost.
Page 21 also mentions the Sellian asteroid belt, the fragments
of a world literally destroyed by the Cylons at some point in
the past. How the destruction was achieved is not revealed. In
the fleet discovers a Cylon satellite in orbit around a planet
which they detect has a link to an explosive charge set deep in
the crust of the planet that will detonate it, so it's possible
the Sellian asteroid belt fragments were formed by a similar
Page 23 reveals that, early in the Thousand Yahren War, the Cylons
had a method of powering asteroids across space for combat purposes.
This is reminiscent of the Cylons attempt to destroy the
Galactica with an asteroid in "Doomsday Rock".
Page 32 refers to Vulpa as a Warrior of the Elite Class.
Page 32 reveals that the mountain upon which the pulsar has been
built is known as Mt. Hekla. In the televised two-parter, we
don't learn this until
Page 38 reveals that some Cylons are known to write poetry.
Also on page 38, the Imperious Leader's hologram of Starbuck
reveals that a nickname for Commander Adama among the crew of
the Galactica is Ironhull Adama.
The entry from the Adama Journals on pages 41-43 tells of a (apocryphal?)
story from Starbuck's days at the academy.
Page 42 reveals that one euphemism for the bathroom at the
academy is "the Cylon throne room".
Page 48 describes Vulpa as having black strips across his
metallic armor to designate him as a Warrior of the Elite Class,
rather than having the gold armor as depicted in the TV episode.
Also on page 48, Cree's cadet uniform is described as looking
different from that of a warrior's, so there was no insignia
to prove he was from the Galactica. In the episode, he
appears to be wearing a normal warrior's outfit, so he should
have been easily identifiable as a member of Galactica's
crew to Vulpa.
Again on page 48, Cree recalls that he has been taught that, if
captured, to give the enemy no more than name, rank, and
classification number. Obviously this detail was inspired by the
rules of the Geneva Convention here on Earth, which requires a prisoner of war
to give only name, rank, and number.
Page 55 reveals there is a difference between Cylon warriors and
workers. What may be workers are glimpsed in
"The Living Legend"
On page 60, Leda tells Croft to shut up, "I'm not taking any
more of your birdlime." I was not familiar with the term
"birdlime". It turns out it is a sticky, adhesive
substance used to trap birds.
While Apollo and Croft argue about mountaineering on page 67, it
is revealed that the second-highest mountain on Caprica is Mt.
Page 70 describes the expedition as having, among its
mountaineering supplies, ropes of Aquarian hemp, which can
become either stiff or
with a right or left twist of the rope's end.
In the book, the gunnery sergeant's name is spelled "Haals"
instead of "Halls" as it is in the televised episode.
In the TV episode, Boomer is picked by the computer for the
mission because of his past duty on Ice Station Thula while
Starbuck programs the computer to add his own name to the roster
as well. In the novel, Starbuck adds both of them into the
computer himself with a false record of them having served at
Aeriana Ice Station.
In the Adama Journal entry on page 108, he wonders if they will
be able to restore/recreate their lost books and entertainments
from the Colonies when they finally outrun or defeat the Cylons
or find a planet to welcome them. The reference to "a planet"
sounds as if Adama harbors at least some doubts about
being able to find the specific planet Earth.
One of the lost books Adama ponders on is a young adult novel
called Sharky Star-rover about a boy who flees his home
to find freedom and adventure with an alien friend.
On page 109, Adama's reminiscence of
Sharky Star-rover includes the detail that young
Sharky's father was a hophead, indicating that "hophead" refers
to some sort of addictive behavior. In American slang of the
early 1900s, "hophead" was a term used for opium users.
Page 113 suggests that the fleet is divided up into sectors
named after what we know as the letters of the Greek alphabet.
Colonel Tigh refers to some of the rear sectors as "Sigma
On page 128, Vulpa compares the elusive human expedition on
Tairac to a type of insect on an unnamed Cylon world which is
attracted to the shine of Cylon armor and which crawls in between
the seams of the armor to cause irritation and damage to the
Cylon's inner workings.