"Experiment in Terra"
Galactica 1980 #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Illustrated by Cezar Razek
Cover by Lucio Parrillo
Dr. Mortinson attempts to lead the way to peace between the
Colonials and Earth.
Read the synopsis of this episode at the Battlestar Wiki site
The title of this issue is borrowed by the writer from the
"Experiment in Terra" though it has nothing to do with that episode.
Terra is the Latin name for Earth.
On page 1, Commander Adama is referred to as Commander Troykus
Adama, implying "Troykus" is his first name. But later
(in part four, "The Night the Cylons Landed"), Baltar
calls him Bill, suggesting his first name is really William,
just as in BSG2000. It's seems unlikely that Adama would just
happen to have a first name so similar to Troy's, considering
they are not blood relations, they have an adoptive
relationship. This is the only time he is referred to as Troykus,
while he's twice called Bill by Baltar, so possibly the name was
changed at some point during the script drafts from Troykus to
Bill and one Troykus reference slipped through.
Another possibility is that the Colonials in this version of the
BSG universe are given a child name when they're born and then
pick their own adult name when they reach a certain age. In the
G1980 TV series, Troy implies that "Troy" was always his name
and his parents just called him Boxey as a nickname. But in this
reimagined G1980, it could be that Boxey was his child name and
he picked his own name when he got older and chose a shortened form
of Troykus, Troy, in honor of his adoptive grandfather.
On page 1, a transmission from Crystal Palace comes into NORAD.
Crystal Palace is a nickname sometimes used for the NORAD base
at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.
Also on page 1, another transmission to NORAD informs them that
Soviet missiles have taken out the silos in Wichita. This would
be Wichita, Kansas, where there are actual nuclear missile silos
built during the Cold War.
Another report comes in to NORAD stating that Los Angeles is a
crater. The G1980 TV series took place mostly in the Los Angeles
The President and Vice President are evacuated to the Mount
Weather Emergency Operations Center. This is a real world COG
facility (Continuity of Government) located in the Blue Ridge
Mountains of Virginia. It is the center of operations for FEMA
(Federal Emergency Management Agency). COG is a set of defined
procedures adopted by numerous countries to allow government to
continue during and after a severe national emergency.
This issue reveals that Dr. Mortinson's first name is Felix. In
the G1980 TV series, his name was Donald.
Page 1, panel 4, explains that Dr. Mortinson is approaching
Pennsylvania Avenue. This is the street on which the White House
resides in Washington, D.C.
The image behind the issue title in panel 5 of page 1 appears to
be Earth rising over the Moon's surface.
On page 2, Mortinson just happens to pull his car right up to
where Troy is carrying his grandfather, attempting to find
somewhere to care for him. Later, Adama chalks the coincidence
up to divine providence.
"Greetings From Earth", Mortinson states that only
three people in the world, Frellich, Lupo, and McCullough, might
be able to translate the ancient Aramaic-like language spoken by
the aliens. Yet, here he himself is speaking ancient Aramaic and
easily communicating with Troy!
Page 5 describes the Rising Star as the fleet's
flagship now that the Galactica has been destroyed.
On page 8, Baltar's throne has a headrest not previously seen in
any BSG episodes. It makes him look a bit like the Imperious
Leader as he sits there.
On page 8, Baltar seems to state that humanity invented the
Cylons. This seems to be another instance of melding an aspect
of BSG2000 (in which the Cylons are the rebellious former
robotic servants of the Twelve Colonies of Man) with the
original BSG setting. As fans know, the Cylons of the original
BSG are the robotic descendants of reptilian beings from another
part of the galaxy.
On page 9, Dr. Mortinson takes Troy and Adama to Mount Weather
to speak to the President. Mortinson tells them he's guessing
that the Secret Service would have taken the President here
after the nuclear missile attack that destroyed the Galactica
rather than the closer Camp David because Camp David would be
too close to the radioactive fallout zone. Camp David is the
forested retreat reserved for U.S. Presidents since Franklin D.
Roosevelt in 1942. It is located in Catoctin Mountain Park,
Mortinson drives up to the entrance of the Mount Weather
facility on page 9. I doubt very much he'd be able to drive
right up to the mountainside entrance without being stopped
sooner. Anyway, he instructs Troy and Adama to wait in the car
while he gets out to talk to the guards, which they seem to do.
But when the guards balk at allowing them in and become
threatening towards Mortinson on page 10, Troy and Adama are
suddenly outside the car and the suspicious Troy grabs Mortinson
and holds his laser to the man's head, demanding he tell the
guards to let them in or he'll shoot everyone, starting with
Mortinson himself. How would Troy and Adama be able to get out
of the car and walk to the front of it where Mortinson was standing
without the guards telling them to freeze or shooting them?
The mountainside entrance of
Mount Weather depicted here
looks more like the entrance to
the Cheyenne Mountain NORAD
complex. Notice the partially
obscured lettering above the
tunnel entrance seems to spell
out Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
Mountain Complex entrance (from
Mount Weather entrance in this
Notice there appears to be a security camera mounted above the
arch of the tunnel entrance, explaining how the officials inside
the complex knew Mortinson and his new friends were outside.
The guns carried by the Mount Weather sentries appear to be M16
On page 10, the two guards at the Mount Weather entrance are
radioed from inside with the call sign Foxtrot Lima. "Foxtrot" and
"Lima" are the code words for the letters F and L in the NATO
phonetic alphabet. In this case, it's possible writer Guggenheim
slipped it in as a slang term sometimes used for "fucking
lunatic", in reference to Troy's behavior here in the eyes of
the authorities observing on security camera.
On page 12, President Carter occupies an exact replica of the
Oval Office inside Mount Weather. The real Oval Office is
located in the West Wing of the White House and is the official
office of the President. It has been speculated in various
fictional novels, movies, television shows, etc., that the U.S.
government may have one or more replicas of the Oval Office and
other recognizable rooms in secret locations the President can
be moved to during dangerous situations and still give the
appearance of being at the White House during a telecast. I have
not been able to find any confirmation that such official
replicas of the Oval Office exist; there are, of course, film
set replicas of the office, as well as some U.S. citizens and
organizations that have constructed replicas for educational or
On pages 14-15, Adama quotes from the spoken message of U.N.
Secretary General Waldheim that was on the
Golden Record of the Voyager probe picked up by
the fleet in issue #1,
"Galactica Discovers Earth".
Austrian Kurt Waldheim was, in fact, the Secretary General of
the United Nations from 1972-1981 and he did record such a message
for the Voyager Golden Record. Adama is cut off before
he speaks the final sentence of Waldheim's message. The full
message is: "As the Secretary General of the United Nations, an
organization of the 147 member states who represent almost all
of the human inhabitants of the planet Earth, I send greetings
on behalf of the people of our planet. We step out of our solar
system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship, to
teach if we are called upon, to be taught if we are fortunate.
We know full well that our planet and all its inhabitants are
but a small part of this immense universe that surrounds us and
it is with humility and hope that we take this step."
On page 17, Dr. Zee appears to be using a computer system that
speaks to him, something not generally seen within the fleet
(one notable exception is the CORA computer that was tested by
Starbuck in his Viper in
"The Long Patrol"). The computer speculates that Adama is
communicating with the battling Colonial/Earth forces through
the U.S. Emergency Broadcast System. The
Emergency Broadcast System is currently known (since 1997) as
the Emergency Alert System, a national warning system in the
United States allowing the government to transmit warnings and
information to the public in the event of emergency. The
Emergency Broadcast System was also mentioned in the G1980 TV
Night the Cylons Landed" Part 2.
On page 19, panel 5, Adama's image during the EBS broadcast is
seen on a giant TV screen mounted on a building, with a large
multi-colored symbol mounted above the screen. This may be an
artistic license representation of the
peacock logo of the NBC television network, suggesting
the building is probably either the GE Building in New York
City, where NBC is headquartered, or the NBC Tower in Chicago,
though I'm not sure if either building had a large TV mounted on
it in 1980. The logo seen is similar, but not identical, to the
famous NBC peacock logo, though it looks closer to the modern
version of the logo in use since 1986 and not the one used by
NBC in 1980.
|Logo above TV
screen in this issue
1979-1986 NBC logo
As the Cylon fleet arrives at
Earth and begins blasting
Washington, D.C. on the last
page of the issue, a statue is
seen falling in front of Capitol
Hill. The statue is that of
President James A. Garfield, who
held the office for only about 7
months before dying from
complications of a gunshot wound
inflicted during an
assassination attempt on July 2
of that year. The artwork
depicts a fairly accurate
representation of the statue,
though the pedestal appears
statue during attack
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