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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: God in the Machines (Part 2)

"God in the Machines" Part 2

Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War #2 (Dynamite)
Writers: Joshua Ortega and Eric Nylund
Pencils: Nigel Raynor
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Simon Bowland
Cover A: Stephen Segovia, Cover B: Nigel Raynor


During the Sag War, Ben’s robot assistant, Isak, becomes the first robot to kill a human.


Notes from the BSG chronology


This issue takes place entirely within Admiral Tanner's flashback to 40 years earlier (begun in "God in the Machines" Part 1) to show events leading up to the events of the first Cylon War.


Didja Know?


Battlestar Galactica: Cylon War is a 4-issue mini-series published by Dynamite Entertainment. Though the mini-series itself is titled Cylon War, the bonus script pages included in each issue show that the story was titled "God in the Machines" Parts 1-4, a better title in the first place, so I have used those titles in PopApostle's studies of the mini-series.


This series tells the story of the build-up to the first Cylon War 40 years before the events of BSG2000. It was published the year before the premiere of the Caprica TV series on Syfy, so it unfortunately contradicts a lot of the canon information about the origin of the Cylons depicted therein. To make this mini-series fit into the continuity at all, one must imagine that the Tanner corporation here has merely taken a role in helping to improve the Cylon robotic designs already introduced by Graystone Industries in the aforementioned TV series. 


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Commander Ben Tanner

Lt. Hamilton



Clive Madras

Aurelia Lorelei

Tim Tanner (mentioned only, deceased)

Gilbert Tanner (Ben Tanner's uncle, dies in this issue)

John Tanner

Admiral Jennings

Ensign Tigh (presumably meant to be Saul Tigh, but chronology doesn't fit)

Captain Kile (mentioned only)

Jonathan Tanner (name on tombstone, possibly John Tanner, Ben's father)

Amanda Tanner (name on tombstone)




Didja Notice?


The issue opens on Demetres Training Station in geosynchronous orbit over Caprica.


On page 2, panel 2, notice that the Cylon head is sitting on the round conference table as the bigwigs of the Caprican military question Commander Tanner about the results of his tests with Cylon soldiers. We see the center man (Admiral Jennings) at the table holding the head on page 4.


Tanner is placed in charge of the Akins Transluminal Orbital Manufacturing facility (ATOM) near Caprica as part of Caprica's bid to develop battle robots.


On page 6, notice that the Sagittaron Cylons have the Sagittaron symbol painted on their chests.


The Prime Minister of Picon at the time of the war between Caprica and Sagittaron is shown to be Aurelia Lorelei.


On page 12, Tanner has a meeting with Caprican military leaders at Fort Hodge Orbital Defense Station at LaGrange Point Three over Caprica. L1 through L5 represent Lagrange points, "the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon)" (from Wikipedia), named for Italian mathematician and astronomer, Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736-1813).


This issue reveals that the portion of a Colonial robot's programming that prevents it from harming a human being is located in the 4BXG chipsector (the chipsector was previously mentioned as a location of logic stalls in the warbots Tanner Robogenics was developing).


On page 13, Tanner is given command of the Caprican destroyer Eos. The ship looks like a forerunner of the battlestars.



Admiral Jennings informs Tanner of his first mission as commander of Eos, to be part of Caprican Battle Group Theta, Third Fleet in protecting Scorpia against an attempt by Sagittaron to annex the colony by force. Jennings explains that Scorpia does not have much of a defense force, with most of the planet's economy geared toward building their exploration-colony ships. Scorpia is seen to be the home of the Colonial Fleet Shipyards after the unification of the Colonies during the first Cylon war and thereafter.


A young man called Ensign Tigh is seen to serve aboard the Eos under Commander Tanner on page 14. Presumably this is meant to be Saul Tigh, who would go on to meet William Adama and serve with him in later years. But his presence here does not conform to what is learned about his existence as one of the Final Five Cylons who only arrived in the Twelve Colonies from the original Earth during the first Cylon war (though it roughly fits the false backstory he was programmed with when hidden among the human colonists by Number One).


Various types of early starfighters are seen in the battle on page 16, including some early Vipers. However, they don't look like the Mark I Vipers (looking like the ones from BSG70, as seen on display in the Galactica museum in "Humanity's Children") and they're not the Mark II or III from the first Cylon War either.



The rifle wielded by the Sagittaron soldier in panel 1 of page 18 looks quite a bit like an American M16!


On page 19, Tanner mentions military strikes on Picon Delta and Caprica Secudus and that the Sagittarons have been pushed back to Sagittaron Bellarius. This is the first mention of such outposts in the Colonies.


Notice the illustration of the circuitboard in Isak's head on page 22 has a sector labeled 4bXg, as noted earlier, the portion that prevents robots from harming a human being. The word "THEREMIN" is also printed on the board; it's meaning here is unknown...a Theremin is an electronic musical instrument.


On the last few pages of this issue, Isak ponders the destructive traits of humanity and the roots of its religion and comes to the conclusion that there is actually just one God and that humanity, as the destroyers of God's works in the universe must be destroyed themselves instead to stop them. This is a far different origin for the Cylons' belief in God than that later depicted in the chronologically-earlier episodes of the Caprica TV series.

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