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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Sagittarius is Bleeding

Battlestar Galactica

Sagittarius is Bleeding

Novel
Wirtten by Peter David
Published 2006

 

President Roslin begins to experience strange and horrifying dreams and hallucinations that she believes may be caused by a psychic connection to Sharon's unborn hybrid baby; a fringe religious group seeks to become a fourteenth colony.

 

Notes from the BSG chronology

 

This novel takes place between the episodes "Black Market" and "Scar".

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

President Roslin

Admiral Adama

Apollo

Starbuck

Billy Keikeya

Caprica-Valerii

Boomer (mentioned only)

Dee

Baltar

Cally

Boxey

Head Six

Minerva Greenwald

Colonel Tigh

Zak Adama (mentioned only, deceased)

Lt. Gaeta

Hot Dog

Kat

Lt. Kathleen "Puppeteer" Shay

Commander Barry Garner

Admiral Cain (mentioned only, deceased)

Commander Jack Fisk (mentioned only, deceased)

Tom Zarek

Cortez

Luther Paine

Wolf Gunnerson

Freya Gunnerson

Corporal Venner

Ellen Tigh (mentioned only)

Helo

Chief Tyrol (mentioned only)

D'Anna Biers

Sarah Porter

Shelley Godfrey (mentioned only, deceased)

Tyr

Fenris

Jolly

Zac

Robin Wenutu

Eladio Puasha

 


 

Didja Notice?

 

Chapter 1:

 

Roslin's dream of the field with obelisks on Kobol is inspired by her memories of the field in a holographic display she, Adama, Apollo, and Starbuck saw in the Tomb of Athena in "Home" Part 2.

 

The artifact called the Arrow of Apollo that acts as a key to the Tomb of Athena was recovered from the Delphi Museum of the Colonies in the City of Delphi on Caprica by Starbuck in "Home" Part 1.

 

The "original" names of the Twelve Colonies are partially listed and coincide with the names of the twelve signs of the zodiac as we know it on Earth. The names listed are Aries, Taurus, and Gemini. In the Twelve Colonies, the corresponding three planets are known as Aerilon, Tauron, and Gemenon.

 

In her dream, Roslin sees blood dripping from the tip of the arrow on the image of Sagittarius the archer on the Sagittarius obelisk. The sign of the Earth zodiac called Sagittarius symbolizes an archer. The other obelisks she sees bleeding also have properly corresponding symbols for each zodiacal sign: the twins of Gemini and the water-bearer of Aquarius. 

 

Roslin sees a thirteenth obelisk in her dream, presumably representing the lost thirteenth colony, Earth. The symbol on it is one she interprets as a war hammer. On our Earth, the astronomical symbol for our planet is an equilateral cross circumscribed by a circle. Earth astronomical symbol

 

In Roslin's dream, the collapsing of the twelve obelisks and the appearance of the thirteenth to topple onto her seem to be dream symbology for the fall of the Twelve Colonies and the crushing task of finding Earth.

 

Roslin's being cured of cancer through the properties of the blood of Caprica-Valerii's half-Cylon baby occurred in "Epiphanies". The "cure" turns out to be just a remission, as her cancer returns as stated in "Crossroads" Part 2.

 

Roslin ruminates that Caprica-Valerii has aided the human fleet against the Cylons at least once, but remains incarcerated in the brig. Caprica-Valerii first assisted the fleet in combat with the Cylons in by sending a computer virus to the Cylons in "Flight of the Phoenix" and has assisted in other way since.

 

Roslin also ruminates that Boomer had shot Commander Adama at point-blank range. This occurred in  "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 2.

 

Roslin recalls telling Adama, "If you're a Cylon, I'd like to know," and his response, "If I'm a Cylon, you're really screwed." This exchange took place in "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down".

 

Chapter 2:

 

Cally's full name is given as Callista Henderson in the book, but the later episode "Escape Velocity" gives her first name as "Callendra" instead. The novelization of the 4-hour mini-series that served as the pilot of this series states her name to be "Jane Cally", which obviously must be disregarded; TV episodes take precedence in canonicity.

 

Boxey appears for the first time since "Bastille Day". He is not seen again after this. Here, he is said to be 13 years old.

 

At the card game, Boxey remarks to Baltar that the both of them were rescued from the destruction of Caprica by Boomer, who was the pilot of the Raptor that picked them up. This occurred in "Serve and Protect".

 

In the BSG70 episode "The Lost Warrior", Boxey also played cards with the pilots.

 

Boxey has been assigned to the ship of the fleet called the Peacemaker. Aboard this ship, he becomes something of a pickpocket. This would be author Peter David's take on the idea producers Ron Moore and David Eicke had for the character if he had been continued in the TV series, that of an "artful dodger".

 

Young Minerva Greenwald becomes Boxey's first crush.

 

Boxey continues to make it over to the Galactica every chance he gets, scamming his way aboard shuttles going to and from the Peacemaker. The pilots all know him and let him get by, despite regulations against people lifts. This is aided by Boxey's ability to "procure" handy items and luxuries such as cigars, fruit, and brandy.

 

The cells of the Galactica brig are described as being made up of welded metal grid screens reinforced with Plexiglas. Plexiglas is the trademark name of transparent thermoplastic of polymethyl methacrylate made by the Rohm and Haas Company...here on Earth!

 

After bringing Boxey onto the Galactica in "Serve and Protect", Boomer is said to have considered him her unofficial little brother. Later in the novel, Freya Gunnerson is also said to have come to think of herself as his big sister.

 

Chapter 3:

 

Starbuck observes that the number of Cylon ships assailing them has dwindled since the Galactica and Pegasus had destroyed the Resurrection Ship. This occurred in "Resurrection Ship" Part 2.

 

The character of Raptor pilot Lt. Kathleen "Puppeteer" Shay is named for the author's wife, Kathleen O'Shea, a woman who counts puppeteering among her talents.

 

Within the PopApostle BSG chronology, this novel is the first appearance of the new commander of the Pegasus, Barry Garner, formerly the ship's Chief Engineer. His first (and last!) TV appearance takes place in "The Captain's Hand".

 

The assassination of Admiral Cain by a Cylon and the murder of Commander Fisk by a co-hort in the black market is mentioned in relation to Garner's promotion to Commander on Pegasus. Cain's assassination (by Number Six model Gina Invierre) occurred at the end of "Resurrection Ship" Part 2 and Fisk's murder in "Black Market".

 

An FTL jump is described as the ship being in one place and then in another almost instantaneously, not "some vast vortex of stars swirled around...in a hypnotic haze, providing a tunnel through which (the) ship hurtled." The "vortex" description here sounds like the Star Wars version of hyperspace travel!

 

Chapter 4:

 

Besides being the representative of Sagittaron to the Quorum, Zarek is said to also be presented as the de facto leader of the Astral Queen since the mutiny aboard the prison ship in "Bastille Day".

 

Wolf Gunnerson and his daughter are members of what they consider to be a separate colony, the Midguardians, practicing a religion based on excised portions of the Sacred Scrolls in a book called the Book of Edda, not accepted by the mainstream pantheistic religion of the Twelve Colonies. Their chief god is Woten and Gunnerson himself leans towards the teachings of Woten's son, Thorr. Wolf's daughter, Freya, is named for Woten's wife. The Midguardians live on a ship of the fleet called Bifrost. These terms and names are all borrowed from ancient Nordic mythology, the way much of the mainstream Colonial religion is based on Roman mythology. "Midguard" was a name for Earth, the material world of humanity. "Edda" comes from the Medieval Nordic literary works the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda. Woten was one of, if not the most, prominent god of Nordic mythology (more often called Odin in modern works). Freya is Woten's wife in some versions of Nordic mythology and was the goddess of beauty, fertility, love, sex, war, and death. Thorr (more commonly spelled "Thor") was the son of Woten. "Bifrost" was the name of the mythic rainbow bridge that led from Earth to the gods' world of Asgard (Wolf also describes Bifrost as a rainbow bridge in Chapter 11).

 

Wolf has been told he resembles Thorr. Mythology describes the Nordic god as being large and strong and having red hair and beard, just as Wolf Gunnerson is described here.

 

At this point in the timeline, the Sagittaron population of the fleet is said by Zarek to be 5,251 (as was also stated way back in "33" (this would imply that no Sagittarons have died in all the fleet's adventures since then). Yet, Wolf repeats it as 2500. One of those figures was probably changed during the re-writing or editorial process of the book; presumably, the 5,251 figure borrowed from "33" is correct. By the end of the book, three Sagittarons have died, bringing their population down to 5,248.

 

Wolf proclaims that the Midguardians' Book of Edda is just as accurate, if not more so, as any of the predictions made by Pythia. Pythia is said to have been a Kobolian prophet in "Flesh and Bone" and other episodes.

 

Chapter 5:

 

Baltar reflects on becoming acquainted with Gina (Invierre), a Number Six model Cylon who was held prisoner (later escaping)aboard Pegasus when it found the fleet. This occurred during the events of "Pegasus" and "Resurrection Ship" Parts 1 and 2. Gina is seen to have joined a group of human activists in the fleet who wish to push for peace with the Cylons, as stated here, in "Epiphanies".

 

Boxey is brought to Baltar by Marine Corporal Venner to use the Cylon detection test on him. But Baltar's Cylon detector was considered a "failure" when he deceptively declared Boomer to be human (in "Flesh and Bone") and then she was proven by her actions (the assassination attempt on Commander Adama) to be a Cylon (in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 2).

 

Chapter 6:

 

After Laura Roslin's determined expedition to the Temple of Athena on Kobol (in "Home" Part 2) one member of the media dubbed her "Laura the Explorer". This may be a reference by author David to the 2000-2014 animated children's TV series Dora the Explorer.

 

Boxey's full name is stated to be Andrew Boxman by Adama and his father (who was killed at Armistice Station at the beginning of the war) was also named Boxman. But the novelization of the mini-series gave the name of the Armistice Officer as Colonel Wakefield.

 

Chapter 8:

 

Discussing the topic of people who may be suspected of being Cylons, Tigh says to Adama, "We can't be too careful," and Adama responds that he thinks it's been proven that they can, thinking of a recent military tribunal that got out of hand. This is a reference to the investigation of Tyrol in "Litmus".

 

Colonel Tigh states that he did some surveillance work early in his career, explaining that he knows how to make and plant small audio recording devices for that purpose.

 

Chapter 9:

 

Roslin reflects that her current spate of metaphorical dreams feel more threatening than the ones she had while under the influence of the Chamalla extract to treat her cancer. She started taking Chamalla extract in "Act of Contrition", but stopped after the cancer receded with the injection of blood from the Cylon hybrid baby in "Epiphanies".

 

During the water crisis (in "33"), Billy Keikeya apparently suggested mounting a campaign using the slogan, "Save water, shower with a friend." This is a humorous slogan that has been used by water conservation movements here on Earth for a few decades.

 

Chapter 10:

 

Freya argues with Adama that there are documented cases of humans functioning with highly-developed versions of ESP, so the Cylons' ability to transfer their consciousness to a duplicate body is not quite so far removed from being human as some might think. ESP is Extrasensory Perception, the ability to use psychic power for clairaudience, clairvoyance, and telepathy. This suggests that ESP is an accepted reality of the Twelve Colonies, unlike the skepticism it is largely met with in our own world.

 

Caprica-Valerii reflects on her incarceration aboard Galactica and the officer from Pegasus who attempted to rape her. This occurred in "Resurrection Ship" Part 1.

 

Caprica-Valerii remarks to Freya that if she (Freya) frees her, her life expectancy in the fleet would be only "microns". In BSG70 "microns" was the equivalent of "seconds" of time, but BSG2000 has never used those old units of time measurement. She should have said "seconds" (unless we choose to think of "micron" has a Cylon unit of time measurement).

 

Apollo seems surprised that the Cylons believe in only one god when Caprica-Valerii tells him that. But Leoben Conoy had revealed the Cylons' belief in one god to Starbuck during interrogation in "Flesh and Bone", so you'd think Apollo would know of it.

 

Chapter 11:

 

Roslin's dream in Chapter 11 correctly predicts that Caprica-Valerii's baby will be a girl.

 

The passage Wolf reads from the Edda very much describes aspects of the annihilation of the Twelve Colonies and the flight of the small fleet of human vessels as seen in episodes up to this point in the timeline:
 
"The day would come, when the prodigal sons,
A gleam in metal, crimson of eye
Would rain destruction down upon their fathers from the tinted sky
The fathers would run, fleeing from the wrath
Of son, accompanied by daughters
Their eyes would turn toward far-off home
With verdant land and chill blue waters
Two ships would guide them, one at first
The galaxy would be its name
Accompanied by flying horse
Very different, much the same.."

 

When Roslin tells Billy that "someone is in my head", he responds, "You mean like a chip or something?" Unknowingly, Billy has described what was Head Six's initial explanation for how she was able to appear to Baltar after the assault on Caprica with no one else seeing her.

 

Chapter 12:

 

In Chapter 12, Baltar again visits his former home on Caprica within his head, despite the fact that he had declared that he no longer needed to visit there in "Epiphanies".

 

Chapter 12 reveals that Head Six never gave Baltar her name, telling him names have power, so she chooses to keep it to herself. In the novelization of the mini-series, the author (Jeffrey A. Carver) chose to give her the name Natasi.

 

Head Six tells Baltar she has died several times. Besides the nuclear bombing of Caprica, what type of events would she have been involved in that would lead to her death (and subsequent resurrection?).

 

Chapter 13:

 

When Tigh's audio surveillance device planted in Dee's quarters catch Billy talking to himself and reveal to Tigh and Adama that Roslin is having dreams and waking visions, they wonder why she is has been reluctant to share the problem with the Admiral. They half-jokingly speculate that she's afraid Adama would stage a coup against her, noting that it's not unprecedented. Adama staged a coup against President Roslin in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" Part 2.

 

During his conversation with Tigh, Adama reflects that, before he got shot by Boomer, he'd "tried to transform himself into what he thought the last remnants of humanity required: a hard-edged, hard-bitten, brutal-as-necessary commander who was perfectly willing to steamroll over anyone or anything that got in the way of his very simple goal: survival." This is a fairly close description of what Admiral Cain was seen to have become in "Pegasus".

 

Adama reflects on the moment that Boomer shot him, that when he saw the gun in her hand, she must have seen some kind of threat behind him and was aiming to protect him and after he'd been shot and was lapsing into unconsciousness, he'd thought, She missed whoever she was shooting at behind me. She's going to be so embarrassed.

 

Adama feels he owes a gargantuan debt to President Roslin for discovering the proof of Earth since his initial promise that he knew how to find it had been a lie (in "Enemies Among Us").

 

As Roslin tries to claim the moral high ground versus Adama and Tigh's surveillance program, Adama reminds her of her order to kill Admiral Cain. Her decision to take this step occurred in "Resurrection Ship" Part 1.

 

Chapter 15:

 

Due to Caprica-Valerii's behavior, Adama begins to wonder if there is some actual dissension in the Cylon ranks and that they might be able to foster a sort of civil war among the Cylons. The Cylon Civil War comes to fruition in Season Four of the TV series.

 

When Boxey comes under suspicion of being a Cylon, Adama, Tigh, and Roslin acknowledge to themselves that there is known to have been a real Boxey, the son of the Armistice Officer who was killed at Armistice Station at the beginning of the war. Roslin asks if the Cylons impersonate real people and Tigh responds that they don't know. In a different kind of operation entirely, the Cylons did experiment with recreating the bodies and minds of dead humans as part of their studies into creating humanoid Cylons, as seen in the "Returners" comic book storyline published by Dynamite Entertainment.

 

Billy is said to have graduated university with degrees in political science and government and he studied psychology for two years before changing majors.

 

Starbuck reflects on the rivalry Kat had developed with Starbuck. This story thread will soon come to a head in "Scar".

 

When Starbuck enters Adama's quarters to be given a special mission, she reflects that the last special mission she was given was to assassinate Admiral Cain (gratefully, for her part, countermanded just before it was to be enacted). She was given the unpleasant task in "Resurrection Ship" Part 1.

 

During the discussion about Baltar, Starbuck suspects that Adama has read on her face that she had once had a one-night stand with Dr. Baltar. This occurred in "Colonial Day".

 

Chapter 16:

 

The discussion between President Roslin and Quorum representative of Gemenon Sarah Porter about a proposal to allow the Midguardians to form their own colony reveals that Colonial government does not have separation of church and state. Citizens are expected to follow, or at least respect, the traditional polytheistic religion of the Colonies and those who don't are lesser citizens, potentially with fewer rights.

 

Chapter 17:

 

    In keeping with the Scandinavian flavor of the Midguardian religion, the temple on the Bifrost is described to have a similar decor to a Viking longhouse or mead house, with long tables set with heavy mugs and benches on each side, unlike the pews of a traditional temple in Boxey's experience.

    A hammer also hangs in the temple, which Boxey is told represents a god of thunder. This would be a reference to the Norse god Thor and his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. 

 

Starbuck wants to avoid a shooting inside Bifrost after the debacle that occurred when Colonel Tigh declared martial law in the fleet. In "Valley of Darkness", Tigh declared martial law during food riots amongst the fleet while Adama was in critical condition from Boomer's assassination attempt. Marines he sent to seize supplies from the Gideon fire upon civilians during a riot in "Resistance", killing four civilians.

 

Chapter 18:

 

There is not much of a judicial system set up within the fleet: there's Admiral Adama, President Roslin, the Quorum, and a few freelance mediators who travel throughout the fleet overseeing minor disputes.

 

Caprica-Valerii complains to Freya that she will never be allowed to live happily ever after with Helo and her baby as a nice family. However, this is what happens for her by the end of the series.

 

Caprica-Valerii reveals she is able to lip-read.

 

Adama reflects on his past willingness to order an attack against Pegasus to get Helo and Tyrol back not long ago. This occurred at the end of "Pegasus"

 

Caprica-Valerii claims she can turn off her emotions to carry out distasteful tasks (such as torture). It seems here to be true.

 

Chapter 19:

 

Roslin reflects on her promoting Adama from Commander to Admiral. This took place at the end of "Resurrection Ship" Part 2, to prevent what happened when the outranking Admiral Cain arrived in the fleet before her death.

 

Chapter 20:

 

Colonel Tigh says, "Abso-frakking-lutely" in response to a question from Adama. This may be a reference to the "The Long Twilight Struggle" episode of the 1992-1998 TV series Babylon 5, in which the normally staid character of Delenn says "Abso-frigging-lutely, dammit," much to the joy of the show's fans.

 

As a Cylon, Sharon is able to access "programmed" skills as she needs them, even when she has not consciously thought of them before.

 

Adama finds the Book of Edda to be written in a language he is completely unfamiliar with.

 

Gaeta has served under Adama for three years.

 

While reflecting that he would like Starbuck to live to a ripe old age, he knows she will go out in a ball of fire, howling defiance and laughing in the face of death. Neither of these scenarios comes true as her death in "Maelstrom" and her final scene in the last episode of the series, "Daybreak" Part 2.

 

At the end of Chapter 20, Adama, reflecting on Starbuck's life, says to himself, "It's too bad she won't live. But then again...who does?" This line is spoken by the same actor (Edward James Olmos) as police officer Gaff in the 1982 film Blade Runner, in reference to the female replicant Rachel, an artificial being almost indistinguishable from a human. Possibly, author David was hinting that Starbuck may not be human either. By the end of the series, she does not appear to have been a Cylon, but was something more than human all the same.

 

Chapter 21:

 

Roslin mentions to Wolf a news story about life and work on the Galactica run by D'Anna Biers that was very balanced. This story was told in "Final Cut".

 

When Roslin sees an image of Head Six right next to Baltar, she first thinks of the woman as Shelley Godfrey, a supposed Defense Ministry systems analyst in the Colonies who accused Baltar of collusion with the Cylons. Godfrey appeared in "Six Degrees of Separation" (and her death is depicted as having occurred near the end of, or shortly after, that episode in The Plan).

 

Chapter 22:

 

After being taken into custody on the Bifrost, Starbuck and Helo are guarded by Tyr and Fenris. Tyr and Fenris are characters appearing in the Icelandic Eddas, Tyr sometimes portrayed as one of the sons of Odin and Fenris a fearsome wolf.

 

The two Colonial warriors who escort Freya back to Bifrost are named Jolly and Zac. It seems a bit odd that author David should have chosen to use those two names. "Jolly" may be intended by David as a wink to the BSG70 character of the same name, yet an earlier character in BSG2000 already appeared and died in "Serve and Protect". "Zac" is the spelling used for the character of Apollo's brother in BSG70 (as opposed to Zak in BSG2000) and you would think that Starbuck would have some kind of reaction (or at least thoughts) about another Colonial warrior with the same name as her dead fiancé.

 

Ironically, nemeses Starbuck and Tigh have an almost word-for-word identical reaction to seeing the Bifrost on a collision course with Colonial One, "You gotta be frakking kidding me."

 

The Quorum of Twelve meets on Colonial One except for more ceremonial occasions, when they meet on Cloud Nine.

 

Quorum members Robin Wenutu and Eladio Puasha address Zarek during the meeting that introduces them to Wolf Gunnerson. These two representatives were first seen/mentioned in "Colonial Day".

 

Wolf compares Adama's cleverness to that of Loki. In Norse mythology, Loki is a god of malicious mischief.

 

The microphone chip that was found in Gaeta's hand was placed by D'Anna when she shook his hand in "Final Cut".

 

Chapter 24:

 

Starbuck hangs a small picture of Boxey up on the Galactica's memorial wall, implying he was killed from the gunshots he suffered during the skirmish on Bifrost. But Boxey is seen to be alive later, back aboard the Peacemaker, reunited with his friend Minerva. Boxey tells Minerva that he was protected by a metal plate he stuck inside his shirt. But Boxey wonders why he's started to have dreams of bleeding stone carvings, just like President Roslin did, suggesting that he is possibly a Cylon, or being influenced or communicated with by Cylons. The question is left unanswered.

 

    Near the end of the book, Baltar tells Head Six she owes him her name because he did as she requested regarding looking for the listening device in his lab. She agrees. But this was not the deal she made with him. Her promise was that she would tell him her name if she was wrong about there being a listening device planted there. But she was right, so shouldn't owe him her name.

   As it turns out, she seems to give him a joking name anyway. She whispers to him that her name is Legion then telling him to "Work on it." There is a quote in the Bible (Gospel of Mark), attributed to Jesus, "My name is Legion: for we are many." This would seem to be a reference by Six to the multiple copies of her model in existence (though she would not have access to the Bible...as far as we know).

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Is Starbuck deliberately covering up Boxey's survival of the incident aboard Bifrost?

 

Why is Boxey seemingly beginning to have similar dreams to those that were experienced by Roslin? Is he a Cylon? By the end of the TV series, there does not appear to be a Boxey-model Cylon among the twelve models.


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