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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Shelf Life

Battlestar Galactica

"Shelf Life"

Echoes of New Caprica GN

TokyoPop

Story by Richard Hatch

Art by Christopher Schons

April 2009

 

President Zarek and Colonel Tigh appoint a secret jury to pass judgment on those who collaborated with the Cylons on New Caprica.

 

Story Summary

 

President Baltar has been reported missing after the exodus from New Caprica and the Quorum of Twelve has granted Tom Zarek, as the last vice president, temporary custodianship of the government. During this turbulent time, the survivors are clamoring for justice against those the mob perceives has having collaborated with the Cylons on New Caprica, friend-against-friend, family-against-family, all threatening to boil over into chaos.

 

During all this, Zarek has little choice but to accept an offer from Laura Roslin to be her vice president if he steps down from the president's role in the next few days to allow her to become president again. He then decides to take the burden upon himself of putting together a secret jury to abduct and pass judgment on those who collaborated with the Cylons and have those found guilty executed in short order via airlock to allow Roslin to return to power unblemished. He is even forced to personally kill an old cohort named Jack, whom he tries to bring into the fold, when the man refuses to be involved.

 

Zarek soon realizes that Colonel Tigh might be the perfect man to bring aboard, due to his own experiences on New Caprica and having been forced to execute his own wife for collaboration on the surface. Tigh sees what Zarek is trying to do and reluctantly agrees to help.

 

Tigh quickly gets things done with his own contacts, gathering a list of suspected collaborators to present to Zarek. The list includes the name of Zarek's long-time friend Jarod, whom he cannot believe could have been a collaborator. Zarek confronts his friend and soon learns that Jarod gave up information to the Cylons in order to protect his new wife and children. Jarod is tried and found guilty by the secret jury and is spaced through an airlock. Tigh forces Zarek to watch his friend die, like Tigh himself had to poison and watch his own wife die on New Caprica.

 

One week later, Roslin assumes the presidency and Zarek the vice presidency. After the swearing in ceremony, Zarek goes to the ship that had held he and Jarod prisoner in the fleet, the Astral Queen. Entering Jarod's old cell, he finds an inscription he recalls his friend making in the floor of the cell: "You, unlawful institutions of power and injustice, may take away our freedom, but only a man, himself, can lose his own soul."

 

THE END

 

Notes from the BSG chronology

 

The "Prologue..." page at the beginning of the story states that, thanks to the rescue from the Cylon occupation by Galactica and Pegasus, "The long year of torture, betrayals, interrogations and imprisonment on New Caprica is finally over." But the Cylons have only occupied the planet for about 4 months. There was a year before that when it was a human colony led by President Baltar's administration.

 

This story does not fit well in between episodes of the series. It basically takes place in segments concurrent with the events of "Collaborators".

 

Didja Know?

 

"Shelf Life" is one of three stories appearing in the Battlestar Galactica manga graphic novel Echoes of New Caprica published by TokyoPop. "Shelf Life" covers pages 60-115 of the graphic novel.

 

This story was written by Richard Hatch, the actor who plays Tom Zarek in the TV series and also played Apollo in BSG70.

 

 

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Tom Zarek

Baltar (mentioned only)

Quorum of Twelve

Admiral Adama

Laura Roslin

Miley

Miley's brother (unnamed)

Jarod Terriman

Chief Tyrol

Jack (friend of Zarek's; killed by Zarek in this story)

Apollo

Colonel Tigh

Ensign Diana Seelix

Charlie Connor

Jean Barolay

Sam Anders

 

Didja Notice?

 

As the story opens, President Baltar has been reported missing after the exodus from New Caprica and the Quorum of Twelve has granted Tom Zarek, as the last vice president, temporary custodianship of the government.

 

On page 74, Zarek accepts an offer from Laura Roslin to be her vice president if he steps down from the president's role in the next few days to allow her to become president again. This is a bit different from the way it goes down in "Collaboration".

 

On page 83, Zarek states that the fleet has been ruled by the Adama-Roslin dynasty for the past four years. That's not even close to true. The holocaust of the Twelve Colonies occurred only a little over two years ago and Baltar was president for 1 year and 4 months of that!

 

On page 85, a bar on Galactica appears to be in the hangar bay, with a Viper hanging above it! The TV episode "Collaborators" does show that living space on the Galactica has become crowded after the loss of several ships of the fleet over the past year-plus and after the exodus from New Caprica, but this seems a bit extreme. However, the bar is "introduced" later this season in "Taking a Break from All Your Worries" as if it's new, a fair amount of time after the events of this story.

Viper over bar

 

On page 86, a fuel barrel (or something like) in Galactica's hangar bay has "BSG" printed on it.

 

Page 90 reveals that Zarek knows that Colonel Tigh poisoned his own wife for her "collusion" with the Cylons (seen in "Exodus" Part 2).

 

On page 94, the list of suspected Cylon collaborators Tigh gives to Zarek includes Robert Harris, Bill King, Kapan Shipman, and someone with the last name of Kelly (presumably not Captain Kelly, who was on Galactica during the Cylon occupation of New Caprica).

 

On page 95, Zarek pays a visit to his old friend Jarod aboard the Monarch. The Monarch is a mining ship seen in episodes of the TV series, last mentioned in "The Farm".

 

Laura Roslin's swearing-in as President of the fleet is not quite the same as it is presented in "Collaborators".

 

On the final page of the story, Zarek visits Jarod's old cell aboard the Astral Queen as a way of honoring him and saying farewell. The Astral Queen was the prisoner transport vessel Zarek himself was held aboard after the fall of the Twelve Colonies.


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