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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
Battlestar Galactica: Masquerade "Masquerade"
Battlestar Galactica Gallery (Realm Press)
Written by Art Holcomb
Art by Mike Malbrough
Cover A by Robert Scott, Cover B by Dan Parsons

The fleet faces a cunning new breed of Cylon.

Story Summary

A Cylon basestar attacks the fleet, releasing a flight of new model Raiders that put up a much better fight against the Colonial Vipers than usual. The Galactica is also badly damaged in the attack. Colonel Tigh reports to Commander Adama that Blue Squadron pilots Janus, Sheba, and Boomer are all missing.

Meanwhile, Starbuck is shot down during the battle, and crash lands on a nearby planet. Having also shot down his Cylon enemy, the injured warrior follows the smoke trail to the Raider's crash site. The damaged Cylon pilot confronts him and he strikes the Cylon down with a piece of metallic debris, only to make a shocking discovery.

Back aboard the Galactica, the basestar is no longer an issue, but the bridge now detects a Cylon Raider heading for them...towards the landing bay! They allow it to make a bumpy landing and Starbuck emerges, calling for some med-techs. He has the Cylon pilot with him and removes the being's metallic helmet to reveal...Boomer! The Colonial Warrior has been modified with cybernetic enhancements and encased in Cylon armor to become one of the new breed of Cylon Centurion. Boomer has revealed to Starbuck that the Cylons are also holding the other missing pilots.


Didja Know?

This story could be seen as a sequel of sorts to "Centurion Prime", which is why I placed it immediately following.

Unfortunately, this is one of the many plotlines left incomplete when Realm Press folded shortly after publication of this issue.

Didja Notice? 

The basestar on the first page of the story is shooting both red and blue laser bolts. In the TV series, the Cylon ships would fire blue bolts and the Colonials red.

Colonel Tigh seems to be the doomsayer of the Galactica. After the Cylon attack in "Fire in Space", he says, "The Galactica is doomed." And during the attack here, he says, "Adama, the Galactica is dying!"

As Starbuck leaves the wreckage of his Viper on page 3, panel 4 of story, he appears to be carrying something on his back, like a bed roll or supply pack. But it is not seen in any other panel of the story! It would make sense that a Viper would be equipped with some kind of portable survival gear in the event of a crash landing.

By the time of the segue at the top of page 4 of the story, the Cylon baseship has apparently withdrawn or been destroyed, but no explanation is given for its disappearance. If the Cylons would just press their attack for once instead of hitting and running, they probably could have destroyed the fleet many times over by now!

On page 4, panel 2 of the story, there appears to be a firefighter on the Galactica in the background wearing the same helmet and orange garb as the firefighters seen in "Fire in Space".

Notice that on page 4, panel 4, the crashed Cylon Raider appears to be of a different model than the standard one seen.

Tigh and Adama seem to guess there is something special about the lone incoming Cylon Raider approaching the landing bay, but seem to ignore the information on the scanner right in front of them on page 6, panel 6 of the story. The readout states: LIFEFORMS=2, SPECIES=HUMAN.

Notice that the readout also states CARGO=45 MT ZENITE and 12 MT AMULEEN. Presumably, "MT" is an abbreviation of some unit of measurement by weight or volume (there is the term "metric" in the TV series, but it seems to be a unit of distance, probably similar to the Earth kilometer). I can find no other references to amuleen in BSG or in the real world. "Zenite" may be a reference to a mineral found on the planet Ardana in the Star Trek episode "The Cloud Minders". 

Unanswered Questions

Was Boomer freed from his Cylon armor? Since Realm Press ceased publication shortly after this issue saw print, no conclusion was ever presented for this story. For that matter, were Sheba and the never-seen pilot named Janus rescued? Presumably, they were also prisoners of the Cylons and may have been transformed into the new Cylons. Since Boomer and Sheba are seen in later (non-Realm) stories, they were apparently returned to their normal, human condition.

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