If I were making Battlestar Galactica this week…

An actual conversation over brunch today:

Bey: “If I were remaking Battlestar Galactica this week…”

Me: “As opposed to all the other times and ways we’ve talked about remaking it?”

Bey: “Yes.”

Me: “Ok.”

Bey: “The first season would be almost identical to the first season of the original show, but in the second season I’d have the Cylons following the fleet.”

Me: “They already were.”

Bey: “No, for a different reason.”

Me: “Ok, what’s the Cylon’s reason now?”

Bey: “They want to find earth for the same reason the Galactica does: They’ve lost their home and have nowhere else to go.”

Me: “Holy crap! Ok, what happened to their home?”

Bey: “Commander Cain. After he escaped from those three base ships and that planet..”

Me: “Gamoray.”

Bey: “Yeah. He just went straight to the Cylon homeworld and just devastated it from orbit, wiped out everything, completely glassed it.”

Me: “Cool! Isn’t that a little powerful for a battlestar, though?”

Bey: “Is it? We’ve only seen them fighting other ships, which have armor and defenses and maybe shields and stuff. We’ve never seen them just unload on completely undefended rock. I would imagine that’s different than fighting a ship.”

Me: “Fair enough.”

Bey: “And it fits with Baltar’s plan in ‘Lost Planet of the Gods,’ when he said that the homeworld was virtually undefended with the entire fleet out scouring the galaxy looking for the Galactica. He said that if the Galactica came back they could destroy the empire.”

Me: “Yeah!  But, wait, there’s a problem?”

Bey: “What?”

Me: “The Pegasus has no crew and no weapons. Remember? Right before his suicide charge at Gamoray he evacuated all his fighters and shuttles and all but the smallest possible skeleton crew to the Galactica, and he fired off every weapon he had at the base ships.”

Bey: “Ok, so how big is a skeleton crew?”

Me: “Dunno. I asked a friend how many people it’d take to keep an aircraft carrier going if all you intended to do was run in a straight line for a half hour or so. He said a hundred people or so.”

Bey: “Ok, so two hundred people out of a crew of 5000, and no fighters or weaponry.”

[Long pause]

Bey: “Got it: He flies back to the Colonies. They’re abandoned, there’s probably only a token presence there.”

Me: “And given Gamoray had been lying about the Pegasus, and the Imperious Leader never found out, and Baltar certainly wasn’t gonna tell anyone, the Cylons on the Colonies wouldn’t be expecting it.”

Bey: “Right. So he goes in, and simply salvages as many fighters and munitions and supplies as he needs, from factories, or abandoned bases, or whatever. There must be a lot left. He could get more than he needs. I have this picture in my head of the Pegasus with extra really large guns and missiles hanging off of it.”

Me: “What about crew?”

Bey: “There’s got to be some survivors, right? People who were in ships between worlds, miners, spelunkers, that kind of thing, hiding out?”

Me: “So he grabs them, and forces them into service?”

Bey: “Somewhat unwillingly, yes.”

Me: “I’m imagining anyone who was retired military would automatically be put back in service in their old positions. 50-60 year old fighter pilots, stuff like that.”

Bey: “Yeah. So their planet gets glassed, and only one Base Ship escapes, maybe with one of those single-disk old-model Base Ships”

Me: “And a buttload of tankers”

Bey: “Yeah. They run to Lucifer’s Base Ship, which has been following the Galactica, thinking, ‘well, they must know where they’re going.'”

Me: “So they’re attacking the fleet, or just hanging back and observing, or what?”

Bey: “Some battles probably ensue, but Lucifer is the new Imperious Leader.”

Me: “Makes sense.”

Bey: “He hasn’t had the operation yet, though, doesn’t have the afro. Maybe he’s had a little bit of it, just enough to justify a redesign and make him look cool.”

Me: “Ok.”

Bey: “And they’re actually trying to establish diplomatic relations with the Rag Tag Fleet.”

Me: “That’s brilliant!”

Bey: “Adama wants none of it, but the council overrules him.”

Me: “Adama was capable of empathy. There were Cylon civilians mentioned a few times in the show, and it was overtly mentioned that civilians and civilian targets were strictly off limits. The only people we ever met who went after civilian Cylon stuff were instantly sent to prison. Maybe seeing the ships full of civilian Cylon refugees makes him…I dunno….feel sorry for them?”

Bey: “Maybe, I dunno. Anyway, for whatever reason they realize it’s better to work together for the short term than fight each other to the death. Then the Pegasus shows up, and Adama has to order his own vipers to attack it.”

Me: “Wow. How are you going to do all this? It’s a lot to have happen offscreen, and just hear about later.”

Bey: “Helo plot. 5-15 minutes per episode, as required by that week’s story. 30-40 minutes of Galactica-as-usual, and 5-15 minutes of the unrelated adventures of the Pegasus and Cain.”

Me: “Man, you’ve gotten good at this. There’s a problem, though.”

Bey: “What?”

Me: “Cain is a far better strategist than Adama. They all-but say it in ‘The Living Legend.’ He’s openly referred to as ‘the best damn warrior in the history of the colonies,’ and nobody ever contests it or attributes it to ego. He really just is that good.  I mean, he kept an aircraft carrier – ”

Bey: “Battlestar”

Me: ” – battlestar fully functional behind enemy lines for five years, raiding the enemy for supplies and knocking over Cylon outposts and keeping his people alive with very few casualties. He told them they were never going home again, and they were ok with it. So Adama could *not* win in a fair fight.”

Bey: “So don’t fight fair.”

Me: “Also, Cain’s men – 2/3rds of the Galactica’s pilots at this point – would be vastly more loyal to Cain than Adama, just because.”

Bey: “Lock ’em up, put Cylons in the cockpits of the Vipers.”

Me: [laughing] “Ok. And humans in the raiders?”

Bey: “Mmm-hmmm. The fight isn’t fair because the fighters are behaving in super-crazy-no-way fashion, unlike vipers and raiders. Owing partially to them exchanging technology, and partially due to humans piloting Cylon stuff and Cylons flying humans stuff. That’s how they win.”

Me: “So do they kill Cain? Blow up the Pegasus?”

Bey: “Dunno. Don’t really care at this moment. I just want to come up with some way to remove the Cylons from the board as a threat so we can move on to some more interesting threat. Like the Seraphs, probably.”

Me: “I’m impressed.”

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