The latest episode of our Battlestar Galactica campaign is a follow-up to the last adventure. Previously, the characters had discovered that a worker at an archeological dig on Sagittaron that is causing massive political, religious, and academic upheaval — they’ve discovered an ancient city that appears to have been very modern and destroyed by a nuclear weapon 10,000 years before the Colonies were allegedly settled — is an astronomer that disappeared from a deep-range early warning observatory they found abandoned, possibly attacked by Cylons, at the beginning of the campaign.

Tracking the man down to Leonis, they arrested him because his travel companion — a beautiful, tall blonde woman — was involved in identity theft. Questioning him, they discover he has been brainwashed into believing his new life as an archeologist. When they finally break the programming, the man claimed the “they’ll know! They always know!” and that “they” were the Cylons. Moments later, he passes out from the stress. While doing an examination on the man, the back of his head blows out. They assume it was a kill switch or some kind of cybernetic implant.

They turn their attention to the companion, who had disappeared from Leonis, only to turn up on Caprica. A look into the mysterious “Vala Inviere”, they find out she works as a lawyer for the commander’s wife, who is the head of one of the more powerful political lobbyist groups in the Colonies. This would give the possible Cylon agent access to politicians, policy, and other important state information. They race to Caprica this episode to find her.

The evening starts with them linking up with the Colonial Security Service (essentially the FBI) to find and track her. The commander is hoping to follow her and find her associates. He has made certain his father, the president’s security advisor, is in the loop and this has put the character in the high-profile position of leading the investigation. However, the director of the CSS runs the operation up the chain of command to the Colonial Attorney General, a smart, connected, and highly ambitious politician looking to be the next Caprican Quorum member — a position that the sister of the commander (and wife of the other PC) is running for. The AG has been at loggerheads with the lobby group in question and sees the opportunity to link this powerhouse to Cylon sedition. She lobbies the president to take over the operation.

There was a lot of politicking this evening, and I used a modified version of the d20 Babylon 5 influence mechanics to represent the commander and his brother-in-law using all their connections to try and thwart the AG. (If you use the search function, you’ll find the post on this; I’m trying to punch out this post before the daughter wakes.) Their opponent, however, outmaneuvers them. Tomorrow, she takes over the mision and launches an arrest and seizure of the Inviere woman’s computers and other devices. The CSS is raiding her fancy home, while the AG leads the raid on the lobby firm. The commander and other PC get to ride along as observers — the AG is essentially rubbing their noses in her move to link their family to the Cylons.

The raid goes predictably bad, when the suspect turns out to be preternaturally fast and strong. She nearly breaks the commander’s neck in one surprise attack. There was a fast and furious fight and one of the CSS agents is injured. Another kills the suspect with a shot to the head, in the same general area where the last guy had the device implanted that killed him (but there’s no explosion…they didn’t catch that.)

The rest of the night was more politicking, trying to insulate the family from the AG, by dropping the blame for the operation on her. She, in turn, blames the tactical team and gets a bunch of them canned; she survives the incident (politically) but she is in a disadvantageous position with the president, right now. The characters, however, appear to have personal reasons for trying to shift the blame, and while the whole incident is being hushed up for national security concerns, the commander’s father has to step down as PSA. The lobby firm is safe, and the commander’s career is unaffected — in fact, the whole issue has been turned over to the military intelligence machine, which includes his command element. He’s not quite out of the loop, yet, but his political buffer (his dad) has been temporarily neutralized.

The episode has heightened the political intrigue and Cold War feel of the game, and has highlighted the dysfunctional nature of my Colonial government. (The legislature is essentially shut down due to a Sagittaron-led boycott in the Quorum over the archeological dig, which has brought work to a standstill.)

The characters are now angling to convince their bosses in BSG-20 (the Expeditionary Task Force) to allow them to lead a series of covert missions over the Armistice LIne to see what the Cylons are up to. It was an interesting move that’s giving me a series of adventure ideas for the next few games.

Overall, the players are enjoying the game, and I feel the campaign is really gaining legs with a very different feel from the last time I ran BSG — the level of paranoia is heightened, much like the early episodes of the show, because my Cylons appear to be using humans as agents. We don’t know anything about the Cylons themselves, other than they’re still out there. We don’t know the level of infiltration, what they’re up to, but with the agent placed in their immediate circle, it’s very personal to the characters…which should get them to act more impulsively and give them the opportunity to have serious consequences for their actions.