After about a month, I’m finally getting around to doing a new AAR for our Battlestar Galactica game. Originally, that’s because we had a couple of “let’s talk about our feelings” episodes that are great for the players, but don’t really work well for these posts (or a season of The Walking Dead, either…) But tucked in all that character development, there have been big doings that are driving the plot in a direction that both mirrors the show (RDM, not TOS) and breaks away from it.
When last we checked in, the Kobol mission had succeeded, the roadmap to Earth was recovered, and the team had brought back the Lord of Kobol, ATHENA, inhabiting the body of their CAG. The government and military are skeptical about revealing this to the fleet, but the word gets out and soon the priests are clamoring to have access to her. The crew is split between those who really need her to be their Goddess of War and Wisdom, right now, and those who either view her with suspicion — some kind of Cylon, maybe? — or view her as some kind of advanced being, maybe not a “god”, but certainly something greater than humans. Some of her acquaintances are trying to reach out, see if there’s any of their old comrade, others reject her outright. They don’t know how she fits — she’s not in the chain of command and is being careful not to interfere with the operation of the ship or the government; she’s not an officer (they declared her KIA), but has offered to fly with the air group, and they don’t know how to even refer to her — is “sir” really acceptable for this creature? The commander pushes this option, but quickly is dismayed that the crew are referring to Athena as “your holiness”, or “your divinity”, or “your grace.” They’re leaving offerings at her door. It’s annoying the shit out of her.
They discover that much of Evripidi (the character that was possessed by Athena) is still there, and the memories and personalities and memories of the two are often in conflict. Evripidi has made Athena understand humans like she never bothered to — she was always a creature of reason and kept herself apart from romantic interludes and real connections; now she has the memories of love, lust, sex to contend with. Evripidi sees a fellow spirit who has lost her whole race, and is now on a divine mission to aid not just humans, but “life.” In one cryptic conversation, she tells Pindarus, the commander, that she still instinctively is an atheist, but knows how terribly wrong she is.
The government is trying to use her to bolster the spirits of a people who lost everything, then were crammed into metal cans in space, with limited food, space, and no way to blow off steam or escape their reality. There’s elections coming up and the president was not running again. He was quickly succumbing to his cancer, but an experimental treatment using Cylon blood has put him into remission in a matter of a week. The doctor and veterinarian that came up with the idea are still claiming it was Colonial science, and not Cylon blood, that did the trick. They are trying to find ways to artificially create the “leukobots” in Cylon blood to start treating those they know will eventually be stricken with cancer after a protracted interstellar flight in ships designed for short-term radiation exposure. (We’ve already established that most Fleet servicepeople get cancer later in life; it’s part of “the life.”)
With the Cylons locked into a civil war between the centurions and other machines vs. the biologial or biomimetic Cylons, the fleet splits to try and increase their chances of success. Kobol is destroyed, and with it most of the Cylon industrial base. There know where the other Cylon outposts are, and have a good number on the remaining basestar groups. With hit and run attacks, Admiral Cain thinks it is possible to break the Cylon supply lines, confounded them, and distract them while the fleet slips away to Earth. In a best case scenario, Pegasus could carry the flight back to the Colonies, then follow the fleet with survivors they found.
There were some gang machinations that toppled one of the PCs from running the black market, and cost him his position as security minister after it was discovered his aide was a Cylon. This group — the Salamir Cartel — is one of the oldest, savviest criminal enterprises, and they are getting involved in politics, looking to set up an alternative party to the Pindarus “regime.” They get some traction when the fleet stumbles across a Cylon battle group running from the centurions. After some tough moments, they finally manage to cut a deal for prisoner exchanges, and a truce — at least with this group. The president manages to catch enough support in the fleet (it was a HEROIC leadership test) that it’s mostly stable. But the Cartel is working to undermine him, already, and they are getting traction when in a show of trust after her near death defending the Kobol mission, Boomer is put back in uniform.
The crew is, again, split. Most are distrustful and furious, they think the commander is losing it. Others, including ATHENA think this is a necessary step. The cycle of hatred that has played out across time hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to try the hard road of redemption and forgiveness. Pindarus risks his credibility by putting the one other Cylon that chose not to be exchanged — a Three that had been a sleeper in the Colonies, and still has trouble separating her “human” cover identity of LT Ishtar Biroi from her Cylon side. The commander is gaining insight into this sort of struggle from Athena, and decides to give her a chance. But the sides are hardening toward a possible mutiny, and it’s even splitting families in the fleet.